All that glitters is not gold--but at least it glitters, a friend is fond of saying. So it is at the new Santa Monica Museum of Art, where Liza Lou's head-turning "Kitchen" (1991-95) and "Back Yard" (1995-97) glitter up a storm, thanks to millions--or is it billions?--of tiny multicolored beads encrusting every surface of these wonderfully outlandish sculptures.
Together with "Beck & Al Hansen: Playing With Matches," a modest but absorbing show of collages by the celebrated young pop musician and his late grandfather, who was a stalwart of the international Fluxus art movement, Lou's sculptures inaugurate the museum's new home in one of the refurbished warehouses on the southwest side of Bergamot Station. A year behind schedule, in part because of much-publicized legal squabbles among principals in the Bergamot Station partnership, the building renovation isn't quite complete. Offices and a bookstore await construction.
The new building opens today, 10 years after the old museum opened in quarters on Santa Monica's Main Street. The inaugural exhibitions honor three diverse artists, but they might also be seen as homages to three of the museum's longtime supporters: collectors Peter and Eileen Norton, who own Lou's "Kitchen"; and trustee Tom Patchett, former Bergamot Station business partner, whose collection has Fluxus art as a focus.