When I first entered Los Angeles in 1965, it was through downtown. What a depressing place – dingy, dirty and in decline. Today, every visit is a new adventure. High rise buildings with lots of Chinese money, first-class sports complex, extraordinary Catholic Cathedral, Grand Central Market, ethnic areas of revival, art districts, and world-class art venues: the Disney Concert Hall, the Contemporary, and newest and most impressive, The Broad.
The Broad is LA’s new contemporary art museum and most accessible. Not only is it free, but the art hits the highlight best-known post war artists, blended with the newest and provocative. The collection has Koons, Johns, Ruscha, Warhol, Baldessari, Lichtenstein, Basquiat and Cindy Sherman.
The Grand Avenue museum also has some amazing installations, such as Yayoi Kusama’s enclosed room of mirrors and lights, Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.
And, it has Richard Prince’s “I eat politics, I sleep politics, But I never drink politics.”
Richard Prince emerged in the late 1970s among a group of artists using conceptual photographic strategies, including Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine, and others. In Prince’s technique, he rephotographs advertisements or magazine images and presents them as art. For this reason, he is aligned with the theories and concerns of appropriation and specifically with the critical debate over artistic authorship.
Alongside the photographs of pre-existing images, Prince developed the Monochromatic Jokes series of paintings, an example of which is Eat, Sleep and Drink, 1989. Jokes can be seen as masks for something else, masking harsh critiques under cool, detached irony. The line is from a well-known New Yorker cartoon showing two men and a bartender discussing when not to discuss politics. A very good thought for today.