Duchamp and More at The Norton Simon Museum

Painting by Helen Frankenthaler "Adriatic" 1968
Painting by Helen Frankenthaler “Adriatic” 1968

Just a week after the East Austin Studio Tour ended (my last big art event for the year), we took another vacation out to LA to visit my husband’s elderly parents.

On our first day there, we met up with my friend Patri and proceeded to the Norton Simon Museum. Well, we did a kind of a whirlwind tour there. We had gone for the Marcel Duchamp Redux show, which was quite a tiny show. It was literally a copy of a show they had had there decades earlier. They had mostly prints of about 14 pieces from the earlier 1963 show, all in one small room.

More exciting to me were a few pieces from the post-painterly abstract painters Sam Francis and Helen Frankenthaler; especially the Frankenthaler piece (pictured here), which was a huge, all orange stain painting (orange — my favorite color! So exciting!!!).  Here is a snippet of a quote I copied from the gallery card for this painting: “What concerns me is — did I make a beautiful picture?” Well, I’d have to say emphatically, YES! I think (I’m afraid) I have similar sensibilities, whether that be good or not so good these days. What can I say?

Richard Diebenkorn - Bottles
Painting by Richard Diebenkorn “Bottles” 1960

There were some other great pieces in the room, “Tall Figure IV” by Giacometti; “Three Standing Figures,” 1953, by Henry Moore; “Untitled,” 1962-63 by Robert Irwin; 1947, “Horseman,” by Marino Marini; and “Bottles,” 1960, by Diebenkorn (pictured on the right). And more, but I didn’t have a chance to take any more names or notes.

We spent a few minutes looking at some of their Impressionist collection — admiring the perfect yellow Van Gogh had used to paint a straw hat and a tree (2 different works), a couple of pieces of Cezanne’s, including one of his fantastic tulips paintings, and at least one Monet.

We also peered at the “On the Enlightened Path: Jain Art from India”; “Ruth Weisberg: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image”; “Under the Influence: Art-Inspired Art”; and “The Art of War: American Posters from World War I and World War II” — the poster art exhibit in particular which was really quite fascinating.

Song Kun at the Hammer Museum

Painting by Song Kun It's My Life 05-08-31 2005 Oil on canvas. 10 5/8 x 13 3/4 in. (27 x 35 cm)
Painting by Song Kun It’s My Life 05-08-31 2005 Oil on canvas. 10 5/8 x 13 3/4 in. (27 x 35 cm) Courtesy of UniversalStudios-Beijing, Beijing, China

Several great exhibits at the Hammer Museum

Today, our final day in LA, we headed over to the Hammer Museum to see Eden’s Edge: Fifteen LA Artists: Ginny Bishton, Mark Bradford, Liz Craft, Sharon Ellis, Matt Greene, Elliott Hundley, Stanya Kahn & Harry Dodge, Monica Majoli, Matthew Monahan, Rebecca Morales, Lari Pittman, Ken Price, Jason Rhoades, Anna Sew Hoy, and Jim Shaw.

Death Rider (Virgo) by Liz Craft
“Death Rider (Virgo)” by Liz Craft
New Moon and Palm Trees by Sharon Ellis
“New Moon and Palm Trees” by Sharon Ellis.

On our way out, we almost missed a small show by emerging Chinese painter Song Kun, who filled a small gallery with 97 daily paintings of her life…fabulous! Her work ranges from part drawn, partly painted canvases to fully realized and very well-done representational works to a number of blank canvases. At first, I took one quick pass through the gallery, intending that to be it; then went back and looked at each painting more closely, then went back again, by this time fully drawn into her mesmerizing paintings. This was my favorite art of all that I’ve seen on this coastal trip!