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LA Times - 10/21/2018

Review: Helen Molesworth's final show at MOCA is the anti-celebrity show we need right now

By Christopher Knight


Persuasive group exhibitions of contemporary art are just about the toughest kind for a museum to successfully pull off. That’s one reason that the thoroughly engaging “One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art,” newly opened downtown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, is so special.

Another is that it’s exactly the kind of exhibition we need right now.

In our often soulless, lopsided celebrity culture, it’s an anti-celebrity show — iconoclasm for an age swamped by icon worship. “One Day” celebrates the virtues of the quotidian, the curious and the eccentric. And it is built around a superlative exemplar of those irreverent qualities.



Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 - Monday, Mar. 11, 2019

7pm - 9pm



MOCA Grand Avenue

250 South Grand Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90012


One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art


MOCA presents an ambitious exhibition inspired by American painter and film critic Manny Farber and his legendary underground essay "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art" (1962).  One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art  features approximately thirty artists and more than 100 works of painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, and sound dating from the 1950s to the present.  The exhibition is conceived as a cross between a monographic exhibition and a group show - an expriemnt in exhibition-making in the spirit of Farber's call for an art of "both observing and being in the world."  Originally appearing in Film Culture magazine,  "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art" was written as a screed against the idea of the masterpiece and works of art produced by "overripe technique shrieking with preciosity, fame, ambition."  Farber championed art that was committed to observation, deep attention, and the unique temporalities of the quotidian.  In his words, the production of termite art is a process of "journeying in which the artist seems to be ingesting both the material of his art and the outside world through horizontal coverage."  One Day at a Time takes Farber's idea of termite art as a starting point for assembling works by a diverse group of contemporary artists who explore the problems and pleasures of the everyday.

Artists featured in the exhibition include: Dike Blair, Joan Brown, Beverly Buchanan, Jordan Casteel, Vija Celmins, Leidy Churchman, Moyra Davey,  Taylor Davis, Tacita Dean, Manny Farber, Fischli & Weiss, Jean-Pierre Gorin,. Jennifer Guidi, Maurice Harris, Roni Horn, Kahlil Joseph, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Chris Marker, Josiah McElheny, Roy McMakin, Rodney McMillian, Aliza Nisenbaum, Catherine Opie, Patricia Patterson, Quintron, Gharles Ray, Rachel Rose, Sue Schardt, Nancy Shaver, Lorna Simpson, Becky Suss, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Jonas Wood.

Curator: Helen Molesworth


213/621-1794 or

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