Emi Fontana had a hunch. As director of the new nonprofit West of Rome, she knew the opening of LACMA’s Broad Contemporary Art Museum on Feb. 16 would be hard to beat. So she organized an exhibition featuring the work of Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer and Louise Lawler that would be impossible to miss. “It’s an art show for cars,” Fontana says with a laugh.
Starting Saturday, Kruger will interject phrases and videos on a Sunset Strip LED screen that will give ironic commentary to yuppies whizzing by, and Holzer will use the Roosevelt Hotel, the LA Weekly and posters for her own pointed “truisms.” Sherman will add four of her film stills on billboards around the city starting Feb. 19.
Fontana tells me that her idea was to “recontextualize” some of the key work of the ‘80s, when such female artists were aggressively “taking charge of public spaces,” as she says. And it’s no accident that there’s a cinematic element to many of the works, especially in Lawler’s piece, where she re-creates her classic 1979 performance in which she runs John Huston’s “The Misfits” with just the audio (at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica next Thursday).
“It’s all about media,” says Fontana. “What could be more perfect for L.A.?”