Magritte exhibit entertains

The fanciful art of Rene Magritte is being displayed in a clever and amusing way at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The curators have gone all out to capture the sly, enigmatic paintings of the Belgian artist who lived from 1898 to 1967.

His most famous painting, which belongs to the museum, is “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” which captures the humor and imagination of the artist. The words, written in script, indicate that this is not a pipe but a painting. The Magritte paintings are all intriguing, with strange characters and weird landscapes. A man with a bowler hat, who appears in several works, is associated with Magritte and often used in works by other artists. The explanatory placards (in small type, as usual) point out the fact that most of the titles have little to do with the subject matter!

In this excellent exhibit, the works of other artists who owe a debt to Magritte are included. By juxtaposing the works of these contemporary artists with the paintings of Magritte, his influence is recognized.

Among the artists included are John Baldessari, Robert Gober, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha. Baldessari worked closely with curator Stephanie Barron to transform the exhibit space of the Ahmanson building into an appropriate setting with many surrealistic surprises. Small wonder the exhibit is entitled “Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images.”

The exhibit runs through March 4. Tickets with reserved times can be obtained by calling 877.522.6225. An audiotape is narrated by Pierce Brosnan.

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