When Op Went Plastic

We think of plastic as a quintessential medium for L.A. modernists, but interest in space-age polymers was global. A 1966 exhibition at Argentina's National Museum of Fine Arts, "Plastica con plasticos," raised awareness of new materials among South American artists. LACMA has acquired a remarkable example, an untitled acrylic sculpture (1974) by Argentinian artist Rogelio Polesello (1939–2014), mainly known as an exponent of Op Art. It's a three-panel slab with embedded fish-eye lenses. In these photos the lenses distort a Fanny Sanin painting, also in a thoroughly modern medium, Acrylic No. 13, 1970.