los-angeles

Gerhard Merz

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Gerhard Merz has built a reputation in recent years with a series of site-specific installations that attempt to realize the utopian Modernist dream of a formalism that fuses art and architecture in a seamless, nonutilitarian whole. While this seems at first glance to be a hopelessly nostalgic yearning for the “total” art epitomized by the art-for-art’s-sake movements of the early 20th century, Merz introduces enough contradictory elements to create a visually provocative, if theoretically futile work.

Archipittura, 1992, Merz’s recent installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, was a logical step in this development, combining the dual elements of architecture (architettura, in Italian) and painting (pittura). A large room was split into unequal “halves” by an open-ended dividing wall, which allowed the viewer to walk around it but never to view all of the walls of the room at

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