LACMA Stakes a Claim on Lowbrow Art
|Robert Williams, The Fear of Green, 2001|
Robert Williams was in MOCA's "Helter-Skelter" (1992), alongside Mike Kelley, Meg Cranston, and Paul McCarthy. Yet MOCA doesn't own anything by Williams, and his most recent L.A. museum appearance was at the Petersen Automotive Museum. By conventional thinking, Williams and other artists of the Juxtapoz school are too jokey for museums; their art has nothing to do with the concerns of the regular sort of contemporary art (yet is too accomplished and market-oriented to be "outsider"). Williams leaves no gag unpainted. For every art insider who appreciates Williams, ten find him irredeemably bad. But for Williams' higher-brow supporters, badness is the point. The Escalante gifts are a provocative, and as far as I know unique, expansion of the scope of what big, serious museums collect.