I think the most highly anticipated exhibition of 2014, at least among connoisseurs of L.A. contemporary art, is the retrospective of Mike Kelley, the brilliant LA-based artist who took his own life in 2012. Having opened at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, it has traveled to the Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art's PS 1 location in New York, generating astonishment among those who were not familiar with the range and scale of his art. Even the usually sour New York Times critic declared it the most significant show of the season. When it comes to the Geffen Contemporary on March 23, it will be an emotional event for many, including myself, who attended his first retrospective when it came to the LA County Museum of Art back in 1993. Information at MOCA.org.
Helen Pashgian, "Untitled," 2012-2013
Detail of work in process in the artist's studio
Acrylic and epoxy
© Helen Pashgian
LACMA follows its James Turrell show, which continues to April, with one of the few women associated with Light and Space movement: Helen Pashgian. This is the first large scale installation by the artist, who is known for polished resin discs and spheres. Twelve molded acrylic columnar forms in a darkened gallery give viewers an opportunity to experience the nature of light.
John Altoon, "Ocean Park Series #12" Paintings
Oil on canvas, 81 5/16 x 84 in.
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Ziskind
© 2013 Estate of John Altoon
Photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA
In another figure from the 1960's, John Altoon, is being shown at LACMA from June 8. Immensely influential and popular, Altoon died tragically young, just 43, in 1969. His use of Abstract Expressionist and illustrational techniques, his raunchy and lyrical themes, have not been properly explored and this show is the first full scale retrospective.
Courtier’s Official Robes
Late 19th century, Korea
Dangook University Seok Juseon Memorial Museum, Yongin
And do you sometimes feel that you know more about Korean barbeque than Korean history? That will change with Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910, 150 works including screens, paintings and ceramics, many never seen outside of the hermit kingdom, the longest-ruling Confucian dynasty. Opening June 29 at LACMA. Information at LACMA.org.
And by late 2014, we should see the opening of The Broad, the billionaire art collector's museum designed by Diller, Scofidio and Renfro with its honeycomb exterior and lighting system.
Eugene Grasset. "La Morphinomane" [The Morphine Addict], 1897
Color lithograph, 22 ½ x 16 7/8 inches (57.2 x 42.9 cm)
Collection UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum
Promised Gift of Elisabeth Dean. Photograph by Brian Forrest
But what, you may say, about right now? A show of late-19th century prints with the titillating title Tea and Morphine: Women in Paris, 1880 to 1914 opens at the Hammer on January 26 while one of LA's great sculptors, Liz Larner, is featured at Regen Projects on January 11. Information at hammer.ucla.edu. and regenprojects.com.
Liz Larner, "i" (subduction), 2013
Ceramic, epoxy, and pigment
20 x 39 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches (50.8 x 99.7 x 22.2 cm)
Courtesy the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles
And if you are not worn out from holiday shopping, the art fairs return with Photo LA and L.A. Art Show downtown from January 15 and Art Los Angeles Contemporary opening January 30 at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica. More information at photola.com and artlosangelesfair.com.
Happy New Year!
Banner image: Detail of Pay for Your Pleasure, 1988; installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Gift of Timothy P. and Suzette L. Flood. Photo courtesy Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts