I enjoy a lot of conceptual art. But, in order for it to be worthy of my attention it must have beauty. I'm not talking about pretty flowers here. I'm talking about some sort of perceptual experience of satisfaction beyond the idea (thanks wikipedia). Over the years the curators at MOCA have evidently declined to pay any heed to beauty as evidenced in their current show: MOCA'S First Thirty Years.
I haven't seen the entire show though, only the 1980-NOW section down at the Geffen which has mostly sculpture and installation. So, who knows, maybe there's some beauty hanging out down at Grand Ave. though I'm certainly not inspired to see it after wandering through this maze of horrors. I have been in LA for over ten years (making me officially from here) and I've seen many shows at MOCA that have had stand out, jaw dropping, exceptional work. The curators apparently neglected to purchase any of that for their permanent collection.
Is it just me or is this stuff intensely ugly? Seriously, some of this looks like rubbish left by the assembly crew. I mean some of this crap is not even good enough for LACE. Whoops, did I say that? I think I know why MOCA has had it's recent money woes. It's not mismanagement, it's because their collection has not aged well. It is the equivalent of sub-prime mortgage backed securities or junk bonds traded into worthlessness. It doesn't even look antique, just out of date.
Even the things that are supposed to be ugly are ugly. Just in time for xmas is Paul McCarthy's horrifying Tokyo Santa, installation. Don't get me wrong, I hate xmas as much as the next guy and I appreciate the punch below the belt to the season. But, this gratuitously retched half-naked santa montage is just so predictable.
But, it wasn't all bad. As I exited I saw a man taking some photos of the most compelling scene at the Geffen, the tinted late afternoon sunlight shining through the windows at the front door. Too bad it wasn't part of the show.