In the Land of Retinal Delights: The Juxtapoz Factor
On view through October 5th, 2008
Laguna Art Museum
In the Land of Retinal Delights: The Juxtapoz Factor is an exhibition that presents the work of 150 artists and posits that there has been a huge, but unacknowledged art movement taking place in this country for the last 40 years. Since 1994, this ground swelling of lowbrow, surrealistic, pop, figurative, narrative work has coalesced and found a voice in the pages of Juxtapoz magazine published in San Francisco. This rag has become the most widely read art magazine in the US. It is an influencing force on the aspiring artists of Generation Y and the Millennials, who are now enrolling in art schools in numbers never seen before.
Juxtapoz magazine was founded by Los Angeles-artist Robert Williams. The “Juxtapoz aesthetic or lowbrow art” is almost always figurative, and is inspired by movies, TV, advertising, black-velvet painting, psychedelic posters, pulp porn, sci-fi and horror, carnival art, comics books and all things lower- and middle-class. The Magazine has and does provide a voice and validation for a brand of artist, like Williams, who has not been accepted traditionally by the typical art-world infrastructure of collector, curator, and critic. However, since its founding, it has been the clear focal point for having been the inspiration for the creation of its own infrastructure that supports Juxtapozian art with galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York, collectors, followed by critical attention, followed by museum exhibitions at adventurous institutions. With it’s growing success Juxtapoz has been a major contributor to the reemergence of painting again as a valid practice for artists since the mid-1990s, running counter to forty-years of art-school canon that focused on the Conceptual practice of context, collectivization, and dematerialization of the art object.
For the last decade the art establishment (collector, curator, and critic) has argued that the idea, or construct, of an art movement is outmoded. This exhibition explores the idea of a “Juxtapoz Factor.” Is it an organized movement operating under a singular manifesto? Or is it a wave of talented overlooked artists who decided to reach out to the public and create their own canon?
Check out the full description here, along with a listing of all the fantastic artists involved. You might notice Illustration Alum Isabel Samaras in that list. Congrats to her! You can also read more about the show in this write-up by Richard Chang in the OC Register, who proclaims that this show “could very well be the art show of the year.” High praise.
Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
[ images by Robert Williams (top) and Isabel Samaras (bottom) ]