Melinda Wortz

  • Mike Kelley

    For several years Mike Kelley has been performing intense, angry, aggressive aural and visual scenarios and producing large-scale, cartoonlike drawings on paper which are brutal, awkward, and often shocking in style as well as content. Their subject reflects the artist’s outrage at the social and personal violence that, more often than not, has been perpetrated both historically and currently in the name of religion and truth. Kelley titled his recent exhibition “Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile: a synopsis of the heroic archetypes (male) in Western philosophy, contemporary

  • Allen Ruppersberg

    We enter Al Ruppersberg’s exhibition through two doors that simulate the wood paneling associated with a traditional library setting. But these are clearly facsimiles, painted gray. “Things are not what they appear to be” aptly describes the entire body of work the artist presents under the title “The Secret of Life and Death” Despite its apparent diversity, the show is unified by Ruppersberg’s witty puns on the visual and verbal information we normally accept at face value: the “truths” embodied in great books—both fiction and nonfiction—and in journalism, especially when combined with the

  • Isamu Noguchi

    Seventy-nine years after Isamu Noguchi’s birth, his natal city, Los Angeles, dedicated its first public sculpture by its native son. Appropriately, Noguchi’s most recent plaza is situated in the center of “Little Tokyo,” positioned between the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, the James Irvine Japanese Garden (Seiryu-en), the Japan America Theater, and the still blighted opposite side of San Pedro Street. The one-acre plaza is more modest in size than the South Coast Plaza by Noguchi in Costa Mesa.

    After achieving the major concession of moving the theater from the center to the

  • Issey Miyake

    Like the clothes themselves, the installation of Issey Miyake’s “Bodyworks” exhibition incorporated a fusion of opposites—dark and light, drama and restraint, toughness and fragility, experimentation and tradition. The galleries were lit (in a design by Elizabeth Stillwell) sporadically, from overhead spots and computerized fixtures glowing on and off behind the translucent faces, torsos, and limbs of futuristic “cyborg” mannikins. Other mannikins were black, mysterious and difficult to discern in corners or suspended high in the air near the ceiling. Modeled after the American bodybuilder Lisa

  • Robert Irwin

    The site Robert Irwin chose for his permanent outdoor sculpture installation here is a grove of eucalyptus trees just below the Mandeville art center, on a slope crossed by pathways which students use to get to class. In many ways eucalyptus trees may be seen as analogous to Southern California culture: nonnative plants, they are dependent on water brought in from great distances; though they quickly grow tall, they often fall over in strong winds or heavy rains because of their shallow roots. The site’s potential for metaphor, however, is not what attracted Irwin to it. He looks at the art

  • Maria Nordman

    The announcement for this installation, sponsored by the new Museum of Contemporary Art, was typewritten on plain white paper. With a verbal precision and conciseness typical of the artist, it read, “MARIA NORDMAN L.A./YANG-NA. In the center of Los Angeles a place is being opened all the daytime hours: On its east side: 315 N. Alameda (just south of Temple); On its west side: 166 N. Central (north of First Street); June 8 5:41AM–8:03PM 1983.”

    From this simple description it is evident that time and space/place were central concerns of the piece. The location was in the downtown section of Los

  • Pat Patterson

    Pat Patterson’s Giant Steps, 1978–80, nestles in a bowl-shaped hillside at the Norton residence in La Honda, 40 or 50 miles south of San Francisco. Just below the crest of a mountain ridge between the San Francisco Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, the architectural sculpture faces south, toward a panoramic view of the ocean. The site is breathtaking, and continuously in motion—winds at the top of the ridge sometimes reach a velocity of a hundred miles an hour. For an encore to spectacular sunsets, the valley below fills with cotton-candy puffs of fog. With the natural setting

  • Dan Flavin

    Dan Flavin’s long-professed commitment to extending art’s parameters into the realms of utility and/or decoration is distinctly at odds with the reductive and formalist theoretical stance of his art. This was especially true in his early career, when it was difficult to see a single 8-foot fluorescent tube attached diagonally to a wall as either useful or decorative. While it looked like a straightforward utilitarian object, it was not part of a ceiling fixture, or positioned to illuminate working or reading space; rather, the tube’s Duchampian detachment from its usual context made it difficult


    All paths meet in the eye, where they are converted into form, and produce a synthesis of external looking and internal seeing. Starting from this meeting-point, manually-made structures are formed, which, though completely divergent from the optical impression of an object, are not inconsistent with its total reality. The student transforms his various experiences into work, by means of which he displays the degree he has reached in his dialogue with the natural object. His progress in the contemplation and study of nature, and towards a mature philosophy of life gives him the power to produce