|Blues For Smoke|
FEATURE BY Willard Manus
LOS ANGELES -- The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) recently unveiled BLUES FOR SMOKE, a major interdisciplinary exhibition exploring a wide range of contemporary art, music, literature and film through the lens of the blues and "blues aesthetics." The exhibition, which will run through Jan. 7, 2013 at MOCA'S Central Avenue wing, features works by more than fifty artists from the 1950s to the present, including many commissioned specifically for the occasion and others never before shown in Los Angeles, as well as a range of musical, cinematic and cultural materials.
it takes up ideas from the past, this exhibition is pitched at the present
moment," said MOCA Curator Bennett Simpson. "The questions and
topics the blues makes us think about, from ambivalent feelings to form
as cultural expression, are fundamental to recent art. As I see it, the
blues is about anticipation."
Hallway, New York, 1953
In addition to the numerous artworks that feature music or have audio components, the exhibition offers a range of listening posts and video viewing stations as well as displays of books, photographs and other documentary material.
the exhibition is a set of themes and feelings inspired by the blues.
MOCA's galleries are packed with such goodies as David Hammons' Chasing
the Blues Train, an installation that hasn't been seen in the USA for
some twenty years; and Martin Wong's La Vida, a joyous, life-affirming
painting that depicts an entire Harlem tenement and its inhabitants. Also
notable is Beauford Delany's 1968, iconic portrait of Charlie Parker.
Write When You Can, 1991
Running side by side with BLUES FOR SMOKE is another important exhibition, Taryn Simon's A LIVING MAN DECLARED DEAD, an elaborately constructed photographic work which investigates such challenging subjects as victims of genocide in Bosnia, test rabbits infected with a lethal disease in Australia, and the living dead in India.
Call 213-626-6222 or visit moca.org.