Monday, March 19, 2012

It's a Small World: "Intimate Immensity" at The Hammer Museum

IT'S A SMALL WORLD: "INTIMATE IMMENSITY" AT THE HAMMER MUSEUM: In the art world, it seems that there is a long-held notion that bigger might sometimes be better (something not exclusive to art, for sure) for the presentation and enjoyment of art of all disciplines. This might be due in part to the fact that we, as the viewer, have been "visually educated" for so long by seeing gargantuan works by such powerhouses as Jackson Pollock, Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Willem de Kooning that we aren't aware of the other works that exist by these master artists which, though made on a smaller scale, could bring exactly the same kind of excitement to the viewer as their larger counterparts!  Stick with us on this one, okay? That is why we were so intrigued by the current exhibition at The Hammer Museum "Intimate Immensity" (which runs through May 6, 2012) that makes this point exactly -- and which you -- our always informer reader! -- might want to investigate if you are in or coming to L.A. Dedicated Hammer patrons Susan and Larry Marx created a private collection of more than 150 works of drawings, paintings and sculptures (which are promised gifts to The Hammer) featuring more than 100 international artists from the post-World War II era -- predominantly abstract expressionism and other contemporary art movements -- including all the artists mentioned above!  Shown here are some prime examples of works on a smaller scale that offer an amazing artistic impact when viewed in person: "E'ecole Buissonni√®re" by Joan Mitchell, 27" x 26" (top); "Untitled (Roman Note)" by Cy Twombly, 27.5" x 34 3/8" (lower left); and "Untitled" by Jackson Pollock, 17.5" x 22 1/4" (lower right).  Of interest also on display is yet a smaller Pollock -- perhaps 8" x 10" that exhibits a labyrinth of strokes and lines that one can easily get lost in (we certainly did!). Compare these sizes to such well-known pieces as Mitchell's 26-foot-long "Salut Tom" at the Corcoran; or Twombly's 53-foot-long "Say Goodbye, Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor" at The Menil Collection; or Pollock's 17-foot-long "One: Number 31, 1950" at MoMA -- and you'll certainly appreciate this Hammer exhibition all the more, knowing that you can see works that until now have not been fully appreciated by the public, while giving you a greater insight into how great artists can reign in the size of their works while still providing an "intimate immensity" as the show title promises.  Although we couldn't show you the images, we certainly want all you cat lovers out there (like us!) to be aware of five cat drawings by Warhol exhibited in this show that we instantly fell in love with -- especially one of Sam!! When you couple everything we mentioned above with the fact that there is always free admission on Thursday at The Hammer Museum, you can't go wrong with getting a generous dose of "small" art that leaves a big lasting impression.
Images courtesy The Hammer Museum