Quiet on the set: keep noise to a Minimum

Mel Bochner, “Minimal Art-The Movie”, 1966. Courtesy Deutsch Bank Artmag at www.db-artmag.de

I was rereading a batch of the previous posts to avoid being redundant, but that won’t stop me from piggybacking. Ben Street’s post “Best Supporting Artists” reminded me of a piece I’d seen in at the Los Angeles MoCA in 2004 as part of A Minimal Future—Art as Object 1958-1968, which was billed as a landmark exhibit in its focus on the emergence of Minimalist art in America. The show was expansive: sculptures, paintings, photographs, and drawings by 40 artists filled the entirety of the California plaza location. The show was quiet too and worked my mind with ideas about materials, production, and the relationships between art, space, and the viewer. Which is to say, I shouldn’t have been laughing. Well, tough.

Mel Bochner’s drawing (above) is a tongue-in-cheek take on burgeoning art-stardom. That it’s written on a small notebook page packs the thrill of reading an inside joke in a cool kid’s diary and—no small thanks to MoCA—actually getting it.

Sean Connery takes a break from tormenting Ms. MoneyPenny to play Donald Judd. Kirk Douglas, exactly a decade after portraying Vincent V.G (a study in emotional excess) is invited to go minimal as Carl Andre*. I especially like Bochner’s modest choice of Peter Fonda (pre-Easy Rider) for himself. The positioning of the piece towards the end of exhibit added welcome levity and practically introduced the Conceptual jokers yet to come.

*Random fact: prior to becoming a sculptor, Carl Andre briefly worked for United States Army Intelligence.