Saturday, February 22, 2014

Accessible, interactive, engaging art

Barbara Kruger mural at The Hammer Museum (detail)
A series of recent art events and openings have made art seem especially engaging and approachable. First, our season of winter art fairs came and went - from the LA Art Show, an event that seems to be constrained by its venue, the stodgy LA Convention Center - to the more young and exciting Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC). Housed in Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport, ALAC's fun location may be a contributing factor to the prevailing infectious energy of the event. It also helps that this fair is vetted, attracting some exciting contemporary work by artists who  are interesting to watch anyway.

After having just reviewed Annie Lapin's latest exhibit at Honor Fraser Gallery - Various Peep Shows - in WhiteHot Magazine of Contemporary Art, it was fascinating to see her more recent work in the gallery's booth at ALAC. Lapin's newer paintings had evolved - or devolved - in an even more abstract direction in such a short time. New work by Alexander Kroll, represented by his Miami gallery at ALAC - also reflected an exciting departure from his last show at CB1 Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.  

The new exhibition at the Hammer Museum - Take It Or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology - examines visual art intertwined with text, subtext and context. As part of the exhibit, Barbara Kruger's marvelous new murals in the Hammer foyer invite the spectator to be the subject. 

In the last few weeks, several Los Angeles museums have initiated new admission free policies, making art viewing even more inviting. Among them, are two of my favorite museums, the Pasadena Museum of California Art and the Hammer Museum. Always dynamic and exciting, the art world is suddenly that much more accessible. 

Here's another one of my recent reviews in WhiteHot Magazine - on a highly visible street artist who is conquering the gallery scene - Risk: Metallic Tissue at Fabien Castanier Gallery.