Tag Archives: fine art

MOCA Selects former MoMA Curator as New Director

MOCA Director Klaus-Biesenbach; ©2018, MOCA, Photo Credit: Casey Kelbaugh

Following a wide-ranging international search, the Board of Trustees of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, today voted to appoint the internationally acclaimed museum director Klaus Biesenbach as MOCA’s next director.

A visionary museum leader, Biesenbach comes to MOCA from The Museum of Modern Art, New York, where he has served as director of MoMA PS1 and chief curator at large of MoMA since 2010.

During his leadership at the institution, the former P.S. 1 Center for Contemporary Art was transformed into the thriving MoMA PS1, with Biesenbach becoming known for championing emerging artists throughout the New York area, advocating for programs that made PS1 a gathering place for popular, multidisciplinary, in-the-moment artmaking and discussion.

During his tenure as director of MoMA PS1, the Board of Trustees was expanded from 11 to 30 members, and the budget more than doubled to accompany successful programmatic and institutional growth.

As director of MOCA, Biesenbach will assume executive leadership of one of the most important museums of contemporary art in the world, holding an extraordinary collection comprising more than 7,000 objects and a record of organizing international, diverse, ground‐breaking, and scholarly exhibitions.

MOCA is the only independent, artist‐founded museum in Los Angeles dedicated solely to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art.

Installation view of Selections from the Permanent Collection, September 13, 2016–
ongoing, at MOCA Grand Avenue, ©2018, courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, photo by Brian Forrest.

In 2013, MOCA successfully completed an unprecedented endowment campaign to bring its endowment to over $100 million, and it now stands at over $130 million.

Maurice Marciano and Lilly Tartikoff Karatz, co-chairs of MOCA’s Board of Trustees, said, “On behalf of ourselves and the entire Board, we want to thank the search and selection committee, especially the artists, for bringing this process to such an outstanding conclusion. The Board is excited to welcome Klaus Biesenbach, one of the world’s most knowledgeable, wide-ranging, and innovative museum executives of contemporary art. We also extend our warmest appreciation to Philippe Vergne for his service to MOCA.”

Maria Seferian, president of MOCA’s Board of Trustees and chair of the search committee, said, “We are proud to have undertaken a thorough and international search, conducted with the indispensable participation of our artist trustees. The Board is aligned in our support of Klaus and thrilled that he has accepted our offer.”

Catherine Opie said, “It’s been crucial to me, Barbara Kruger, Mark Bradford, and Mark Grotjan, as some of the artists on the Board, that we’ve had a strong voice in the selection process. I want everyone in our community to know that we’re thrilled to have Klaus Biesenbach join us. He comes to MOCA with a level of mutual trust with artists that is crucial for everything this museum does today, and that we hope it will be able to do in the future.”

According to the New York Times, Deborah McLeod, director of the Beverly Hills branch of Gagosian stated that the hire of Klaus Biesenbach “radically good news,” and reportedly stating that “MOCA needs this level of organizational leadership and vision.”

Hollywood Sentinel Publisher Bruce Edwin, who also represents numerous Masterworks of fine art in private collection states, “I am very pleased about MOCA’s new appointment of Mr. Biesenbach. Like Jeffery Deitch before him, I think he has  great style and taste. I am excited to see the cool new shows that will be coming to MOCA thanks to Klaus’ extraordinary vision.” 

Klaus Biesenbach stated, “Like so many of my colleagues around the world, I have long seen MOCA as one of the most vital institutions in our field. It is humbling to be invited to lead a museum that has already achieved so much, and that in so many ways represents the highest aspirations of contemporary art. With my gratitude to the search committee and the entire Board of Trustees, I look forward to serving MOCA’s constituencies, its increasingly large and diverse public, the artists’ community, and of course all residents of Los Angeles to the very best of my abilities.”

Klaus Biesenbach began his career in Berlin as founder of Kunst-Werke (KW) Institute for Contemporary Art (1990) and the Berlin Biennale (1996), the exhibition that confirmed Berlin’s international reputation as a leading city where artists live and work.

He came to New York in 1995 to serve as curator at P.S. 1 Center for Contemporary Art (later MoMA PS 1). There, with Alanna Heiss, he created the Warm Up outdoor summer series of live and electronic music, which has been widely emulated by other museums around the world, co-founded the now-legendary Greater New York exhibition series, which showcases emerging talent from everywhere in the metropolitan region, and with former MoMA Associate Director Kathy Halbreich, established the popular, multidisciplinary Sunday Sessions, which are housed in the winter under a geodesic dome.

In 2006, he was named chief curatorial advisor at PS1 and founding Chief Curator of MoMA’s newly formed Department of Media, which he broadened through performance workshops and acquisitions, and, in 2009, he became founding Chief Curator of the Department of Media and Performance Art.

His performance workshop at MoMA, which brought together museum directors, curators, scholars, and artists, culminated in the acquisition of The Kiss by Tino Sehgal, the first completely immaterial work in MoMA’s collection, and the exhibitions of Tehching Hsieh and Marina Abramovic, which established performance art as one of the necessary disciplines in museums throughout the world. Biesenbach has pioneered the ongoing Rockaway! public arts festival in response to Hurricane Sandy, which has featured site-specific works by Janet Cardiff, Patti Smith, Katharina Grosse, and Yayoi Kusama, among others.

THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, LOS ANGELES (MOCA)

About MOCA: Founded in 1979, MOCA’s vision is to be the defining museum of contemporary art. In a relatively short period of time, MOCA has achieved astonishing growth with three Los Angeles locations of architectural renown; a world-class permanent collection of more than 7,000 objects, international in scope and among the finest in the world; hallmark education programs that are widely emulated; award-winning publications that present original scholarship; groundbreaking monographic, touring, and thematic exhibitions of international repute that survey the art of our time. MOCA is a not-for-profit institution that relies on a variety of funding sources for its activities.

Hours of Operation 

Hours: MOCA Grand Avenue (located at 250 South Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles) is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11am to 6pm; Thursday from 11am to 8pm; Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm; and closed on Tuesday.

The MOCA Store at MOCA Grand Avenue is open Monday through Wednesday and Friday from 10:30am to 5:30pm; Thursday from 10:30am to 8:30pm; and Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 6:30pm.

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (located at 152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012) has the same hours as MOCA Grand Avenue during exhibitions. Please call ahead or go to moca dot org for the exhibition schedule for The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

MOCA Pacific Design Center (located at 8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069) is open Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm; and closed on Monday.

Museum Admission: General admission is free for all MOCA members.

General admission is also free for everyone at MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on Thursdays from 5pm to 8pm, courtesy of Wells Fargo. General admission is always free at MOCA Pacific Design Center.

General admission at MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA is $15 for adults; $8 for students with I.D.; $10 for seniors (65+); and free for children under 12 and jurors with I.D.

More Information: For 24-hour information on current exhibitions, education programs, and special events, call 213-626-6222 or access MOCA online at www.moca.org

This content is  ©2018, Hollywood Sentinel and respective, noted content ©2018 MOCA with kind courtesy, all rights reserved.

Female Sculptor Doris Caesar’s Work; Remembered

Doris Caesar; Woman, Sitting Back on Heels; 1964; Bronze;
31 1/2 x 24 x 14″

(1892–1971)

Doris Caesar was a passionate sculptor, distinguished by her radically elongated nude female forms. Her poignant renderings each embody the spirit and essence of a woman, with selective details that achieve a directness owed to Caesar’s tireless honing of her talent as a sculptor.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1892, Diane Caesar’s father encouraged her  love of the arts, She spent her teenage years dividing her time between a formal education at The Spence School, and the artistic environment of the Art Students League in Manhattan.

Putting her artistic career on hold for several years to raise her children, she began to return to her work as a sculptor in 1925, with support from her husband.  She then began her apprenticeship taught by one her greatest influences; cubist pioneer Alexander Archipenko.

In 1927, she formed a relationship with the Weyhe Gallery in New York which resulted in ongoing series of solo shows beginning in 1935. Caesar continued to pursue sculpting relentlessly, gaining momentum throughout the 1950’s with several successful solo shows. In 1959, she was featured prominently in the group show; Four American Expressionists, at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, where forty of her works were exhibited .  In addition to the Whitney where her work remains, her work is also exhibited in over thirty other museums. She continued to sculpt and exhibit her work throughout her life.

Cavalier Galleries in New York and Connecticut represents two of her esteemed works.

This content is (c). 2018, Cavalier Galleries.  Hollywood Sentinel.

 

LA Art Show 2018

Review by Moira Cue 

Antuan Rodriguez Left or Right.

There may be a little personal bias going on, but this year—2018— was my favorite year at the LA Art Show. The modern, contemporary, art and design objects, China, jewelry and Old Masters sections were all combined into one open floor plan, with greatly widened aisles. The result was less elbow-to-elbow pushing and shoving and more room to breathe.  Additionally, gone were some of the more theatrical, over-the-top shock artists. With installations like Antaun’s “Left or Right,” and his partner Luce, there was a focus on healing.

Antuan Rodriquez is a Cuban artist whose installation of lightweight red punching bags allowed visitors to punch their favorite dictator. Along with notorious butchers, despots, serious control freaks, and murderers, the artist included the face of two recent Republican American presidents.  One of whom was extremely popular as a punching bag, in stark contrast to the many artists who were inspired in 2008 to create iconic, positive images of Barack Obama.

I met Antuan’s partner, Luce, in line near the espresso bar and again in front of two of my paintings which made a brief appearance at Bruce Lurie Gallery. I didn’t know they were part of the programming, but I was drawn to their all-white clothes and the gold temporary tattoos Luce was wearing on her face and below her clavicle. I described the positive intention of my paintings—to emanate abstract virtues and stimulate cross-cultural conversations—and Luce told me she was a medicine woman, and invited me to be a participant in a performance on Sunday, the closing day.

Participants in white chanted “om” and proceeded through the gallery to the punching bag installation, where we played Tibetan singing bowls, chanted some more, and then watched a man named Ceasar perform a Latino version of the whirling dervish dance, spinning on his head with a biker’s helmet on. The intention behind the performance was to offer an alternative to the aggression and male dominance symbolized by the punching bags.  (note: I do not believe Luce was listed separately in the programming, so I don’t know if I am correctly crediting her or her full name).  The piece was listed as a part of Antuan’s installation.

This was a year where women and people of color had a greater presence than in some previous shows, and that is definitely a positive and led to the opportunity to have some real conversations. Jane Szabo, a photographer and conceptual artist, chided me about my sky-high heels. I wasn’t even wearing them when we met, but carrying them while trekking with my flip flops. In years prior, I received odd looks for ‘not’ wearing them rather than direct comments that I should just ditch them entirely instead of soldiering on as long as possible. I’m glad she started a conversation because I was able to learn more about her work.

Szabo discussed with me photographs of objects that related to memory, aging, and loss. “I read a novel with a line that stood out to me,” she said. “The last thing your parents teach you is how to die.” Szabo is currently dealing with her parents’ aging as an emotional source of contrast in her still life. The work suggests domesticity and the passage of time with an intimate but ultimately inaccessible urgency. My favorite image is “Secrets” from the Family Matters series. It is a diary with a padlock, covered in rough grey stones. The image is iconic and powerful.

Another super cool artist I was able to meet was Chukes, an Altadena- based sculptor who was present with his wife Rhonda. I started up a conversation with Chukes about the work of one of his friends, Tim Washington; whose work utilizing found objects and kitsch (placed on the outer parameters of the gallery) is funky, whimsical, and yet deeply spiritual. Chukes’ figurative work I was fortunate to have described to me celebrates womanhood and exposes the psychological limitations placed on African-American men culturally as illusions. That is not to say that we don’t all have cultural expectations that can be harmful; it is to say that we are free to move beyond what is expected of us. If we realize we have the choice.

More LA galleries, and more downtown LA galleries, made strong showings this year. Chris Davies, director of Fabrik Projects, is not only running an art publication (Fabrik Magazine) but also made a very strong showing with the project space and a lot of consistent, great work. BG Gallery from Santa Monica was everywhere. And the quality of downtown LA galleries, which used to be spotty with a few bright lights, is becoming an undeniable force. Gallerist Renee Warren of Ren Gallery and Luke at Cordesa Fine Art were approachable, smart, and both located in DTLA. Cordesa had a tightly curated group of artists whose work was both conceptually and technically precise; I particularly enjoyed Martin Machado’s psychological aquatic landscapes with a contemporary psyche and an antique etched feel and the brightly colored wood relief sculpture of Sean Newport.  Ren Gallery had mandala-themed works on sale that caught my eye immediately on entering the hall from an artist named Aiseborn, who was creating a mural in residence on opening night.

On Wednesday night I met a woman named Chakra who also knew Aiseborn; she met him when he knocked on the door of their loft/commune and asked if he could tag their wall. Chakra discovered that Aiseborn was homeless, and the group decided to provide housing for Aiseborn for a year and a half. The artist is now in the Getty Museum collection and doing very well. His work also has a spiritual vibe, with titles like “purity” and figures that seem influenced by Mayan and Incan artifacts. Although he is a street artist, his work looks more like the socially conscious murals of the sixties and seventies than work inspired by graffiti and urban music.

Art All Ways represented smaller scale work by hot L.A. street artist Retna, along with a very popular installation of ceramic donuts by Jae Yong Kim and giant candy bars by artist Daniel Allen Cohen, who brought his adorable bulldog to sit at the booth one evening. Performance artist Pandemonia, outfitted head to toe like a plastic doll, attracted a lot of attention.

There was texture by ceramic artist Sharon Hardy, and neuroscience-inspired projects on empathy and synesthesia, and a ballpark with a trio of alternate selves; a Skid Row-inspired cast of characters in a staged postmodern reference to the Death of Marat, also titled Death of Marat, by Daniel Joseph Martinez, who was also in attendance Wednesday night and surrounded by curious patrons.
The newly discovered Gil Cuatrecasas work was prominently represented, with a highly professional team working to give the artist the support and recognition he deserved while he was still living but didn’t receive until later. I absolutely love this work.

The work that the gallerists do on behalf of artists is not easy, and often overlooked. One quality of a great art dealer is bonhomie—a general goodwill toward people—and spending more time at the Bruce Lurie Gallery this year, I was impressed by the Lurie brothers’ openness and general good nature toward the show attendees. It’s no wonder their booth was always full of people. Pop artist Nelson De La Nuez showed some new works on custom-made paper; created by the same folks who bring us spiral bound notebooks, but in a giant size. Andrea Bonfils showed highly technical mixed media works with a floral theme that looked like candy-colored floral holograms. Michael Gorman’s colorful, expressive work elicited a lot of interest, also.

I was excited to find the Paris-based Galerie Bruno Massa, exhibiting the work of Gilles Teboul. Teboul’s work was described in the gallery’s literature “in the purest archeiropoïetic tradition …. (a) Greek term (that) means ‘not made by the hand of man, miraculously.” The artist demonstrates mastery of the surface reflection through poured resin over gorgeous, crepuscular color fields of a halcyon dream. The entire collection clearly belonged in a museum.

On a final, upbeat note, the Lincoln Navigator on display was there not only to turn heads but to support St. Jude’s. For every person who gave her personal information, the company donated $50 to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital. And then they gave you a box of truffles—a sweet reward for a simple act of kindness.

Moira Cue is Art and Literature Editor for The Hollywood Sentinel, a fine artist, singer, songwriter, and actress who has appeared on numerous TV shows and major motion picture.  Visit the official Moira Cue website at www.MoiraCue.com 
This content is (c). 2018, Moira Cue, Hollywood Sentinel.   Contact Hollywood Sentinel at 310-226-7176.