We meet as a group at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles and as a group we observed two shows entitled Art as Life by Allan Kaprow and As Far AS the Eye Can See by Lawrence Weiner.
In the Art as Life show by Allan Kaprow, there were several installation pieces that captured our group’s attention.
The first installation piece our group participated in was entitled, “Push and Pull: A Furniture Comedy for Allan Kaprow 2008” that was a reinvention of Kaprow’s 1963 piece. It was an installation piece that included blue painted furniture, different pairs of shoes, and plastic sheeting, which the audience was encouraged to participate by “pushing” and “pulling” the items around. At first, our group hesitated to engage in this action, until we read the instructions that gave us very brief instructions on how to begin interacting with the items. Kaprow really wanted to move away from traditional artwork that was just meant to be looked at. His goal was to have people play with his art work in order for people to gain an experience instead of just observing some painting that looks pretty.
Furthermore, there was another installation pieces entitled “Trade Talk,” that included a mixed media and performance, which was inspired from another work entitled, “Trading Dirt” that was a video. The purpose of “Trade Talk” was to have people sit around a circle and discuss their experiences of Kaprow’s work. Our group was able to experience this first hand since several of our other classmates joined us in the circle including the professor and we sat to discuss Kaprow and his work that made the installation piece fulfill its purpose.
“Trading Dirt” is a video that actually inspired “Trade Talk” because it shows Kaprow discussing the purpose for the space. Our group found this setting very interesting since several of Kaprow’s work involves the inclusion of people; therefore, an installation piece wouldn’t be successful without an audience.
Finally, the most fun piece our group actively participated in was entitled, “Apple Shrine, 2008” that was a reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s 1960 piece. The installation piece looked almost like a maze where people had the freedom to write or pock the paper sheeting walls, and they were able play with the shredded paper that was on the floor. Some people had a little too much fun (Michael) with the shredded paper, which was all in good fun and it really made our group enjoy the experience. Kaprow really focused on the environment and space, which our group thinks was the reason for the apples that were seen all over this installation piece. Maybe Kaprow wanted the audience to gain a connection with the environment that really serves as a strong message for today’s global concern.
Another show that our group was exposed to that day was entitled As Far As the Eye Can See by Lawrence Weiner. This show was an accumulation of Weiner’s body of work from throughout his 40 year career. His show includes work that demonstrates how he plays with language on an experimental level that’s descriptive, creative, and almost poetic. For example, the following statement was on display in bold blue letters on a white wall that stated, “Drops of Blue Water Forced Over the Rim of a Pot Made of Clay.” Our group discussed how Weiner considers the instructions of a piece as valuable as the piece itself. In other words, the description of the concept is just as good as a solid object, film, sculpture and so forth. Another work that stood out for our group was the green splatter paint on the white wall that was unlike any of the other pieces. Maybe Weiner was trying to make the viewer focus on the green paint for what it was, a fluid substance that drip down the wall. Again, just the simplicity of his work made his work that much stronger since it relies on the viewer to fill in the blanks that the artist intentionally omits from the language.
Indeed, the show of Allan Kaprow and Lawrence Weiner complemented each other since it presented art in a different form that made our group’s visit to the museum very memorable.
Lawrence Weiner's exhibition views.