The wunderkind director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art tells the LA Weekly's Tom Christie how he intends to change the face of the city, and talks about the L.A. art world. Excerpt:
I almost think Los Angeles is at the point where thereís no such thing as L.A. artists anymore. Like New York, there was a point when there were New York artists, then all of a sudden it was just artists. I feel like thatís starting to happen here. Doing an L.A. show now would be almost a nonstarter, I think, because of the diversity of practices and the number of artists.
Also, the fact that L.A. hasnít yet hit critical mass attracts somebody like me because the museums are behind, like way behind.
You just look at L.A. and you start thinking, itís going to catch up, right? How could it not ó thereís not been a city in history that hasnít had personal wealth, ethnic diversity, thriving business and good geopolitical location that hasnít competed on that level.
L.A. is crawling with artists. And if you extend the boundary of what an artist is, to whatís happening in film and photography and advertising, and you think of it as creative visual arts, man, this place is rocking. There are probably more images coming out of Los Angeles, visual images, than any place in the world.
Eli Broad tells you L.A. is going to be the central cultural capital and in a sense the capital for contemporary art. And then I always say, Oh, thatís great, then you can be a big chamber-of-commerce promoter, but the fact is, weíre not yet. Nobody [should] mistake all the talk for reality. Weíre not [there] yet, and what Iíve said to people is that the exciting part, then, is the uncertainty, not the certainty.
He defends, of course, the Jeff Koons train-hanging-from-a-crane envisioned for the new LACMA entryway on Wilshire.