06 August, 2010

The Duchess Observes . . .

Dennis Hopper Double Standard
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles



Yesterday the Duchess et al. traipsed downtown for a viciously good lunch at the venerable Philippe and to pay a visit to the Dennis Hopper Double Standard exhibit at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary building, which is located conveniently near Hama Sushi and the courthouses (for jury duty breaks, one may suppose).

As all of us now know, rather sadly, Dennis Hopper passed away at his home in Venice (Los Angeles) on May 29, 2010, only a few short weeks before MOCA opened its retrospective on Hopper's entire visual arts career. The MOCA exhibit features Hopper's sculptures, films (fine art and commercial), photographs and paintings.

Tuesday Weld!

The exhibit was curated by Julian Schnabel, artist and friend to Hopper. As a result, the display reads as a tribute rather than a critically culled collection of works; but all of this is fine. It is Hollywood after all, and Hopper was one of our most iconic and beloved screen actors. It's fitting that a show of his works at the Geffen Contemporary reflects a hefty dose of adoration, and fondness.

Jane Fonda with Bow and Arrow

Not that Hopper's works aren't deserving, at least some of them. Though the Duchess cared little for his paintings, both his sculptural work and especially his photographs capture and convey a strong sense of the romanticized, dystopic Hollywood scene of the 1960s. The outsized La Salsa man (at bottom) shares visual space with a posse of Hells Angels -- and there is nothing incongruent about it. For the Duchess at least, it is a perfectly normal part of the day first to be accosted by garish and obtrusive gas station signs, and then to be mesmerized and charmed by the latest Hollywood star or starlet making his or her way to the choicest table, sans reservation.



Hopper isolated and presented this uniquely Los Angeleno element as the key theme in many of his pieces. And if for that reason only, the Double Standard exhibit is worth a visit. The Duchess wasn't disappointed.



Dennis Hopper Double Standard
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
Now through September 26, 2010

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