The title John Divola: As Far As I Could Get was lifted from a series the photographer shot between 1996 and 2010. Pomona College Museum of Art (through Dec. 22), LACMA (Oct. 6-Feb. 2) and Santa Barbara Museum of Art (Oct. 13-Jan. 12) host simultaneous exhibits of the L.A. artist's remarkable, yet largelly uncelebrated, 40-year career.
In his early 20s, photographer John Divola found himself drawn to the silver butane tanks in the black and white images he was shooting. That discovery, over 40 years ago, led the Los Angeles native who studied at California State University Northridge and University of California Los Angeles, to buy cans of silver spray paint and cruise around looking for something to shoot with the camera in his car. “Then it occurred to me that you can’t just get out of your car and start painting something silver that belongs to somebody,” says Divola, whose work is the subject of three Southern California museum exhibitions this fall. “So then I came across this abandoned house and I said to myself, ‘That’s a place I can go and paint things.’” The photographer says he added pigment to portions of the structure and started shooting. “One thing then led to another and that evolved into the Vandalism series in 1974. I really just kind of backed into it.”