previews

  • Noah Purifoy, Hanging Tree, 1990, mixed media, 52 × 40". © Noah Purifoy Foundation.

    “Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada”

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
    5905 Wilshire Boulevard
    June 7 - February 28

    Curated by Franklin Sirmans and Yael Lipschutz

    This exhibition reevaluates the vital yet understudied practice of Noah Purifoy (1917–2004), an artist and activist whose melding of collage and community outreach would influence numerous succeeding practitioners. Born in Alabama, Purifoy moved in 1950 to Southern California, where he would execute his signature 1966 exhibition “66 Signs of Neon,” whose works Purifoy and others crafted from the debris of the previous year’s Watts rebellion, and the sprawling constellation of assemblages (1989–2004) that comprise his Joshua Tree Outdoor Desert Art Museum. “Junk Dada” will feature a selection of modes from Purifoy’s diverse oeuvre, from collages to sculptures to installations, and promises to assert his importance within histories of the found object. The accompanying catalogue will include an interview with Purifoy; essays by colleagues, critics, and historians; and a never-before-published portfolio of the artist’s photography.

  • “Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition”

    Hammer Museum
    10899 Wilshire Boulevard
    June 20 - September 13

    Curated by Russell Ferguson

    In his seminal 1972 essay “Understanding a Photograph,” John Berger wrote that “composition in the profound, formative sense of the word cannot enter into photography.” Such questions regarding the medium’s essential characteristics, its capabilities, and its “proper task” have been continually contested since its advent nearly two hundred years ago. But as photographic imagery becomes embedded within an ever-proliferating array of visual spaces, the contemporary viewer is even harder pressed to isolate and articulate the photograph’s distinguishing qualities. Ferguson’s exacting and conceptually ambitious exhibition will consider the possibility of rigorous and intentional composition in the work of such prominent contemporary photographers as Stan Douglas, Annette Kelm, Barbara Probst, Jeff Wall, and Christopher Williams. Featuring more than fifty photographs by some two dozen artists, this exhibition promises to explore the narrative repercussions of deliberate formal intervention.