Notes on Looking, February 25, 2010
Dear friends and Fellows,
Mock orange trees are starting to bloom all over the city and the air is scented with fragrance. Spring is here (or close enough). What a wonderful world we live in!
I confess. I’m way too busy sorting and filing or shredding and recycling all of 2009’s accumulation of paper to see as much as I’d like, so forgive me if I miss a few shows. On the other hand:
Thursday night we spent at a French fry fest in the alley behind Gagosian. Tom Sachs provided the McDonald’s Fry Master and three Gagosian staff (decked out in form-fitting white lab coats for the fry fest) curated the attendant exhibition, Meet Me Inside, in the upstairs gallery. (The curators quote from a Gary Numan song in works list.)
Remember the Monica Majoli diptych I told you about a few weeks ago in a preview of a show at Phil? (Phil news later!) You still have the chance to see it! Majoli hasn’t shown, or worked, in oil in a decade, so if you’re a fan of her work you’ll rightly be champing at the bit to see this small portrait doubled/rhymed/counterpointed by a slightly larger abstract work on paper. I don’t think Majoli’s done abstract work before. Doubly exciting!
You probably saw work by Rob Reynolds last year at Leila Khastoo’s Hollywood space. (Khastoo news coming up, too!) New, different paintings here in BH. I like hyperbole, so I want to say there’s a life-size painting of a ship wreck, but we all know that’s not true. It’s a painting of part of a photograph of a ship wreck including a partial caption. I eavesdropped on a trio who were talking about this being part of a larger body of work taken from a found book of photos. I was too busy admiring Russell’s beautiful technique to ask for more info from the mystery trio.
Some of you know FOCA’s President and Chairman (woman) of the Board, Homeira Goldstein. I saw a painting at Gagosian that I’d like to dedicate to her: Go to Gagosian, climb the (architecturally perfect) stairs, turn right at the top moving past a Mike Kelly diptych, a collage by Faile, a work on paper by Kara Walker, enter the middle space, stop and turn around to see a black diamond dust painting by Andy Warhol. It’s glamorous, black as night and sparkles like a thousand diamonds. My friends, although Andy’s been dead for years he must have known the force of nature that is FOCA’s leader.
Hanging above the Andy is a series of flourescent light fixtures by Adam McEwen. I only know a little about McEwen so I looked unknowing at the lights mystified until I read the materials. The flourescent bulbs are solid graphite and to me suddenly felt dark, heavy and potent. So I’m suggestible you say? Probably – but go look for yourself and tell me I’m wrong. Here’s a link to a studio visit on New Art TV. Next to the sparkly Andy hangs a silver and shiny canvas by Jacob Kassay. There’s much more in the show, be sure to go in the office to see all the work on the list. Only at Gagosian do I find a video of works in the show. Through the 27th at Gagosian Gallery 456 N. Camden, 90210.
Friday night we left work at 7:30 and dashed north on Figueroa, east on 1st and north on Broadway to the FOCA office at 970 N. Broadway, Suite 208 for the All Time Greatest party where the beautifully well-voiced (and operatically trained) Simon Leung sang Valsahalal’s Tin Gun, a 2002 composition by Stephanie Taylor. Taylor’s songs frequently have rhyming as a motif and in fact often the lyrics are written using a formula that exchanges syllables with rhymes – building words and allowing these choices to further the narrative. There’s one insistent theme built around the Valsahalal sound-phrase that’s repeated throughout the song and builds in power with each repetition. I should say “through each repetition” because while the sound volume doesn’t vary much the repetition itself turns up the volume in one’s head.
Brendan Fowler as Steven/Stephen played a (I’m not sure what to call a purposefully organized stream of sound and music samples) using an SP 404 Sampler. Here’s a sample of my notes: 73 – 92 – 73 – 77 – 102 – SP 404 machine – muscle in forearm (tightening rhythmically) – sound repetition then hesitation – does his body do something (to the music?) – cool stoppages – Minor Threat chord! – 88 – 120 – 91 – piano playing – constantly rearranging (his equipment and his body in space) – Dif Juz quote? – repetition – human voice: “you can’t listen when you insert yourself” – the end. (all in no particular order) Enthusiastic applause!
Speaking with Fowler afterward I found that yes, moving his body around from sitting on a speaker to crouching in front or picking up a microphone stand or throwing duct tape does affect the music because it affects how I listen to/hear what he’s doing. And yes this piece does have a score, which Fowler calls a compositional strategy, and he’s played this piece before. I forgot to ask the title. It’s a beautiful piece of music! The Fowler link is a 9 minute 34 second excerpt of a 20 minute performance Fowler did at Vanderbilt University in 2008. You should look and listen, it’s pretty great.
This was to also be the publication release party for the color picture format catalog of the show with essays by curator Natilee Harren and writer/independent curator Andrew Berardini. Getting things perfect takes some time. I’ll let you know when the book is published, for now when you stop by the show (open through Saturday, February 27th) be sure you pick up a paper edition of the catalog which includes the essays without pictures.
By the way, my congratulations and thanks go to Natilee Harren, the artists she selected for the show and to Andrew Berardini for his support of Harren’s project and his writing for the book. Three huge FOCA cheers!
Saturday we did not make it to the opening of Monte Vista Projects Minumin Yields Maximum curated by Gina Osterloh and we did not make it to the opening of Andrew Hahn’s Paintings for Achillia at WPA. I’m sad. I admire Osterloh and Hahn and wanted to offer congratulations to each in person at the reception. However, this example of poor planning on my part does have the nice affect of allowing me to talk about each of these shows in at least three separate Notes editions! Last week’s preview, this week with my excuses and then when I do see the shows. Swiftly turning lemons into lemonade. Monte Vista Projects 5442 Monte Vista St 90042, WPA 510 Bernard St 90012.
Saturday night we did, after a listening party at Country Club, go to LACE for Dino Dinco’s Gutted, an exhibition and performance party. In keeping with LACE’s tradition of offering a sexy benefit every Valentine’s Day, Gutted brought out the… alluring best in everyone! Three rooms of performance timed to not quite coincide but overlapping enough to feel almost overwhelming. Almost. (I have to confess again. Even on Saturdays I rarely stay up past 10. LACE ended at midnight. Eek. We ended much earlier.)
Lucas Michael, a self-declared seeker to please, may or may not have done a perfomance that I missed. What I did see was him starting (I thought) where many artist’s presentations end: with the question, “Are there any questions for the artist?” Given the lack of presented context, I felt truly challenged by this. It was a nice performance, I thought. Now I wonder – is it ok that what I saw may not have had much relation to actual events? Hmm.
In my mind the party was a three-ring circus: Ladies and Gentlemen! At this very moment! Here! In Ring No. 1! See Dawn Kasper throwing symbols and breaking down walls! In Ring No. 2! Brian Getnick will amaze you in a many layered costume topped with a huge blue plaster head-thing acting out Jungian father myths! Also in Ring No. 2 you see a robust, bethroned, nude man (Dorian Wood) silently drinking and – wait, no that one’s not for family consumption. In Ring No. 3! Brace yourself for Heather Cassils, posed like the figurehead on a ship fiercely melting an ice self portrait with only the heat of her naked body. And the ice drips were amplified! More beautiful music!
Nahr! There’s not enough room! Julie Tolentino, who was in great beauty Saturday night, swallowed 15 lbs of honey, which dripped slowly down a thread into her open mouth and on her body as she lay on the floor. I never did find out to what end. Taisha Pagget was beautiful as a sillhouette, dancing in place to the imagined music of theoretical writings on perception and phenomonolgy.
David saw Zachary Drucker moving through the crowd, an elegant moment of poise amidst the chaotic goings-on.
There were more than thirty performances on Dinco’s list, and as I surveyed the crowd I felt sure I could count at least a hundred more among the delightful and salacious partiers – each enacting their own glam scene!
Monday Evening Concerts closed our weekend with music by Argentinian composer Mauricio Kagel. Dressur asks three percussionists (in this case Steven Schick, Ross Karre and Justin DeHart) to play with wooden percussion instruments and other wooden things – yellow clog shoes, a wind chime, coconut shells on human chest for instance. I say play because it did resemble some kind of game. Like children, they played it for laughs, they threatened one another, they strutted and stumbled – it was very circus-like (again with the circus reference!).
For Eine Brise, the second piece, we departed Zipper Hall to gather outside, lining up along Grand Ave to watch and hear one hundred and eleven bicyclists ride by chiming, whooshing and making vocal music to accompany the cheery whir of bicycles cycling. Link is to Youtube video of bicycle rehearsal on Lower Grand Ave on Monday! There are about 20 more posts from that rehearsal for you to enjoy.
Vicki Ray playing piano, Movses Pogossian playing violin and Kim Scholes playing cello. Picture it. If you’ve seen any one of them play before you’re already holding your breath! Quoting Paul Griffiths’ program notes as he quotes Kagel, “One might compare this piano trio to a polyphonic web of character pieces, in which prominent features keep emerging, following through, stopping abruptly, coming up from the background to the surface, and slowly disappearing.” David remarked to me that the cello at work was made almost 300 years ago – somehow that’s nice to know at a contemporary music concert.
I offer you an interesting review of the concert by Mark Swed in the LA Times and a blog post from Brian at Out West Arts. Out West Arts is a blog that seems to cover just about every music-related cultural performance event in LA and a lot quite beyond our city, too.
“Good Lord Geoff, you’ve been going on for hours and we still don’t know what’s coming up this weekend!” Um, sure, sorry. Let me recommend a few things that I hope to see:
Matt Connors at Cherry and Martin. You should have seen this one coming! Connors has been a hero since David and I saw his work somewhere in the way-back machine, maybe the early 2000’s. He’s recently had work in shows at Cirrus and Parker Jones that I’ve mentioned and I think at Canada when they did the ArtLA Fair a few years ago. Connors’ show at C and M is titled Dromedary Resting, a nice mental image, if not immediately enlightening. Hmm. After struggling with an entire paragraph of semi-ideas to express my thoughts on Connors’ work I think my previous statement probably says it best. Speaking of happy accidents and purposeful incommensurabilities. (Click and read the gallery announcement then this all makes sense.) Cherry and Martin, 2712 S, La Cienega, 90034.
Our mutual friend Phil from Highland Park hopped a redcar to Culver City to curate Boneyard at Kim Light/Maloney Fine Art. Boneyard will feature several Phil favorites and a few artists new to me. Tom Friedman (work in current show at the Geffen, sorta near the Martin Kippenberger), Richard Hawkins (also in the current Geffen show, on the ramp down from the mezzanine; Tony Payne tells me he got “an awesome early piece from ’95!” by Hawkins), Robert Hawkins (no relation to Richard – this work promises to be very weird and interesting), Whitney Hubbs (she of the beautiful photos), Robert Mapplethorpe (him you know), Keith Mayerson (these will be drawings from the 90s, one of Keanu Reeves!), Helmut Newton (you know him, too), George Stoll (probably most famous for paraffin Tupperware glasses, makes lovely, difficult-to-believe representations of evanescent everyday things), Tom of Finland (progenitor of soooo much that is current in art), and Greta Waller (UCLA MFA candidate, recent show at David Salow). 2680 S. La Cienega, 90034.
Las Cienegas Projects swings both ways! (From Cal Arts to Art Center) Tami Demaree Noa Noa Yes Yes, April Totten Out of Order, and Sky Burchard Trail of Broken Hearts. I’m pretty sure the opening won’t be like a clash of the Jets and the Sharks but one can always hope. LCP 2045 S. La Cienega, 90034.
Khastoo and Smithshop + Stor are hanging out together mixing art and retail and design. I think they must be mixing cocktails too – I just checked on the Stor website. Take a look at the insane prices of this cool stuff! Sonia Rykiel Feathered Blue Velvet Slingbacks. Red ones, too. These are art. $95 a pair. Even back in 1979 when I sold ladies fancy shoes at Ohrbach’s in Glendale, $95 was a bargain for art shoes. Um, I’m settling down now. Deep breath.
You are invited by Leila (Khastoo) and Quentin (Smith) to a Moet & Chandon Champagne brunch reception this Sunday, February 28. Join the fun!
You need to know about 40 Years of Video Art: A Critical Reappraisal of an Art Form, hosted by the Goethe Institut and Tom Solomon Gallery at Cottage Home. I feel like this is important so I’m going to paste the schedule here. Most of the films are under 10 minutes, two are 30 minutes or more.
Friday, February 26 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Wolf Vostell, Sun in your head, 1963
Gerry Schum, Land Art (excerpt: Jan Dibbets: Correction of Perspective), 1969
Joseph Beuys, Filz TV
Jean Francois Guiton, Holzstücke, 1982
Dieter Kiessling, Vorhänge, 1982/1986
Malaria, Geld, 1983
Die tödliche Doris, Über-Mutti …, 1984
Ingo Günther, Fünf Fünfzig im Dunkeln, 1985
Saturday, February 27 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Jörg Herold, Körper im Körper, 1989
Angela Melitopoulos, Transfer, 1992
Daniel Pflumm, Logos auf Schwarz, 1996
Granular Synthesis, Sweet Heart, 1997
Björn Melhus, No Sunshine, 1997
Christoph Girardet / Matthias Müller, Phoenix Tapes (#3 Derailed / #4 Why don’t you love me?), 1999
Sunday, February 28 3:00 to 4:00 pm
Alice Creischer / Andreas Siekmann, Es gibt immer nur mehr, 2002
Jeanne Faust, Interview, 2003
Korpys/Löffler, The Nuclear Football, 2004
Jan Verbeek, On A Wednesday Night in Tokyo, 2004
Panel Discussion to Follow
Inke Arnes, director of Hartware MedienKunstVerein Dortmund
Bjorn Melhus, German-Norwegian media artist
Peter Kirby, producer of video work internationally
Carole Ann Klonarides, moderator, independent writer, curator and consultant
Bruce Yonemoto, video artist
Good grief! I’ve been typing like a nut. Now I’ll leave you to your own devices. Next week I’ll entice you with a visit to Glendale College Art Gallery to see Shells, Prisms. Trust me, you’ll want to see this. In fact why don’t you click through now and read the press release? I promise you some surprises!
Thanks for reading. Take a minute to smell the blossoms on your way between galleries!