James Franco at Pace Gallery Reviewed by Roberta Smith

James Franco’s “New Film Still #35” (2013).
2014 James Franco, Pace Gallery

James Franco’s “New Film Stills” at Pace Gallery recently received a dismissive and amusing review in The New York Times. Although the exhibit, characterized by Roberta Smith as desperate and cynical, hardly seems worth mentioning, its content relates to works analyzed in ARHA253. Franco’s exhibit features photographs that restage around 25 images from Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills, 1977-1980.” Franco’s photographs are coupled with 65 “excruciatingly sophomoric” poems inspired by Sherman’s seminal series. As we examined in class, Sherman effectively assumed the roles of female cinema stereotypes in the voyeuristic “Untitled Film Stills,” “disappearing” into the characters she portrayed. Franco, in contrast, is unable to conceal his own identity in his series; his “mustache, beard, or hairy legs in full view,” Franco unintentionally lampoons Sherman’s photographs. After studying Sherman’s works, I agree with Smith’s assertion that Franco’s efforts come across as “embarrassingly clueless.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/arts/design/james-franco-new-film-stills-arrives-at-pace-gallery.html?ref=design

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Kara Walker at the Domino Sugar Factory

Kara Walker, "A Subtlety"

Photo via The New York Times

Kara Walker is creating an enormous work of art in the old Domino sugar factory in Williamsburg. Opening on May 10th, the sphinx-like sculpture will actually be made out of Domino sugar, and is entitled “A Subtlety”. The New York Times describes the work as “an ode to the cane fields’ black labor that she has chosen to make grotesquely white.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/arts/design/kara-walker-creates-a-confection-at-the-domino-refinery.html?_r=1#)

 

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Speaking of video art…

Speaking of video art, I would also like to share one of my favorite video pieces by contemporary Belgian artist Francis Alÿs. In his Alÿs’ best-known work (and my personal favorite), When Faith Moves Mountains (2002), the artist recruited 500 volunteers in suburb outside of Lima, Peru. The volunteers and artist gathered around a sand dune where the work was executed.  Each participant was given a shovel and instructed to move a shovel full of sand one step at a time from one side of a dune to the other, and together they altered the geographical location of the dune by a few inches. Combining land and performance art, When Faith Moves Mountains culminates not only in the site itself, but also the video recordings and photographs that the artist took. Like Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty or his Incidents of Mirror Travel, the viewer is unable to travel to the sites at which the works are located, and they therefore exist to the broader public as documentation. Embracing documentation as a means for passing information, Alÿs aims to make works that exist outside of the events themselves through stories disseminated by sound and image.

Alÿs’s motto for When Faith Moves Mountains is “Maximum effort, minimum result.” “Demonstrating a ridiculous disproportion between an effort and its effect, the work is a metaphor for Latin American society, in which minimal reforms are achieved through massive collective efforts. Participants in the project gave their time for free, reversing conservative economic principles of efficiency and production” (http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2011/francisalys/#/moma/when-faith-moves-mountains). When Faith Moves Mountains is a beautiful documentation of these efforts and is definitely worth everyone’s time to watch.

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Christian Marclay’s “The Clock”

An audio-visual collage, Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” (2010) consists of thousands of cut and pasted movie clips, all of which feature visual (ie: an image of a ticking clock or watch) and/or aural cues that reference a specific time of day. The piece incorporates film clips from the medium’s 100 year history. These range from high-suspense car chases and bank robberies to scenes of “average Joes” waking up in the morning and navigating their daily routines before work. Some genres, actors and scenes would be recognizable to a broader public, others only to a highly trained eye. The result is a hauntingly accurate 24-hour long film that synchronizes with “real time.” Christine Choi, writing before the premiere of Marclay’s oeuvre at SFMoMA in 2012, reflects on the piece’s thematic and theoretical frameworks:

In [Marclay’s] magnum opus, created in an editing tour de force over three years, thousands of movie storylines seem to have shattered and been intricately pieced together, leading in countless narrative directions. The juxtaposition of numerous cinematic settings and periods both triggers the viewer’s movie memory and constantly references the passage of time. While viewers of The Clock may be drawn into the continually discontinuous narratives, the work serves as an accurate and functional clock in and of itself, conflating cinematic and actual time (http://www.sfmoma.org/about/press/press_exhibitions/releases/942#ixzz2zf5F4m2s
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art).

Having seen a segment of “The Clock” myself, I would say that Choi’s analysis is on point. I found myself waiting to see what has been described as Marclay’s “masterpiece” outside of New York’s Lincoln Center on a muggy Summer afternoon in 2012. My languorous wait lasted roughly three hours as impatient patrons fanned themselves with copies of Time Out New York and attempted to bribe equally hot and bored Lincoln Center interns in exchange for line-cutting privileges. Once inside, however, I was greeted by comfortable movie theatre style seating, air conditioning an invitation to stay and watch “The Clock” for however long I pleased. I stayed for an hour and a half, from roughly 1pm to 2:30pm, but those 90 minutes felt like no more than 5 and the wait I had endured felt endless in comparison. It was if I had been hypnotized.

Despite its reliance on films, which are by nature completely plot-driven, “The Clock” has no inherent story, meaning or narrative. There is no beginning, end or climax – only time. Moreover, the work consists of a high level of unresolved suspense. Marclay incorporates scenes from Westerns and gangster films in which devious plots are devised, but their implementations and results are never revealed (or only revealed much much later once the “real time” conception of the plot has become a distant memory).  The result, which is nearly impossible to watch in its entirety (though several venues have entertained 24 hour viewings), is time’s transformation from immaterial (what is time but measured by watches, clocks and calendars) to material. Like Pop art (the piece’s tendency to appropriation seems to situate it within this genre), time is thrown at “The Clock’s” viewers so that they are constantly aware of it – not to mention the products that are used to measure it. In a way “The Clock” is also like a Duchampian ready-made, taking something “low-brow” and readily available, and elevating it to art.

I have attached a 20 minute clip of “The Clock,” which spans between 10:15 and 10:35pm. I highly suggest that all of you be faithful to the piece and watch it in real time in order to see if its mesmerizing and addictive qualities ring true for you.

YouTube Preview Image
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Maya Lin and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial–and the controversy that ensued after its installation–exemplifies the ongoing battle between realism and modernism that tends to dominate the art world. The entire debate began with Jan Scruggs, a veteran himself who founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for the sole purpose of erecting a national monument to Americans who died or went missing during the war. Scruggs had a few criteria for the monument: that it would be void of political content, funded entirely by private sources, exhibit the names of all 57,939 Americans engraved on some wall structure, and must be sensitive to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial that bookend it on the National Mall.

In 1981, an open competition was conducted, and participants would enter their designs anonymously to a panel of veterans, artists and architects who made the final decision. They chose Maya Lin, an American undergraduate student at Yale University of Chinese descent, and her minimalist design. It consisted of two walls, each 250 feet long that met at a 125-degree angle, forming a wide “v” shape. The walls were to be made of black granite, which is highly reflective in sunlight, and the names would be listed chronologically rather than alphabetically.

At the Commission for the Fine Arts meeting that year, veteran Tom Carhart expressed his discontent with the design, echoing a larger sentiment among American that the memorial was not literal enough, not heroic enough, not aggressive enough. The families of Americans lost during the war complained that their loved ones’ names were too difficult to find, and made the experience emotionally taxing. Even though the decision was anonymous, Lin was criticized for being neither male nor American (although she was born in the U.S.) and therefore having no understanding of the perils of war. Ross Perot, who had funded the initial design competition, called Lin an “egg roll,” demonstrating the kind of racist backlash that ensued.

Nonetheless, Lin’s memorial stayed. Instead, a second committee chose the hyper-realistic sculpture of Frederick Hart to be placed on the site as a compromise. It depicts three, nondescript American soldiers from different backgrounds dressed in uniforms specific to the Vietnam war, looking longingly into the distance. Next to Hart’s somewhat garish sculpture, Lin’s artwork appears more radical than ever before. It is abstract and black, rather than literal and white (see Lincoln Memorial). It appears to be sinking into the ground rather than towering above, contrary to the convention of sculptures placed on pedestals. It is possible, even probable, that the controversy following the erection of the memorial was not solely about the memorial itself. Disillusioned by the country’s role in the war, Americans had varied opinions about foreign policy and its moral limits. These sentiments may have affected how they felt about creating a memorial to an often frowned-upon military pursuit. In this sense, Lin was a primary victim to an unavoidable reaction from the public.

Questions:
• If you’ve visited the monument yourself, what was your experience like?
• What does this conflict say about identity and gender politics in the late 80s and early 90s?
• How does the concept of the war memorial complement/counteract the recent history of minimalist sculpture?

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Hatoum and Fani-Kayode: Exploring the works of refugee artists in the UK

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The Light at the End (1989), an installation created by Palestinian-Lebanese artist Mona Hatoum, uses depth and darkness to portray the absence of identity and feeling of loss experienced by refugees in the UK. Six electrical heated rods are cornered at the edge triangular gallery. Red spotlights against the steel frame are the only source of visual reference to the work.  The rest of the room is completely dark; there is no escaping. Here, Hatoum not only toys with the concept of minimalist aesthetic, but also she uses her work to portray the isolation, fear and imprisonment that refugees, like herself felt when they emigrated from their home lands.

Nothing to Lose IV, 1989

Rotimi Fani-Kayode’s work entitled Nothing to Lose IV – Bodies of Experience (1989), explores similar themes of displacement and alienation.  Here, Fani-Kayode demonstrates the Western ethnographic portrayal of the primitive wild man.  Fani-Kayode’s portraiture engages the viewer in a very direct way: black, male, homosexual photography.  The human body in nude form illustrates the vulnerability and negative attitude towards African diaspora in the late eighties and early nineties.

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Exhibition Review: Calder in Abstraction at LACMA

Laocoön

Laocoön

Three Quintains

Calder in Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art explores more than forty quintessential works of the late Alexander Calder from the mid 1930s until the 1960s.  Of particular interest are Calder’s hanging mobile stabiles, which demonstrate unique intricacy and delicacy in modernist artwork.  This was the first Calder exhibition for LACMA and indeed marks an important history with the museum.  Calder’s sculptures demonstrate the beauty that art and engineering bring to life through the fusion of metal, wire and strings.  LACMA’s Calder in Abstraction successfully displays the artist’s iconic pieces in the context of movement in space through the use of ambient lighting and a curved backdrop.

Before the Calder showcase could be put on display, LACMA authorized architect Frank Gehry to reconfigure the hall in a more appropriate fashion.  Gehry’s circulated design helps to draw the viewer’s attention towards the works.  Curved, flush colored walls make it easier on the viewer to capture the movement of non-linear, abstract forms of Calder’s sculptures.  Gehry’s decision to cover up the sky lighting and use installation lighting instead is another crucial element that also enhances a softer atmosphere for viewers.  This controlled lighting allows for shadows of the hanging mobile structures to be cast upon the walls.  My favorite part of the entire exhibit was the use of these lighted displays and the positioning of different sized sculptures next to each other.  LACMA effectively creates a warm ambience for viewers while simultaneously allowing up close examinations of Calder’s intricate and detailed works.

The movements of Calder’s hanging stabiles seem to conceptualize space in three- dimensional form.  Even more idealistic is the use of motion that Calder displays in his works.  In other words, while Calder’s smooth sculptures are configured in a stable design, they are not confined to a glass box or portrait.  As LACMA curator Stephanie Barron best describes, “Calder’s mobiles are hanging, kinetic sculptures made of discreet movable parts stirred by air currents, creating sinuous and delicate drawings in space” (Barron 4).  The rhythmic gestures and organic composition are by far the most beautiful aspects of Calder’s artwork.  Visitors, however, were not allowed to bring in fans or other devices that might damage the installations.  Unfortunately, my friend Jonathan had to learn this the hard way as he was given a stern warning by one of the security guards, after he began intensely blowing on one of the mobile structure.  This again reminds viewers that while the stabiles are meant to catch air currents, they are not invincible to the full forces of Mother Nature.

Other Calder sculptures were not suspended from above.  Specifically, an untitled piece from 1949 had only one side resting on a platform while the rest of the sculpture was completely levitated.  This remarkable balancing act demonstrates Calder’s meticulous approach to his artwork.  As Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight suggests, “this is sculpture whose enduring fascination rides on the articulation of the curvature of space through time” (Knight 3).  Larger non-mobile structures such as La Grande vitesse allowed viewers to explore the use of dimensional space, although we were not allowed to walk through.  While most of Calder’s metal works were black, this 1969 sculpture was painted bright red, adding to the diversity of the exhibition as a whole.   In addition to free flowing form, a common theme amongst many of the pieces and the exhibit in general was how the displays seemed to be teetering on the edge of their own platforms.  In other words, one touch or flick would surely knock them down.  Even with Laocoön, Calder’s 1947 piece, which was mounted to the floor, the feet of the sculpture were sharply pointed in a manner that made it seem almost impossible to be freestanding.  Again, this demonstrates the mastery of Calder’s scientific approach to his works.

On display outside in the LACMA courtyard is Calder’s fountain entitled Three Quintains (Hello Girls).  Unfortunately, I was not able to see this in person.  However, it is important to note that LACMA commissioned Calder to build this colorful project as part of the museum’s opening in 1965.  It was one of the first Calder structures to be permanently installed in California, and in this manner, Calder has kept an important connection with the museum and the surrounding community.  The fountain allows viewers to enjoy a dazzling display of water works swirling around the orange and red hues of the circular structures, which, like Laocoön, are also freestanding.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art publicly presents the wide breadth of Alexander Calder’s modernist works.  The exhibit is a strong example of art at a very interactive level and the overall quality and condition of the pieces displayed is quite impressive.  Calder in Abstraction will be on display until July 27, 2014.  For pricing information and hours, please visit the LACMA website.

References

Barron, Stephanie. “Calder and Abstraction: Form Avant-Garde to Iconic.” Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA, 24 Nov. 2013. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http://www.lacma.org/sites/default/files/Calder-and-Abstraction-press-release-11.7.13.pdf>.

Knight, Christopher. “Review: LACMA’s ‘Calder and Abstraction’ a Wonder of Curved Space.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/17/entertainment/la-et-cm-lacma-calder-review-20131217>.

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Discussion of Richard Serra’s “Tilted Arc”

Excerpt from “Discussion of a Subject of Space: the Forms, Functions, and Consequences of Richard Serra’s ‘Tilted Arc,'” presented by Francesca Miller on April 10, 2014

In 1979, Richard Serra was chosen by an independent panel of art professionals to present a proposal for a sculpture to be erected in Lower Manhattan’s Foley Federal Plaza. The project, as part of the General Services Administration’s Art in Architecture program, was commissioned by the government (Storr, 90). Serra’s art, as we have seen, is confrontational and complex despite its apparent formal simplicity, making Serra an interesting candidate for a government-sponsored public arts initiative (Storr, 90). Nevertheless, following approval from the head of the GSA, Serra’s sculpture was constructed in 1981 and situated in the Plaza in front of a public building. The 120-foot curving wall of steel that bisects the Plaza is consistent with Serra’s post-minimalist aesthetic and completely transformed the space into which it was inserted (Storr, 91).

Serra referred to the Plaza as a “pedestal site,” initially of little interest to the artist (Storr, 91). He viewed the project as an opportunity to disrupt the aesthetic of the space, breathing new life into the Plaza (Storr, 91). “Tilted Arc,” which cost $175,000 to construct, was not designed to be passive or ornamental (Storr, 91). The sculpture commanded attention and initiated a dialogue between individual and space. In its presence, an individual’s awareness of physical condition and environment were radically heightened. As such, the sculpture is a site-specific subject of space (Storr, 91).

Source: Storr, Robert. “‘Tilted Arc’: Enemy of the People?” Art in America 73 (September 1985): 90-97.

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Exhibition Review: Jordan Wolfson at David Zwirner

JWDZSHOW2014_install_31_web-440x600                         RASPBERRY_POSER_WOLFSON_STILL_06

Employing a wide range of media, including sculpture, painting, video, instillation, and animatronics, artist Jordan Wolfson explores the complex themes of social communication, identity, and physical existence. In his 2014 exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery, in Manhattan, Wolfson constructs an alternate, nightmarish reality, placing the viewer in the center of what appears to be a disturbing psychosocial experiment.

Initially, as I entered the first room of the Chelsea gallery and encountered Wolfson’s sculptures, I was underwhelmed by the kitschy appearance of the artist’s digitally based work. Comprised of magazine images and clip art bumper stickers with meaningless phrases, such as “Socrates Was an Asshole” and “Crippled Sex”, the photomontage sculptures read as failed commentary on appropriation. The trite repetition of juvenile clip art, paired with pixilated imagery, allows the viewer to easily dismiss the sculptures as unimportant. Filled with couches and uninterested patrons, this initial gallery space has both the general atmosphere and actual purpose of a waiting room. Two dark hallways, at either end of the room, guide viewers from Wolfson’s banal sculptures to his dynamic, primary works.

Still preoccupied with the underwhelming nature of the artist’s photomontages, I walked down the first hallway, eager to encounter some form of engaging work. Lined with black padding, the soundproof hallway channels viewers into a similarly constructed room, at the center of which is a large screen and set of speakers. Blaring a slowed-down version of Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams”, the powerful speakers fill the room with the distorted audio track, giving viewers an initial feeling of disorientation. Paired alongside the unsettling audio is a projection of Wolfson’s “Raspberry Poser”, a fourteen-minute video featuring a self-destructive, cartoon boy, heart-filled condom, bouncing AIDS virus, and skinhead punk. This video, a crucial element in the artist’s efforts to create a foreign, tormented reality, employs found imagery and appropriated material to produce rapidly changing and visually dynamic scenes. But, unlike his sophomoric sculptures, Wolfson’s “Raspberry Poser” utilizes digital appropriation with sophistication and complexity, rejuvenating “appropriation art through the incisive use of digital animation, achieving an intensity that rivets the ear and the eye while perturbing the mind” (Roberta Smith, New York Times).

Wolfson’s aggressive, cartoon protagonist, a redheaded boy developed from an online source, greets viewers with a twisted smile as the video begins. Armed with a knife and cigarette, the character slices open his torso, letting his organs and blood spill out. These moments of self-destruction, which continue throughout the entirety of the film, are paired alongside computer-generated imagery of a condom, filled with candy hearts, spilling its contents as it floats over Soho. Additionally, a three-dimensional representation of the AIDS virus, which bounces throughout elegant, domestic sites, and a vagrant, punk character, played by Wolfson, flash before the viewer at several points in the video. As described in Artspace, by Andrew Goldstein, viewing the film “is like a narcotized reverie brought on by an overindulgence in pop culture, followed by a queasy hangover of musings on mortality and the triteness of consumer desires”. This unnerving trance is only heightened as “Raspberry Poser”, which the gallery displays on a loop, nears its conclusion. As the deep voice of Beyonce plays once again, the disorientation and unsettlement, initially experienced as the viewer enters the screening room, is magnified. After Wolfson’s visual experience, the once melodic tune of “Sweet Dream” is transformed into a disturbing soundtrack to a nightmarish fantasy. In this alternate reality, the artist bombards viewers with twisted satire on social identity, utilizing the recurrent moments of cartoonish self-harm to communicate the ways in which our bodily appearance dictates our lives. Specifically, Wolfson employs these themes of aggression and destruction to investigate our psychosexual interactions.

Leaving the screening room and reentering the gallery space, the viewer is invited down another hallway, at the other end of the gallery, and into the third feature of Wolfson’s exhibition: a glass room with a ghoulish, animatronic erotic dancer. Unfortunately, due to the limited viewing times and extensive wait list, I was not able to view this instillation first hand, but rather experienced it through an online video. Regarded by many as the pinnacle of his dystopian exhibition, the witch-faced, blonde dancer features a complex combination of technology. Her naturalistic movement, displayed most notably in her gyration and hand gestures, and the incorporation of facial recognition technology, allowing her to follow the viewer’s eyes, create a deeply unsettling instillation. After a series of erotic motions, the dirt stained, demonic character begins to speak in the masculine voice of the artist, saying, “My mother is dead. My father is dead. I’m gay. I’d like to be a poet. This is my house.” These psychologically charged phrases not only raise questions about the artist’s identity, but also force the viewer to reevaluate how they define themselves.

Jordan Wolfson’s New York exhibition displays a dynamic exploration of perception, reality, life, identity, and sexuality. By employing a diverse thematic range, from the terrifying to comedic, the artist creates an unparalleled experience, transporting the viewer to a foreign and often disturbing reality. Wolfson reinterprets what art is and what art can be, using revolutionary technology and modernizing traditional artistic practices to form his incredibly complex work. His innovative techniques take “viewers on a dystopian voyage into the art world of tomorrow” and are crucial in forming his commentary on contemporary issues, such as digital consumerism and social identity (Paul Laster, Time Out New York).

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Exhibition Review: Five West Coast Artists

Diebenkorn, Ocean Park No. 24

Five West Coast Artists: Bischoff, Diebenkorn, Neri, Park, and Thiebaud is currently on display in the Yale University Art Gallery through July 13, 2014. ­­­The show exhibits both pieces from the collection as well as several new acquisitions, including David Park’s The Model (1959). Notably, each of these artists was also a teacher during his career and exercised considerable influence over the following generation of West Coast artists. The wall text is in rich cobalt and deep golden yellow- colors that reference the California universities where these artists taught.

Upon entering exhibition space, Richard Diebenkorn Ocean Park No. 24 is immediately visible. This work, from his eponymous series, embodies the conceptual basis of the show. All of the pieces included in the show are are considered part of the Bay Area Figuration movement of the 1960s, wherein West Coast artist applied the styles and techniques of Abstract Expressionism to figurative forms of representation. These extremely gestural works feature bold compositions and investigative use of the paint medium.  However each of these artists rejected abstraction in favor of recognizable, often mundane, subject matter drawn from everyday life. Diebenkorn’s, Ocean Park is a paragon of this movement.  His piece depicts a dynamic arrangement of different geometric color fields that is reminiscent of Malevich and Mondrian’s geometric-abstraction. However, Diebenkorn’s work is completely based on observation: his used both aerial photography and beachfront architecture as source material. His entire composition is enlivened by his use of expressive gestural marks and attention to color relationships. While innovative, his work shows a strong connection to the work of Clyfford Stills and Willem de Kooning. This pieces is shown in conjunction with seven other Diebenkorn prints of expressive geometric forms.

This room opens onto a large gallery space that contains works two figurative sculptures by Maunelle Neri, and well as works by Elmer Bischoff, Diebenkorn, and Park. These sculptures show the same gestural brevity as the surrounding paintings realized in three-dimensional form. Neri took an explorative approach the medium: working quickly, while the plaster was damp, he used a variety of tools and materials to give his work texture and expression. On the walls are four large paintings by Bischoff, Diebenkorn, and Park that depict a female figure. Park’s The Model and Bischoff’s Woman Bathing strongly reference the art historical tradition of painting the female nude. Bischoff’s piece shows a woman bathing alone in a river and is extremely evocative of French Naturalist paintings. Park’s work is extremely self-referential as it shows a woman posed next an easel carrying her image. This piece points to the deliberate use of observation by not only including a figure, but also a painting of that figure. The juxtaposition of Bischoff’s Cityscape against Diebenkorn’s Girl with Three Coffee Cups emphasizes their differences. While both works rely heavily on geometry and use solid color fields that evoke Matisse’s paints of Collioure, each artist’s treatment of paint is very different. Their subtleties becomes clear through their proximity. While Bischoff scumbles layers of opaque paint with pops of saturated color, Diebenkorn’s expressive brushstrokes are extremely visible because of translucency of his paint. On two walls of this space hang several small works by Diebenkorn. That one wall of the space are several small print and paintings by it Robert Diebenkorn.  These works depict figures in various states of repose and three of them incorporate cups.

The final room contains works by Wayne Thiebaud that span a major portion of his career. Two walls display prints and paintings of classic Thiebaud the subject matter: ice cream, cakes, syrups, and candies. These works, particularly Ice Cream Cone, typify Thiebaud’s style: thick, tactile paint and bright, saturated colors. The shadows behind the cones indicated a singular, bright light source and are painted with a rich ultramarine. Around the edge of the table and the cones moments of Thiebaud’s hyper saturated under-painting become visible. These lines of color active the image through their richness. Most notable is Thiebaud’s impasto style, which leaves his bold strokes visible even from a distance. This tackle treatment of the medium seems appropriate for such a luscious subject, as the paint appears as creamy as ice cream. On the other walls, hang landscape prints and an etching of a single piece of cake in an architecturally idealized display case.

Overall the exhibition was an exciting demonstration of the manner in which West Coast artist of the 1960s applied the expressive gestures and bold compositions of the Abstract Expressionists to figurative subject matter. The works were arranged into uncomplicated groupings of landscapes, figures, and objects. This viewer’s only critique is that while with works of Bischoff, Diebenkorn, Neri, and Park were integrated in the largest gallery space, Thiebaud’s work was allocated to a separate room and did not interact with the works of the other artists to the same extent.

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