Light and Space Homecoming
|Hap Tivey, Helios I, 2021. Except as noted, all LACMA collection|
|Larry Bell, Cube, 1966, and (on wall) Billy Al Bengston, Tom, 1968|
The artists generally disliked "Finish Fetish," but it caught on. A decade later, curator Melinda Wortz devised the term "Light and Space" for L.A. artists trading in perceptual effects. There is a good deal of overlap between Finish Fetish and Light and Space, and the BCAM show includes the full Venn diagram.
Roland Reiss' Castle of Perseverance steals one gallery of the Hammer's show of its contemporary collection (leading some to ask, "who is Roland Reiss?") Here's another piece of the puzzle. Reiss made latex molds of the plastic ceiling panels used to diffuse fluorescent lighting (think of your last teeth cleaning). He then painted the latex in improvised colors. Suffice to say that Reiss is as much an outlier here as he is at the Hammer.
The show provides evidence that Light and Space is not dead, with several 21st-century pieces being standouts. The untitled Pashgian is a walk-in installation drawing on elements of Primavera (2021). You can look at it for some time before figuring out what you're seeing.
|Fred Eversley, untitled, 1972, a recent acquisition. On the wall is Hap Tivey's Helios I|
|Mary Corse, White Light Painting (Grid Series), 1986|
|Billy Al Bengston, Tom, 1968|
|Judy Chicago, Pastel Domes #1, 1968 (table refabricated 2012)|
Finish Fetish contained multitudes: the hyper masculinity of the Ferus Cool School and the semi-abstract feminism of early Judy Chicago. After taking her MFA, Chicago enrolled in auto body school to learn an alternative painterly tradition. She was the only woman in a class of about 250. Pastel Domes #1 subverts minimalist geometry as iridescent lady lumps.
|Roland Reiss, Red Edge, 1968|
|Craig Kauffman, untitled, 1969|
|Helen Pashgian, untitled, 2023. Lent by the artist|