LA Art Shows, Summer 2012
The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol at MOCA
by Ingrid M. Reeve
The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol at MOCA is surprisingly warm and inviting. It might be the carpet. I love the carpet (an installation by Rudolf Stingel).The show is comprised almost entirely of paintings-that’s a surprise too (despite the show’s title, a part of me expected 3D objects and installations, i.e. “paintings”). The recurring theme is scale; the paintings are massive. The paintings seem to have achieved freedom for abstract art and broken ties with their political past. They seem to be boldly, calmly stating: you can’t understand me, but look at me, perceive me with your senses, and admit that I occupy a real and valid space in time.
I see the opportunity to test and explore my recent theory: that art serves to prove that a phenomenological experience (as perceived through the senses) is just as true and just as right as 1+1 is 2 and 2+2 is 4, that the artist seeks to create or replicate moments of coherent sense perception- those esoteric moments where texture, sound, sight and taste, for example, line up to create a moment of perfection, which the observer, alone, quantifies as true and right, but is left with little or no proof that the subjective experience was right.
Julie Mehretu creates moments where the material (or visual) world seems to intersect with the internal world of the mind and sense perception. Her paintings move abstraction forward while dragging along art history by invoking memories of Kandinsky and the onset of the World Wide Web. The viewer can discern that the moment is more than what we see and understand, and yet, simultaneously, more than what we feel.
Tauba Auerbach brings us deep into the folds of linen and line in poem by Andre Breton comes to mind.
The wardrobe is filled with linen
There are even moonbeams which I can unfold
I conclude that the show is full of masterpieces- if a masterpiece can be defined as work that allows the viewer(s) to agree that what they perceive through their senses is true and right, occupying a valid and logical space in time. I’m reassured that perfect moments, the sublime, exists in life, because if it didn’t it couldn’t exist in artwork. But then again, the show is called “Abstraction after Warhol” not “Abstraction after Rothko” so maybe the show is about celebrity (or about production), but speaking of celebrity, LA is full of them.
My friend, Alice, waves good bye to Maurizio Cattelan, who is meeting with Jeffrey Deitch, (which we take as a good sign that MOCA is recovering from its recent state of affairs and that a potential show is in the works). We head over to Susanne Vielmetter to see work by Iva Gueorguieva, who recently taught at CSUF. Her work continues to evolve in the direction of successfully consolidating who knows what. They read like concise portraits of human experience, mapping a person (herself I presume), whose range of experience is wild, at times, precarious, but ultimately within the boundaries of sanity and of knowing one self, or understanding something about the limitations of existence. Her work feels like a continuation of the MOCA exhibit. Common thread: masters of abstraction.
We do the rounds in Culver City and head to ACE Gallery to see new work by and show our support for Laurie Lipton (who recently did an artist residency at CSUF’s Grand Central). The marvel of her work is that it reveals a world usually seen in film or video games- collaborative efforts. She has the imagination and depth of a whole team of artists, directors and writers. To see that type of work come to life via the tiny tip of a graphite pencil from a single artist is refreshing and inspiring. She is a prolific, contemporary artist without a production team (that I know of). Studio assistants or no studio assistants the work is all Laurie Lipton and a must see show.