Roland Reiss takes the diorama into personal politics

The problem with the Roland Reiss exhibit, “Roland Reiss Personal Politics: Sculpture from the 1970s and 1980s” at the Pasadena Museum of California Art,”  is that it is too much to digest in one viewing, so take time between now and 8 January 2012 when the exhibit closes to walk and think about this two decades of sculpture.This Will Help Them

Reiss considers himself primarily a painter, but this exhibit organized by Kate Johnson, has almost thirty miniature scenes–dioramas that have cryptic names (“F/X: In Search of Truth,” “The Dancing Lessons” or “The Gravity Observations”) and scenarios that aren’t explicitly revealed or explained. You get a feeling but really the explanations are left to each viewer’s imagination. Do you think “Jaws” or “jump the shark” when you think of that ferocious fish and Hollywood. What about a fire-breathing radioactive reptile named Godzilla? Bad Japanese movies? Bad Hollywood movies based on bad Japanese movies? How about some office situations that are slightly off-kilter?

Reiss was born in 1929 and received his A.A. from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California. He went on to received his B.A. and M.A. from UCLA. He taught at UCLA and the University of Colorado and then was chair of the Art Department at Claremont Graduate University for 29 years.

So Reiss gives a real reflection of California from a Californian’s point of view. Yet seeing to many pieces all at once left me wishing I could come back and contemplate a few at a time, perhaps in chronological order rather than going on cerebral overload.

“Roland Reiss Personal Politics: Sculpture from the 1970s and 1980s” continues until 8 January 2012 at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, 490 E. Union Street, Pasadena, CA 91101. (626) 568-3665.

$7 for Adults
$5 for Seniors and Students
Free to Members
Free the first Friday of the month
*Special offer with the Pacific Asia Museum on Colorado and Los Robles: Attend both museums in the same day and receive 50% off admission at the second museum when you present proof of entrance.

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