In about 1947, the New York–based photographer known as Weegee, famous for evocative crime scene images, moved to L.A. Perhaps in the aftermath of World War II, grisly, real-life murder tableaux had lost their appeal. Whatever the reason, Weegee gleefully turned his lens on Hollywood, trading in body bags for evening gowns, and began a decades-long love affair with the spectacles of decadent elegance, fantasies of glitz and eternal youth, and untamed optimism that characterized L.A. in the postwar boom years. Not for nothing, the Pacific Standard Time series of which Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles is part starts in 1945. Moving from police blotter to society page is a punster's paradise, and Weegee's twisted humor and delight in everyday grotesqueries informed the work he did here. Experimenting with layered, spliced and otherwise distorted aftereffects, he turned up the volume on an already out-of-control appetite for images — with results ranging from the hilarious to the unsettling. Among the most remarkable are a suite of Marilyn Monroe portraits that presaged the Warholian repetition. In fact, these are installed close to a picture of Weegee with Warhol, and one of the Marilyns is on loan from Cindy Sherman, which explains a lot about the influence his dark and delirious aesthetic would come to have on the generations that followed. MOCA, 250 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Mon., Fri., 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thurs., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; thru Feb. 27; $10, free Thurs., 5-8 p.m. (213) 621-1745, moca.org.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 13. Continues through Feb. 27, 2011
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