Pictures & Scripts is a 2015 series of 20 paintings by John Baldessari (B. 1931) composed of still images from black and white films with excerpts from fictitious, narrative film scripts. The images are removed from their context and capture moments of paused action, which can be interpreted in multiple ways. Displayed alongside the image, these lines of text work to recontextualize the meaning of the image, and to add new life to their original purpose.
The images drawn from the films are cropped so that the characters and actions are ambiguous and taken away from their dramatic context. The images are then given new narratives – equally ambiguous ones, taken out of the larger dialogue – so that the viewer can create his or her own unique interpretation. The works are reminiscent of the 1920s film theorist Lev Kuleshov’s texts on editing and montage, which allow certain conclusions about the action in a film simply based on context. Viewers derive more meaning from the interaction of two sequential “shots” rather than from a single shot in isolation, he argued, and the relationship between the two (in this case, the text and the image), is what creates drama and interest.
Like much of Baldessari’s work, a certain blend of humor and self-deprecation can be detected in the pieces, and the excerpts of dialogue are between unknown characters but hint at conversations between art world insiders, making statements about the art industry. In one piece, an image depicting a pair of treasure hunters is paralleled by a conversation between and art critic and companion, working to categorize a work. The irony is palpable.
And of course, it is no accident that I chose this artwork because it features a conversation between an Art Critic and his Wife, Gail. Because that is just too perfect.
Honey — What Words Come to Mind? (2015) was Photographed in The Broad Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Neo Rauch (born April 18th, 1960) was raised in communist East Germany. Upon encountering a united Germany in the early 1990s, Rauch assimilated and parodied the social realist ruins of communist art along with the popular imagery of capitalism. His unusual style, which renders contradictory and often competing sensibilities intelligible and seemingly unified, has given rise to a generation of painters in the Leipzig area as well as a dynamic gallery scene.
Rauch’s paintings share certain affinities with surrealism, namely the invocation of dreams as an escape from a rule-driven consciousness. Rauch himself, however, distances his work from easy readings. “I have no use for the cultishness of classic surrealism or for its tight repertoire of methods,” he says. “In fact just the opposite is true: on my canvas, as in my mind, anything is possible.” Although highly interested in his own East German origins and the nature and limitations of its society, Rauch also channels German iconoclasts like Jörg Immendorff and Georg Baselitz to present a figurative work full of chronological fissures. His painting reflects the influence of socialist realism, and owes a debt to Surrealists Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte, although Rauch hesitates to align himself with surrealism.
Der Laden (The Store), painted in 2005, is part of the Permanent Collection at The Broad Museum of Contemporary Art in Downtown Los Angeles.
When I was in California at Christmastime, a little bit of advanced planning allowed me to enjoy a visit to the new Broad Museum of contemporary art, located in beautiful downtown Los Angeles. Featuring 2,000 works of art from the private collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad (pronounced like “Bro-d”), admission is free of charge, but because the museum just opened on September 20th, 2015, the demand for tickets is so high that they must be reserved online in advance. By December, the list was already booked up through February 2016! It is times like these that writing an awesome blog like The Worley Gig comes in handy. With a couple of exchanged emails, the Broad’s press office was kind enough to extend VIP-treatment to myself and two guests, which included front-of-the-line cutting privileges that saved us about two hours of waiting in a queue that already wrapped around two sides of the building by the time the museum opened at 11 AM. It is good to be the King, or Queen, whatever.
Urs Fischer, Untitled (2012), Melting Lamp Post, Located in the Ground Floor Lobby
Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, and featuring an innovative Veil-and-Vault concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building features two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection, and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, the building itself is a work of art.
Please enjoy some photos and tips from our visit!
Here I am with my Sister inside Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room
The first thing you are going to want to do when you get into the museum is veer off to the left (when you see the Urs Fisher sculpture above, you are in the right place), look for a museum docent with an iPad, and put your name on a list for timed entry to the Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama. We put our names in within 15 minutes of the museum’s opening, and the wait time for entry was already 75 minutes! Usually, only one or two people are allowed inside the installation at one time, and they only let you stay in there for a rigidly-timed 45 to 60 seconds! Because we were a group of 3, they let us all go in at the same time. When your entry time approaches, they will text you so that you can make it back down to the lobby from wherever you are in the museum, to wait about 15 minutes for entry, which is convenient. Read more about the Infinity Mirrored Room and its associated guidelines, at This Link!
Tulips By Jeff Koons 1995-2004
Art is displayed on the first (ground) and third floors of the building, with the second floor reserved for storage (more about that later). We took the escalator to the third floor right away and were greeted by Jeff Koons famous mirrored steel Tulips sculpture. So gorgeous! The Broads must be huge fans of Koons, because there is an entire gallery dedicated to just to his work. The Broad has the largest collection of Koons work in one place that I’ve seen since his retrospective at The Whitney back in 2014; which was just insane.
Jeff Koons Gallery
Blue Balloon Dog with Wall Detail
This photo of a Koons Balloon Dog showcases the building’s porous, honeycomb-like exterior (made of fiberglass and reinforced concrete) which lets natural light flow into the galleries, and the glass curtain wall behind it, which protects the interior from the elements. Genius.
Roy Lichtenstein, Interior with African Mask (1991)
If you dig Roy Lichtenstein, there are perhaps a dozen paintings and sculptures by the legendary Pop artist.
I made a video of Barbara Kruger’s lenticular photograph, Have Me, Feed Me, Hug Me, Love Me, Need Me (1988)!
Robert Therrien, Under the Table (1994)
This piece is lots of fun.
A futuristic, cylindrical glass elevator will transport you quickly between the first and the third floors, but if you want to check out the second floor, you will have to take the stairs.
On the second floor landing there are these oval windows set into the stairwell wall, through which you can peer in and see where they store all of the spare artwork. This part of the museum (which is the concrete “Core” of the building) is called The Vault, and it is pretty cool. The Vault is also where laboratories, curatorial spaces and offices are located.
Inside The Vault
White Riot By Robert Longo (1982)
Desire By Ed Ruscha (1969)
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (1963)
Can you imagine having all of these fantastic artworks — and hundreds more — in your private collection? Unreal. There is a 15-minute introductory film (located adjacent to the Infinity Mirrored Room) that you can watch, which tells you where the Broads got all of their money, in case you’re interested.
Works By Takashi Murakami
The Broads also love to collect the works of superflat artist Takashi Murakami. As with Koons and Lichtenstein, there are enough Murkakamis here to stage a career retrospective.
Robert Therrien, No Title (1993)
Also in the lobby space, very close to the entrance, you’ll find another larger-than-life sculpture created by reclusive, LA-based artist Robert Therrien, this time of a stack of saucers. His work is fascinating.
I am not sure how long the inaugural exhibition will be up, and with thousands of artworks to choose from, it would make sense for the museum to change it up fairly often, so be sure to visit The Broad’sWebsite before you visit. The Broad’s first special exhibition will debut in June 2016, with a comprehensive survey of the work of artist Cindy Sherman. Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life will be the first major museum show of Sherman’s work in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years, and the exhibition will fill The Broad’s first-floor galleries with close to 120 works drawn primarily from the Broad collection.
Find out more about The Broad Museum, and plan your visit by reserving your free tickets, at The Broad Dot Org!
During his short but prolific career, David Wojnarowicz worked in writing, painting, photography, film, music, performance and installation. Unapologetically making art about homosexuality during the peak of the AIDS crisis in New York, Wojnarowicz exposed the marginalization and suppression of a stigmatized community.
As a self-taught artist, Wojnarowicz created an iconography that is at once personal and universal. His work as an artist is inseparable from his work as an activist, in which he aimed to bring awareness to that which was made invisible, namely homosexuality.
David Wojnarowicz died from AIDS in his Manhattan home on the night of July 22, 1992. More than 20 years after his untimely death, Wojnarowicz’s work continues to elicit strong reactions and provoke censorship. His work has served as an inspiration to many artists, including Zoe Leonard, Victoria Yee Howe, Matt Wolf, Emily Roysdon, Henrik Olesen, Mike Estabrook, and Carrie Mae Weems.
David Wojnarowicz, The Newspaper as National Voodoo: A Brief History of the U.S.A. (1986) was Photographed in The Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.
Many of Charles Ray’s best-known works are remakes of objects and people taken from the real world. Small but significant alterations to familiar situations give Ray’s practice a disquieting tension. Cloaked in simplicity, his often humorous creations comment on sculpture’s history, from its austere formal issues to its surreal psychological consequences. Ray imbues the tenets of classical sculpture, such as beauty, proportion, and facture, with a sly drama by inserting slippages, imperfections, or over–perfections in the physical makeup of his works. Fall ’91 (1992) depicts a woman standing with her weight mostly on one foot in a common contrapposto pose. Modeled on a mannequin scaled to 8 feet tall, the sculpture looms large in a pink power suit that was fashionable in the fall of 1991. The result is both physically and psychologically daunting.
Photographed in The Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.
John Baldessari (b. 1931) never touched this painting. He did not paint it. He did not write the text. “There is a certain kind of work one could do that didn’t require a studio,” Baldessari said, “it’s work that is done in one’s head. The artists could be the facilitator of the work; executing it was another matter.” This concept – that an artist could present an idea rather than a material object from their own hand – was a way for Baldessari to take apart the notion of what art could be. In 1966 art meant painting, sculpture, or drawing, and with wry humor, Baldessari challenges this expectation. The viewer receives a painting in Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell (1966 – 68), but the painting is completed by sign painters. The viewer is presented with a painting’s content, but the content is text taken from an art trade magazine dictating what content should be. Clever!
Albert Oehlen (b. 1954) exaggerates and distorts the conventions of abstract painting, breaking rules as a way to critique traditions based on taste and canonized art historical narratives. His paintings are steeped in an aesthetic of extravagance and indulgence, often containing jarring color combinations, half-baked forms, and decorative touches.
Oehlen’s Ziggy Stardust (2001) pays homage in its title to musician David Bowie, who used his lavish alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, to examine the power — and the destructive nature — of Rock and Roll. By channeling Bowie, Oehlen draws attention to the excesses of painting.
Beginning with an austere architectural CAD drawing, Oehlen the launches an assault on the canvas with bilious color, sludgy forms, and clashing techniques. Combining computer-generated and gestural marks, Oehlen prods at the very idea of the artist’s hand and supposed creative genius.
Photographed in The Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.
Minimalist pioneer Ellsworth Kelly passed away at age 92 on December 27th, and we miss him already. I was just out in LA and had the chance to visit the fabulous new Broad Museum, where I took the above photo of one of Kelly’s famous works. Throughout the late 1950s and early ’60s, Ellsworth Kelly worked with shapes and solid colors deployed flatly across single canvases. Finding inspiration in both nature and art, he was drawn to the oddity of forms and the various conditions that create visual interest in unlikely ways. In this spirit, Green Blue Red (1963) abstains from the balance and harmony of traditional painting and reflects an impulse to build a surface of visual tension out of the contrasts of color and shape and the containment of an edge.
Kelly’s works of this period depict the jarring difference between colors and the unusual placement of shapes, energizing the visual experience in creating and disorienting optical effect. The green rectangle and blue oval are vibrant and foreign against a red background. Kelly does not construct balance or resolve; he creates compositions that are alive in their idiosyncrasies.