Wednesday, June 23, 2010

John Baldessari at LACMA

I just came back from the John Baldessari retrospective at LACMA, curated by the lovely Leslie Jones for LACMA (hi, Leslie!) and the no less lovely Jessica Morgan for the Tate in London. I wish I could say something really *intelligent* about the exhibition, but alas I got to see too little of it. It's the type of opening where the entire LA art world and then some more (meaning, moneyed people who have no idea what art is) come to attend en masse.
So, every single room I entered was densely packed with at least 40 people I know within the first few yards. Plus all the ones I know but didn't see, etc, etc.

But I was lucky enough to see that one of my most favorite artwork into the entire universe was there, Everything is purged from this painting but art, no ideas have entered this work, 1966 - 1968. This is the "painting" that made me fall in love with conceptual art when I was a teen and saw it at the L'Art Conceptuel, Une Perspective exhibition in Paris, in 1989. Just for this it is well worth seeing the show.
There are of course plenty, but plenty of fabulous Baldessari works in the show, and at this stage, who cares really what the installation is like (it's great, BTW!), since there's plenty of fun to be had and great works to be seen. Smart, playful, fun. What's not to like?
Don't miss Baldessari waving goodbye to ships, don't miss his interpretation of the 7 cardinal virtues and the 7 deadly sins, don't miss anything, and come back over and over again. If you're too broke to take a Summer trip, why don't you have a staycation at LACMA, and at the Farley building in Eagle Rock (Mike Kelley & Michael Smith)? LA will never have seemed so cool in the Summer.

[I lifted the pic from a Google image search and forgot to look for credits. I apologize to whoever took that pic, will try to correct that later]

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