NoL January 14, 2010

Amber Allen as Pam as Barb. Styling and film by Michele O'Marah. From the film "Don't Call Me Babe," 2009

Amber Allen as Pam as Barb. Styling and film by Michele O'Marah. From the film "Don't Call Me Babe," 2009

Hello friends and Fellows!

There’s a lot to cover today so hold your breath – we’re diving into the pool!

At Circus last Thursday Dawn Kasper’s performance made a whole room of jaded art lovers look, wince, listen, flinch and then try to walk away. When her performance started in a small interior space of the gallery I was with most people around a corner without a sightline. Steven Bankhead generously called out a running commentary like Vin Scully or Don Drysdale. “Fruit in the corners” “Nude from the waist up” “Now she’s burning sage” “Prayer rug” “Some kind of ritual?” “Red ball gag” “Oh! She’s raising welts lashing her back!” “There’re voices, like a speech, sound – muffled and barely discernable”

This was my cue to move in and sit on the floor in the front row. The room was as Bankhead described it and Kasper was indeed on her knees in loose cotton pants deliberately and regularly whipping her shoulders and back. An Alan Watts speech was playing and 7 small red transistor radio looking things played distorted chanting voices. Strange to say this deliberately sensational act began to feel meditative to me, and a little sacrificial. Considering the proximity to the new year maybe in some long ago culture this kind of act would be a purging of the old spirit and a penance for the larger group of onlookers. I’ve always been a little romantic…

A bit of context: I’ve read about a Chinatown performance of Kasper’s that involved damage to a strangers personal property and actions that physically endangered a crowd of people. There are corners of what she does that look self indulgent and sensational. Given a choice between having a cynical response to an experience and believing in some sort of beauty, until proved otherwise I’ll go for the beauty. I like how Kasper’s work hovers right between the two choices.

Emma Gray’s show You Can Heal Your Life is up through February 6 at Circus Gallery 7065 Lexington Ave. 90038. Stop by to see work by Kasper as well as, oh gee, follow the link please. Ten more wonderful artists are there for you to discover. The show is great from outside the front door where Gustavo Godoy has installed a Temple to a Bus Stop all the way upstairs to where a Thomas Lanigan Schmidt loaner from the collection of Tom Solomon holds court.

Trisha Paytas as Pam as Barb from the film Word Up by Michele O'Marah. Link to Grindhouse Barbie, Paytas's website.

Trisha Paytas as Pam as Barb from the film Word Up by Michele O'Marah. Link to Grindhouse Barbie, Paytas's website.

As promised David and I did make it to Kathryn Brennan / Cottage Home to see Michele O’Marah’s magnum opus “Barb Wire.” Wow. See this show. Skip seeing Avatar for the umpteenth time, forget anything else on your calendar and head to 410 Cottage Home Street, 90012.

While you’re there imagine yourself in your own lavishly appointed media center ringed with three 96″ Hi Def TV’s with surround sound proffering three unforgettable actresses playing Pam Anderson/Barb Wire.

There is one Fellow-Soldier Pam who’s taking up arms with her snaky, sexy Asian bf and together shooting off cannon load after cannon load of hot military industrial complex action. (This one brought a tear to my eye.)

Also playing is one Licensed-For-Thrills Black-and-Blonde Pam blowing the cover off a three way of do-badders; killing one for insulting her, doing Sylvia Plath with a second then pumping the oven and his head full of bullets, and leaving the third stoopid boob drooling with fear and hand-cuffed in his soiled bed of shame. (Go guys.)

And finally get moist with one Spray-Pam whipping her taut pneumatic body with her own wet blonde tresses, writhing like she’s lap dancing the gods and finally nailing a louche heckler in the forehead with her Lucite stiletto heel. (Whew. I had to loosen my collar on this one. Stilettos, eek.)

So go already!

Scott Benzel’s string quartet and video performance at Apartment 2 was as great as you all expected it would be. Transcendant, I heard one attendee call it. While the music was based on inversions of existing scores, Benzel did filter the music through his own sensibility enough to save them from being literal backwards and upside down songs.

Kathryn Andrews has an extremely tidy apartment with minimal accessorizing. Atop one built-in sideboard rested a beautiful turntable and four recording lacquers, 10″ discs grooved to 7.” If I ever buy 45’s again I want them like these! Shiny flat black sculptures. Looped video projections showed three scenes: city lights (I think from Mulholland, suggesting a possibly apocryphal story about Steven Spielberg and a currently medically available herb and inspiration for the movie Close Encounters.), the inverted top of the Capitol Records Building (One blurred bird flew from the top right of the image to the bottom middle every 3 minutes or so.), the final video showed a palm tree/cell tower and the Watts Towers.

The (excellent) players positioned themselves near the living room windows. What I heard in the music were sometimes insistent violins, a really lovely presence by the viola and the cello sounding like what would be the pedestal if this were sculpture. It felt good to me that the parent tunes weren’t overwhelmingly present. Check Scott’s website for sound matter you can hear yourself.

The parent music for Scott’s inversions include Never Learn Not to Love by Dennis Wilson (well, and Charles Manson too),  Theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind by John Williams, Ecclusiastics by Charles Mingus mixed with Dancin’ in the Streets by William Stevenson and Marvin Gaye, and California Dreamin’ by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips mixed with Ballet Mecanique by George Antheil. There are stories within stories behind this music and the inversions. What a rich full life!

Upcoming and not to be missed.

Mark Tribe is Artist-in-Residence at LACE, 6522 Hollywood Blvd 90028, and in addition to an ongoing show of his Port Huron Project (all you old New Lefties will recall the SDS) Mark is staging an evening of solo guitar renditions of Guns n Roses anthemic hit Sweet Child. (I hope I’ve got that right, GnR were somewhat outside my circle back in the day.) In Mark’s mind this song, as played by a dozen or more players (simultaneously, I hope) and accompanied with video images will connect to our troops and their presence in Afghanistan. Come along on Tuesday, Jan 19 and see if he’s right!

Niña Yhared (1814), Bitacora Mujer, 2009 installation and performance at LACE. Link to Yhared's website.

Niña Yhared (1814), Bitacora Mujer, 2009 installation and performance at LACE. Link to Yhared's website.

Let me also remind you that Jennifer Doyle’s group show I Feel Different closes on Jan 31. If you recall how much I crowed about this show in two posts you’ll feel compelled to stop and take a look! Artists include Nao Bustamente, Monica Duncan, Raquel Gutierrez, James Luna, Lara Odell, Lezley Saar, Susan Silton, David Wojnarowicz and Niña Yhared (1814). Tonight, Thursday the 14th Jennifer Dyole and Lezley Saar are talking about Saar’s Tragic Mulatto project. A reason to come to Hollywood.

Since I know you all like football – um, soccer, here’s a link to Doyle’s soccer/politics blog. Enjoy!

DARKHORSE at PHIL, 4918 York Blvd 90042. Promising us absolutely new work by Amy Adler and Monica Majoli. Does that take your breath away the way it does mine? Good Lord, I’m still breathing heavily! Stop at the sexiest and most aesthetically-pulled-together storefront in Highland Park on Saturday, Jan 16 from 8 to 11. Bring your friends – they’ll be impressed at your perspicacity.

Matt Wardell, 'Germany' or 'No Longer a Camel' 2009. Not being as sophisticated as I might be, when Wardell offered me "bigger pics" I thought he meant in inches... Sorry Matt, forgive any resolution faux pas. Link to S1F Gallery.

Matt Wardell, 'Germany' or 'No Longer a Camel' 2009. Not being as sophisticated as I might be, when Wardell offered me "bigger pics" I thought he meant in inches... Sorry Matt, forgive any resolution faux pas. Link to S1F Gallery.

In the neighborhood of Saturday, and possibly on your way to Highland Park, S1F Gallery, 2404 Wilshire Blvd 90057 is opening with new paintings by Matt Wardell in love is the easy part. Sure is Matt, when you’ve got it. btw – from S1F continue east on Wilshire to Alvarado turn left, after you pass Sunset you may stop at Machine Project, 1200 D N. Alvarado 90026 for their… Fungi Fest? A mushroom gathering tutorial, how Cageian of them :), then continue up Alvarado and catch the 2 north, get off at Verdugo turning left, turn right on York and… there you are, Phil!

And Kristi Engle, 5002 York Ave 90042, showing Miraim Nöske. Nothing on the website as of this writing but check and see.

Moving briefly into overdrive, in this same neighborhood are Workspace (Sunday the 17th is Five Points Readings: Obsessions with Jonathan Gold, Matias Viegener and Stacy Wood. 2601 Pasadena Ave 90031.) and Young Art (opening Friday the 22nd is a show of paintings by Stephen Aldahl) at 1727 N. Spring St 90012, in the old Women’s Building.

To ensure a more complete exhaustion you may also stop by the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd 90041, to see Current Trends in Modern Painting, which may be curated by Sayre Gomez, I’m not sure, and will include work by Robert Becraft, Julia Dzwonkoski and Kye Potter, Mark Hagen, Nathan Hylden, Brian Kennon, Becca Mann, Carter Mull, Alex Olson, Guan Rong, Mateo Tannat, Miller Updegraff, Kaari Upson, and Lisa Williamson. They’re not all painters and “modern” ended thirty or forty years ago so I detect some irony here. Or something. Good list though! Looks like you’ll need to join Facebook to follow this link. Opening is Friday, Jan 15.

Elias Hansen installation view at The Company. From his website. This guy is completely on the ball! Love it. Link to gallery site.

Elias Hansen installation view at The Company. From his website. This guy is completely on the ball! Love it. Link to gallery site.

We’re all over the place, timewise and geographically. In the gallery today and opening Saturday at The Company, 946 Yale St. Chinatown, 90012 is or are Elias Hansen, Predicting the Present and Adam Janes, Altar Alter Mini Storage. Hansen makes sculpture with lenses that… wait a minute. Read Michael Darling’s write up in Paris-LA. He knows the work, I don’t. :) Janes makes candles. Look at the website, he does. Read the press release – it sounds like fun!

Image from Adam Janes' website. Link to gallery website. Picture it: a darkish, turquoise painted room filled with burning candles like these, crystals, the smell of wax and flame, and the glow from your eyes. Go there.

Image from Adam Janes' website. Link to gallery website. Picture it: a darkish, turquoise painted room filled with burning candles like these, crystals, the smell of wax and flame, and the glow from your eyes. Go there.

So OK. it looks like Chinatown is the place to be on Saturday. Redling Fine Art, 990 N. Hill St. Suite 210 will open with Kate Costello, Cockaigne. Fellows will remember Costello from Thing: New Sculpture From Los Angeles, the 2005 FOCA supported show at the Hammer Museum.

WPA, 510 Bernard St. 90012 has Ryan Tomcho and Interrupture. I’ve not seen Tomcho’s work since a show at Mandarin Gallery a year or two ago, these sound like somewhat machine made, possibly tricky canvases.

Now for the sherbet course!!!

Leila Khastoo, along with Los Angeles Film Forum presents a Hollis Frampton Film Retrospective, Circles of Confusion, beginning Thursday, Jan 21 with screenings at Khastoo’s gallery, 7556 W. Sunset Blvd 90046, and at the Egyption Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd 90028. A screening of Poetic Justice (Hapax Legomena II) and Nostalgia (Hapax Legomena I) will be held on Jan 31 at the Pacific Design Center on to coincide with Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair. How much better does life get?!

Something to hold your breath for. Matt Mullican: Works from the 80’s and 90’s at Kunsthalle LA, opening January 23. This show at Kunsthalle is a collaboration btwn Francois Ghebali of Chung King Projects (about which more later) and Michael Solway/Angela Jones. Address is 932 Chung King Road, Chinatown.

Francois, at Chung King Projects, 510 Bernard St., Chinatown, still has two more weekends for you to see the new paintings of Dan Bayles.

David and I were in Parker Jones last week and once again saw Dan Finsel, I Could Be Anybody. I Could Be Somebody. This video and installation has a way of being completely annoying and impossible to tear yourself away from. Finsel was in the gallery that Sunday and talked about the physical and emotional challenges of becoming such a character for long stretches of time. He’s basically friendless at this point. And his mom wants him to go back to painting watercolors. (Right mom, that’s what you paid a million dollars for him to go to Cal Arts.) Keep pushing Dan.

By the way, unless I see you before 6 or after 10 I won’t see you at the openings on Saturday because I’ll be (tah dum!!) in Santa Monica at Jacaranda Concerts watching and listening to Thomas Ades Arcadiana and much more. I couldn’t be happier! Hey – tickets are probably still available! See you there?

It’s a big world and the parts of it that are in Los Angeles charm me. Have fun when you go out looking this weekend and thanks again for reading.

PS: The post isn’t longer, the images are bigger (in inches) so it gets squished skinny. 360×360 as opposed to my usual 240×240.

Geoff Tuck

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