Rebels in Paradise, by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, a look at the SoCal arts scene of the 1960s. The book is a hot mess at the narrative level and it’s a bit of a Ferus Gallery retread (as in: non-white, non-male artists are virtually non-existent). But it’s laced with plenty of funny interviews and tasty anecdotes.
One bit on Robert Irwin versus a critic from Artforum on page 58:
The early 1960s was the apotheosis of reverence toward the automobile in Los Angeles; the new Corvette convertible had a role as memorable as any of the stars of the TV series 77 Sunset Strip. Irwin took the critic out to the San Fernando Valley to introduce him to a kid who was working on a 1929 roadster. “Here was a fifteen-year-old kid who wouldn’t know art from schmart, but you couldn’t talk about a more real aesthetic activity than what he was doing…The critic simply denied it.” Irwin tried to explain, but the critic refused to acknowledge the possibility that such an activity could be considered a form of art. Finally, an angry Irwin pulled his car over. “I just flat left him there by the road, man, and just drove off. Said, ‘See you later, Max.’ And that was basically the last conversation we two ever had.”
I’d love to hear the critic’s version of this story.
Ball-Nogues Studio, Gravity’s Loom, 2010 — currently on display in the entry hallway. (All photographs are courtesy of the IMA, unless otherwise noted.)
From the fall of 2009 to the summer of 2010 I volunteered at the Indianopolis Museum of Art (IMA) under Associate Conservator of Objects & Variable Art, Richard McCoy. While there I documented and filed examination reports on works by artists such as Maya Lin, El Anatsui, and Robert Smithson. I also helped with the installation and maintenance of the Tara Donovan (my current boss) exhibition.
Over the holidays I paid a visit to the contemporary galleries; which during my time at the IMA I’d become very familiar with, so it was nice to return with fresh eyes. Here are some of my favorite installations, both old and new:
Robert Irwin’s, Light and Space III, 2008. (Image from Thoth188.)
In 2008, Robert Irwin made an installation for IMA’s Pulliam Great Hall, which is at center of the IMA’s galleries. The space at the time was dimly lit, adorned with outdated wood décor — lacking any kind of impact for the focal point of the IMA experience. True to Irwin’s style, Light and Space III evolved directly from the requirements of it’s location; in a sense he grew the piece from the space. One of the most amazing experiences I had while interning at the IMA was when this installation was turned off; while walking through the contemporary galleries, I kept feeling as though something was missing; it was the presence of this piece, which is turned off whenever the museum closes. (Learn a little about this piece and Irwin’s process by watching a video of the artist in conversation with my old boss.)
Robert Irwin at Pace Wildenstein, 22nd Street, through Feb. 28. (Photo by C-M.)
Light and Space III, a three-story fluorescent light installation by Robert Irwin, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. (Photo by diong, via Richard McCoy.)