los-angeles

Gronk and James Bucalo, Morning Becomes Electricity

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)

When is a Mexican-American artist who makes paintings on walls not a muralist and why is Peter Plagens saying those terrible things about him? These were two of the questions examined in a convoluted cross-examination of painter/performance artist Gronk (Glugio Gronk Nicandro) during his performance Morning Becomes Electricity, 1985. The piece, written and performed by Gronk and James Bucalo, was actually a retrospective of Gronk’s work in the form of a trial in which his paintings, performances, and characters were placed on the stand and accused of committing “crimes” against art. The set included Gronk’s spectacular 300-foot-long black-and-white painting (which Gronk insisted during the performance was not a mural) untitled, 1985, which had been installed on a rear wall of the Museum for its summer survey exhibition of Los Angeles artists. Appearing in the painting was “Tormenta,” a

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