This extraordinary exhibition takes as its premise the life and music of Brian Wilson, the creative force behind The Beach Boys between 1962–7. Here, Wilson’s music becomes a prism through which to view developments in art history and Southern California from the 1960s. Loosely chronological, the paintings, sculptures, installations, photo-text works and films of some thirty-one artists, offer unexpected perspectives on Wilson’s cultural achievement. This relationship between art, music and myth is framed by Tate St Ives’s stunning backdrop: Porthmeor Beach, a glorious stretch of sand where surf is usually up.
If Everybody Had an Ocean has three main phases. The first considers the interplay between avant-garde art and popular culture, particularly in relation to surf, custom cars and Southern California as a mythical teenage utopia. The second is made up of multi-coloured, more or less abstract images and objects that share what Wilson called the ‘psychedelicacy’ of his kaleidoscopic studio productions – this becomes the exhibition’s instrumental section. The third evokes the gap between the popular image of The Beach Boys and Wilson’s own more turbulent internal world. It suggests the dystopian flipside of the Californian dream, together with the loss of innocence that 1960s baby boomers underwent at the close of that revolutionary decade.
If Everybody Had an Ocean is curated by Alex Farquharson. Organised by Tate St Ives in association with CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux. The exhibition was preceded by Brian Wilson: an Art Book, Four Corners Books, 2005.
Featuring work by: Billy Al Bengston, Peter Blake, Mel Bochner, John Cage, Brian Calvin, Vija Celmins, Russell Crotty, Thomas Demand, Kaye Donachie, Isa Genzken, Liam Gillick, Jeremy Glogan, Joe Goode, Rodney Graham, Roger Hiorns, Richard Hawkins, Jim Isermann, Sister Corita Kent, John McCracken, Lee Mullican, Kaz Oshiro, Raymond Pettibon, Richard Pettibone, Ken Price, Bridget Riley, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Jim Shaw, Fred Tomaselli, Jennifer West, Pae White, Daria Wilson.
This exhibition has not been authourised by Brian Wilson or The Beach Boys.