previews

  • Sam Francis

    MOCA Geffen Contemporary
    152 North Central Avenue
    March 7–June 6, 1999

    If your idea of a great painter is one who shoots for the stars at the expense of frequently falling flat on his face, then Sam Francis is the artist for you. When Francis was on—in big paintings such as The Whiteness of the Whale, 1958, and Blue Balls, 1961—the man was on. But when he was off. . . Let’s just hope that curator William Agee’s 100-plus-work retrospective, which the artist helped plan before his death in 1994, is able to sort major from minor from meaningless. Francis’s reputation might depend on it. Mar. 7–June 6; travel venues to be announced.

  • “The Experimental Exercise of Freedom”

    MOCA Geffen Contemporary
    152 North Central Avenue
    April 11–September 5, 1999

    Curated by Alma Ruiz and Rina Carvajal

    Starting in the late ’50s, certain Latin American artists drew extraordinary, expansive conclusions from the heritage of international constructivism, breaching boundaries between artistic genres and between art and social action, anticipating later developments elsewhere. Europe and North America have lately rediscovered Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, thanks to the inclusion of their work in Documenta X. This exhibition of roughly 100 works, curated by Alma Ruiz (of LA MoCA) and Rina Carvajal (formerly of MoCA, Caracas), puts them in the broader picture, alongside two less fashionable Brazilians, Gego and Mia Schendel, and the Mexican Mathias Goeritz, whose “emotional architecture” aimed to synthesize the arts. Apr. 11–Sept. 5; travel venues to be announced.