Museum  June 25, 2018  Chandra Noyes

Moving Through Time in “A Journey That Wasn’t”

© Andreas Gursky / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2018 / Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin London

Andreas Gursky, F1 Boxenstopp III, 2007. Chromogenic print mounted on Plexiglas in artist's frame, 74 x 200 in. (187.96 x 508 cm), The Broad Art Foundation.

At an exhibition opening this week, the Broad Museum of Art celebrates some of its latest acquisitions. Having only opened in 2015, the Broad has a collection of more than 2,000 contemporary works, including some of the most prominent artists working today. A Journey That Wasn't groups together 50 works representing 20 artists in the permanent collection, several of which are being displayed in the museum for the first time. Centered around the elusive but unavoidable nature of time, A Journey That Wasn’t gives a sampling of the variety of ways artists depict the passage of time and engage with this concept more broadly.

© Sharon Lockhart

Sharon Lockhart, Pine Flat Portrait Studio, Sierra, 2005. Framed chromogenic print, 45 1/2 x 36 3/4 in. (115.57 x 93.35 cm), The Broad Art Foundation.

Perhaps the most succinct representation of this overarching theme is Andreas Gursky’s F1 Boxenstopp III, 2007 (above). In his typically mesmerizing, minutely detailed digital photography, Gursky’s depiction of F1 racing teams eloquently reminds us that time can mean different things for different people, and can seem to move at different speeds. To the people diligently working in this photograph, frozen mid-action, every millisecond counts, while for the rest of us, this segment of time will likely pass unnoticed.

Photographer Sharon Lockhart connects us to a way we universally experience time: through aging. In her Pine Flat Portrait Studio series, Lockhart has created a poignant reminder of the fleeting nature of youth. Her portraits of children taken on their own terms are simple, yet searingly honest, evoking a nostalgia for youth without sugar-coating it.

Ed Ruscha’s massive diptych Azteca / Azteca in Decline, 2007, shows just how well an abstract work can embody this theme. Utilizing the before and after format tabloid media has accustomed us to, this set of 27-foot long recreations of a mural the artist saw in Mexico City appears to crumple and fade before our eyes. A victim of the passage of time, the second image seems almost defeated.

© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Azteca / Azteca in Decline, 2007. Acrylic on canvas, diptych, 48 x 330 in. (121.92 x 838.2 cm), The Broad Art Foundation.

The exhibition also includes works from Anselm Kiefer, Ragnar Kjartansson, Sherrie Levine, and Glenn Ligon, amongst others.

A Journey That Wasn't opens June 30th at the Broad in downtown Los Angeles.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.