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FROM THIS EPISODE

In case, like me, you have been frantic with end of year work, travel and shopping, it is not too late to enjoy some very special exhibitions that continue into 2017.

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Jennifer Steinkamp, "Still-Life," 2016
Computer generated animation, dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist and ACME, Los Angeles

ACME gallery, long housed in a complex near LACMA, has moved east to an area informally called "Frogtown" along the L.A. river near Elysian Park. Their opening exhibition is devoted to Jennifer Steinkamp, a pioneer in the arena of computer generated animation who continues to raise the level of visual pleasure possible in that realm. In a darkened gallery, the end wall of around 13 feet high and 40 feet long features "Still-Life 1" (2016). Though referring to that traditional genre, this is not still at all but a projection of pears, apples, oranges and other fruit along with the flowers of the trees that produce them. The images flow around with variable speed so the effect is of deep space, as though they were receding into a remote, black void and then reemerging into the light. There is no sound which makes it easier to feel pulled into the mesmerizing experience, this galaxy of delicious bounty. The gallery also shows some quirky abstract paintings by Daniel Cummings. Both continue through January 7, 2017. (By the way, around the corner is Wax Paper, a tiny restaurant with the wit to name its sandwiches after various NPR commentators. I had the "Ira Glass.")

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Luchita Hurtado, "untitled," 1950
Wax crayon, ink, and watercolor on paper; 18 x 60 inches (45.7 x 152.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Park View Photo by Jeff McLane

Venezuala-born Luchita Hurtado, a youthful 96, is known for her friendships with the Surrealists. As wife of Lee Mullican (1919-1998) and mother of Matt Mullican, both well-known artists, she often put aside her own art to support her family. So it is a special pleasure to see Luchita Hurtado: Selected Works, 1942 to 1952 at Parkview Gallery. Executed in a technique of drawing with colored crayons that is washed with black watercolor, they show the influence of Cubism and abstract surrealism yet they are very much her own. The closely fitted shapes and vibrant tones demonstrate a connection to the patterns and shapes of pre-Columbian art reconstituted with her own sophistication and taste. The show continues through January 7. 

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"Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time"
Installation view, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Artworks © 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, DF
Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The context for Hurtado and other Latin American modernists can be felt in Picasso & Rivera: Conversations Across Time, an exhibition that traces the friendship of these two artists united by the common language of Spanish as well as their positions as outsiders in early 20th century Paris. Rivera’s early Cubist paintings, so close to those of Picasso, will surprise many viewers.

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"Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time"
Installation view, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Artworks © 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, DF
Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

More surprising for the freshness of their presentation are the collections of Pre-Columbian art that Rivera studied, which are shown here along with the collections of ancient Greco-Roman art that inspired Picasso. Both men looked to the very distant past to unhinge their art from the academic restrictions of their immediate predecessors. Making something very new from something very old. A message for 2017? Happy holidays. On view at through May 7. 

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