State of Mind: New California Art circa 1970 offers the first in-depth survey of Conceptual art and related avant-garde activities in both Northern and Southern California during a pivotal period in contemporary art. Organized as part of Pacific Standard Time, the exhibition showcases more than 150 works of art—installations, photographs, videos and films, artists’ books, and extensive performance documentation—that demonstrate the critical role of California artists in the development of Conceptual art and other new genres.
California attracted artists seeking alternatives to traditional modes of art making because the state was emerging as an incubator for social change and a youth-oriented counterculture. New York represented tradition, California the future. The distance from the New York art press, commercial galleries, and museums gave artists greater freedom to experiment as they challenged the definition of art, the role of the artist, and the academic and institutional structures of the art world. Key aspects of contemporary art practice—collectivity, ephemerality, body-oriented performance, the merging of art and life, political commentary, and social interaction—appeared in California Conceptualism and related practices during this formative period and have continued to influence artists for more than forty years. Perhaps the most enduring legacy of early California Conceptualism, however, was its diversity, which impressed upon succeeding generations a broader understanding of what art could be.
This exhibit was really great. No kidding, prolly one of the best we’ve seen as part of the PacStanTime shows. They extensively covered both northern and southern California with little snobbery distinction between them. The other really well done part was the tags that came along with all of the art. Most if not all of them took the opportunity to explain a piece and it’s place in art and California. With conceptual art this is key, often you have no other way of knowing why what your looking at might be interesting since sometimes it’s simply what’s left are bits of an installation or a time specific piece from 40 years ago.
One of my absolutly favorite peices was a film piece by Gary Beydler. This pic of the title card shows what I’m talking about with how well they explained the piece. They give you a bit of info of how he made it, where and a bit of critical info. Nicely done BAM.
Here’s a clip of the film, I felt like I could have watched this for quite a while. The whole thing was only 6 min, but sitting there thinking of how he created a frame within a frame and watching the skipping of his fingers. So good. It also helps that this particular bit of freeway is one of my all time favorites.
Yep, I have favorite sections of freeway. I’m partial to any part of the MacArthur Maze, so many places to come and go to- they say it’s the largest in the world. It remind me of my childhood and comeing and going towards all sorts of places.
The high up part of the 134 where you can see the entire city of Los Angeles, watch the skyscrapers come and go behind the mountains and hills. Oh and the view towards downtown as we come from the 210 to the 2. Also, striking and beautiful, the freeway lifts you up and above any natural vantage for the view.
There’s even a stretch in Castro Valley where you curve around the corner of the 580 towards the bay with this huge low berm of grass on your left- knowing that berm of grass is entirely made up of the Cypress structure they took down after the earthquake never ceases to amaze me. A huge hulking memorial to freeways sits next to this 10 lane expanse of freeway taking people into the bay and no one really knows it’s there.
If you’re in the Berkeley area I recommend checking out this exhibit, it runs till June17th. The rest of the art shown is really interesting. Allow a few hours to see it all slowly and wander around. After go down to Vik’s Chatt like we did for some tasty Indian snacks!
and also, have you heard about The Clock? It’s Christian Marclay’s film showing at LACMA on March 25th.
I had heard about it and it sounded pretty great if slightly weird but this morning I read an extensive article in the New Yorker that revealed so much more about this project and moved it to the top of my list to make an effort to go down to LACMA to check it out. They showed it last year and have a few screenings scheduled in the next coming months. The article in the New Yorker is only available to sunscribers but here’s a link to get you started if you want to track it down at the library or from a friend. It’s a good read that goes into details about what went into the project and how it’s quite a bit more complex than what I had picked up on.
i guess you’ll find me on March 25th lurking at LACMA at odd hours of the day to see different bits of the film.