Most of us remember Dennis Hopper as a movie star (from Rebel Without A Cause to Blue Velvet and beyond), director, raconteur, even as a patron. But few of are conscious of the contributions and impact the late Venice resident made as a fine artist. Or at least the scope.
But now an exhbit at the MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary — curated by friend and fellow artist Julian Schnabel – takes a serious survey of Hopper’s art, including photography, painting, sculpture and found-object collage. Astoundingly, it’s the first comphrensive survey of Hopper’s work to appear in a North American museum.
It may be hard to believe that such a populist character actor was such a serious artist (unless you know Viggo Mortensen, of course), but the evidence bears out. Hopper’s stunning black and white portrait and landscape photography from the 1960s, collages, politically motivated installations and more recent huge canvases show an active creative mind who expressed himself well in several media over 60 years of effort.
His 1961 photo Double Standard (above), from which the exhibition takes its name, is certainly among his most respected works. Trivia buffs may be interested in knowing that it was the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose Avenue and Doheny Drive.
MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch says “Dennis Hopper’s work has been a springboard for the work of many artists and filmmakers of a younger generation. His fusion of artistic media has become an inspiration for the new artistic generation who often draw on performance and film as well as painting, sculpture, and photography in the creation of their work.”
Dennis Hopper: Double Standard will be on display through September 26.
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA is located at 250 South Grand Avenue, 213.626.6222