• The State of Sculpture at Palm Springs Art Museum

    Date posted: March 28, 2012 Author: jolanta

    Happenstance, was stopping in at a Farmer’s market for among items a gallon of high octane green juice grounded with grapefruit.

    My friend had offered, that a nearby sign indicating a new branch of the Palms Springs Art Museum here in Palm Desert was misleading as the new location for the mother ship operation did not exist.   But in taking a break from perhaps, browsing for a sale on kale, this writer sauntered over as he noticed the Donald Judd gray concrete Box.  And the proceeded towards the back entrance of the building to inquire, and found that though there were clearly people inside the back entrance was closed.

    “Inside began the exhibit which was not only the opening of the museum, but also the inaugural one in this space, a former visitors’ center now leased by the city to the museum for a dollar a year.”


    Tracey Emin, I Can Never Leave You, 200. Blue neon, edition 1/3. Collection of Donna MacMillan

     

    The State of Sculpture at Palm Springs Art Museum
    By Lee Klein

    Happenstance, was stopping in at a Farmer’s market for among items a gallon of high octane green juice grounded with grapefruit.

    My friend had offered, that a nearby sign indicating a new branch of the Palms Springs Art Museum here in Palm Desert was misleading as the new location for the mother ship operation did not exist.   But in taking a break from perhaps, browsing for a sale on kale, this writer sauntered over as he noticed the Donald Judd gray concrete Box.  And the proceeded towards the back entrance of the building to inquire, and found that though there were clearly people inside the back entrance was closed.  He then made his way over to the front entrance where the door opened to a bevy of black shirt wearing staff abuzz who enlightened this person that there was an opening for members from 4-7 that evening, but that they did not know about press.

    So in deciding that this was a ripe opportunity – so close to an agricultural valley – swift as the wind we returned home after lunch at Grand Central Health Food Store and a spate of work for my friend to change into Armani, Polo and Jay Kos for a late afternoon early evening fete in the desert.   The setting was simply spectacular – in preexisting gardens in native, natural southwestern United States style – designed by the late Eric Johnson for whom part of the outdoor landscape is now named. Wine was served and we met the preeminent international art dealer, philanthropist and very well tanned in many hues flaking creme chemised baroque sun glassed – as if for playing jai alai in a tanning salon and so on – Gregg G. Juarez.  Juarez was first glad-handed by a woman very reddened by the sun who claimed to have once worked for him in Paris, though she he could not remember.

    Inside began the exhibit which was not only the opening of the museum, but also the inaugural one in this space, a former visitors’ center now leased by the city to the museum for a dollar a year.  The exhibit entitled “Rodin to Now: Modern Sculpture” the wall text for which begins “The History of Sculpture in the Modern era justifiably begins with French artist August Rodin, who did more to change our understanding of the medium than any artist since Michelangelo.”   I have always found Rodin a bit overdone for my taste and so I am well prepared to offer an argument here that the Frenchman does not measure up to the Florentine… but I focussed on the word ‘since.’ And in doing so, this writer actually fell in love with the Rodin duo in marble L’eternal du pritemps [Eternal Spring], at the Rancho Mirage Situated Annenberg estate in the main house; facing the regimentally plotted gardens caressed in the full light of the sun, and taking on a rosy glow and therein retired his own re-direction.

    Inside the museum, flowing out from the Rodin, other modern masters now abound as the the walls go round – Lipchitz , Picasso ( here represented  by an atypical work more likely to be tied in with the artist’s realist blue and rose periods in painting than cubism “Pregnant Woman 1950/59″), a Giacometti, a Jaques Lipchitz, a Mario Marini, a Archipenko, a Jean Arp and a loving public in the form of a patron base.   Then the art flows into a windowless side gallery for new media pieces starting with a forerunner in the form of a Edward Keinholz – whose piece is a tin television can with a painterly brushstroke oil, gesso, petrol – coils in front of a photograph inside the front panel with the word “Russen” written on a wall.  Tracy Emin is here with her neon script… well I don’t know should I post a reply, how about: eat me now.  Meanwhile Jennifer Steinkamp shows a projector playing virtual reality flowers moving on the wall. Soon sanity returned as Austen, a painted steel sculpture in green by Anthony Caro, traversed the length of the room. The Caro is in fact part of a larger room moving towards a double box split inside, between Untitled Judd. There is an Artschwager, a Benglis, a Ken Price, and a giant Robert Therrien of stacked plates called No Title (stacked plates, butter), at the proper entrance.  So as Spring bloomed in weather worthy of heaven, it was razzle and dazzle as the small museum whose space was there to be filled for the first time was done so in a manner just enough to distance yourself from any individual piece whether in love, or not, or just to behold.

    Rodin to Now
    Modern Sculpture
    Opened March 15, 2012
    Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert

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