French Connection

Published September 6, 2013

“FRENCH CONNECTION”: FRANCOIS MORELLET’s TRIPLE X NEONLY, 2012, 6 BLUE ARGON NEON TUBES. PHOTO: HEATHER RASMUSSEN. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND KAYNE GRIFFIN CORCORAN, LOS ANGELES.

When you’re one of two living artists with a permanent installation at the Louvre, people should pay attention. At the ripe age of 87, artist François Morellet can’t and won’t slow down. Expanding his horizons beyond his provincial hometown of Cholet, France, all the way to L.A., Morellet opens his first major West Coast exhibition this month at Kayne Griffin Corcoran on South La Brea Avenue. The cornerstone of the show is a site-specific installation entitled Noendneon (a riff on the palindrome “No End Neon”) that is composed of 29 argon tubes floating across the gallery, slathered along the floor, and snaking up the walls. Morellet helped define minimalism in the 1950s and went on to perpetuate the growth of geometric abstraction. With his emphasis on autonomy—he couldn’t care less about the cultural resonance of his work, only the audience’s immediate reaction—the reclusive Frenchman brings his subtle genius to a city that has always loved a light show.