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MOCA Grande

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 is the first full-scale scholarly survey of this groundbreaking American art movement, encompassing works in painting, sculpture, collage, ceramics, installation art, and performance documentation. Covering the years 1972 to 1985 and featuring approximately fifty artists from across the United States, the exhibition examines the Pattern and Decoration movement’s defiant embrace of forms traditionally coded as feminine, domestic, ornamental, or craft-based and thought to be categorically inferior to fine art. Pattern and Decoration artists gleaned motifs, color schemes, and materials from the decorative arts, freely appropriating floral, arabesque, and patchwork patterns and arranging them in intricate, almost dizzying, and sometimes purposefully gaudy designs. Their work across mediums pointedly evokes a pluralistic array of sources from Islamic architectural ornamentation to American quilts, wallpaper, Persian carpets, and domestic embroidery. Pattern and Decoration artists practiced a postmodernist art of appropriation borne of love for its sources rather than the cynical detachment that became de rigueur in the international art world of the 1980s. This exhibition traces the movement’s broad reach in postwar American art by including artists widely regarded as comprising the core of the movement, such as Valerie Jaudon, Joyce Kozloff, Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, and Miriam Schapiro; artists whose contributions to Pattern and Decoration have been underrecognized, such as Merion Estes, Dee Shapiro, Kendall Shaw, and Takako Yamaguchi; as well as artists who are not normally considered in the context of Pattern and Decoration, such as Emma Amos, Billy Al Bengston, Al Loving, and Betty Woodman. Though little studied today, the Pattern and Decoration movement was institutionally recognized, critically received, and commercially successful from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. The overwhelming preponderance of craft-based practices and unabashedly decorative sensibilities in art of the present-day point to an influential P&D legacy that is ripe for consideration.

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 is organized by Anna Katz, Curator, with Rebecca Lowery, Assistant Curator, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.” – per website

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at [email protected] or Instagram at @ericminhswenson

Larry Bell, Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest (2019)

“MOCA presents an outdoor installation by Los Angeles-based artist Larry Bell. Commissioned specifically for the Sculpture Plaza at MOCA Grand Avenue, Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest is a signature, space-defining work, at once creating a public art space while also echoing and highlighting the geometric forms that comprise the museum’s Pritzker Prize winning Arata Isozaki-designed building. This installation was generously gifted by MOCA Trustee Carol Appel, who has served on the board for four years, and her husband David Appel.

Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest extends Bell’s decades of experimentation with glass. With this work, the pioneering artist long associated with California’s Light and Space movement juxtaposes luminous reds in various saturations, the shades of which are lyrically called habanero, cerise, hibiscus, and carmine. The title refers to the protagonists of 1948’s Bill and Coo, a peculiar and delightful film whose cast is made up entirely of trained birds. The names of the film’s titular lovebirds were in turn drawn from an old-fashioned way to refer to the flirtations of young lovers: within the space of the Sculpture Plaza, a concave hollow defined by the surrounding forms of Isozaki’s architecture, the pair “bill and coo” while nestled in their home in the nest.

This sculpture is the seventh work by Bell to enter the museum’s permanent collection, underscoring MOCA’s commitment to collecting Los Angeles-based artists in depth and joining a rich array of works in MOCA’s collection by other artists associated with the Light and Space movement such as Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, and James Turrell. MOCA’s holdings by Bell include sculptures, drawings, and mixed media works, but Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest is the first commissioned work by the artist to enter the collection, and the largest and most significant of his work within the collection.”

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at [email protected] or Instagram at @ericminhswenson

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