Wednesday, May 25, 2011

David Smith - Cubes and Anarchy (with a little Stark Bar to balance out the day)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt your jaw drop in amazement?  That is exactly what happened to me when recently we visited LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art).  Though I had read the article in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times, I was completely unprepared for what I was going to feel when I stood in the same room with the artwork comprising the current exhibit at the Resnick Pavilion:  David Smith:  Cubes and Anarchy.

If you are unfamiliar with David Smith, here is a brief summary: David Smith is one of the greatest American sculptors of the twentieth century and is best known for the strongly geometric forms of his Cubism  series from the 1960's.  His work reflects a worldview influenced by art and politics to which even a layman can relate.  Born in 1906, you can see the influence of two world wars, a depression and hard work in the pieces.  He passed away in 1965 at age 59,  and I wonder how his work would have changed if he had lived through the political turmoil of the 70's and the social epidemics of the 80's. Somehow, this seems all too fitting an exhibit, based on everything we are currently witnessing in our society.

The exhibit takes it title from the artist’s days at the infamous Art Students League in New York where David Smith learned about cubism, constructivism, and social movements that Smith called "cubes and anarchy."   There are too many wonderful pieces to comment on individually, so my focus is on the piece that had the most significant impact on me – “Zig IV.”

I was enraptured by Zig IV.  From every angle my perspective of the piece changed and I felt as if I was looking at a new sculpture, reading something different into every new juxtaposition, bend, line, and ridge. The harshness of the straight lines against the soft curves of the angles raises so many questions.  Are the straight lines representing the path we are all on, and the soft partial curves the fluidity of events in our life that lead to the next event?  Does the steel represent the rawness in war, work and politics? Is this sculpture a metaphor for life?  To me it is all very logical, every shape and form complimenting perfectly elements in life, whether struggles or success.

The great thing about art, which should not be understated or underestimated, is that it is all subject to individual tastes and reactions.  Viewing art is truly a democratic endeavor for no one can tell you how you should feel when you look at a piece.  So take your personal experiences, prejudices, and perspectives to LACMA before July 24 and enjoy a wonderful exhibit. 

For your post viewing pleasure, stop at Stark Bar.  Here are a few of the delights you will find:
Delightfully Refreshing - Ginger Rogers
Flatbread - crisp, and with the perfect amount of sauce
Oysters - Is there anything more refreshing?

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Hours: M/T/TH 12-8, Closed Wednesday, F/S/S 11-8
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles 90036

1 comment:

  1. That's what's so wonderful about blogging though and finding all those common links still astounds me. Thank you for wonderful post!