The main idea of this show is to speculate if Sydney, Australia, a sprawling conurbation of coastal and landlocked suburbs, has anything artistically in common with the metropolis of Los Angeles. I am also speculating that there is such a thing as Australian cool, which might reflect or correspond with a perception held that LA art is definitely cool.
LA’s emergence as an important art city has been an ongoing matter for debate but has recently become cemented by the by appearance in LA of some major new art museums and international galleries.
Both Sydney and Los Angeles are coastal cities that share the same sea albeit separated by 7,500 miles. They are both important economic giants and huge cultural melting pots in their respective countries. Most important, both cities bask in huge amounts of sunlight during the year so that their skyscrapers sparkle in the light and seem to ignore the daily hustle in the streets below.
I first visited LA in 2007 and have been back half a dozen times since and I can say, whether the art is significant or not, that looking at art in LA is always cool. Maybe it’s the borrowed glamour of Hollywood etched into the streets travelling between galleries, but it is a cool place to look at art. I can compare it to a gallery trip around Chelsea, NYC, in a winter blizzard seeing important stuff but ankle deep in frozen slush!
What do I mean by cool? All the Australian artists in the show do not have any frantic allegiance to historical art movements or profess great significant tropes. They might reference historical modes of art making, but generally use them without heat and with plenty of skill, and always well within themselves. As if they still have plenty in the tank. But I won’t labour the point. I just think they are all very good artists who are worthy of showing in the great shiny city of Los Angeles.
Chrome City - Australian Art in Los Angeles
Ron Adams, Polly Borland, Chris Dolman, Belem Lett, Adam Norton, Philjames, Genevieve Felix Reynolds
Curated by Adam Norton
Durden & Ray, Los Angeles
Photos: Brian Thomas Jones