The Decline and Rise of Younger Los Angeles Art

1. Taking Care of Our Own

A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, everybody knew a new generation of southern California artists, descendants and contradictors of the sixties’ “finish fetish,” was being sorely neglected by the museum establishment. Since then, Long Beach Museum has put on “Temple Street,” the L.A. County Museum hoisted “24 Artists” alongside “Art and Technology,” Newport Harbor Museum did a survey of local “New Painting,” and currently, the Pasadena Art Museum has mounted the most professional job, “15 Artists,” a turning point. The situation is now overcorrected: thinly spread talent is badly in need of a trial-by-fire outside the friendly, even self-congratulatory confines of the Santa Monica Mountains and the beach. And problems raised by the work itself and the distribution system of which it’s a part, demand, for the moment, a breather, a cooling, a little perspective.

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