Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

Posts Tagged ‘MOCA

A Minimal Future at MoCA, 2004

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Craig Kauffman was included in several exhibits with seminal Minimalist sculptors, during the 1960s and more recently.  In 2004, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles presented “A Minimal Future? Art as Object 1958–1968,” including the work of forty American artists in an historical and scholarly examination of Minimal art, organized Curator Ann Goldstein. The catalogue essay (by Susan L. Jenkins) states “Like Judd’s “specific objects,” Kauffman’s vacuum formed plastic works exist in a space between painting and sculpture, although Kauffman has always considered himself a painter. The three-dimensionality of the earlier illusionistic paintings was now thoroughly replaced by the literal presence and three-dimensionality of works that increasingly projected from the surface of the wall.” These photos of the MOCA installation show Kauffman’s work in the company of his colleague John McCracken’s sculpture.

Installation view of “A Minimal Future? Art as Object 1958–1968” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2004. Courtesy the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Photography by Brian Forrest.

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Written by Frank Lloyd

September 21, 2018 at 6:12 pm

Craig Kauffman in the New York Times

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Today’s New York Times review of Craig Kauffman’s show at Danese was glowing, to say the least.  Ken Johnson’s concise and considered comments included the word nacreous, which is defined as “consisting of or resembling mother-of-pearl”, and aptly identifies the luminous and iridescent color in Kauffman’s work.  Translucence and reflection are also things that Kauffman used in a subtle, sensuous way. Johnson’s review speaks eloquently about The Late Work of Kauffman, concluding that “Kauffman’s sculptures are as relevant today as ever.”

It is an important time for the recognition of the late Craig Kauffman (1932-2010), as his work will be shown in nine exhibitions during the span of a year. Right now, in London at the Thomas Dane Gallery, is the conclusion of an exhibit organized by Walead Beshty, titled Sunless. Kauffman’s work is represented by a superb example made in the late 1960s. Walead Beshty, a highly recognized young international artist, chose to include Kauffman’s work, proving Johnson’s observation that Kauffman is relevant today.

Opening next week is another group show, organized and assembled by the legendary Irving Blum. Blum has selected works by 21 major West Coast artists for an exhibit at Louis Stern Fine Arts in West Hollywood.  In a brief introduction to the show, the critic Dave Hickey wrote about the “generosity of his eye, and the infectiousness of his enthusiasm” when praising the pleasure of the company of Irving Blum.  Blum has known the work of Kauffman since 1958, of course, when Craig was a member of the original group of artists in the Ferus gallery. Blum selected two drawings for the show.

A survey of works on paper has been mounted by Cirrus Gallery in Los Angeles, spanning several decades of Kauffman’s work. The sinuous line, luminous color, and unorthodox techniques of Kauffman’s works are evident in the drawings, lithographs and other works selected by Jean Milant of Cirrus. Milant, too, has known Kauffman’s work for decades, and produced a number of editions of prints. Cirrus, a seminal printmaking facility, worked closely with artists such as Ed Ruscha, Vija Celmins, Bruce Nauman and John Baldessari.  The Craig Kauffman show of works on paper will run until November 6.

At my gallery, we will present a minimal installation of a group of works known as the Loops. Kauffman considered the 1969 works to be the simplest of his works. These paintings were made from a single sheet of clear acrylic plastic and painted with sprayed acrylic lacquer. Suspended and floating slightly away from a wall, they reflect Kauffman’s life-long interest in unorthodox supports for painting, as well as his sensuous color.  In a 1976 interview conducted by the UCLA Oral History Project, Kauffman stated “the loops, which were plastic, hung out from the wall, from the ceiling on a wire, and cast a shadow on the wall…they contain this kind of foggy color inside of them.”  This group was the last of several series of works made during the 1960s.

Later in October, Kauffman’s work will be featured, along with over 100 other artists, in a huge show at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art: The Artist’s Museum. MOCA’s permanent collection includes Kauffman’s work, and has been featured in such previous exhibitions as This is Not to be Looked At, and A Minimal Future? The ambitious idea of MOCA’s huge survey is to highlight regional innovators who have most profoundly influenced the international art community. This focused exhibit looks at the complexity and importance of West Coast practice over the past 30 years, so it’s no surprise that Kaffman’s work is included.

Written by Frank Lloyd

October 2, 2010 at 1:34 am

MOCA: The Curator Speaks

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For anyone who has been following contemporary art, the crisis at the Museum of Contemporary Art was a compelling story.  I tracked the unfolding events during the late fall and early winter of 2008, by staying tuned to the excellent coverage in the Los Angeles Times, their site Culture Monster, and the constant commentary provided by many blogs. I posted some of my reactions with links here and here.

Always at the forefront of the story was Tyler Green’s Modern Art Notes, and yesterday he provided something of great interest again: an interview with Paul Schimmel, Chief Curator at MOCA. It’s a welcome look from a curatorial vantage point, following the huge administrative and funding changes. In late January, I was invited to a community meeting at MOCA, to hear and understand the transition, with new CEO Charles Young. I want to see MOCA succeed.

I am looking forward to part two of this interview with Paul Schimmel. Just as I believe in listening to the words of the artist, I think there is no substitute for hearing directly from the curators. I went to LACMA last Saturday for the curator’s walk-through with Stephanie Barron of her Two Germanys show. There is no substitute for a tour of an exhibit with the principal curator. Art lovers should take advantage of any opportunity to hear things directly from a major curator.

Written by Frank Lloyd

March 13, 2009 at 3:30 am

Posted in Art, Museums

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MOCA and the Times

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For Angelenos, it was scary enough to consider the fate of the Museum of Contemporary Art. But suppose we didn’t have the great coverage of that story from the L.A. Times and Culture Monster? Now that would be devastating. Throughout the crisis, we were kept informed by Christopher Knight, Suzanne Muchnic, and Diane Haithman. Despite the recent cutbacks at the city’s newspaper, we are blessed to have such first-rate journalists and editors willing to devote the space to a cultural issue. Tyler Green has posted an aggregate of current MOCA links.

Written by Frank Lloyd

December 30, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Art, Museums

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Robert Graham: An Appreciation

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robertgrahamBob Graham was a gentleman. Always immaculate in a white shirt with the cuffs rolled back just slightly, he stood tall, proud and strong. A generous host, he would make sure that his guests were properly welcomed. I will always think of him, at a large party, standing and holding a cigar. He was a powerful presence.

Yesterday I got the sad news of his passing. I thought about how I would honor his memory. As I dressed today, the first thing I did was to roll back my sleeves, just twice. The next thing I did was to visit his work, and revel in that power and that presence. This man was an incredibly prolific humanist.

graham_doors_frontI drove downtown to see The Great Bronze Doors of the Cathedral. On a clear Sunday, the monumental doors are the perfect portals, standing testament to the sculptor’s architectural knowledge. I thought of the integration of the panels, referencing the heritage and culture of the city. I walked over to the Music Center to see the Dance Door, a work that was originally commissioned by Frederick and Marcia Weisman. It reminded me of Marcia Weisman’s essential role in the music_centrefounding of MOCA, during the redevelopment of Bunker Hill.  And, at LACMA, the bronze Graham column stands tall and strong in the angular gallery that contains the permanent collection of ceramics in the American Galleries.

Graham’s last show was at my gallery. It came about fairly quickly, and at the suggestion of his studio manager Noriko Fujinami, included work from the 1970s and recent drawings. I let people know about the show by sponsoring a spot on our local NPR radio station. Artist Tony Berlant heard that radio spot, and commented to me, “I liked hearing about Bob’s show on the radio. It made it sound like a real cultural event.” Indeed, it was a cultural event, and one that bonded me to a true gentleman and great sculptor.

The last time I saw Bob was in his new building, sitting in the upstairs studio. He was still immaculately dressed, though he had recently fallen. I brought a bottle of wine, and suggested that fine tequila and cigars would have been better. We laughed together, and he said he would drink the wine. Most of all, he wanted me to see the new work in the studio.

Written by Frank Lloyd

December 29, 2008 at 12:07 am

Reading List

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What books do I read? Last night, I saw that four architecture books had landed next to my nightstand. Was it haphazard? No, it’s a sign of a life-long obsession. Here was Esther McCoy’s Case Study Houses, and next to it was Corey Buckner’s monograph, A. Quincy Jones. Michael Webb’s Brave New Houses overlapped the bent corners of an exhibition catalogue, Blueprints for Modern Living (a great MOCA show). As I leaf through these books, ponder the Julius Schulman images, and read random pages, I am mindful of my early contact with residential architecture. I know that I was lucky to grow up with a distinct cultural asset. I lived in South Pasadena, not far from architecture in the residential style by Greene and Greene. A childhood friend lived in an iconic Irving Gill. My junior high school was next to the offices of Whitney Smith. My high school art teacher took me to see my first Richard Neutra House, the Perkins residence. And eventually, I found the location of La Miniatura, Frank Lloyd Wright’s first use of cast block in his Pasadena residence built for Alice Millard.

This morning I drove along the east side of the Silverlake reservoir. I passed the Neutra research house, at the northern edge of the lake. I glanced at two more Neutras along the boulevard. I remembered the Schindlers from the western side of the lake, including the many in Hollywood and the surrounding hills. And I remembered MOCA’s superb 2001 exhibit of Schindler’s work, recognizing the architect’s “widespread influence over the creative community of Los Angeles.”

So when I recall LACMA’s “conversation” between Michael Govan and Jorge Pardo, I keep going back to Jorge Pardo’s comment that the Los Angeles architectural environment was “impoverished”. Did anyone notice that Michael Webb, eminent architecture scribe, was sitting in the audience that night? I wish I had drawn Pardo’s attention to this sentence by Michael Webb:

“Throughout its years of explosive growth, Los Angeles has been a crucible for experimentation in residential design.”

Written by Frank Lloyd

December 17, 2008 at 9:10 pm

MOCA: A Voice of Reason #2

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Among my friends, the conversation about MOCA has often gone to origins. For those of us who were around to witness MOCA’s beginnings, the museum was a real community effort. Artists were involved–as advisors and on the board. The opening of the Temporary Contemporary (now the Geffen) was a point when we realized it could happen. In an existing building (with some wonderful modifications by Frank Gehry), we could have an extraordinary exhibition program. MOCA, its formation and the original spirit are remembered so well by veteran journalist Barbara Isenberg in today’s Los Angeles Times.

I was so pleased to see this op-ed piece, becasue it mirrors the conversations that I have had with artists.

Written by Frank Lloyd

December 16, 2008 at 1:35 am