los-angeles

“Love in the Ruins”

Long Beach Museum of Art

To most people, Los Angeles is a city of perpetual sunshine and eternal optimism. Historically, artists and the art business have stuck to the East Coast and West Coast art has always enjoyed a strangely tangential relationship to this “center” of the art world. Embracing a refreshing sense of the absurd that contrasts with the high-seriousness of the New York art world, and framed by a culture of unreality (the film business), art in California has often seemed like an antidote to the high-art ideals of the mainstream art world.

Artists like Edward Ruscha, John Baldessari, Alexis Smith, Llyn Foulkes and, more recently, Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw, have all, at one time or another, been victims of this idea of the West Coast art world as marginal. With a somewhat jokey, self-parodying attitude that contrasts with the rigorous intellectualism of the international mainstream, these artists have

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