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

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

    The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
    250 South Grand Avenue
    October 6, 2012–January 14, 2013

    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.

  • Ken Price, Snail Cup, 1968, glazed ceramic, 2 7/8 x 5 1/4 x 2 5/8".

    “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective”

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
    5905 Wilshire Boulevard
    September 16, 2012–January 6, 2013

    Curated by Stephanie Barron

    With his “Snail Cups,” 1965–68; “Curios” (cabinets), 1972–78; and a quarry’s worth of psychedelic philosopher’s stones, the late Ken Price was the hairy potter our greed-driven times needed—one who conjured wonder from base materials. The wand that chose him was a paintbrush, and the canvas (or support) he championed—bowing to and freaking with influences and peers as various as Antoni Gaudí, Magritte, and John Altoon—was fired clay. Let’s just hope, for an artist who so exuberantly shrugged off the quandary of craft versus art, that LACMA’s exhibition, including almost one hundred sculptures dating from 1959 until 2011 and a dozen late works on paper, isn’t overengineered by its guest designer, Frank O. Gehry. The catalogue essays, especially Dave Hickey’s rhetorical glazing, should keep the gaze fixed on Price’s funky magic despite the goings-on.

  • Zarina Hashmi, Shadow House, 2006, cut Nepalese paper, 69 x 39".

    “Zarina: Paper Like Skin”

    Hammer Museum
    10899 Wilshire Boulevard
    September 30–December 30, 2012

    Curated by Allegra Pesenti

    Since the early 1960s, Indian-born American artist Zarina Hashmi has developed a minimal artistic language that balances materiality with themes of home, displacement, and memory. Her first retrospective—long overdue—features approximately sixty pieces from the past five decades and includes prints, paper-pulp casts, and sculptures. While the influence of Zarina’s studies of mathematics and architecture are evident across her oeuvre, rarely seen early relief prints such as In the Woods I, 1971, manifest the importance and impression of nature in her practice, and recent works such as the obsidian-covered Dark Night of the Soul, 2011, suggest a subtle turn toward contemplative spirituality—aspects that are further explored in the exhibition’s catalogue with essays by Allegra Pesenti, Aamir Mufti, and Sandhini Poddar.