ANDOVER – Light, Space, Surface: Works from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will bring the distinctly West Coast style of art with its ties to the car culture, surf vibe and aerospace industry to the East Coast.
The exhibition, which opens at the Addison Gallery of American Art on Tuesday, Nov. 23, is drawn from the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Light, Space, Surface and features a wide range of media, from painting and sculpture to immersive environments.
“It’s a privilege to be able to present this important period of American artistic innovation—often thought of as Minimalism with a uniquely Californian twist—here on the East Coast,” said Allison Kemmerer, the interim director of the Addison Gallery of American Art, Mead Curator of Photography, and senior curator of contemporary art.
“Transforming the viewer from passive observer to active participant, the reflective surfaces, glossy finishes, and shimmering colors of these works demand close examination and multisensory engagement. Placing emphasis on the experience of the object rather than the object itself, these artists ask us to consider not what we see, but how we see.”
Inspired in part by the car and surf cultures that dominated Southern California in the 1960s and 1970s—as well as a multitude of other sources—many Los Angeles-based artists pioneered new technologies and utilized the revolutionary materials developed in the region’s growing aerospace industry, including sheet acrylic, fiberglass, and polyester resin, to produce the reduced, crisp, and clean forms essential to their works.
While there was no single defining aesthetic among this varied and looseknit group, these artists, from Mary Corse and John McCracken to Fred Eversley and James Turrell, shared a common interest in investigating how we understand form, volume, presence, and absence through light, whether seen directly or refracted, reflected, and/or viewed through other materials.
Drawing on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s extensive holdings of Light and Space and “finish fetish” art, as well as works by second-generation artists inspired by this highly influential first generation, Light, Space, Surface reveals the vibrancy and diversity of this period of American art history.
Featured artists include Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Judy Chicago, Gisela Colón, Ron Cooper, Mary Corse, Ronald Davis, Guy Dill, Laddie John Dill, Fred Eversley, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, John McCracken, Bruce Nauman, Helen Pashgian, Roland Reiss, Roy Thurston, James Turrell, De Wain Valentine, Doug Wheeler, and Norman Zammitt.
The exhibition — organized by Carol S. Eliel, LACMA’s senior curator of Modern Art — is accompanied by a fully illustrated, multiauthor publication, “Light, Space, Surface: Art from Southern California.”