An unorthodox view of art

Creating and destroying constantly intertwine in the works displayed in 'Ain't Painting a Pain' by Richard Jackson at the Orange County Museum of Art.

February 28, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • Richard Jackson's "Bad Dog" uses the Orange County Museum of Art's building as part of the act showing the dog urinating on the wall.
Richard Jackson's "Bad Dog" uses the… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

In the 1970s, Mad Magazine published a classic cartoon depicting an amusement park called Get-It-Out-Of-Your-System-Land, which offered a series of booths allowing visitors to unload their basest urges: defacing classic paintings, burning books, smashing rare violins and the like.

The park didn't include an opportunity to create a mess in a major art museum, but that's what the Orange County Museum of Art is basically offering as part of "Ain't Painting a Pain," its chaotic new show by Richard Jackson.

From now until March 10, the museum will accept reviews of Jackson's show, with the writer of the wittiest commentary getting to take part in a new piece later in the month.

The work, titled "Do It Yourself Painting (Still Life)," will be created by rigging a machine with electric fans and using it to splatter paint around part of the lobby. The contest's winner gets the honor of turning on the machine.


Does that qualify as creating or destroying? The two themes intertwine constantly in Jackson's work.

"It's a different way to extend painting to make it something different and kind of contemporary, where it's not this object that we have to take care of after it's over," he said. "It's about destruction. It's about throwing things away when you're finished. I see my things as evidence of an event. Most of the time, people aren't around when I execute these things."

Evidence plays a key role in many of Jackson's installations, as viewers are invited to survey the scene and determine how what ended up where.

To create one piece in his show, the artist filled a remote-controlled model airplane with paint and rammed it into a wall, leaving splashes of color and shards of machinery on the floor. Another, titled "Painting with Two Balls," was created by pouring paint over a pair of spinning spheres attached to the engine of a car; the result turned the surrounding floor and walls into a massive drip painting.

Oh, and then there's the peeing dog. Outside the museum, a massive fiber-and-steel canine sculpture lifts its leg above the wall, with a trickle of dried yellow paint indicating what it, well, got out of its system. It goes without saying that the 28-foot pooch is a favorite of children who visit the museum.

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