Los Angeles Times Art Critic Christopher Knight Reviews "John Divola: As Far as I Could Get"

Los Angeles Times Art Critic Christopher Knight Reviews "John Divola: As Far as I Could Get"

"Review: It takes real drive to see 3-part John Divola retrospective" by Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic

John Divola's photographs are challenging and astute. It's great to know so many are on view, but with series of work in L.A., Santa Barbara and Claremont, it's hard to see everything.

Are photographers vandals?

Does the mere presence of a camera at an ordinary place or extraordinary event inevitably damage the experience of it, as vandalism does? Is photography a powerful creative tool for the willful destruction of established art, all in the service of making new possibilities and unexpected ways of seeing?

These questions, provocative and surprising, began to be posed in 1974 by artist John Divola, then 25 and just out of school.

Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, an area whose wholesale transformation from rural to suburban shifted into overdrive after World War II, during his youth, Divola studied first at Cal State Northridge and then UCLA. "John Divola: As Far as I Could Get," the much-anticipated retrospective exhibition of his photographs, opens with 30 prints from his initial "Vandalism" series; they set the tone for the extraordinary body of work he would produce over the next four decades.

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