Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles
Inaugural Exhibition: Unpacking and The Wig Museum
Opens May 25th to the public
Article by Cathy Breslaw
The decision to create the new Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles began in 2013 when
the wHY architects and designers were tasked to redevelop the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple
into a new center for contemporary art. The 110,000 square foot building, originally designed by artist/designer Millard Sheets in 1961, originated with the vision of Maurice and Paul Marciano, co-founders of Guess? Inc.
The Marciano brothers moved to Los Angeles from southern France in 1981, where they founded the small denim company that would become a world-renowned brand. While living in Los Angeles, they became increasingly drawn to the burgeoning artist community and began developing close ties with artists as they visited studios around the city. During the 1990’s they began collecting art and by 2012, the Marcianos had amassed a large collection that they wanted to share with the public.
The Marciano Collection includes over 1,500 works and 200 artists, including established, mid-career and emerging artists from around the globe. In keeping with the foundation’s original intent to create an ‘art playground’ , the brothers have a particular affinity with Los Angeles artists and seek to reserve spaces in the building for collaborations, and to encourage experimentation.
The inaugural exhibitions opening May 25th, are Unpacking curated by Philipp Kaiser and The Wig Museum, a solo exhibition of the work of Los Angeles artist Jim Shaw. Unpacking draws over 100 works from the collection, including an international and multigenerational roster of artists. A site reflective work by Ruan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, Ledge engages with the site itself, which has proven inspiring to several artists in the collection. There is a multi channel sculptural theater featuring a film created at the temple itself in 2014, prior to renovations. A powerful 22 minute film Inferno by Yael Bartana combines the qualities of a historical epic and the drama of a Hollywood blockbuster through narrative motifs blending researched facts with mythic accounts relating to ancient Jerusalem’s first temple whose violent destruction during the Siege of Jerusalem to the subsequent Jewish diaspora of 6th century BCE. Also included are paintings by Christopher Wool and Albert Oehlen, works by multi media artists Sterling Ruby and Mike Kelley, as well as post-pop figurative works and paintings by Paul McCarthy and Takashi Murakami. Other artists in the exhibition are: Huma Bhabha, Latifa Echakhch, Mark Grotjahn, WadeGuyton, David Hammons, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Glenn Ligon, Goshka Macuga, Laura Owens, Cindy Sherman, Paul Sietsema, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Danh Vo, Kelley Walker, Mary Weatherford and Jonas Wood.
Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum, curated by Philipp Kaiser, highlights Shaw’s engagement with America’s social, political and spiritual histories through the nation’s mainstream and fringe cultures. Included are paintings, sculptures, drawings and installations. Shaw’s creation of The Wig Museum, fashioned after a museum you would see on Hollywood Blvd, relates to the Masons who frequented the building previously used as a temple, and is a comment on the decline of wig-wearing Masonic and Anglo –Saxon power. Shaw spent time in the building during renovations sketching and photographing, and his works involved the appropriating of found images and objects used by the Masons - there are several hand painted theatrical backdrops that Shaw located and left by the Masons on display.
Former lounges, banquet halls and a 2,000 seat theater have been transformed into spaces for contemporary art. There is also a bookstore and relic room, organized by Susan L. Abert, Bard College professor, featuring objects and ephemera left by the Masons acknowledging the history of the site. There is an outdoor sculpture garden and café. Visiting the Marciano Art Foundation is free to the public.
|Cindy Sherman Untitled #549-E pigment print on photo tex adhesive fabric 2010|
|Jim Shaw The Wig Museum mixed media 2017|
|Mike Kelley Kandor 18B foam coated with Elastomer, blown glass|
with water based resin coating, tinted urethane resin, wood, found objects
and lighting fixture 2010
|El Anatsui They Finally Broke the Pot of Wisdom found aluminum,copper wire 2011|