dayoutlast is a record of my direct engagement with mostly contemporary art, mostly Los Angelean.

As this blog has evolved since its 2010 inception, so has my perspective. What I once perceived as central within the investigation was what was central, literally, within the photographic frame that I shared here. While still an important consideration, such thinking has also given way to more peripheral considerations, ones also accompanied occasionally by text (written manifestation of thought) and the oscillations between them. What's missing here are larger unknowns surrounding issues of presentation and representation; the amount of time and space it actually takes to accomplish such first-hand observations; and the quandaries between documentation and interpretation.

Despite my attempt to communicate here with image and text what is essential in some respect about the artwork, neither representation should ever be considered a substitution for the primary viewing experience. Of course, occasionally there are exceptions.

Most of the time, these posts are merely remnants---residual fragments---from my last day out.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Michael McMillen "Outpost" @ LA Louver

Dr. Crump's Mobile Field Lab [aka Inductive Geo-Imaging Field Laboratory], 2004-2014
mixed media installation with four films, featuring "Politbureau," "Science Institute Presents," "Wasteland" and "The End"
dimensions variable

Finger Tension Tower 1, 1980
wood, metal, desert detritus
29 1/4 x 11 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches

Ocean Park, 1985
painted wood & metal construction
38 x 60 x 7 inches

Outpost, 2015
reengineered chair, painted wood and metal, 19th century clock mechanism
52 x 19 x 28 inches

Receiver, 2014-2016
mixed media constructions; reengineered chair, vintage military electronics
"Tides" (03:10)
dimensions variable

Transmitter, 2014
painted wood, metal construction, motor, electronic beacon
60 1/2  x 17 x 22 inches

Della Sala (Interior with stairs), 1985
mixed media
16 x 12 x 15 inches

Theater of LA. facade and prop. Passage of time. Like the moving image. Text. Image. Cut. Fast forward. Meanwhile... Cold War aesthetic, the specter of nuclear war against the promise of a better life. TV dinner! cf. Richard Hawkins pagodas in terms of a shabby surface that references rural Texas lifestyle and domesticity, for example. The west... Kenholz installation. Waves go in. Waves go out. As the world turns. A beacon of change to come. Staircase descent. 

The more I think about this show, the more it's difficult to avoid the obvious Duchamp references. Not just the gratuitous use of readymades but also specific gestures such as a chair (which is not so different from a stool), simple rotating object in Transmitter, and especially Della Sala which seems like an odd hybrid of Nude Descending a Staircase and Etant Donnes. So, then what? Readymade of a readymade? Perhaps clues lie in the very next show running currently at LA Louver, Ed Kienholz Televisions.

The first time I encountered McMillen's work was at LACMA some twenty-five years ago.  Stepping into The Central Meridian (aka The Garage), 1981, was not only like time-traveling in general, it was something much more familiar, more familial.  My assumption was that we all know a garage like this, one full of things to tinker, projects laid out in midstream, perhaps the 20th century studio of suburbia middle America.  Garage bands spawn from similar locales. So, encountering Dr. Crump's Lab was a bit like the Garage but with so much time having passed in between, for me.  When I look at the works of McMillen in this show, contemporary or slightly dated ones, the aesthetic seems to have stood still somewhere between Hollywood backlot, prop house, and neighboring garages everywhere, elsewhere. Yet, the world still turns, still.