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Heirlooms from the F. Scott Hess Family Foundation
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California
Recommendation by Shirle Gottlieb


F. Scott Hess, painting from "The Paternal Suit: Heirlooms from the F. Scott Hess Family Foundation"

Continuing through October 5, 2014

Sometimes an artist's concept is more exciting than the final product, but the reverse is often true as well. The latter can occur when the creative process opens the door to more challenging paths than the artist dreamed were possible. We'll never know for sure (and F. Scott Hess' lips are sealed), but we suspect that might have happened when this dare-devil artist became curious about his family lineage. What may have started as a simple task to check his ancestry evolved into the gigantic, multifaceted project we see here. Ten-years after the task was begun, this brilliant departure is presented to the public as "The Paternal Suit: Heirlooms from the F. Scott Hess Family Foundation."
   
There are over 100 paintings, prints, and objects, presented together as historic artifacts — all of them supported by documentation and other historical ephemera. Each item bears the name of an artist, together with labels that detail where it came from, plus dates that place it in time. The kicker is that everything on view — all of the paintings, art objects, photographs, historical information, furniture, clothing, printed literature, even a video: everything! — was invented and created by Hess, to be part of this mind-boggling exhibit. (Or so we're told by reliable sources; Hess is neither admitting nor denying anything.) I don’t recall anything remotely like it.


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