|Mario Moore, What's Cooler Than Being Cool?, 2019|
The California African American Museum's "Mario Moore / Enshrined: Presence + Preservation" is a small survey of works by the Detroit-based realist painter. Moore paints Black subjects in an Old Master mode, and his technical skills manage to bring that familiar trope to a new level. A 2019 self-portrait in the snow is baroque in the best sense of the word, creating magic from the matter-of-fact-ness of life and oil pigment.
A Student's Dream, conceived while Moore was recovering from surgery, is a subversion of Thomas Eakins' The Agnew Clinic from the other side of the Tuskegee study. Other paintings on view (plus several large-scale drawings) span informal portraits (often on copper), political allegories, eye-of-the-artist perspectives, and Old Master burlesques. It is often the scenes of everyday life that are the strangest. I Continue to Dream, a painting of the lunch counter run by the artist's grandmother, is a haunting meditation on memory and the power of images.
Curated by Taylor Renee Aldridge, "Mario Moore / Enshrined" opened last year at Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum. It runs at CAAM through Oct. 2, 2022.
|Mario Moore, A Student's Dream, 2017|
|Mario Moore, Black and Blue, 2016|
|Mario Moore, Come Study, 2012|
|Mario Moore, I Continue to Dream, 2020|
|Mario Moore, Light on Brother (Jalen), 2019|
|Mario Moore, Not Your Landscape, 2017|
As for a MOCA or Broad? Or the Hammer? Moore's art doesn't come with enough of a cachet of "Huh?" or a certificate of hipster/avant-garde to qualify for such museums.
Meanwhile, LACMA is looking for a suitable type of window drapery. Louver or fabric?