Pick of the Week for April 2nd, 2012

–Urs Fischer at Gagosian Beverly Hills

Is Bigger Better? In certain echelons of the art world scale is the index to importance. No one can argue with the Gee Whiz double takes that big ass art induces. It verges on entertainment or maybe sometimes a carnival sideshow. And it takes a particular brand of gallery to contain these aesthetic behemoths. Enter Larry Gagosian, who with his network of galleries of cavernous spaces certainly courts both the artists of large scale ego and the art work of ludicrous proportions.

Urs Fischer at Gagosian Beverly Hills

At Gagosian Beverly Hills, Swiss artist Urs Fischer is up to his usual scale chicanery. It’s no mean feat to be cast as a Lilliputian art viewer by a form of collage but Mr. Fischer manages the prestidigitation. Collage is easily considered an intimate medium of cut and paste. The medium has its roots in surrealism and dada where artists interested in creating images of dissonance and shock could manipulate and contrast source material to memorable effect. Here, portraits of Hollywood film stars are visually obscured by pipes and mushrooms and other objects. If any one of these would be 8 x 10 inches they might carry unbelievable quixotic aesthetic appeal. But they are 142 x 108 inches. That’s roughly 12 by 9 feet. The head shaking awe factor is palpable.

Urs Fischer at Gagosian Beverly Hills

Certain images really work while others seem forced and created by the trope of serial demands. Regardless, it’s a singular experience to witness the work in person. This is why one needs to see the exhibit. Form your own opinion! But form it with experience and not knee jerk dogma. Is Mr. Fischer merely the court jester of the art world or a sly Rasputin plotting to take over the world.

The sculptures that accompany the exhibit are bland at best, derivitive and infantile at worst. Even the best, a nifty trompe d’oile vibrating table in the back gallery, falls under the weight of “So what?”

The exhibition is up through April 7th, 2012.

-Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles,  April 2nd, 2012

also by Mario M. Muller

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