Notes on Looking, April 22, 2010 (w/Prince Poppycock links updated to Official Poppycock sites)

Mateo Tannatt Casting Call: Vagrant No. 1 (Mattia) 2010 as installed in the West Gallery at Marc Foxx

Mateo Tannatt Casting Call: Vagrant No. 1 (Mattia) 2010 as installed in the West Gallery at Marc Foxx

Mateo Tannatt, Oh!, -Oh!, -Oh!, 2010. Link to Marc Foxx

Mateo Tannatt, Oh!, -Oh!, -Oh!, 2010. Link to Marc Foxx

Hello friends and Fellows,

If all the excitement in all the world were packed into one place and time it would be last Saturday and Sunday in LA, cross my heart and hope to die. Starting at the end and then circling back around to the beginning:

David and I attended Mateo Tannatt’s performance Konzert at Marc Foxx Gallery on Sunday evening. (As I type I’m listening to an excerpt of composer Ryan Tanaka’s Konzert #1/String Quartet #7 as well as his String Quartet #6 – click on Recent Works to hear these and more.) I’m loving the recording and loving also my memory of performer John Quale (I offer you more and more recent info on Quale here at his Prince Poppycock site) as he created before our eyes the role of a glamourous, self-posessed, thoughtful… hobo with the voice of an angel. Quale is “one of those disastrously beautiful boys who turn the heads of women and men in the street…” and “…that we call androgynous when we mean that he’s beautiful before he is anything else, including male or female.” (Quoting on male beauty cultural critic and perfume philosopher Tania Sanchez from her review of Caron’s Le Troisiéme Homme in the ground-breaking text Perfumes.)

Performances in art galleries sometimes can be confounding and require more patience than bring pleasure. Here the combination of John Quale’s Smiths / Thin White Duke era David Bowie inspired pop vocalising and Ryan Tanaka’s somewhat Bartokian quartet beautifully played by Chris Votek (cello), Melinda Rice (violin), Yvette Holzwarth (violin), and Andrew McIntosh (viola) came alive (balletically? in a mid-twentieth century Broadway fashion? Brigadoon-like?) inside and around Mateo Tannat’s sculptures and wall pieces. This was an evening we all enjoyed and that brought us to that edge of understanding from which one is free to fall into or out of sensibility at will. And no I’m not dramatizing. Go to Marc Foxx for yourself and just see if the work isn’t still aglow.

Truly startling (and striking!) image of John Quale aka Prince Poppycock. Photo by Shawn Smith Photo hoovered up from Facebook. Link to Prince Poppycock official YouTube page. Cheers.

Truly startling (and striking!) image of John Quale aka Prince Poppycock. Photo by Shawn Smith Photo hoovered up from Facebook. Link to Prince Poppycock official YouTube page. Cheers.

A note about links and comparisons: on the sites I linked to John Quale posts announcements about his appearances internationally and around town at various nightspots including Casita del Campo and the Silver Platter (the only two that middle-aged me knows about). Oh – pardon me but I have to interrupt this program to bring you The Official Prince Poppycock website and glamorama. (Give it up for the Prince!). (Are any of you old enough to remember the “golden loins” of Franco Corelli? Eat your heart out Franco.) And when you travel to New York or if you’re reading this in NY make sure you visit Dances of Vice: Rococo, Victorian, Jazz Age and New Romantic Parties and Events. David and I just spent twenty minutes watching in amazement the videos and images. Wow.

The links I’ve provided to Votek, Rice, Holzwarth and McIntosh give you some idea of their recent and upcoming events and the various combinations they play with. Tanaka’s page gives a great deal of information about and samples of his music and events. And oh, dear, my Bartok comparison to Tanaka’s quartet is just weak. (So many comparisons are.) For instance, there was an entire movement played in pizzicato and I have no idea where it came from. It was beautiful and affecting. You should listen.

I’m excited about Rendesvous Vous and Konzert because with these projects Mateo Tannat has taken three or four of the most fascinating worlds LA has to offer and combined them into a wondrous sonic, physical and temporal sculpture that starts one’s mind going in many directions.

Three are the many cheers we give.

Mateo Tannatt Rendezvous Vous
Marc Foxx Gallery, 6150 Wilshire Blvd., LA 90048

Bari Ziperstein, bizarre tchotchke from her Decorative Protection < Protecting Decoration installation at LCP. Link to Ziperstein's website.

Bari Ziperstein, bizarre tchotchke from her Decorative Protection < Protecting Decoration installation at LCP. Link to Ziperstein's website.

But back to the beginning.

Our first stop is where last weekend’s glow of amazement started, at Las Cienegas Projects. Millie Wilson has (at least I think she has) a most glamourous take on art that inspires questions about identity and self. In this current project at LCP (titled I am not here anymore but I am fine) she shows a portion of her large archive of photographs, in light boxes which reflect off a decidedly glam centrally installed chrome birdcage structure which is filled with shiny glass apothecary jars and bottles. Silver and crystal glittering in the (somewhat colder and more direct than candle light) light from photographic memories. There’s charm and a meloncholy in the room.

Bari Ziperstein shows a wall piece that effectively f***s with your sense of balance (both physical and aesthetic), and your judgment (again regarding both geometry and taste). This piece was inspired by a vintage print ad for decorative window protection, i.e. iron bars for the home. Ziperstein, in her usual fashion, exaggerates all the wrong parts of this idea to create something wonderfully funny and right.

All the way to the back now, turn right. Vincent Johnson in Cold War Montages shows us exactly what he promises: collections of historical photographs from the period mentioned. Sometimes these images repeat to nice effect, some you recognize and some you never even heard of. (To misquote Ray Davies and the Kinks and probably mis-attribute Johnson’s project.)

Hey – there’s plenty of interesting documentation along with a cool exhibition poster at the front desk – stop and say hello to Amy Thoner as you grab stuff on your way out!

Onward and westward to Bergamot Station.

Liz Kraft, Death of a Clown at Patrick Painter. Later in the day, in Chinatown and Mid-Wilshire several different artists I respect and admire asked me, when I told them we had been to Santa Monica earlier that day, “Oh! Did you see Liz Kraft’s show? God I have to make it out there! How is it?” Rest assured my friends Ms. Kraft has done eye-popping work for this show. Some of the wall pieces resemble cross-stitches seen through the wrong end of a telescope. Much of the work seems to be… craft-y, which makes me wonder if she’s punning on her own name. Or am I just perverse?

At Rosamund Felsen’s, along with the final day of Karen Carson’s show, we were treated to a huge painting by M.A. Peers hanging over the desk. I don’t know if this was new work, it looked to be from the series of dog portraits Peers made a few years ago. I don’t see Peers on the gallery schedule – as a matter of fact Joan Jonas has a show opening on April 24th in the space. If it was just chance that we saw the painting then I want more dumb luck like that!

Checking out the new kids on this block we stopped in Luis de Jesus. David Adey has installed two stacks of books, sideways from wall to wall about eight feet off the floor. Held up only by the tension of shims and an occasional saw horse tipped on point between the books and the floor. Kind of an engineering marvel. It’s sort a polite and geeky take on that sculpture Chris Burden did that involved braces between foundation walls of a building and a turnstile that increased the pressure on the walls as each visitor entered the gallery. No danger of wreckage here but good lord is it neat looking! There’s work by several of the gallery artists in a back room and more up front. This is a nice introduction to the program of this recently relocated gallery. Up next is Lael Corbin (who just opened a project at MCA San Diego that you may recall hearing about in these pages) Corbin doesn’t open till May 22 so there’s plenty of time to check out the book sculpture by Adey.

Leaving the far west side to make an appointment we completely (and much to my regret) forgot LA Louver and Christopher Grimes. Darn! David Hockney, Charles Garabedian, Olga Koumoundouros and Waltercio Caldas. All missed. This time, that is. Both shows are up for a while so maybe Saturday.

Oh dear. Except that this Saturday we’re hosting a LACE Silver Circle Members “Meet the Artist” event with Lecia Dole-Recio at our house. Maybe next week we’ll hit the beach again. By the way – wanna come over and visit and snoop? There’s probably time to join LACE at the right level to get in! (Um, blatant Geoff, blatant. Nicely done though.)

Neha Choksi still from Leaf Fall 2008

Neha Choksi still from Leaf Fall 2008

What can I say about Neha Choksi’s film installation at Carl Berg’s PDC space?

Let me begin by telling you this is possibly the most beautifully installed exhibition of video I’ve seen outside a museum. A trilogy of videos, beginning with a six-channel piece about loss of consciousness, or absence within presence. Choksi along with several domestic animals were sedated for this live, filmed performance held at a petting zoo. The second part had a particular and sacred ficus tree being stripped of its leaves by what seemed to be the family who owned the land it grows on. They talked among themselves, quoting reactions to the project elicited from friends and colleagues to whom Choksi described her plan. “But what is lost, and what gained?” “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Why are you counting? The leaves.” The final leg of this tripod, involving a group of Jainist mendicant nuns and the artist rowing a boat made of ice out into the ocean where it of course melts, is yet to be completed and will be shown at Project 88 in Mumbai in January 2011.

This work is a little unsettling. I asked Choksi if it wasn’t opportunistic – sedating animals, stripping trees, rowing nuns into the ocean… She smiled, leaving me to find my own way. Now I’m thinking about control and loss of control. I’m thinking that any control we do feel is illusory and I wonder if this illusion is necessary or helpful at all? Nice stuff.

I’m trying to find some contact information for the Keramik show at the PDC to no avail. Sad, sad, sad. At the PDC there are shows at Carl Berg, Janet Levy of See Line Gallery has a couple of shows installed and someone, possibly Chris Miles, Monique Van Genderen or Roger Herman has organized a show called Keramik. Go see them all. What I suggest is contacting either Carl or Janet and asking for help. I keep my fingers crossed this group will manage all to be present at the same time on a weekend so visitors can bunch up.

Hah! Across town we drive, five miles east on Melrose to the 101 (it’s so awesome how just around Edgeware the traffic clears and in my tiny roadster I can take it from stop and go to eighty mph in about a car-length) off at Broadway, turn left making sure to stay in the left lane so I don’t get stuck behind people turning right in Chinatown. (One of the drawbacks to high pedestrian traffic – right turns suck.)

Roger White Brita, 2008 watercolor on paper. Link to Kathryn Brennan Gallery

Roger White Brita, 2008 watercolor on paper. Link to Kathryn Brennan Gallery

Kathryn Brennan Gallery, soon to be lamented in Los Angeles and cheered in New York as she and Gallery Director James Griffin move and open Brennan Griffin Gallery somewhere on the Lower East Side. The show we saw last week is closed now so other than including the above image of work by Roger White with a link I won’t tease you. (But you should have seen the show.)

Opening this Saturday at Cottage Home is The LAst Show. Work by a whole corrall full of stomping, champing artists who work with Brennan. I’m cheating since I really don’t know but the press release states “work by each of our represented artists” so I think that means: Cal Crawford, Adam Helms, Michael Lazarus, Sandeep Mukherjee, Michele O’Marah, Danica Phelps, Amy Sarkisian, Matthew Spiegelman, Jeni Spota, Kristen Stoltmann, Mary Weatherford, John Williams. Yes there you have it my friends, a link to each individual artist. Do you think that’s not tedious work?! Please use them so I’ll be happy.

And hey Katie – I still remember you showing us Bill Jones photos in 2002 at the Project when Jens Hoffmann curated that show. Still wish we’d bought a few…
Cottage Home Gallery, 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown, 90012

Mark Hagen, To Be Titled (Additive Sculpture) 2010. Link to China Art

Mark Hagen, To Be Titled (Additive Sculpture) 2010. Link to China Art

Mark Hagen, Succession & Simultaneity exhibition at China Art installation view. Link to China Art

Mark Hagen, Succession & Simultaneity exhibition at China Art installation view. Link to China Art

Mark Hagen exhibition at China Art Objects is another show that last week I think ten or so people told me, “God I gotta leave right now. I want to get to Chinatown for Mark Hagen’s opening!” Thickly painted burlap, steel plinths topped with glittering chunks of obsidian, a potentially never-ending screen of concrete bricks, what I think I remember being C-prints of spacey looking somethings. It’s an interesting show. I’ve linked to the “images” page so check it out.

OK! Finally got some color going on. Big pink color, too. Why am I all tone-muted today? Adam Janes Erick Pereira De Stijl Life installation at China Art Objects 2010. Link to China Art

OK! Finally got some color going on. Big pink color, too. Why am I all tone-muted today? Adam Janes Erick Pereira De Stijl Life installation at China Art Objects 2010. Link to China Art

As you can see above Adam Janes has a sculptural and photographic installation in the second room. Erick Pereira De Stijl Life. I am completely stumped but enchanted. Again, follow the link and check out the images.

One more stop at WPA to see the Sun Zoom Spark group show curated by Pam Jorden. A screening happens this Sunday, April 25 at 7 pm with films by Julie Becker, Alice Könitz, John Pearson, Terri Phillips, Ulrike Rosenbach, Stephanie Taylor and Tom Watson. Electric guitar will be played. Tom Watson, for your pleasure. Life hardly gets better.

Hey – we’re smart! We raced home to make a rack of lamb and scalloped potatoes and eat it all up before we ended the night at Country Club. There we talked for a long time with art fair entrepreneur Tim Fleming, then I think I drank too much wine, we could barely see Fritz Chesnut’s paintings for the crowd. Um, good lord – Sunday morning reckoning is coming.

And now my circular tale completes itself at Mateo Tannatt’s performance at Marc Foxx. Scroll back to the top and start over.

Well it almost ends. David Levine Hopeful closes this week at Francois Ghebaly Gallery. I think I told you of spending several hours online reading about Levine a few weeks ago. He’s amazing. I gave you a bunch of links at the time, you should revisit them if you skipped. Ok, here’s one: for Bauerntheater Levine engaged an American method actor to play the role of Fritz, an East German potato farming character in a Socialist-Realist 1950’s play. To do this the actor trained for the typical four weeks in NY then travelled to the farming region north of Berlin to… plant potatoes on two hectares of land. For a month. In character, rain or shine. Nicely challenging to think about.

Next Thursday, April 29th artist and writer Moyra Davey will speak at LACMA. You will indeed want to see this. I’ve got Davey’s book, Long Life Cool White in front of me now. (Yay Ebay!)

A few not so random quotes from Davey’s text: “For a long time I’ve had a document on my desktop called Photography & Accident. It contains passages from Walter Benjamin’s Short History of Photography, Susan Sontag’s On Photography and Janet Malcom’s Diana & Nikon. All of the quotes hover around the idea that accident is the lifeblood of photography.” And “Photographs have been embedded in books almost from day one, beginning with Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature, and they continue to be happy companions. I’m convinced that reproducibility in book form is part of the vocabulary of the photograph.” And “Read. Read something else. Go back to the first thing and see how it’s changed.”

Don’t you want to hear more from this woman?
LACMA, Brown Auditorium, 7 pm Thursday, April 29. Free with ticket, box office opens at 6 pm

I hope you’re cheerful and well despite our return to winter. If you’ve got a fireplace – make something burn!

Cheers and thanks again for reading.

Geoff Tuck

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