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"It Happened At Pomona" at Pomona College Museum of Art
by christopher michno
Nov 2011



Situational Construction for Pomona College
1969
Lloyd Hamrol
Balloons, lead wire, water, colored light
9' x 30' x 40'
Photo: Lloyd Hamrol, courtesy Pomona College Museum of Art

Restaging works created in residency from 1969 to 1970 under Hal Glicksman's direction of the Pomona College Museum of Art, part one of the Museum's three part Pacific Standard Time exhibition, creates the impression of a richly experimental environment, and a curatorial-artistic partnership that, 42 years later, still feels vital. Perceptual concerns pervade this show, to the extent that works by some of the artists, such as Michael Asher or Chris Burden, whose practices are now associated with other concerns, explore perceptual phenomena. Michael Asher's subtle reprise of his untitled 1970 installation unobtrusively infiltrates one's consciousness, affecting perception, of the Museum, and by extension, everything inside it. In 1970, Asher reshaped the Museum's interior space and removed the entry doors so the Museum remained open night and day. In capturing changes in light, sound, and air pressure, Asher's installation overlapped with the perceptually oriented installations by Tom Eatherton, Lloyd Hamrol, and surprisingly, with Chris Burden's untitled sculpture, which exists as both minimalist sculpture and perceptual object.

Attentiveness to objects also permeates this show. One of Robert Irwin's "disc" paintings, also installed during Glicksman's year at Pomona, suggests context for the predominance of perceptually based work. Irwin's "disc" currently hovers on a wall in a roomy alcove, allowing viewers to focus, undistracted, on this dissolving, pulsating object. Tom Eatherton's Rise, a room-sized installation of two mirror-image Ganzfeld-like translucent curved panels suspended in a velvety black room, suggests comparisons with Doug Wheeler and James Turrell, while Lloyd Hamrol's Situational Construction for Pomona College tantalizingly places the viewer and the encompassing installation on opposite sides of a small window. Other works include photographic documentation of Judy Chicago's performance, Snow Atmosphere, Ron Cooper's film, Ball Drop, and Lewis Balz' spare B&W photos. Balz' quiet, formal constructions, like assays into logic, convey a sense of remove and abstraction.

The conceptual coup de grace, Asher's reprise of his 1970 work, is to open the Museum 24 hours a day. In so much that Asher invites individuals to consider the museum and its contents without regard to physical boundaries or arbitrary restrictions, his new work functions as a mirror for thought. A stroll through the museum becomes an extension of a stroll through the city or an excursion in one's mind, in that it approximates a walk through the museum in one's imagination. As a result, the exhibit becomes physically embodied in one's experience as much as it is metaphysically embedded in thought.

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