MOCA Grand Avenue’s “Room to Live: Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection” hasn’t gotten a whole lot of attention. Curated by Bennett Simpson, it’s a permanent collection show of artists who have emerged in the Obama (Deitch?) years, without household names or curatorial high concepts. MOCA’s acquisition funds are modest compared to the few other museums in its league. “Room to Live,” heavy on L.A. artists, demonstrates how smart MOCA’s collecting has been recently.
For many, the show’s selling point will be the Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch video installation, B: Settings, acquired earlier this year. At the time of the work’s original L.A.-New York-Paris tour (2010-2011), everybody swore up and down that Trecartin was the future of art. Peter Schejeldahl touted him as “the most consequential artist to have emerged since the nineteen-eighties.” For Christopher Knight, Trecartin was “Edouard Manet with an iPad,” and for Holland Cotter, he was “game-changing.”
That kind of talk almost demands a reversion to the mean. When art is utterly of the moment (Trecartin’s “work looks and feels like life today”—Jeffrey Deitch) that usually means that, three years later, it will look and feel like an iPad 2 next to an iPad 5. Scores of ambitious artists have spent the past three years trying to out-Trecartin Trecartin. The CW network has.
I found B: Settings just as mesmerizing this time around. Shown here is one of four room-size components, The Re’Search (Re’Search Wait’S). Re’Search is a mumblecore music video reality show poetry slam that’s better than 99 percent of the works slotted into one of those pigeonholes. It still looks like the future, three years and counting.