Kitsch vs. Modernism

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Roberto Matta
A Grave Situation

Venturi based his critique of modern architecture on his discovery of Michelangelo's Campodoglio, he says, but in L.A. signs are the belated wave of architecture called Postmodern is no more, replaced by all-encompassing Kitsch Modernism. The entire process might be compared to Supercuts making bad hair days a thing of the past by charging you for them, and then turning out a Mae West bob. What's Shakin' is the name of a show with plans and models of eight current projects, from Gehry's Disney Hall to Moss's "Pterodactyl" Parking Garage and Offices. "Some projects are certain to become emblematic of Los Angeles over time, just like the Capitol Records Building or the Griffith Park Observatory," says Brooke Hodge, curator of architecture & design, MOCA.

According to assistant curator Michael Darling, the course of artmaking in Los Angeles and beyond has been altered by Liz Larner, of whom in truth it may be said that many worse things have been shown at the Museum, though not beyond.

Aaron Siskind on Franz Kline is a sgraffito recognized as the deployment of color, amid a Charles Sheeler regard of decay effects.

Douglas Gordon has one good idea, D.O.A. on three ten-foot screens side by side with a mirror perpendicularly reflecting it a bit on the left. The three screens are staggered at intervals of less than a minute, and the work is called Déjà vu.

Roberto Matta, a great painter, creates vortices for the stuff of time, or articulates grand armatures of thought. Matta in America is as joyous as the Forties got.