Back to some shacks

Laguna Art Museum's 'Art Shack' show will entice viewers into 31 interior/exterior worlds.

June 04, 2010|By Cindy Frazier

Shack: a rough cabin; shanty. Laguna Art Museum is going low-brow this summer for its new show, "Art Shack," from June 13 to Oct. 3.

For the show, 31 California artists are creating some kind of structure that calls to mind the laid-back beach life or a starving artist's studio. Think beach cottage, surf shack, hangout place, lean-to, fishing shanty or hermit's hut.

The shacks range from a 2-inch mini-structure to a full-sized walk-in shack that viewers will be able to experience from outside and in, co-curator Grace Kook-Anderson said.

About half of the shacks will be built especially for the show, but many of the artists have incorporated some kind of "shack" motif into their work over the years, she said. One artist is bringing a small construction that has sat on his window ledge for years, giving it an appropriately weathered patina.

One of the major new works to be installed will be from senior assemblage artist George Herms, who will use reclaimed wood and found objects.


Not all the shacks will be downscale. Shag, who specializes in 1950s-themed art, will build a sleek mid-century modern construction. Another of the pieces is a shrine to the humble shoeshine stand.

One artist couple is creating a series of peepholes to tease the voyeuristic viewer with unseen interiors.

Few if any of these works are for sale, Kook-Anderson said.

"They can't be sold," she said. "They are environmental experiences."

The idea for a shack show arose from the realization that many of the museum's pop artists had created some kind of architectural structure at one time or another, according to museum Director Bolton Colburn.

"We've worked with Greg Escalante on many of the museum's pop culture exhibitions over the years and he brought forward the idea of gathering these art shacks together into a central exhibition that explicates the phenomenon," Colburn said.

Escalante is guest co-curator.

Kook-Anderson said the show explores the assemblage movement, which has been an important part of the California art scene. One of its earliest and most controversial practitioners, Ed Keinholz, created "Back Seat Dodge '38" — a 1964 installation of a couple having sex in a car — that nearly shut down the LA County Art Museum when the Board of Supervisors tried to have it banned.

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