Back in the 1950s in the Bay Area, the center for creatives a little off the trail in experimental art was a Victorian house packed to its wooden walls with books. As the home of Jess and Robert Duncan, a couple where within their own relationship there was a constant collaboration between visual art and writing, it became one of the magnets for an eclectic group of artists.
Memories fade. That’s the one good reason, as far as I can see, to compile an end-of-year list. It’s sometimes startling to retrace what attracted my attention over the course of a year; it is also instructive to determine where such a miscellany of shows fits in with ongoing areas of interest, and which ones, in hindsight, merited the time it took to review them.
With its superb retrospective of the art of Llyn Foulkes, the New Museum pulls off the almost impossible trick of elucidating the work of a long-neglected, unclassifiable and thoroughly recalcitrant figure without sacrificing its mysteries or thorniness.
Hypnotherapy, a group show at Kent Fine Art, gives David Lynch fans a chance to revisit the iconic filmmaker’s alarming artwork a year after his solo turn at Jack Tilton. But that’s only one, conspicuous though it is, of its strengths. What really matters is the opportunity to experience a museum-quality exhibition that approaches the pitfalls of latter-day surrealism with as much intelligence and refinement as this one does.