Friday, December 29, 2006

CECI N'EST PAS MAGRITTE

The Magritte exhibit at LACMA is worth visiting. However, half of the pieces are NOT by Magritte, but by people who were influenced by him, and much of that material is weak and unoriginal.

Magritte's art is pretty simple, which is probably why it is so popular. The average person can look at it and see something. If anything, it is at times TOO simple. He himself said that you should not try to read symbolism into his paintings, nor were they motivated by dreams. When you knock those two ideas out of the equation, there's not much left.

There were an awful lot of people at the exhibit. I had assumed the museum would be as dead as everything else during the holidays, when everyone leaves town, and the people who are here are mostly tourists heading to Disneyland. Alas, apparently every other intellectual and faux intellectual left behind had the same idea and went this afternoon. As is typical at LAMCA, the layout did not help. There were quite a few places where people tended to pile up, and many pieces were almost impossible to see without walking in front of a bunch of other people.

Usually I highly recommend getting the audio tours. Not only are they informative, but they force you to slow down your pace and appreciate the artworks. However, not in this case: Don't buy the audio tour. There was very little information of any kind that was not already present in the exhibit's written descriptions, and the artists interviewed did not have a lot to say.

A few of the other artists' works were interesting. Gober's two pieces, the foot and the torso, were probably the most interesting. Regardless of the flaws of the exhibit, it's definitely worth seeing.
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