ART ABOUT TOWN
by the likes of Henri Matisse, František Kupka, and Morgan Russell – this section seemed perfunctory in the wake both of the exhibition’s earlier sections and the deep inquiries other shows on the same theme have provided. A few examples of music-driven cinema (Oskar Fischinger notable among these) were screened, several African-American artists were compared to roots music, and little new or startling was advanced until one came upon a gripping display, leading out of the exhibition, centered around the postwar collaboration of John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns. Represented by one or two works apiece including a rarely seen Rauschenberg assemblage from Johns’s own collection – this enclave set the tone for a much more dynamic and multivalent examination of music and art in the post-modern era. No such examination was forthcoming, maintaining the sense of truncation and underexposure that dogged the show as a whole – but not the rich and sumptuous catalog, whose many articles regard in detail the topics the exhibit could barely describe. As a book, The Art of Music is an excellent starting point for one’s further research into any number of places, periods, objects, and philosophies. As a show, The Art of Music could touch upon many matters but could go into nothing exhaustively, serving instead as a jumping-off point for further investigation. The curiosity and excitement so much of the exhibition inspired, for better or worse, must be exercised elsewhere.
UCLA HAMMER MUSEUM Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 Through May 15, 2016 What becomes a legend most? An exhibition that traces its life, its dynamics, and its impact on subsequent human thought and activity. The modern history not just of art pedagogy, but art itself, was shaped largely by a few art schools – schools, not incidentally, noted for more than just education and indoctrination. Black Mountain College is one such school, a center for exposure to and training in new ideas and forms in all the arts that arose at a crucial moment, shaping American artistic practice when that practice was ripest for shaping. Leap Before You Look excavates Black Mountain College, looking less at what impact it had on American postwar art (a well-worn subject) and more at why it had such an impact and what made it tick when it was ticking. Leap Before You Look unpacks the Black Mountain experience, laying out the history of the college (which was anything but a school exclusively for the arts) 94