Sunday, May 22, 2016

Contemporary Art: The Broad - A Reason To Visit Los Angeles

(Drivebycuriosity) - If you like contemporary art and you are in Los Angeles, then you should visit "The Broad" (221 S. Grand Avenue in Down Town LA thebroad). The private institution has a spectacular collection - and the admission is free. No wonder that "The Broad" is quite popular and reserve advance tickets for free general admission are recommended (tickets). But as my wife and I visited the museum on a Tuesday afternoon in April, there was no line and we got immediate entry even without an advance ticket.

The contemporary art museum is founded and owned by the billionaire Eli Broad,  who had build two Fortune 500 companies in different industries: KB Home & SunAmerica. It seems that the founder and his curators have an excellent taste. There are a lot of amazing art works to see.  The building is spacious and the large white walls give the  - often monumental - paintings enough room to impress.

The tiny icons on this page can give a just a foretaste. You have really to go there to experience the art works. I show here just some favorites, as usual a very subjective selection.

                                                        Surrealist Games

I was happy to spot some works by Mark Tansey, who is one of my favorite painters (mark-tansey). I admire how he mixes reality with fiction and plays surrealist games on canvas.

Above you can see "Achilles and the Tortoise" (1986, oil on canvas, 111 x 76 in. (281.94 x 193.04 cm) and a detail of it.

Above: "Forward Retreat"(1986, oil on canvas, 94 x 116 in. (238.76 x 294.64 cm)

Above: "A Short History of Modernist Painting" (1979-80, oil on canvas, 72 x 72 in. (182.88 x 182.88 cm).

I discovered another favorite of mine: Neo Rauch (here my post about the Neo Rauch show @ David Zwirner driveby). The artist, born in 1960, grew up in the communist Eastern Germany, influenced by the so-called socialist realism, a style of realistic art that was developed in the Soviet Union, and studied figurative painting (artinamerica).

Rauch, like Tansey, mixes realism with fantasy and also plays surrealist games on canvas. According to Wikipedia his "paintings mine the intersection of his personal history with the politics of industrial alienation. His work reflects the influence of socialist realism, and owes a debt to Surrealists Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte" (wikipedia). You can read more about the artist on the Broad website (neo-rauch).

Above "Der Laden/The Shop" (2005, oil on canvas 82 5/8 x 118 1/8 in. (209.87 x 300.04 cm)

Above "Die Stickerin/The Embroiderer§ (2008, oil on canvas, 118 1/8 x 165 3/8 in. (300.04 x 420.05 cm)

Above "Heillichtung" 2014 (oil on canvas, 120 3/8 x 199 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (305.8 x 506.7 x 6.4 cm)

The satirical and funny portraits by John Currin fit well into this collection (john-currin). Above you can see "Maenads" (2015, oil on canvas,48 x 36 x 1 1/4 in. (121.9 x 91.4 x 3.2 cm) followed by "The Storm" (2013, oil on canvas, 50 x 44 in. (127 x 111.76 cm) & Hot Pants (2010, oil on canvas,78 x 60 in. (198.12 x 152.4 cm).

                                                        Meditation On Beauty

I am not a big fan of Jean-Michel Basquiat. But some of his wall-filling graffiti murals are quite impressive (basquiat). Above you can see "Obnoxious Liberals" (1982, acrylic, oilstick, and spray paint on canvas,68 x 102 in. (172.72 x 259.08 cm) followed by Horn Players )1983, acrylic and oilstick on three canvas panels mounted on wood supports 96 x 75 in. (243.8 x 190.5 cm);" Eyes and Eggs" (1983, acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on cotton drop cloth with metal hinges,119 x 97 in. (302.3 x 246.4 cm) & "Untitled" (1981,acrylic and oilstick on canvas 81 x 69 1/4 in. (205.74 x 175.9 cm).

I really like the elegant murals by Cy Twombly. They might be doodles but there is something in them. The curators call them meditation on gesture, image, symbol, and beauty (twombly).  And they really work when they fill a whole wall.

Above "Untitled (New York City)" (1953, oil based house paint and wax crayon on canvas) plus Untitled (Rome) (1961, oil paint, wax crayon and lead pencil on canvas) followed by "Nini's Painting (Rome)" (1971, oil based house paint, wax crayon, and lead pencil on canvas) & "Untitled "Bolsena)" (1969, oil based house paint, wax crayon, lead pencil and colored pencil on canvas).

Jeff Koons counts certainly to their attractions.

Roy Liechtenstein does that as well:  "I...I'm Sorry!" (1965-66,oil and Magna on canvas, 60 x 48 in. (152.4 x 121.92 cm) &"Rouen Cathedral, Set 3" (1968-69, oil and Magna on five canvas panels,63 x 42 in. (160 x 106.7 cm). 

                                                  Selfie With Dots

They also show one of Damien Hirst`s famous dots (damien-hirst). Yes, his work is controversial. But the economist & art expert Don Thompson describes in his excellent book  "The Supermodel and the Brillo Box: Back Stories and Peculiar Economics from the World of Contemporary Art" (driveby) the precision & craftsmanship needed to produce Hirst`s dot-paintings. Above you can see  "Chlorpropamide (pfs)" (1996 household gloss on canvas, 76 x 94 in. (193.04 x 238.76 cm).

John Baldessari is also one of the stars of the art world ( baldessari). Above "Green Kiss/Red Embrace (Disjunctive)" (1988, four black and white photographs with oil tint)

I am also a fan of Ed Ruscha ( ruscha). Above you can see why: "Angry Because it's Plaster, Not Milk" (1965, oil on canvas,55 x 48 in. (139.7 x 121.92 cm) & "Norm's, La Cienega, on Fire" (1964, oil and pencil on canvas, 64 1/2 x 124 3/4 x 2 1/2 in. (163.83 x 316.87 x 6.35 cm).

I admire the craftsmanship of Rudolf Stingl. The artist grew up in South Tyrol, a former part of Austria, that Hitler gave to Italy as a gift to Mussolini. The painting above might refer to the mountains of his homeland, "die Alpen" (the Alps), it´s just called "Untitled" (2010, oil on canvas,132 x 180 3/4 in. (335.28 x 459.11 cm).

                                                            Neglected Women

Above another favorite of mine: Albert Oehlen ( oehlen). Here my report from last year`s Oehlen retrospective @ New York`s New Museum ( driveby ). The painting above is called "Ziggy Stargast" (2001, oil and inkjet print on canvas, 133 7/8 x 126 x 1 3/4 in. (340.04 x 320.04 x 4.45 cm)

Here another icon of pop art: Robert Rauschenberg ( rauschenberg): "Untitled" (1963, oil and silkscreen inks on canvas,58 x 50 in. (147.32 x 127 cm).

Unfortunately, women are neglected in the world of art. Here are two exceptions: "In the realm of the Mothers II" (2014, charcoal on canvas,106 3/8 x 135 13/16 x 2 in. (270.2 x 345 x 5.1 cm) by Jenny Saville ( saville) followed by the monumental "Cairo" (2013, ink and acrylic on canvas,120 x 288 in. (304.8 x 731.52 cm) by Julie Mehretu ( mehretu).

The Broad is a reason to come back to LA

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