Friday, February 5, 2010

I Love Surprises

Doug Wheeler, Untitled, 1969

Sprayed lacquer on acrylic with neon tubing

David Zwirner Gallery

David Zwirner, Primary Atmospheres: Works from California 1960-1970 (until February 6th --sorry). This show got a lot of attention, and rightly so. It included all the people associated with Los Angeles “Light and Space Art” of the sixties and then some. Helen Pashgian, who was unjustly excluded from the group, probably because she was (oh my God!) a woman, is represented by some small cast resin globes, and her work fits perfectly. There’s also a piece by Laddie John Dill -- sheets of glass stuck in sand and lit from below by argon light. Dill is not usually associated with this group because he went on to make different work -- paintings made with concrete and glass -- but this work also fits.

I must say, after all the nasty things I said about LA “Light and Space Art” and “The Cool School,” the show looked great! I think possibly after all the heavy art in Chelsea -- the nagging political or identity art, the difficult and obscure conceptual art and the huge and showy theatrical spectaculars -- so prevalent in the last few years, it was a relief to see something that was just mindlessly beautiful. I know this seems like a backhanded compliment, but I don’t mean it that way.

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