Los Angeles

Temple Street Artists

Long Beach Museum of Art

The Long Beach Museum of Art commendably attempts to plug the gaps with hand-made corks, and its exhibition of Temple Street Artists is commendable in many ways. Mostly, it’s friendly, based on a communal (Temple Street near downtown is as loaded with studios as Venice) rather than formalist or historical theme; more than that, it’s quite sentimental in its acceptance of buddyism as an esthetic binder (there is some of that: small-scale, funkiness, Surrealism). The trouble is that, with the exception of Terry O’Shea and one or two others, the quality is unbelievably bad—a little more hairy than maybe the UCLA student show, but much more predictable: dumping resin, painting-whatever- I-feel-like-and-to-hell-with an-audience, loving replicas of kitsch objects, you-figure-it memorabilia and, of course, a diet-Pepsi homage to Robert Morris. I think the Museum wanted to prove in “Temple Street” that there is an off-Broadway vitality coming along to restore La Cienega to health; what it does prove is that Sally League quality and art-magazine provincialism are not only disappointing, but downright depressing.

Peter Plagens