Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Category: Financial Times

Ed Ruscha

D2015.51 - METRO MATRESS #2, 8/3/15, 3:36 PM, 16C, 5940x7576 (0+160), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2,  1/15 s, R88.6, G82.5, B104.7

One Sunday in 1966, Ed Ruscha was driving a Buick Le Sabre back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas with his friends Patrick Blackwell, a fellow artist, and the guitarist Mason Williams. With them they had an old manual typewriter, a Royal ‘model X’, its frame bent beyond repair. For a lark, they decide to heave the thing out of the passenger window, at ninety miles an hour. It exploded on the tarmac, disappearing in the rear view mirror as they sped onward through the desert. Read the rest of this entry »

James Turrell

James Turrell, Afrum (White), 1966, © James Turrell, photo © Florian Holzherr

“This used to be my studio!” announces James Turrell to the customers of Starbucks in Ocean Park, Santa Monica. The coffee drinkers seem nonplussed. Little do they know that this white-haired, extravagantly bearded figure has a triumvirate of retrospectives this summer at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Guggenheim Museum, New York, as well as a solo exhibition at LA’s Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery.

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First published: Financial Times, May 24 2013

Thomas Houseago

At Thomas Houseago’s studio building in east Los Angeles, which spans a full city block beside the giant concrete trench known as the LA River, the road is closed to traffic. The mechanical arm of a refuse truck is lifting metal dumpsters and tipping their contents into its hopper. White plaster dust billows across the street. Houseago’s team is cleaning up. Once a week, the piles of plaster, hessian, clay, broken sculptures and cracked casts that accumulate in the studio are swept together and cleared out. Houseago used to do this himself; then, when it began to take two days out of each week, he delegated it to assistants. Now he employs a staff of 20, and has five foundries in the US working to cast his prolific output of sculptures in high-strength Tuf-Cal casting plaster or clay into dark bronze or pale, silvery aluminium. Galleries in New York, London, Zurich, Brussels and Glasgow try to keep up with the demands of a growing network of private collectors, as well as those of museums, including the Stedelijk in Amsterdam and the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA.

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First published: Financial Times, August 17th, 2012