The Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MOCA) newest exhibition, “Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974,” on view through Sept. 3 at the Geffen Contemporary, raises one important question: Just what is Land Art? If you think it is easily answered, you are probably wrong. When it comes to the art of ideas and the Earth, very little is set in stone — unless, of course, it’s set in stone.
When artist Sharon Lockhart traveled to Israel in 2008, she wasn’t searching for Noa Eshkol. The Israeli dance composer and textile artist was not well-known outside her own country. In fact, Eshkol isn’t terribly well-known within Israel, where companies like Batsheva, Inbal, Bat Dor and the Israel Ballet hold far more cachet than Eshkol’s humble troupe.
“Pacific Standard Time,” the sprawling multivenue consideration of Los Angeles art from 1945 to 1980, is, for the most part, a story of artists who thrived here. However, “Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles,” which opened Nov. 13 at MOCA Grand Avenue, posits a different narrative, recounting the famed New York photographer’s sojourn in Los Angeles between 1947 and 1952 as a somewhat soured love affair. If Hollywood is indeed a boulevard of broken dreams, then the Weegee show is our tour guide.
Regarding either Jewish or feminist art, we may ultimately be stuck with Justice Potter Stewart's comment about pornography, "I know it when I see it." And perhaps that will be the most valuable contribution of this exhibition.
Paul Schimmel, the Museum of Contemporary Art's (MOCA) chief curator, wants us to spend our summer looking back -- 50 or so years to around the time of his birth, and to the city where he grew up, New York, to focus on the remarkable work of a young, poor and not-yet-famous Robert Rauschenberg, who was gathering junk and detritus from his life (clothes, family photos, fabric) and incorporating them into paintings that then became three-dimensional constructs, which Rauschenberg called "Combines."