Alberto Burri, Combustione Plastica (Plastic Combustion), 1958, burnt plastic and acrylic on canvas, 38 1/2 x 33".

Los Angeles

“Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949–1962”

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
250 South Grand Avenue
October 6–January 14

Curated by Paul Schimmel

Always gifted at brushing canonical histories against the grain, Paul Schimmel now gathers an international cross section of postwar abstraction that challenges the old modernist story of the “integrity” of the picture plane. The show’s nearly one hundred works inventory multifarious assaults whereby canvases were sliced, punctured, buried, bandaged, shackled, bound—and confronted with a gargantuan flamethrower. This grouping and the related catalogue will provide new ways of looking at major artists such as Jean Fautrier, Lucio Fontana, and Rauschenberg along with focused rediscoveries of underknowns including Alberto Burri, Gérard Deschamps, Manolo Millares, Salvatore Scarpitta, and Chiyu Uemae. Offering a prehistory to the recent Los Angeles art Schimmel has valiantly championed, the show may be a culmination of the curator’s work at LA MoCA, but it also promises an argument for why this should not be his final project there.