Los Angeles

Paul Sarkisian

Art Center, La Jolla

Small collages of photos, paint, reproductions, roofing tarpaper coherently and vivaciously put together. Although this artist shares the found-image collectors’ tendency toward the talkative, this show has many splendors.

This exhibition, which was scheduled to run a month in the Art Center’s one-man gallery, was closed a week early. The official explanation was that the space was needed for other purposes. This is an odd but plausible reason for terminating a show. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the real one. In several of the exhibited works cutouts of nudes were juxtaposed with fragments of religious paintings by various masters. This mixture of flesh and spirit exercised certain elements of the local religious community, pressure was put on the Art Center, and the show was taken down. All in all, a corking cop-out.

Suppression in itself is a dishonorable business, undermining the artist’s freedom to express himself, reducing the gallery’s capacity to reflect this freedom, and preventing the public from touching the artist’s adventuring individuality. This particular instance, following as it does the recent removal from the same one-man gallery of a self portrait by Jack Stuck (this on the basis of an individual complaint) is enough to make one wonder what kind of house the Art Center keeps. The answer is not unclear. If you dig a scene long enough, it becomes your name.

John Reuschel