On View at the Getty Center: Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970
In the 1960s, Robert Graham produced numerous small-scale dioramas, encased in plastic and containing an assortment of miniature forms. In several of them, tiny plastic palm fronds, sand, and naked wax figurines complete with tan lines invoke the age-old California clichés of sun, sea, and sex. The contents of others, such as this work, invoke different associations, including slapstick humor, consumerism, and the bold graphic imagery of Pop Art, which had come to prominence through a number of high profile Los Angeles exhibitions that decade. Graham’s minute banana invites particular comparison with the cover of Andy Warhol’s cover for the album The Velvet Underground & Nico, released the previous year. While its contents are undeniably Pop, the domed plastic enclosure, with its turquoise pool-like base, relates the work to the reflective surfaces and plastics produced by Graham’s Finish Fetish peers, as well as to the industrial forms of minimalism.