Art review: ‘Announce’ at Thomas Solomon Gallery

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Lots of galleries around town have been mounting shows related to Pacific Standard Time, the Getty-sponsored museum initiative to reexamine L.A. art made between 1945 and 1980. Most have focused on painting, sculpture, photographs and other work since the 1960s.

Thomas Solomon Gallery, on the heels of its exhibition of Alexis Smith’s innovative 1970s text-and-image work, has produced an interesting twist on that program. Rather than showing the art, it shows the ads. ‘Announce,’ as the presentation is called, features the original announcement cards and posters for a wide array of gallery exhibitions, borrowed from 13 collectors, curators and artists (including Smith). Displayed in vitrines and on the walls, it’s text and image of another sort.

Artist Ed Ruscha kept posters for Ferus Gallery shows, including the 1962 debut of Andy Warhol’s soup can paintings. Collector Dagny Corcoran had a special interest in Joseph Cornell’s collages and box assemblages, judging from the numerous announcements she kept. Curator Helen Lewis produced posters for On Kawara’s 1977 exhibition of Conceptual art at Otis and Joe Goode’s abstract paintings at Mount St. Mary’s College.

The archival aspect of the show has its interests -- one poster for a UCLA lecture series misspells artist Maria Nordman’s name -- but the typically straightforward, informational quality of most of these announcements brings something else to mind. Los Angeles, the city that public relations built, saw a boom in self-generated art publicity in the 1960s. Since the 1990s artist Dave Muller has smartly made that phenomenon one subject for his work, represented here by lovely paintings on paper that reproduce -- by hand -- mechanically reproduced exhibition posters and announcements. Think of them as poetic mass-media still lifes.


Thomas Solomon Gallery, 427 Bernard St., Chinatown, (323) 275-1687, through Dec. 15. Closed Sundays through Tuesdays.


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-- Christopher Knight