For the last 50 years, Lynda Benglis, in her multifaceted art, has done everything that a “nice” girl is not supposed to do. She made a mess by pouring latex, bronze, glass, and wax onto the floor and onto the walls in her studio, galleries, and various museums. And, what a delightful mess it has been.
Lynda Benglis’ art has been celebrated for its contributions to the post-minimalism movement. Last week, at Blum & Poe gallery, the artist had a challenging, and far from PC conversation with Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator at MoCA.
Not surprisingly, the gallery was packed with an artsy crowd, which not only hung on to every word between these two smart and self-deprecating women, but also soaked up the explosive energy of several dozens of Lynda Benglis’ artworks, which are the subject of her current exhibition at Blum & Poe.
Another current exhibition that you definitely don’t want to miss is California Dreaming, which celebrates 25th anniversary of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University. The exhibition is curated by Billie Milam Weisman, and it focuses on Los Angeles artists. Many of these artists, with their nonchalant approach to art and life, are referred to as the “Cool School”.
Most of the works in the exhibition are from the 60s through the 80s, with iconic works by such artists as Ed Ruscha, Sam Francis, John McCracken, Chuck Arnoldi, Lita Albuquerque, and Mary Corse, and many more.
One of these “cool” guys – Billy Al Bengston – has a solo exhibition of his moon paintings at Various Small Fires gallery. All these paintings were part of an exhibition 30 years ago at James Corcoran Gallery in Santa Monica. But, if you see them for the first time, they all come across as having been painted today.
You will find them to be “compositionally lucid, with wickedly sensuous coloration, punctuated by radical textures of cosmic impasto” (VSF). This elegantly and carefully designed exhibition was set to close last week, but has extended through this Saturday, November 4.
And, here is one more exhibition you want to put on your agenda. Esteemed Los Angeles artist Don Bachardy is known for his portraits of major American creative, cultural, and political figures. His current exhibition at Barrett Art Gallery at Santa Monica College focuses on portraits of women made by him over the last 50 years.
None of these portraits are meant to compliment the sitter, but rather, to capture the very personal moment shared between the artist and the model. Young and old, famous and not, all these women are looking at the artist – and at you –measuring you up and demanding your respect.
Edward Goldman is an art critic and the host of Art Talk, a program on art and culture for NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM. To listen to the complete show and hear Edward’s charming Russian accent, click here.