Notes on Looking, March 4, 2010

Michele O'Marah, video still from Faustus's Children - 2006. Link to Kathryn Brennan

Michele O'Marah, video still from Faustus's Children - 2006. Link to Kathryn Brennan

Hello friends and Fellows,

I swear, I get to have more fun. Friday night we spent at Cottage Home watching German videos made from 1963 to 1983. (Please note that I don’t call this “video art” – would I call a painting show “painting art”? Good grief.) Cheers to the Goethe Institute and Inke Arns, who organized the event. We were a pretty excited group of discerning culture monsters who eagerly filled the space. Thanks to the magic of determined international citizen uplaoders, the internet and the searching efforts of yours truly you can enjoy much of the video we saw that night. Click on a few things below for some nice surprises.

Jan Dibbets, …Tide Object with Correction of Perspective is not available online that I could find but a rather less interesting and much longer recreation of the piece that Dibbets did in 2009 is. You can get the idea from watching but you really missed out if you weren’t at Cottage Home. The original is an elegant 3 minute film of a tractor or two dragging marks into a beach at low tide making a trapezoid. The trapezoid looks square because of a trick of perspective and then the tide rises, washing the whole away. After viewing this, and thinking on other land art projects I’ve experienced I’m choosing to see a sweet and human side to this work.

Joseph Beuys, Filz TV was on the program that night and is here for you to watch.

Die Tödliche Doris is also available for your viewing pleasure. FYI this film has a German punk band recreating in Berlin a concert in they did in Paris several weeks before, (obviously) lip syncing and stiffly reimagining their earlier movements on the stage. The audience, too is in on the game and sort of mocks applause. Weirdly all the musicians are staring up toward the ceiling – maybe there’s a prompter or something? It has an eerie effect as you watch. Neat!

Malaria, Geld, a self produced Super 8 music video by German band Malaria from 1983 takes me right back to the early 1980’s and, happily for me, reminds me that it wasn’t all predictably produced, commercially driven dreck. Yay Malaria!!!

Wolf Vostell, Sun in your head  is another video we saw.

I can find several instances of Ulrike Rosenbach’s Dance for One Woman online although I’m afraid they all may be excerpts of this beautiful film of a woman dancing, twirling in a circle. She wears a white tulle dancing gown with large reflective paillettes. She finally drops to the floor to end the piece. The film is shot in a mirror that fixed to the ceiling so the ground on which/in which she dances wobbles and tilts.

EU Summit in Thessalonica (Angela Melitopoulos and Timescapes, Corridor X) Image not from film shown at festival but it does give me a reason to link to Brian Holmes Continental Drift blog.

EU Summit in Thessalonica (Angela Melitopoulos and Timescapes, Corridor X) Image not from film shown at festival but it does give me a reason to link to Brian Holmes Continental Drift blog.

Saturday morning we didn’t head for art as artifice, we headed to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden to spend time with nature as art. We strolled through sage, ceanothus, manzanita and oak trees during a wonderfully obliging rainstorm! In fact, during the drive while we drove east on the 210 it rained so hard traffic came to a standstill a couple of times, and the raindrops sounded like bullets on the car.

When I was young people called this kind of place “undeveloped land” as though development was a necessary stage, similar to adulthood for humans. At the time undeveloped land was all over the city. Now that everything’s been developed and one can’t simply walk out one’s door to see this sort of thing, we’ve made anyplace untouched into a museum. Hmm. Returning to my recent experience: plants smell more in the rain. Greens look great in grey light. Thunder and lightning enhance any experience. Birds came out to make their happy sounds. David and I had a blast.

On our way home we stopped once again at Cottage Home, this time to visit Isabel Rosario Cooper: A Work in Four Parts. Miljohn Ruperto beautifully installed this work that is 2 parts 16 millimeter film, 1 part video on dvd and 1 part screenplay. Did I say beautiful? That’s too pale. The films, the story and the installation are poetic. Cooper is a Filipino actress who became General MacArthur’s mistress at an early age and, as you can imagine, ended her life… badly. Let’s face it – those times were not great for women, for Filipino’s in the US and especially for mistresses. Good grief, consider the act of naming a woman “mistress” as though one is doing a favor to a person who otherwise would be called a… fill in the blank with your own deprecating term. Ruperto tells her story, and moves her from the periphery to the center of our attention using a nicely light touch.

Miljohn Ruperto, Appearance of Isabel Rosario Cooper 2007-09. Still from a 16 mm film. Link to Tom Solomon Gallery

Miljohn Ruperto, Appearance of Isabel Rosario Cooper 2007-09. Still from a 16 mm film. Link to Tom Solomon Gallery

Look! Look! Look! JMOCA has an opening on Saturday, March 6! The Informers. Who can these people be with a power over information? Of what will they inform us? Who can tell? Sayre Gomez; Mark McKnight; the combo of Michele O’Marah, Tim Jackson and David Jones; Nora Jean Peterson and Lisa Williamson can tell!

For those of you with patience and interest here’s a 2009 interview of Bret Easton Ellis by Dennis Widmyer on Chuck Palahniuk’s website. By way of explanation, in 1994 Ellis published a book of stories called “The Informers.” In 2009 a film adaptation was released with the script by Ellis, his first. I’m guessing the artists involved and curator Lia Trinka-Browner, as well as Justin Hansch, the Founder and Director of Justin’s Museum of Contemporary Art are responding to Ellis’s Informers. Maybe Justin’s only hosting, but hey – Directors of Museums get creds, too!

I feel a need to offer you things I’m finding as I write:

Mark McKnight does not seem to have a website but I find a short review in the San Francisco Chronicle by Ari Messer of a group show in SFO last year and a nice post with images from 2008 on Shane Lavalette Journal. You ought to look at this, it’s really great work!

Nora Jean Peterson had a show, Time is the Substance, with online space Light and Wire (about which you should know anyway) in November 2009.

On the subject of Sayre Gomez I seem to be relentless lately. Um, trust me on this one, and if you wonder why visit any one of the shows he’s got work in and find out!

O’Marah, Jackson and Jones will be showing Faustus’s Children, a mystical murder mystery film from 2007. I can’t link to the excellent Art Forum Media column Michael Ned Holte wrote on the occasion of O’Marah’s recent A Girls’ Gotta do what a Girl’s Gotta Do show at Kathryn Brennan. Since I can’t link I’ll quote. “All of O’Marah’s videos are noticeably no-budget, handmade affairs… nevertheless rich in set design and costume detail…” “Her serious (and laborious) but ambiguous act of doubling recalls, for me (Holte) at least, Borges’s fictional author Pierre Menard, whose rewriting of two chapters of Don Quixote is “verbally identical, but… infinitely richer.” Close Borges quote first then Holte quote.

Hah! Clever looking makes me able to offer you practically an entire volume of wondrous press for Michele O’Marah! Duh Geoff, that’s what Kathryn Brennan Gallery website is for. (I’m leaving my quote intact because typing is slow and hard for me. I’d hate to waste it. Click through and read Michael Ned Holte and more!)

Lisa Williamson was most recently seen at David Kordansky. As luck would have it the show is up through Saturday. Stop by! DK 3143 S. La Cienega, Unit A, 90016.

I assure you that Lia Trinka-Browner is a smart curator. As evidence I refer you to FOCA’s 2008 Curator’s Lab show curated by Lia, Yellow. Also to 533 where Trinka-Browner curated Opera in April 2009. (This reminds me to tell you that Portrait Projects, 533’s current show closes on Saturday March 6.) JMOCA, 2335 Silver Ridge Ave, 90039, street parking in this residential neighborhood, BYOB; 533 is at 533 S. Los Angeles St, 2nd Floor 90013.

When I first wrote this post there weren't any images available. Justin Hansch and the JMOCA team have uploaded beautiful installation shots of which this is one. (A must follow)Link to JMOCA.

When I first wrote this post there weren't any images available. Justin Hansch and the JMOCA team have uploaded beautiful installation shots of which this is one. Link to JMOCA.

Another installation shot of The Informers curated by Lia Trinka-Browner at JMOCA. I don't know the title or artist. I think it may be Mark McKnight since I also think he's the only photographer in this show. Link to JMOCA home page.

Another installation shot of The Informers curated by Lia Trinka-Browner at JMOCA. I don't know the title or artist. I think it may be Mark McKnight since I also think he's the only photographer in this show. Link to JMOCA home page.

Shells, Prisms opens at Glendale College Art Gallery Saturday, March 6 from 4 to 7 pm. Did I list the artists last week? Elizabeth Bryant, Alice Clements, Annetta Kapon, Maya Lujan.

Sometimes I get stumped for what to say. This especially happens when I’m trying to be clever, so instead I’ll focus on what I know. (That usually works!) David and I have been going to shows at Glendale for around 5 years and have consistently been surprised and pleased by the work and by Roger Dickes’ curating. I’m not hugely familiar with any of the work for Shells, Prisms but I do listen to people talk, even when they’re not directing the conversation my way, and I’ve picked up enough corners of things about Clements and Lujan to intrigue me. I’ve met Kapon and looked at her website and am interested to see her work in person. Bryant has shown at Solway Jones pretty much since Michael and Angela opened at 2211 North Broadway.

Mark McKnight, Untitled (Armageddon), 2006. Link to Shane Lavalette blog

Mark McKnight, Untitled (Armageddon), 2006. Link to Shane Lavalette blog

Plus, it happens that Alice Clements is curating a show at Sea and Space, opening on March 13. Mostly Sculpture will feature the work of (some of my favorite artists) Kathryn Andrews, Alice Clements (herself), Heather Cook, Patrick Hill, Alice Könitz and Brett Lund. Nice line up, huh? Are you excited yet? Maybe I’ll see you at Sea and Space Explorations, 4755 York BLvd, 90042.

The Northeast sector of our fair city bristles with fascinating things to do and see. Here’s a few:

Hit up Workspace this Saturday, March 6 for The Eternal Reoccurrence of Everything, curated by Sonja Gerdes, an artist who became an Angeleno(a?) in July 2009 when she moved from Berlin. She brought with her an ongoing connection to an artist’s space in Berlin, Infernoesque. Check it out! Seems like her show at Workspace mixes up artists from Germany, from New York and from LA. Workspace, 2601 Pasadena Ave, 90031. Infernoesque, Projektraum, Heidestrasse 46-52, Berlin.

This, Los Angeles is at 5906 N. Figueroa, 90042. I don’t know, well, anything about This. A nice woman I met at Dawson Weber and Vi Ha’s Wall Calendar one-day show at Canal back in January told me something was happening north on Fig but she wasn’t sure what. A friend from work who lives in the neighborhood told me today about seeing a crowd of people and “stuff that looks like art” in the area. (Everybody I work with tells me anything they find about art. I guess I have a reputation.) I’ll keep watching and see what develops. Oh, and I’ll sign up for the email list. You should too!

Looking up Canal to again see the Wall Calendar page I find that Fette has curated a show, Reynaud Perriches and Lindsay Lawson. Can I write that again, this time with links to each artist? Reynaud Perriches and Lindsay Lawson. Um, can’t forget Fette! You remember Fette’s Flog don’t you? And her gallery in her home in Culver City? Indomitable, delightful, omniscient and omnipresent. Canal is Jessica Minckley’s project online and at 4026 N. Figueroa 90031, the show is online here with images from  Perriches’ and Lawson’s studios.

Which finally brings me back to a show by Daniel Ingroff, proprietor of the above mentioned Workspace. Whew. That was a loooong segue. Ingroff has a show in the downtown LA Public Library Works Sited series. Mosaicism opens tonight, Thursday, at 6 – 7:30 pm at the library and is up through April 1. Take fate in your own hands and click on the Mosaicism link, go ahead! And then keep clicking on images. It’s pretty cool. Ingroff was inspired by the library’s quirky, pre-internet archive of photographs and newspaper articles, magazine clippings and ephemera.

Plaster on shelf, image from Alice Clements blog. I worry sometimes about grabbing images. I write too fast to ask the artist in question. This image is dated 1/9/10. I think it's an interesting image. Click through to blog for more.

Plaster on shelf, image from Alice Clements blog. I worry sometimes about grabbing images. I write too fast to ask the artist in question. This image is dated 1/9/10. I think it's an interesting image. Click through to blog for more.

Sculpture by Sonja Gerdes, I don't read German so I know nothing more. Pretty cool though, huh?

Sculpture by Sonja Gerdes, I don't read German so I know nothing more. Pretty cool though, huh?

Karl Haendel has a solo show coming at Susanne Vielmetter on March 13. Sir Ernest Shackleford and All the Clocks in my House. I loved the installation Haendel and Waleed Beshty did at Erica Redling’s space and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Haendel does with Susanne’s new… acreage.

Stanya Kahn also has a solo opening at Vielmetter, called It’s cool, I’m good. Kahn’s films and performances are funny, uncanny, and truly great. I’m sure you all know this but what you don’t know is that for this new film Kahn is “using the base line” from David Essex’s 1973 paean to James Dean, Rock On. (At least Essex claimed it was about Dean. We who were teenagers at the time thought it was about our own “spooky sexy” selves, dreaming to be unleashed on the world.)

Gee. And on that note I unleash you on the rest of your day. I’m glad you stopped by!

Geoff Tuck

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