The relatively modest Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles didn't overwhelm people with blockbuster pieces, as other Museums in Los Angele often did, yet it invited conversation and thoughts with some austere pieces.
My favorite was a mixed media on paper titled Dêpouille (Skin or Human Remains) (1945) by French artist Jean Fautrier (1898-1964). The strongest impression of this abstract piece was the understated, appealing palette, which consisted of pale brownish yellow and red, underneath some intermittent light blue wash. The main object, occupying almost the entire paper, shaped like a giant pearl upon its irregular shaped mother shell. Yet, once the title sank in, this amorphous object took on a sinister meaning and darker tone, and the imagined sheen of a piece of jewel morphed into rough and cracked mass, symbol of the degeneration of bodies.
Dêpouille (Skin or Human Remains), 1945, Mixed media on paper mounted on linen, Jean Fautrier (1898-1964)
At first glance, Franz Kline (1910-1962)'s 1956 oil painting, Monitor, was a pure abstract piece, consisted only white and black paints. The wet over wet effect of the merge and interplay of these sharply contrasted colors was both dramatic and subtle. The boldness of the gigantic central black "beam" also contrasted wonderfully to a very thin dark stroke, fading into far distance, and aided by a small pole at the end of that disappearing stroke, thus added more focal interest to these ever entangled and extending objects, instantly a broad space was opened up for the viewer. After the dramatic impact of the high contrast had dissipated, I realized that one of those protruding object in the center of the canvas was actually indeed a traffic or security monitor, atop of a huge horizontal beam, pointing to unseen and perhaps unaware people, beyond the edge of the canvas. Beautiful and disturbing.
Monitor, 1956, Oil on Canvas, Franz Kline (1910-1962)
My Favorite Museum Collection Series
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List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited
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