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MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) at Grand Ave.

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"The Permanent Collection" MOCA

“William Hemmerdinger is a serious modern painter building on and expanding an abstract vocabulary he began in the 1970s” -- Marlena Donohue, Los Angeles Times, 1984 “Source: Exhibition review of Untitled -- Bunraku Performer when painting appeared at Cirrus Gallery, Downtown. "William Hemmerdinger” Marlena Donohue, Los Angeles Times, September 14, 1984, Section C, p. 10. [more]
Posted by William Hemmerdinger on 9/14/84
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Death on the Assembly-Line

by Jared Baxter
The second my shoes hit the white wall-to-wall carpeting that blanketed the galleries, I was struck by how radically this simple addition—actually, as it turned out, an artwork by Rudolf Stingel—shifted both the acoustics and the register of the space. With the hushed voices and dampened footsteps, I felt like I’d wandered by mistake into a showroom whose wares I obviously couldn't afford. Of course, this feeling of displacement might've had something to do with the fact that I was oscillating between a soft-spoken, microphone-wielding Jeffrey Deitch and the anonymous MOCA employee charged with ca... [more]
Posted by Jared Baxter on 9/5/12
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Saint Warhol

by Andrew Berardini
32 Soup Cans. This is it. The beginning of Andy Warhol as we know him. Many might say that Warhol being so goddamned influential it might be the beginning of an era. Or, it seems to me less the Warhol era as much as Warhol was perhaps the best at reflecting it. What an era. Though emergent from the '60s, Warhol I think is more of an emblem of the Reagan '80s than a child of that other, more socially revolutionary decade. The Soup Cans, the Marilyns, the Maos, I can like or dislike these as much as the Mona Lisa at this point, or the logo for Coke or any of a hundred commercial jingles drilled into my... [more]
Posted by Andrew Berardini on 8/15/11
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William Leavitt and the Mundane Fantasies of LA

by Andrew Berardini
I drive by the Olive Motel at least once a week, sometimes daily depending on where I’m living in Los Angeles. I’ve been kicked down Sunset from East Hollywood to Silver Lake to Echo Park to Chinatown, any further and I’ll go skittering over the river. I used to drive by it everyday when I lived in Silver Lake, and always dreamed of what it could be.   The Olive Motel is a squat one-story building with curved corners and a neon sign whose font speaks to me from a sans-serif nostalgia, which I haven't been alive long enough to properly earn. I thought many times of what it could be, but... [more]
Posted by Andrew Berardini on 3/21/11
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Thirty Years On

by Andrew Berardini
        MoCA’s current exhibition of its permanent collection proves that the museum isn’t just a vital institution for the city in its relationship to this place and its artists, but also to the history of art. A bold statement to be sure, but when the Centre Pompidou did its landmark exhibition of art in Los Angeles, Birth of an Art Capital, it ended in 1980, just as MoCA was suffering birth pangs and the LA was truly coming into its own. Still a bold proposal, the artists and the community we have here now, from the art school's to the outsiders, to the commercial galleries to the al... [more]
Posted by Andrew Berardini on 11/24/09
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The Making of The Americans

by Andrew Berardini
“Robert Frank, Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America,” wrote Jack Kerouac about Frank’s landmark photo essay, The Americans, a selection from which is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art at California Plaza. Initiated by curators Rebecca Morse and Corrina Peipon in honor of the fiftieth-anniversary series and drawn from MoCA’s permanent collection, after all these years I can’t help but look at this rare, complete exhibition of prints through  the lens of Kerouac’s tragicomic poetry and... [more]
Posted by Andrew Berardini on 8/3/09
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Louise Bourgeois at MOCA

by Sasha Bergstrom-Katz
She truly is the "oldest of young artists, and the youngest of old artists" as Frances Morris , head of collections at the Tate and curator of the exhibition says. Bourgeois' work blurs the lines between modern and contemporary art in a very unusual way. Her vertical sculptures resemble modern sculpture (influenced heavily by African art), like that of Giacometti or Picasso, her bronzes and marble pieces reference the modern sculpture of her contemporaries like Constantine Brancusi, and her early paintings look very emblematic of mid-century painting. Much of her other work, on the other ha... [more]
Posted by Sasha Bergstrom-Katz on 11/2/08
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In Focus: The Destruction of the Father (1974)

by Sasha Bergstrom-Katz
I have always wanted to see this piece in person. When photographed, it seems so huge, but in actuality it is an intimate size. To me, this piece and the narrative around it, is one of Louise Bourgeois’ most important and telling pieces. It speaks very much of her deep interest in psychoanalysis, her personal history and her unique technical abilities and style.Louise describes the narrative of this piece as “The children grabbed him [the father] and put him on the table. And he became the food. They took him apart, dismembered him. Ate him up. And so he was liquidated…the same way he li... [more]
Posted by Sasha Bergstrom-Katz on 11/2/08
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Measuring Graves

by Sasha Bergstrom-Katz
Marlene Dumas’ truly haunting show, Measuring Your Own Grave at MOCA, spans work she has made over the last 30 years. As specific as Dumas’ works are to her personal experiences they can be loosely interpreted and feel relatable. The watercolors and paintings depict people, from children to strippers to others that resemble detainees from the Iraq war. Even when standing and posing, the figures usually look ill (of body or mind) and sometimes dead. The show explores the most basic themes of death, birth and sex in a complex and almost obsessive manor.Even after making art for thirty... [more]
Posted by Sasha Bergstrom-Katz on 6/22/08
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Dying in All Directions by Nancy Lupo

by Nancy Lupo
In an aptly sized room, in between MOCA Focus: Matthew Monohan and The Poetics of the Handmade, Thomas Hirschhorn’s Non-Lieux and Roxy Paine’s Weed Choked Garden, are out of the collection’s archives for a face off. If you are standing on the western side of the gallery looking east, beyond Paine’s dying garden, you will see Hirschhorn’s Non-Lieux. Two big candy colored peaks, the effect of melted down candles that were once stuck in glass Coke-Cola bottles, protrude perkily. Topping off each peak is a fan cum flagpole flying two twin flags of democracy. The electricity powering the fans is also p... [more]
Posted by Nancy Lupo on 8/19/07