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Blues for Smoke

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Oct 21, 2012 — Jan 7, 2013

This is a major interdisciplinary exhibition exploring a wide range of contemporary art, music, literature, and film through the lens of the blues and “blues esthetics.” Turning to the blues not simply as a musical category, but as a web of artistic sensibilities and cultural idioms, the exhibition features works by more than 50 artists from the 1950s to the present. It includes many works commissioned specifically for this occasion and others never before shown in Los Angeles as well as a range of musical, filmic and cultural materials.

Born in the Civil War era, the blues has been called one of the greatest cultural inventions to emerge from modernism in America. Along with jazz, it has been called America’s classical music. Encompassing 150 works, the exhibition argues for the vitality and innovation at the core of the blues tradition. Bringing together works and contexts in the contemporary period that contribute to the ongoing definition of a blues esthetic, the exhibition is organized around a group of thematic topics resonant in the blues.

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