Los Angeles

Oscar Fischinger

Long Beach Museum of Art

Oscar Fischinger’s retrospective at the Long Beach Museum of Art (which occasionally comes across with this kind of small but substantial exhibition) is another overdue appreciation of a “pioneer modern.” Fischinger, however, is both more and less than that. More, because of his film-making activities, which began with drawings for Melies’ Woman in the Moon, lasted through a fertile German period, survived a classic artist-philistine embroglio with that patron saint of American treacle, Walt Disney, and concluded, over half the artist’s life, in something a little better than obscurity in Southern California. (For the whole story, Richard Whitehall’s catalog essay is as gritty as the show itself.) Fischinger personally disclaimed painting as his medium, although the films are almost more paintings that move than films which are painted. The paintings in the show, particularly the space

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