Making Art Effable

Installation view of Index: Conceptualism in California from the Permanent Collection at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 2008. Photo by Brian Forrest

For the exhibition Index: Conceptualism in California,  MOCA invited four Los Angeles poets to respond to artists’ work. Though the scope of the exhibition–Index  ambitiously explores the ways in which California artists contributed to conceptual art’s development–is staggering, each poet takes a nuanced approach, emphasizing the intimate and local nature of conceptualism. Gail Wronsky imbues Cindy Bernard’s film stills with feminine crassness; Elena Karina Byrne taps into the mystery of Jack Goldstein’s and John Baldessari’s work; David St. John captures the quietness of Alexis Smith’s Asphalt Jungle; and Paul Vangelisti channels the dual urgency and monotony of Wallace Berman’s images. Podcasts of the poets reading their work can be found here, on MOCA’s podcast and audio page.

Contributor
Catherine Wagley is a writer and artist living in Los Angeles. She primarily writes about art, architecture, and visual culture and is currently exploring decadence and empathy in contemporary photography. She justifies her obsession with primetime TV by calling it “research.” Wagley contributes the Art21 column “Looking at Los Angeles."

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