Tuesday, February 28, 2017

MOCA Turns Gay(er)

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Oscar Wilde, 1999
With soaring prices and vanity-museum-fixated billionaires, this hasn't been an easy time for public museums to build serious collections. MOCA has received a gift of 22 works from Alan Hergott and Curt Shepard (a couple, and longtime MOCA supporters). Though fairly modest in number of objects, it's MOCA's biggest single gift in over a decade. The quality level looks impressive, as does its laser-sharp focus: smart, politically inflected LGBT art. It ranges from a Hiroshi Sugimoto Oscar Wilde—of a wax figure—to an Andres Serrano cumshot.
Andres Serrano, Untitled XIV (Ejaculate in Trajectory), 1989
Not all the artists fit the LGBT descriptor, and the identity politics are in some cases indiscernible. There's a prime Lari Pittman painting; otherwise most of the works are photographic. Artists include Catherine Opie, Gilbert & George, Matthew Barney, Rineke Dijkstra, Thomas Hirschhorn, Elliott Hundley, and Jack Pierson.
MOCA is one of the nation's few first-rank museums to have a lesbian chief curator, Helen Molesworth. The gift provides grounds to explore what gay/lesbian art can mean. "Gay" is camp or butch; a bloodied matador or an open road.
Lari Pittman, Always at your service, I will have learned the exquisite power of etiquette, 1999


Catherine Opie, Matt (CO 132), 1993
Rineke Dijkstra, Forte da Casa, Portugal, May 20 (B), 2000
Jack Pierson, The Lawn Could Stand Another Mowing (Funny I Don't Even Care), 1991
Oscar Wilde on populism: "The artist should never try to be popular. Rather the public should be more artistic."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

MOCA on Grand Avenue suffers (at least in terms of popularity) because it's way too small.

Visitors have to pay to get into the museum, which is why many of them, after shelling out hard-earned dollars, walk away disillusioned, disappointed and underwhelmed. They expect and want both quality and QUANTITY, and MOCA on Grand can be seen in a fairly brief amount of time.

Now if MOCA's building in Little Tokyo and gallery in the Pacific Design Center could be physically combined with the museum's building on Bunker Hill, more people would sense MOCA was worth their time and money. Even more so in light of the Broad across the street being both larger and free to the public.