los-angeles

Painting in New York, 1944–69 and West Coast, 1945–69

Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

The two opening exhibitions at the new quarters of the Pasadena Art Museum have fostered a static, the intensity of which has not been heard in this town since the censoring of Kienholz’s Back Seat Dodge at the County Museum of Art. Most of the flak comes from local artists included in the show who felt that West Coast art had been rudely relegated to a secondary position in installation and, through poor selection, in quality as well. “West Coast, 1945–69” is a bomb. A survey should demonstrate either catholicity or uniformity; “West Coast” has neither. The show, which has an unshakable look of paucity, yea starvation, about it, is too closely chosen (percentage of Los Angeles artists) for breadth and too democratically selected (figure painting, splashy abstract painting, plastic objects, etc.) for depth. It has middle-of-the-road written all over it (a killer in politics, fence-straddling

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