A "Rain Room," and a Riddle, at the Underground Museum

The Underground Museum's "Water & Power," planned by the late Noah Davis, is a rebus, a haiku, and a riddle. It juxtaposes a "rain room," a condensation cube, two Makonde body masks, and a couple of L.A. Light and Space works. No gallery label artsplains why these objects (and nonobjects) go together. The only clue is a poem, printed on one gallery wall.

Olafur Eliasson's Beauty (1993, top of post) predates the Random International Rain Rooms by 20 years. It's better. Beauty is an ectoplasmic rainbow-mist you can walk past or through. No timed tickets are required, and it's free. Visitors were snapping selfies. But why photo-bomb the sublime?
Most of the works are on loan from MOCA. One that's not is Fred Eversley's Untitled (Deep Blue), 1981. MOCA still doesn't have an Eversley, nor does LACMA, making him the one great L.A. light and space artist still not properly represented in a local museum. 

Below, James Turrell's Tollyn (1967), from the MOCA collection.
The gallery poem, by L.A.'s Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis, connects amniotic water to the procreative power of women's bodies. Two masks made by the the Makonde people of Tanzania and Mozambique conflate a woman's body with a face. Magritte used the visual rhyme. But the Makonde masks show a pregnant mother, and the associated dance re-enacts the pain of childbirth.
One of Helen Molesworth's achievements was recognizing the added value of showing MOCA works in new contexts for new audiences. Let's hope that policy survives the current turmoil.  


Anonymous said…
That's a James Turrell from 1967, not an Irwin