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Take A Weekend Trip To See Some Art

Take A Modernist Weekend Trip

You can travel to a lot of places to see Pacific Standard Time shows. There are some shows in Claremont, some in San Diego, some in Long Beach, some on the Westside, some in Hollywood and some opening soon in Santa Barbara and Palm Springs: they are all over the place. The shows also cover a lot of ground with exhibits on different styles of art and different art movements. One style of art that appears bit by bit in the shows in LA proper is the hyper-contemporary Light and Space movement featuring works from artists who used acrylic/polymer/glass/florescent to push the boundaries of sculpture beyond creating vessels or representative works into the future–and into the weird.

This contemporary Southern California movement is one that literally bounced around the globe, making names like Craig Kauffman, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, DeWain Valentine, and Mary Corse celebrities. The show that has taken these artists and given them a perfect home is Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The show explores the work of these artists and their approach to sculpture as a departure point to distort “visual perception” through light and lack thereof. It includes paintings and drawings that lead up to the actual work themselves, which are also included in the exhibit. The show is terrific and exciting–but not in Los Angeles. Not even close. Actually, it’s probably the furthest from the city proper!

Don’t let that deter you guys: you have got to see it and it is actually super, super easy to get down there. First off, forget your car! Why drive? Seriously: why? One thing you are overlooking in light of the California high-speed rail deteriorating before our eyes is the Amtrak line that already exists!! You must take the train!! It takes less than it would driving (2.5 hours, tops) and you can work on your computer the whole time (thank you Amtrak wifi!!). And, if you like, you can spend the night down in the S.D. and return the next day. The total for the trip comes to about $200 and is well worth it because the show is one of the reasons why Pacific Standard Time gets us so excited: it shows the world that, yes, we made contemporary art.

For more on Phenomenal and San Diego attractions, check out the Pacific Standard Time blog!

Above: Untitled, Craig Kauffman, 1968. Synthetic polymer vaccum-formed Plexiglas with acrylic lacquer. 23 x 61 x 12 in. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Gift of Arthur and Carol Goldberg in honor of Margo Leavin © 1968 Estate of Craig Kauffman. Photograph by Philipp Scholz Rittermann.

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