NPR ran a long piece on the Richard Diebenkorn Ocean Park show now open at the Orange County Museum of Art. You can listen to it here: [audio:http://www.artmarketmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/NPR-on-Diebenkorn.mp3|titles=NPR on Diebenkorn]
But William Poundstone has a better take on why the artist has not been embraced by Southern California, especially the recent Pacific Standard Times show:
Diebenkorn was the first California painter to be taken entirely seriously by the East Coast establishment. He worked in an idiom New Yorkers understood, abstract expressionism, and like de Kooning, he switched provocatively between figuration and abstraction.
Diebenkorn had all the PST street creds, too: early shows at Ferus, the Pasadena Art Museum, the Pavilion Gallery (precursor of OCMA), and LACMA; teaching at UCLA. Nevertheless, Diebenkorn must be considered a cool school outlier. He began the Ocean Park series in 1967, well after many of the quintessential pop, fetish finish, and light and space works featured in Pacific Standard Time. Accurately or not, Los Angeles art is said to prize the high concept. The Ocean Park paintings are all about nuance. There is no 10-second explanation of why they’re good or important.
It’s easier to explain why OCMA’s Ocean Park show is important. Aside from the number of works, it is distinguished by the variety of media assembled. The works on paper are often informative, starting with the earliest example, Untitled (View from Studio, Ocean Park), 1969. Diebenkorn’s studio had a transom window, and that early image was plausibly the Ocean Park template: a Golden-Section vertical divided into rectilinear zones, slashed by a diagonal, the whole evoking architecture, landscape, and marine light.
“Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series” (William Poundstone/Artinfo)
In ‘Ocean Park,’ Gentle Portraits Of California Light (Morning Edition/NPR)