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Richard Jackson's technique of using pigment-smeared canvases to apply paint to walls dates back to the 1970s.
The 2011 work "The Blue Room" references an infamous 1963 art world performance in which Marcel Duchamp played chess with a nude Eve Babitz in a Pasadena museum.
We think of sleepy Newport Beach as a destination for great shopping, dining and sunbathing. But avant-garde art? Not in this conservative burg.
But a recent trip to the Orange County Museum of Art exposed us to the sort of thought-provoking work we associate more with MOCA than the O.C. “Richard Jackson: Ain’t Painting a Pain” chronicles more than 40 years of work by a neo-Dadaist pioneer who has been exhibited in blue-chip venues internationally yet remains more of an insider’s artist here at home.
Jackson--who at 73 is still turning out work in his Sierra Madre studio--has mounted a show that includes fascinating early work such as the large canvases that he used as paintbrushes to make vivid wall smears. His more recent pieces focus on “painting machines,” in which pumps, motors, propellers--even a Pinto auto--are revved up while he throws paint into them to create 3-D drip art.
Always the rebel, Jackson’s most recent work continues to provoke: Bad Dog, made specially for this exhibit, shows a giant Labrador puppy lifting his leg on the museum’s exterior, yellow paint pumping from his loins.
Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach; 949-759-1122 or ocma.net
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