Topanga Beach, 2014 26 1/2" x 40"

Topanga Beach, 2014
26 1/2″ x 40″

A recent visit to Southern California found us driving around, visiting museums and galleries, being with friends and family; its always good. As usual, the main focus of this blog is about art, the art I make, the art I see, and art that is memorable to me. I share it here in case you may find yourself in the vicinity of any of the specific exhibitions that are still on or that may travel to other venues; also, some of the artists’ work may be somewhere close by or coming to a museum or gallery in your city. This post is a departure from my usual, where a few words go with a series of photographs. This narrative is longer than usual, and could have easily morphed into more detailed descriptions of the artworks referenced, and in case you are interested in additional info just follow the links to the institutions. Despite this, it is longer than my usual post.

Driving in San Diego, O.B., P.B., La Jolla and points east, north on the 5, the 405, and the 10 to Santa Monica and Topanga Canyon, then to West Hollywood, and along the PCH to Ventura, and 33 to 150 into Ojai. It was amazing to see how much the landscape has changed; it seems as if LaLaLand encompasses most of the geography mentioned above. Greater Los Angeles continues to grow, in all respects, and with it, the culture expands. With this expansion, one’s choices of what to do and what to see have to be planned, and even with planning, there is never enough time to see all of what one wants to see, even for people who live there.

Cacti Family 2014 14 1/2" x 22"

Cacti Family 2014
14 1/2″ x 22″

On this brief visit, a few museum highlights were, of course, The Getty Center, MOCA at The Pacific Design Center, and LACMA. Each institution has so much to offer, and new additions or temporary exhibitions make for full days. Before heading north we visited with Rex Munger who has been continuing his street photography around the U.S. We saw Stanley Smith’s large portfolio at his studio, featuring his current works. His exciting images, initially camera based, make use of elaborate editing, layering, and sense of collage that grows out of his experience and knowledge with modern and contemporary art. It was a rare treat to see these works first hand. Later in the journey we had the opportunity to visit the print workshop of publishers Simmelink Sukimoto Editions, now based in Ventura, where we saw works in progress by Vija Celmins, Alex Katz, Robert Mangold, and Sylvia Plimack-Mangold.

The Getty Center, where The Scandalous Art of James Ensor was on, was a beautiful survey of his work, much of it on loan from Antwerp’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts, and The Art Institute of Chicago, where another exhibit, The Demons of James Ensor opens November 23, 2014 and will be on until January 25, 2015. The Getty’s Entrance of Christ into Brussels is reunited with some 100 works that came out of the artist’s studio in Belgium.

The Scandalous Art of James Ensor

The Scandalous Art of James Ensor

In another building on the campus is a comprehensive exhibition of the photographs of Minor White through October 19th 2014. And in the the Research Institute is an exhibit on the dance, performance, and films of Yvonne Rainer, through October 12th.


@ the Getty Center 14 1/2" x 22"

@ the Getty Center
14 1/2″ x 22″

Being outside at the Center is always rewarding, and Los Angeles has never looked better. The air was clear and clean, views unobstructed and unfiltered. A walk between the buildings gives one a breather, a time to change gears between the various exhibitions, and the gardens are a must on each visit, to see how they’ve grown and changed, to see what Robert Irwin had in mind as the gardens mature.

Pool of The Central Garden

Pool of The Central Garden


MOCA at Pacific Design Center West Hollywood

MOCA at Pacific Design Center West Hollywood

Drum Roll, a 1998 video installation by Steve McQueen, along with a series of his photographs was on view at MOCA at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. A beautiful cacophonous installation, transports one into what seems like the center of the barrel as it was rolled down the streets of Manhattan.


LACMA, oh how this institution has grown, and grown; it has continued to expand and evolve. New buildings and installations have been added, eclipsing the original buildings that today seem outdated, and rumored to soon be replaced. In the meantime, irregardless of the buildings, as beautiful as the new ones are, the artworks command all of your attention. To name just a few, in the Resnick Pavillion is Breathing Light by James Turrell; on the ground level in the Broad, a Bruce Nauman video, Chris Burden’s Metropolis II, Miracle Mile by Robert Irwin, and Band by Richard Serra. Sam Durant’s Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington, D.C., and a long overdue exhibition of John Altoon are on another floor. A beautiful exhibition of Kimonos for a Modern Age is in The Pavilion for Japanese Art through October 19, 2014. And not to be missed, Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass on the 6th Street edge of the campus.

Regarding the images accompanying this blog post, they fall into two categories, in the museum, and out and about. In the museums, I respect museums’ policies about photographing; I alway ask attendants to make sure photography is permitted in specific areas. The primary use of my cell phone camera in this case, is as a form of note taking and reference for my blog posts. Museums have professional photographs to accompany their publications, and I wholeheartedly recommend following their links to see their information. But more importantly, it is vital that one see the works, in person, in front of the canvas, or in, out, and around the sculpture. Direct experience is what it is all about. These photos only help locate the work, a map to help you find your way to it.


If you’re familiar with my work you’ll recognize my photographs and how they are a component of my studio practice. They exist on their own as unique, individual works when committed to paper. These offer much more in person, as prints, seen, where one can have a direct experience as compared to what you see in the onscreen compressed jpegs. They grow out of things I come across in the real world, places, arrangements, compositions, light, and various elements that are essentials in my studio practice and are a result of decades of picture making, where I continue to explore a variety of media, painting, printmaking, drawing, photography.

1 comment

Je suis bien jalouse mais aussi remplie de merciments, gracias Tom.

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