Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Art For Schmucks

Roland Reiss, Personal Politics: Sculpture from the 1970s and 1980s opened at the Pasadena Museum of California Art in September in the main gallery.  The show consisted of several of his sculptures -- more like dioramas, no different than what my kids did as elementary school projects.  Each of his pieces is intended to tell a visual disclosure that is not 100% clear at first but with a little bit of work, I eventually get it.  Which brings me to one of my long-standing complaints about surrealist art and that is, it requires too much work to appreciate.  Reiss' art is far from surrealism but in my mind, it requires just as much work to interpret and that kind of art is not necessarily for mass consumption.  Luckily for me, I was not too tired when I visited PMCA so it wasn't too bad at all.  Walking from piece to piece, I can't help but think of the movie "Dinner For Schmucks" where Steve Carrell's character builds dioramas from taxidermied mice.  Art should be easy to view and Roland Reiss' certainly isn't.  Maybe that is why, although unquestionably brilliant, he is not a household name.

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