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Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest (2019)

Larry Bell, Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest (2019), installation view, MOCA Grand Avenue. Laminated glass, two parts, each 72 x 96 1/4 x 96 1/4 in (182.88 x 244.48 x 244.48 cm). Proposed purchase with funds provided by Carol and David Appel. Image courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo by Zak Kelley.

Larry Bell, Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest (2019)

MOCA presents an outdoor installation by Los Angeles-based artist Larry Bell. Commissioned specifically for the Sculpture Plaza at MOCA Grand Avenue, Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest is a signature, space-defining work, at once creating a public art space while also echoing and highlighting the geometric forms that comprise the museum’s Pritzker Prize winning Arata Isozaki-designed building. This installation was generously gifted by MOCA Trustee Carol Appel, who has served on the board for four years, and her husband David Appel.

Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest extends Bell’s decades of experimentation with glass. With this work, the pioneering artist long associated with California’s Light and Space movement juxtaposes luminous reds in various saturations, the shades of which are lyrically called habanero, cerise, hibiscus, and carmine. The title refers to the protagonists of 1948’s Bill and Coo, a peculiar and delightful film whose cast is made up entirely of trained birds. The names of the film’s titular lovebirds were in turn drawn from an old-fashioned way to refer to the flirtations of young lovers: within the space of the Sculpture Plaza, a concave hollow defined by the surrounding forms of Isozaki’s architecture, the pair “bill and coo” while nestled in their home in the nest.

This sculpture is the seventh work by Bell to enter the museum’s permanent collection, underscoring MOCA’s commitment to collecting Los Angeles-based artists in depth and joining a rich array of works in MOCA’s collection by other artists associated with the Light and Space movement such as Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, and James Turrell. MOCA’s holdings by Bell include sculptures, drawings, and mixed media works, but Bill and Coo at MOCA’s Nest is the first commissioned work by the artist to enter the collection, and the largest and most significant of his work within the collection.