painting in tongues


“Painting in Tongues,” MOCA’s new international survey of young practitioners of the world’s second-oldest profession, claims a distinguished pedigree from among the more subversive, idiosyncratic and visually gifted artists of the modern era. My desert island list of 20th-century painters would also probably include Francis Picabia, Sigmar Polke, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Jim Shaw. Gerhard Richter I can take or leave — his work’s pretty and clever enough, but for all his genre-busting, his ideas seem narrow and authoritarian. Still, I wouldn’t kick him out of my art-bed. And as part of a lineup of standards against which to frame a cluster of international emergy painters, he, like the rest, cuts a pretty formidable figure.

I doubt if any of the seven “Tongue” painters would choose to be assessed in such company, though a couple of them could plausibly ascend to the same league given time. Pieced together from an assortment of fashionable hometown, British and German approaches to contemporary painting issues, the exhibition succeeds foremost as a showcase of distinct individual practices, ranging from the washy convention-fetishizing belle-époque slacker doodles of Kai Althoff to the alarming twin monkey tower sculpture by Rodney McMillian, which could only be included in a painting show whose premise is militant heterogeneity within individual painters’ oeuvres.

more from the LA Weekly here.