NoL Dec 24, 2009
Hello friends and Fellows,
No matter your denomination or spiritual discipline, whether a god holds your moral compass or you use GPS, if belief is part of your life or something you wonder about this time of year is for everyone a heightened experience. Things that make us sad present themselves to our hearts, reasons to be grateful spring forward, making us hug those we love. The sun stays up just a little longer each day. Take a minute with me and then off you go to your celebrating.
Saturday afternon we got in the car, picked up Michael and Sirje Gold, threw ourselves at the 10 heading east, cleverly bypassed the downtown spaghetti by staying to the right, then transitioned to the 710 south, destination Long Beach. I mentioned this show at MOLAA before the opening and having now experienced it myself I must simply remind you each week until it closes on January 24. It’s that good. Do you want to be the only interesting person in LA not to see Sites of Latin American Abstraction?! Good grief, don’t let that happen. Artists like Leo Matiz, Geraldo de Barros, Mira Schendel, Mathias Goeritz, Lidy Prati. If you don’t recognize any of these names how tantalizing is the prospect before you? Here’s the chance to add an entire continent and part of a century to your experience. I refer you to Christopher Knight’s invaluable review in the Times. By the way, if you’re reading this newsletter and count yourself a part of the LA artworld you really should subscribe to the LA Times. It is our paper of record. And for you artists out there – if print media disappears what on earth are you going to put in your bibliography? Blog posts?
We met up with Max Presneill at the Torrance Art Museum for the closing day of Zoom, an open call juried show. Max told us about a giant-sized Chuck Close tapestry he’s installing for the January 16 opening of The Reflected Gaze – Self Portraiture Today. Chuck Close in Torrance. Does that make you reconsider your geographic prejudices? Many interesting artists are included in this group show; you’ll have to follow the link to see names.
With the best intentions to visit Las Cienegas Projects we caught the 405 north to La Cienega. Along the way our concentration faltered, Sirje and Michael mentioned a delivery of tamales and a pitcher of negronis, and well, good food and conversation with friends won out over art appreciation. Go figure. The Ray Barrie, David Lamelas, Betsy Seder shows are up until Jan 16 at 2045 S. La Cienega 90034, so there’s time.
Natilee Harren filled Saturday evening with a sound performance at FOCA, including Steve Roden and here; Lucky Dragons and at Glaciers of Nice and also Other New Thing; and Eamon Ore-Giron, and on YouTube. Knock yourselves out fellow clickers!
Roden’s performances often make me unsettled, his methods seem so hesitant and open to uncertainty. Watching his face though, and his furrowed brow, I see his focus is absolute; and while I chafe at being in the hands of a more assured-acting performer’s machinations, with Steve I have room and time to consider his movements and each sound he makes. Visit Soundwalk.com to listen to a recent work by Steve.
Lucky Dragons mixed lovely, layered vocals with trance-like electronic sound-making. I saw only Sarah Rara, one half of the Dragons and I wonder if this is a performing strategy – their set was audience friendly in the extreme and it’s distinctly possible given my lack of experience that I missed Luke Fischbeck operating devices somewhere in the crowd out of obvious sight.
Eamon Ore-Giron played a very loud drone and beat piece that reminded me of being 20 years old at the Lhasa Club [the link is to Songkick.com, a listing service which (weirdly but nicely) still lists 1984, 86 and 87 concert dates for Jean-Pierre Boccara’s Hollywood punk club that closed in 1987, according to this Richard Cromelin LA Times article.] twitching and knocking against walls to the music. Part way through he picked up lengths of galvanized steel pipe and propped them between the acoustic ceiling grid and an electric organ on the floor, deepening the drone and creating an impromptu sculpture that enhanced the stark power of his sound. It was truly cool. Anyone remember how intense Olga Koumoundouros’ work was this summer at Susanne Vielmetter? Remember the chandelier squished against the ceiling? Experiencing Ore-Giron’s set that evening was like being that chandelier.
“Hey Geoff! What’s coming in January?” Just a sec and I’ll tell you, but first look with me into my crystal ball of the somewhat-more-distant-future.
Tom Lawson and Stacy Allan along with CalArts are jointly creating a new way to read about, think about and write about art. East of Borneo will launch in the Spring of 2010 as an online social network/database of Los Angeles art history. Click on the site and sign up for future info! Links will be provided to several institutional archives and importantly and interestingly, East of Borneo will seek to document and archive the big picture of artistic practice and thought in LA. Meaning what’s happening on the ground now that tomorrow will be… art history. In addition, reaffirming a place for print media, EoB will act as a publishing house, beginning with an Esther McCoy reader collected by Susan Morgan to be published in the Fall. Architecture fans hold your breath!
I talked with artist Gina Osterloh recently about her residency in the Phillipines studying conceptual practice in that island nation. It seems that in the Phillipines during the Marcos’ tenure artists who wanted to explore and possibly expose the inconsistencies of free thinking in a repressive if occasionally benevolent dictatorship needed to cloak their statements behind a conceptual cover, in the way that Latin American artists turned to abstraction in similar political circumstances. Osterloh will curate a show at Monte Vista in early 2010 featuring some of the artists she worked with during her nine month stay.
Get ready for a lot of attention to be paid to the group at Monte Vista in the coming year. They’ve been doing great things at 5442 Monte Vista St. 90042 since the summer of 2007 and the buzz is finally catching up with them. You should, too. I’ll help you remember :)
Kathryn Brennan Gallery siezes Cottage Home and turns it back into a movie house! Screening at this small revolution will be Michele O’Marah doing what comes naturally in A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, a three-part video extravaganza recreating scenes from Pamela Anderson’s 1996 film Barb Wire. Visit 410 Cottage Home Rd. 90012 on Jan 9. HEAR FUNNY DIALOGUE with stilted delivery. SEE HOT CHICKS come on to embarrassed and self-conscious johns. WHO ON EARTH WILL PLAY PAMELA???!!! Come find out in January.
I’m grateful that this year you’ve spent time with me each week and helped me fulfill FOCA’s mission to promote and support contemporary art in California. Next week I’ll recap the upcoming January treats I’ve mentioned in previous weeks and probably find more ways to get you out and looking!