Is Light and Space the ur-text of contemporary L.A. art? Two current exhibitions offer evidence of that 1960s-70s movement’s surprising reach. At MOCA Pacific Design Center, Jacob Hashimoto’s Gas Giant is a luminous cloud of hand-painted pop kites. Hashimoto is a New Yorker born in the Colorado town named for Horace Greeley (“Go West, young man!”) He spent time in Los Angeles and describes his Light and Space—and other L.A.—influences in MOCA’s The Curve blog.
At the opposite end of Hollywood, and the art world, is F. Scott Hess, who has a painting retrospective at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Hess is of the L&S generation but cites the super-weirdo Vienna fantastic realists as a point of departure. The LAMAG show cancels out some of the jokiness to reveal Hess as a painter of numinous light and sometimes space. Both are combined in Fresnel’s Boots (2003), the show’s only painting with no human figures. Hess depicts the Sequin Island Lighthouse, Maine, from an aerial vantage point where no human foot could stand.
For actual Light and Space, LACMA has James Turrell (through July 20) and is opening “Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible” (below) on March 30.