Critics’ Picks

Hélio Oiticica and Neville D’Almeida, Cosmococa-Programa in Progress, CC4 Nocagions, 1973/2010, water, pool, electric lights, projected images, sound, paint, 24’ 7 1/4" x 45’ 1 5/16”.

Los Angeles

“Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color, and Space”

MOCA Geffen Contemporary
152 North Central Avenue
December 12 - February 27

The five installations in this exhibition, which was curated by Alma Ruiz, exude an effortless chic that seems fresh, contemporary, and, in the context of this venue, synonymous with Los Angeles’s beach-meets-Hollywood milieu. But the works are neither current nor locally made; the large-scale interactive pieces are re-creations of works made between 1951 and 1973 by four artists and one artist team, all from Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela). The resemblance to Light and Space art created predominantly in Southern California during the 1960s and ’70s (and referenced in the exhibition title) is most apparent in Carlos Cruz Diez’s three illuminated rooms, which link together to suggest a walk-in prism; lights in different primary colors bleed into one another between partition walls, creating secondary and tertiary hues. Here and throughout the exhibition, luminosity and color express a sense of ease and play that infiltrates and enlivens a headier and still resonant theme of this exhibition: alterations of the relationship between art and viewer.

A marvelous neon white swirl by Lucio Fontana, who is better known both for his paintings and for his second home of Italy, hangs suspended from the ceiling, a lyrical line suggesting a balletic UFO that lures the gaze skyward. Nearby, Julio Le Parc’s half-circular room offers an elegant and surprisingly contemplative discotheque-cum-aquarium made simply with lights hitting suspended bits of shimmering metal to create aqueous patterns on the arced wall. Jesús Rafael Soto similarly renders the commonplace magical without a trace of irony or sentimentality; his forest of soft, blue tubes invites a walk both confounding and ingenious for the array of emotions it inspires. Coming out the other side, the adventurous viewer can take a dip in Hélio Oiticica and Neville D’Almeida’s blue-lit indoor pool, as brave and breezy in the context of today’s interactive and community art as it was when it was first made nearly forty years ago.