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Thursday 02.07.08

« Showing at 23 Sandy | Main | PIFF 31 »

Some New Hypocrisy, same as it ever was

The Mercury has penned a story about Rererato's zoning problems and looming closure by the city. I notified Sam Adam's office of this last week (Commissioner Sam show us your your arts muscle? You wanna be Mayor... as Mayor Vera saved a fake horse on NW 23rd, as Arts Comissioner why not save a good art venue?)... look something needs to be done. This is the type of scrappy art venue that makes Portland great and they have been doing good things. Don't let the letter of the law usurp the intent. As an arts city its hypocritical for the city of Portland to shut down Rererato. So readers please email: chamberlainj@ci.portland.or.us and let the city know what you think.

*Update: PORT has assurances from Comissioner Sam's office, "We're working on it. Promise."

BCAM Gallery Section, © Renzo Piano Building Workshop

As Tyler notes it's definitely LACMA's Broad Contemporary Art Museum day, and the LA Times piece is an interesting exercise in revealing the greatness and faults of three of my favorite things on the West Coast; LACMA's crazy (with its own woolly mammoth engulfing tar pit) campus , super collector Eli Broad and critic Christopher Knight. All three are forgivably contradictory in ways only the truly talented are (think Beethoven, John Lennon, Frank Lloyd Wright). Part of being brilliant is owning your hypocrisy.

The Players:

-LACMA needed BCAM and it looks like Renzo Piano may have turned in a good but not Great performance, which isn't on par with Gehry's Disney Concert Hall, Moneo's nearby downtown church or Tom Mayne's Caltrans building. LA has been building most of the best public buildings in America as of late so anything less than groundbreaking is going to be seen as somewhat of a disappointment. The inherent hypocrisy (soundly reasoned though) is that the earlier Rem Koolhaas design was scrapped, substituting architectural brilliance for safety (Renzo Piano) to house supposedly brilliant art.

-Eli Broad, (as we covered him last month) has had his hands in any major cultural project in LA but decided to not give his collection to LACMA despite giving 50 million dollars to build the new BCAM wing.

-Christopher Knight, normally has no problem with the flattening/hybridization of high culture and pop commerce but in his piece goes after the art on display (mostly Koons) particularly for its weird symbiosis with money... maybe because it's high pop commerce and not truly flattened pop commerce? Is Koons really just caught in the crossfire between Broad's decision and Knight?.... I don't think criticizing Koon's for being expensive looking is a useful target anymore for critical darts, because that's Koon's schtick. Knight has some really relevant points though... too much Broad and too much Gagosian etc. looks funny. My argument is that this lack of the Broad holdings creates an interesting vacuum in the collection which LACMA needs to fill. Clearly, the Broad decision was a blow to LACMA (and good for Portland btw) but forcing LACMA to work harder on artists Broad doesn't collect like Fritz Haeg is probably a good thing and will be different than a collection purely dominated/anchored by Broad's (which would have been the cornerstone, now it is repository). Oh and BTW the damien Hirst Knight hates is pretty stunning, I havnt seen many works of art that really floor people who are just casually walking by, even if you dont like it effects like that are hardly an embarssment as Knight calls it (see image below).

Damien Hirst's The Kingdom of The Father gets Scout Niblett's undivided attention from PAM's Camouflage show in 2007

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 07, 2008 at 11:41 | Comments (3)


The Hirst Piece Is certainly beautifully realized (and there is nothing wrong with beauty). But given his status I must question his depth of concept. Expectatons are heightened and I think that the intellectual power of these pieces would have been greatly increased if Hirst had installed them in Dresden and found a working Lancaster bomber to blow the fuck out of them. Some object-fetish value would be lost but given his status as advance scout for the future of art a more extreme gesture would keep him from devolving into the merely marketable.

Posted by: Celine Gibbetteau [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 2, 2008 11:10 AM

The effect that the Hirst has on most passers by is so strong I sincerely doubt it is just a merely marketable object. Are you reacting to Hirst, the work or his press? They are quite different, actually.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 2, 2008 11:42 AM

If you want to meet Jeff Koons and tour his studio, you can bid on a private tour, led by the artist himself.

Michael Govan has also donated a private tour of the new Broad Museum at LACMA. The auctions end on March 6, 2008. Bid on the chance to talk with these gentlemen about their thoughts on the new Broad museum and art in general.

www.charitybuzz.com The auctions benefit the Hereditary Disease Foundation

Posted by: lizweber [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 5, 2008 08:14 PM

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