Tag Archives: art news

LA Art Show 2020

From February 5-9, the LA Art Show hit its 25th Anniversary in the downtown LA Convention Center, representing 120 galleries from 18 different countries. As always, there was a strong showing of Chinese and Latin American artists, including Los Angeles based Latinos (or, Latinx, if you prefer).


Opening night was fun.  A performance artist named Miss Art World, presented by the nonprofit cooperative 825 Gallery, was one of the more colorful personalities, with a big blue bouffant, a dress like the topping of a cake, and her signature beauty queen sash that says, “Miss Art World,” of course.


Cirque du Soleil performers looking like indigenous-inspired Super Mario brothers characters walked around on stilts, in weird color block mohawks.

Everyone wanted to take selfies or pictures of actress-model type women, and the ALPHACUBE by Lorenzo Marini (presented by Bruce Lurie Gallery) was busy all night with people taking advantage of the sculpture’s colorful interior, which made for a great wall-to-wall backdrop of blocks of letters. Give Los Angelenos a place to pose and they’ll love you forever. Or at least, they’ll post your work on social media that night.


Browsing through one of the Chinese galleries on opening night, I was offered some strawberry hard candies, which I enjoyed. “They’re popular for Chinese New Year,” the gallerist explained. We started talking about Year of the Rat, whether it was good for Year of the Rabbit people or not, and she mentioned that it was a very unlucky year for many Chinese. Only later did I wonder if perhaps she was thinking about the coronavirus.

Art brings people together from all over the world.  As one newbie wrote on Instagram, “Can I get season tickets?” There is so much to see, you literally can’t do it all.

I returned to the Show on Saturday and enjoyed meeting the proprietor of the Wyoming Working Group. They have quite a story! The group owns more than 50 canvasses attributed to Jackson Pollack. Attributed to means that, they think they were made by Jackson Pollack but can’t prove it. Their struggle to establish provenance has raged on for decades. The work has many Pollack-like qualities, but it also feels different. The patterns are similar, but the work has a different palette and much lighter touch. My first gut reaction—from a distance—was that they were fake (“Oh weird,” I thought, “there’s a booth called Pollack’s Paradigm. Looks like someone is trying to recreate the Pollack style.” I thought it was like one of those workshops museums do for kids.)

The explanation given for the work being hidden is that Pollack was going to have a major retrospective and had stashed away his “best stuff” in preparation for the show. Also, he was going through a divorce, and wanted to hide the work from his soon to be ex-wife and the dealers he no longer trusted. His untimely demise in an auto accident prevented the work from being released by the artist, the story goes. The work was allegedly gifted to an unknown girlfriend, one of several, allegedly, who sold the work cheaply. But there’s no proof a girlfriend other than Ruth Kligman existed. The work is interesting for the issues it raises about how an artist’s work is authenticated, and who gets to decide what is real and what isn’t. It’s a whole area of the art world that most artists don’t even think about when they’re alive. The Working Group has spent large amounts of money with scientific research to try to prove that the paintings are authentic. And whether they are or not, it’s a fascinating story and one they certainly seem to believe in.

But is it true? If it is, science will tell us, eventually. The Working Group claims fractal analysis backs them up; a quick Google search turns up articles both condemning fractal analysis as unreliable indicator of what is and isn’t a Pollack, and suggesting that new software is better—up to 93% accurate. The Group also claims to have one work with a fingerprint. A fingerprint, a hair, other DNA analysis would be tough to argue with. But the details of the fingerprint on the Group’s website are thin. And Pollack is the most forged post-war artist on earth. Even former members of the Pollack-Krasner Foundation’s authentication board have had public disagreements about other instances of post-humous attributions. To see the work in this collection and judge for yourself, click here: https://wyomingworkinggroup.com/book/#.Xk3ZRy2ZM_U
New discoveries, and sometimes new friendships, is what the LA Art Show is all about. At the KR Martindale Gallery, I had the fun experience of meeting an exhibiting artist, Guillermo Bert, whose work deals with complex social issues stemming from immigration, acculturation, and the Latinx community. He works with indigenous communities in Latin America as well as in Los Angeles, to create works that evoke lived experience through a mix of traditional symbols and contemporary technology (such as woven textile pieces where you can scan a QR code and hear first person narratives, or the videotaped stories of undocumented migrants projected in an installation of live tumbleweed). Most of Bert’s work is curated and displayed through museums rather than galleries; at the LA Art Show he brought smaller, collectable works like “Red States, Blue States, and White Lies,” a seemingly minimalist triptych of “laser, barcodes, and candy colors on Plexi” whose title betrays a conceptual punch.

One of my favorite sections this year was INK. With mostly Chinese and Japanese artists from foreign and domestic galleries, the section explores calligraphy rooted in both traditional and experimental forms. The important, avant-garde calligraphy artist Yuichi Inoue was presented by Japanese gallery Zeal House. Shoen Tominaga, another important avant-garde calligrapher, whose work inhabits the spaces of painting and writing, was presented by S.E.A. (Los Angeles and Tokyo).

I particularly enjoyed seeing work by Yang Xiaojian presented by the Shanghai based COSPACE Gallery. These works synthesize an Eastern, calligraphic-based sensibility with the Western painterly tradition; Chinese characters are imbued with weight and and a cartoonish heft like the objects in a later Philip Guston painting. This work, by itself, was worth the trip.

–Moira Cue

Moira Cue is an award winning artist, singer, and actress whose works are in collections worldwide.

©2020 Hollywood Sentinel

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.