Los Angeles

Ninth Annual All California Show

Festival of Arts, Laguna Beach, Calif.:

This year, the All California show, arranged by the Laguna Beach Art As­sociation, and housed on the grounds of the Laguna Arts Festival, was not an in­vitational show, but a juried one. The award money was increased to $500, $300, and $200. Two well known jurors were imported from New York: Thomas M. Messer, of the Guggenheim Museum, and Robert Brackman, painter and teacher. There were two Categories for the 1300 entries: “Realistic” for Mr. Brackman, “Abstract” for Mr. Messer. (This absurd division was carried so far that each selection in the catalog was initialed “m” or “b”. Both men gave gal­lery talks and each expressed the same thought in different words: a painting is either good or bad, regardless of wheth­er it is realistic or abstract.)

Seventy-four paintings and ten pieces of sculpture made up the final exhibit. The display area was small, crowded, poorly arranged to accommodate the large number of festival visitors. In the center was a panel, on either side of which were the 6 paintings which had won the awards, three by each juror. Mr. Messer chose as a first a “Pop” work by Anthony Berlant called “Joan.” His choice must have been for its shock value rather than for the instrinsic worth of the picture.

Second prize went to a jarring oil “In Compassion” by Yolande; third place was won by D. R. Wilcox for “Structure 2,” a large painting with simple forms and wide color areas. Included in this abstract category was “Silent Scream” by Rod Briggs, a yellow oil, striated and equipped with sound. If Mr. Briggs was thinking of the imaginative constructs by Tinguely, he didn’t succeed beyond creating a gimmick. Here were some competent pictures by Hammersley, Kar­welis, Askin, Smith, Levy. These con­trasted with poorly executed paintings by Kassen, Jackson, and a vapid, mean­ingless, hard-edge black on white, “All Time” by Zimmerman.

Mr. Brackman selected for first prize “Apache Mother” by Marjorie Adams, a choice not to be understood in any terms other than sentimental reminiscence. His second award went to Ben Abril for “Patterson Hotel,” a handsome composition in which a huge red rec­tangle predominates. A dull, brownish oil “Demi John with Harvest” by V. Ken­dall took third place. Just a pitifully few additional paintings met the artistic qualifications of the “b” category: Italo d’Andrea, Douglas Parshall, Joan Irving, Burt Proctor, Lenard Kester.

Dion Wright should have received first sculpture prize, not only because of his handsome welded “Armed Figure,” which has all his old vigor plus a much better finish, but because it was the only piece which qualified for both men. “Man Warrior,” by Andrew Fagan, and the “Flagman” by Boyd were the only works of any consequence in the sculpture section. While it may have warmed the hearts of the Laguna Beach Art Asso­ciation to have 17 of their members ac­cepted to this show, it did not make a representative “All California exhibit” nor even a cross-section of the southern California art scene. Nor, as we stated before, does such an arbitrary division lighten the burden of the jurors or help the quality of works displayed.

Irma E. Desenberg