December 27, 2007
R.B. Kitaj—an appreciation
(Page 2 - Previous Page)It's a tribute to Los Angeles that, like David Hockney, Kitaj found the city as the most comfortable venue for his "exile" -- because for all its fashion obsessions, Los Angeles remains less constrained by the "dos and don'ts" of the art world than the more established art cities like New York or London. And, indeed, it was in Los Angeles that R.B. Kitaj, even through the somewhat anti-social and depressive attitudes of his last years, could most easily be an artist, a Jewish artist, an American artist, or whatever other self-definition might have given him the comfort he so desperately craved, but perhaps never found.
"R. B. Kitaj: Passion and Memory - Jewish Works from His Personal Collection" opens Jan. 11, on view through March 30. Skirball Cultural Center 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. www.skirball.org.
"Portrait of a Jewish Artist: R. B. Kitaj in Word and Image" opens January 8 and runs through March 30. For more information, call (310) 825-5387. http://www.cjs.ucla.edu/
Tom Freudenheim is a retired museum director who writes about art and cultural issues.
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