Los Angeles

Tony Berlant

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

When artists choose to work in collage or assemblage. they open a door and let the world into their work. The problem then becomes one of keeping the world at bay, of sustaining the work of art so that real-life objects and references play their assigned roles and no others. Much of the interest in collage derives from this now-symbiotic, now-antagonistic pull between life and art.

Imagine, then, how complicated things become when art invades art, not just in the form of allusion or quotation but as a fusion of a preexistent work with a new one. This is one of the issues raised by the work of Tony Berlant, who has focused his attention on the setting and presentation of paintings and frames found and borrowed from anonymous painters, craftsmen, and Sunday portraitists whose work has turned up in antique shops, sidewalk art fairs, and other generally unsanctioned places. He sets the borrowed

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