Los Angeles


Dwan Gallery

The Dwan Gallery has moved to a new location in Westwood Village during May and has opened with the assemblages of the French “Nouveau Realiste” Arman. The artist is best known for his “accumulations”—plastic fronted boxes enclosing many examples of a single kind of object, automobile horns, alarm clocks, medicinal ampules, toy six-guns, ink wells or ladies’ shoes. The very simple power of repetition found in the massing of these forms works a strange magic, as if of incantation. In the “Furies”—objects destroyed or transformed by a furious instant of action and preserved in their transformation—one recognizes a relation to the multiple point of view and exploded visions of cubist and futurist art. While it may be possible to comment grandly on the artist’s expression of the increasing rate of change and decay in our time, I suspect that there is something much simpler here. Arman seems to prefer musical instruments, wooden coffee mills and patinaed metal parts, worn Kodaks and ancient auto horns for his materials. The beauty of old materials and the signs of age are pursued for their own sake. Arman is involved with the antiquing of today. There is a sentimental element in this work that stands behind the ironic choice of materials which can be so very surprising. The materials, their associations and our interest in earlier arts are made to carry the weight of Arman’s frail esthetic.

Gerald Nordland