Franklin Parrasch Gallery is pleased to present Safe and Warm in L.A., a look at how artists internalize the architecture and space of Los Angeles and the surrounding topography of the California desert.
The melancholy Mamas and the Papas’ song, California Dreamin’, contemplates a longing to return to Los Angeles from elsewhere (most likely the east coast) in the cold of winter. This exhibition, which borrows its title from the refrain “I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.,” embodies that longing as a concept in the works of artists as diverse in approach as Peter Alexander, John Baldessari, Tony Berlant, Judy Chicago, Robert Graham, Joe Goode, Michael Heizer, Bruce Nauman, Ken Price, Ed Ruscha, Stephen Shore, and James Turrell.
The various responses to landscape in this exhibition are as impassioned as those of the early twentieth century predecessors, whose pre-war California landscapes record natural paradise of sublime proportions. Instead of responding with mere awe however, the artists in this show are directly reacting to a salvaged landscape, where demands on natural resources and transportation increasingly reflect the population’s desire to achieve the California dream.
The city on the desert by the sea has a peculiar relationship with artists, and in particular how they consider its habitation in their work. From those artists who were born and raised in Los Angeles to those who merely visited, there is a formal and conceptual fascination with the configuration of this environment. The infrastructure and architecture represent the physical means of achieving safety and comfort within the desert terrain of southern California, though the reality of such massive urbanization in the support of millions of people can have jarringly opposite results. While the Mamas and the Papas’ song refers to the paradise of cabana culture, these artists point to the commodification of urbanized space in transition.
Safe and Warm in L.A. will be on view at Franklin Parrasch Gallery from September 8th through October 8th. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10-6 pm. For images, biographies and further information please contact Holly Brown at (212) 246-5360 or log onto the gallery’s website at www.franklinparrasch.com.