• Eleanor Antin

    Long Beach Museum of Art

    If Karras, Adams, and Miyatake address the role of the expatriate, Todd and Benston the romance of the expatriated, how do I describe Eleanor Antin’s position? In her installation and videotape The Nurse and the Hijackers, she tackles more problems in art than any other artist threatens, and, more often than not, she immobilizes her opposition.

    Let’s say video art has two tendencies: television-as-information and television-as-diversion. (Allow the work of Ira Schneider to represent the former, the work of William Wegman the latter.) Antin would fall into the latter category. But her videotapes

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  • Maria Karras

    Woman’s Building And Rtd

    Although I guiltily tell the latest California joke—you know, the one about how many Californians does it take to change a lightbulb (one to do it and four to share the experience)—I am not metrocentric. Metrocentric: overweening pride in the city where you live, characterized by the syllogism, “If X is such a terrific city, and if I live there, then I am terrific by association.” It translates into obdurate provincialism when practiced seriously.

    An Angelena relocated to Manhattan, I subscribe to the best-of-both-coasts principle: there are plenty of good reasons to go Atlantic or Pacific. It

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  • Two Views Of Manzanar

    Frederick S. Wight Gallery, U.C.L.A.

    At UCLA’s Frederick S. Wight Gallery, another photography exhibition studies an earlier collection of immigrants to Southern California: Japanese-Americans interned in relocation camps during World War II. Three graduate students, Graham Howe, Patrick Nagatani and Scott Rankin, organized the exhibition “Two Views of Manzanar,” which brings together photos by Ansel Adams and Toyo Miyatake of a relocation camp in California’s Owens Valley. Executive Order 9066 obliged Americans of Japanese ancestry to leave their homes and possessions for relocation centers in order that U.S. security could be

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  • Michael Todd

    Arco Center

    If the Manzanar photos argue the Americanization of the Japanese, Michael Todd’s sculptures do the reverse. With names like “Kakebana,” “Moribana,” and “Daimaru” attached, Todd is obviously after associations with the Japanese art of flower arrangement. What’s in a name? Well, Todd’s sculptures are astonishingly delicate and arranged like . . . flowers. The components are bulky pieces of steel detritus, and consequently it’s no mean achievement that the junk is arranged with such grace. Some of the sculptures are monumental—one is ten feet high—but they seem weightless. Almost the work of a

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  • Billy Al Bengston

    James Corcoran Gallery

    Michael Todd’s inspiration might be Japanoiserie, but for Billy Al Bengston, the exotica of another part of the Pacific is motivating. His “Lahaina” watercolors—Lahaina is on the island of Maui in Hawaii—with their sunset colors, represent a hairpin turn from his earlier work.

    I used to view Bengston’s tony canvases as an overt example of what Peter Plagens refers to as the California “finish fetish.” Presumably the spiritual source of the fetish is the airbrushed and laminated motifs embellishing surfboards and vans, not to speak of the different quality of light which makes for a luminist

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