Sarah Morris Creative Artists Agency (Los Angeles) 2005

  • Not on view

Glossy, bright, and geometric, this painting is part of a series by Morris that is inspired by the city of Los Angeles. Its title refers to the powerful Creative Artists Agency, a talent agency that is a key player in the invisible Hollywood network of actors, directors, and producers who are also the subjects of the artist's video Los Angeles (2004). The hexagonal structures are a visually complex interpretation of the web-like, convoluted power relationships that dominate the entertainment industry. Morris charts these connections to create a flashy, hard surface that reflects a culture of superficiality.

Gallery label from Out of Time: A Contemporary View, August 29, 2006–April 9, 2007.
Additional text

Slick surfaces and shallow space operate literally and metaphorically in this painting, which is part of a group of works inspired by the city of Los Angeles. Morris’s medium is house paint straight from the can. "Gloss paint allows me the kind of manipulation of color that I don’t see as inspired by art history, but derived from the commercial and industrial world," she has explained. Her palette, with its bold colors and harsh contrasts, is more neon than nature.

Lines and grids have long been staple elements of Morris's canvases. In earlier paintings, however, they typically suggest aspects of architecture—the steel grids of modernist facades, city plans, or the hard edges of swimming pools. In her L.A. paintings, Morris invokes less visible structures—in this case the Creative Artists Agency, a key player in Hollywood’s networks of influence. Also, she engages with the concept of the image on multiple levels: the work itself is an image, it references an agency devoted to controlling the images of the celebrity clients it represents, and it is about a city that is at the very epicenter of image production.

In past projects Morris has focused on New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, and Las Vegas, always producing a film in tandem with her paintings. While the L.A. paintings diverge from earlier work in some respects, all the metropolises Morris has depicted are modern meccas of capitalism, entertainment, and communication—brash, quintessentially American centers of power.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 260.
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
7' 1/4" x 7' 1/4" (213.9 x 213.9 cm)
Fund for the Twenty-First Century
Object number
© 2024 Sarah Morris
Painting and Sculpture

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