Notes on Looking, June 3, 2010
Hello friends and Fellows, (beware links in this post. when uploading from my archive i lost the connetions. i’ve relinked only up to Autumn Ramsey so far…)
All that stuff I told you about Support Group at Cottage Home last week? It’s even truer now. Honestly, go see this show.
Beginning outside with Kathryn Andrews’ piece It’s all about… Gaylen Gerber which is comprised of two billboard size signs both white background with red lettering and chainlink graphic in a font to match the Cottage Home sign. One reads “It’s all about…” and the other reads “Gaylen Gerber!”
So is Gerber such an awesome dude that Andrews felt compelled to thus honor him? Is this title a caprice of Andrews’s? Is it because Gerber’s own work, while not entirely lacking (three walls are painted Gerber Grey and one of each pair of fluorescent tubes are covered with grey filters, the walls enclosing and the curiously warm grey light touching each work of art in the exhibition) is noticeably unapparent even for a conceptual show? Who can tell?
Walk through the front door and find yourself at first perplexed. Should you wait a moment and choose a magazine from the convenient rack by the door? Should you follow what seems to be the advice of a glow in the dark, scary, pointing hand sculpture and continue into the gallery?
Entering the main gallery space one might think, “Well gee, this looks more like it’s all about Kathryn Andrews!” She’s fenced off the middle two thirds of the space with chain link, which encloses two 7′ tall concrete block walls painted white with a recognizable graffito cuddly bear face on each. Think of an abandoned elementary school hand ball court fenced off for protection and graffitied for fun. On a really, really grey, thinly lit February day somewhere else. Nowhere you know, just somewhere else.
Mateo Tannatt, in by far the most generous gesture of the exhibition (save that of Michael Ned Holte, curator of this exhibition) invited a number of artists to both provide work and collaborate with him. At the far side of the room, beyond the fenced in walls, stands a blue-screen climbing wall covered and pierced with art and apparently accessible by means of foot and hand holds. Parkour anyone? This blue-screen effect will come in handy during the run of the show, when Tannatt and Pauline will be casting and shooting a horror flick. Check in at the “office” upstairs. This work has legs – and arms and eyes and most of all brains. (Nice stuff – thanks David for helping compose.)
Actual Size! I promise the art is big even though the space is small. Two person show with Autumn Ramsey (I also find a link for Ramsey at The Green Gallery West, where she currently has a show and at Julius Caesar in Chicago – she’ll be the September show this year [congratulations on excellent calendrical positioning Autumn!] don’t you want a great Roman Emporer to represent your interests?) and Tyson Reeder (I find links for Reeder at The Green Gallery East in Milwaukee where he had a show in January of this year and at Daniel Reich in NY.) Recent paintings by Ramsey and sculptures by Tyson; organized with a little assistance from (the mysterious and elusive) Gaylen Gerber.
You do want to follow the Julius Caesar and Green Gallery links. Caesar has a show opening with Diego Leclery (neat video and sound piece after this link) on Sunday, June 6 and Green Gallery just closed shows with Gaylen Gerber (encore Gaylen!), and Renato Umali and has Paul Druecke opening some time in June.
Saturday evening around 7 we turned right from Broadway onto Ord St. at the next block we turned left onto New High Street. (New High Street always sounds like England to me and I think of the movie Bed Knobs and Broomsticks) We park in the plentiful street parking 450 feet up on the right. I note the incredible summer light – this weekend was for me that magical moment when I think that the sun regrets setting and so leaves us its glow for hours and hours. In fact stepping out of the car at Actual Size is the precise moment of this recognition. A small crowd inside was the space, framed by the crisp white lines of window and door frames; Ramsey’s paintings and Reeder’s sculptures, at this distance, owned the glow that surrounded them.
Stepping through the door into the room, feeling the welcoming buzz in the air and having the ability to really see what I’m looking at – right here, right then the blast of horns that Stravinsky saved for the celebration moment in his ballet “The Firebird” bursts into my memory now, overlaying that remembered moment with sound that matches my excitement.
I love to see passionate, intelligent people (not simply people but artists and business-people) create something and with the act of creation invite others to join. Enterprise excites me! Furthermore there’s always a soundtrack to my experiences.
I spoke with Lee Foley on Tuesday by telephone; Foley is one of the quintet that operate Actual Size, the others being Justin Greene, Corrie Siegel, Samia Merza and Esteban Schimpf. I know that some of this group are from Chicago, some are from LA all are artists and have a desire to “… foster a malleable art space that engages the Los Angeles art community through exhibits, public projects, and artist created programming.” Understand at least part of this mission statement to read, “Actual Size wants to be the place where artists have an opportunity to converse with interested members of the public about their art.” Expect programming such as the Mimosa Morning Opening organized by Eamon Ore-Giron to celebrate the initial exhibition of the space This is the Beginning which had work by Butchy Fuego, Ore-Giron and Bobbi Woods and ran from April 24 through May 8.
For the upcoming Gallery Barbecue, (or “Art With Char”) on June 19 you can come down to New High Street with something barbecue-able or art-like and exchange the satisfier of one appetite with the satisfier of the other. Art = Food and vice versa. Disclaimer here: I am absolutely not quoting. I listen then try to get things correct. Plus at the barbecue you’ll get to meet many of the interesting artists who’ll choose to be involved! There’s still time for me to flesh out the details but why don’t you visit the site and sign up for emails, Facebook or Twitter?
Actual Size, 741 New High Street, Chinatown, 90012
Another space that may be related to this theme, if only geographically, is Rowley Kennerk whose current show We Thought Maybe You Were in the Plot has as its inspiration Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. I got an email about this show some weeks ago and was desolate because strictly speaking Chicago is not Los Angeles and I figured I couldn’t talk about it. Happily it turns out I was wrong! Read the press release – visit the Big City if you can – pretend the gallery’s a speakeasy and knock twice and say Geoff sent you. They’ll wonder what the hell you’re talking about but they’ll sure pay attention!
Green Gallery, 1500 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202
Julius Caeser, 3311 W. Carroll Ave., Chacago, IL 60624
Rowley Kennerk, 119 N. Peoria St. 3C, Chicago, IL 60607
Daniel Riech, 537 A W. 23rd St., NY, NY 10011
If I seem distracted just now it’s because I’m in fact listening to Valery Gergiev conduct the lullaby and finale of Stravinsky’s 1919 Firebird Suite. Part one. Part two. (if you listen to Part two at about 1:17 a bassoon plays and you cry, the strings come in – you lift, the entire orchestra swoops, a pause and then – horns and drums triumphant and celebratory. It’s like a champagne orgasm. By the end Gergiev is in a flop sweat and you are too.)
I’m doing so to honor and recall the experience I had on Sunday afternoon at Disney Hall listening to the LA Phil with Lionel Bringuier conducting this same piece. Breathtaking. Absolutely tears-running-down- my-cheeks, standing-and-cheering, hollering “Bravo Lionel!” good.)
My friends right here between the cover of Robert Heinecken’s Periodical #1 and, well his Beaver Hunt #1 (absolutlely no connection to the content of this post, I swear) I invite you to RUN TO THE NEAREST NEWSSTAND OR PARTICIPATING ART SPACE AND PICK UP THE NEW COPY OF X-TRA! There are things you want to know inside: Benjamin Lord on Luciano Chessa’s reconstructions of Futurist Luigi Russolo’s musical instruments; Artist Project by Alex Slade; Jan Tumlir on the fantastic New Topographics show at LACMA; Tom Allen on a truly odd exhibition at PCC with artists Richard Sharpe Shaver and Stanislav Szukalski; Kristina Newhouse on Tom LaDuke; Éva Forgács on the Bauhaus show at the Modern in NY; Annika Marie on Allan Sekula at the Renaissance Society in Chicago.
OH, wait a minute – one more thing: 1 Image 1 Minute column by Micol Hebron this time featuring Christopher Haun and… Geoff Tuck. Is that me?! Yes. Yay! How excited do I sound? Do you hear me squealing? Two carefully selected photos, two thoughtfully crafted 150 word passages – two minutes of your time.
Better than leaving me sitting here while you go out and buy a magazine – go online and subscribe! I’ve recommended this action to you before and I urge it upon you again. If you do subscribe they’ll mail you this current copy I’m caressing right now. (Well not my copy but another that you can caress yourself.)
About Blythe Projects. Hilary Metz may have opened this space as recently as March 1, I think the name has been up for longer than that but I don’t find any shows online prior to that date. We were in the space on Saturday and saw the solo show of Ben White’s funny historically-themed paintings along with a helpful show of work by gallery artists in the front space of this three room gallery. Two paintings on paper and one smaller one on shaped panel by Larry Mullins jumped out to both David and me. Filled with text as well as shapes and colors I wasn’t sure which of these elements I was reading as I looked. The paintings on paper have interesting double curve corners – one person looking with us wondered if these bubbles were installation aides; maybe but I rather think they’re somehow intrinsic to Mullins’ work as references to late 19th Century traveling healer or salesman posters. Maybe some itinerant sign maker got so caught up in the wonder of his work that the inspiritation leaked out into the shape of the paper itself. I don’t know – go look for yourself and let me know what you think. Definitely interesting!
Blythe Projects, 5797 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 90232
We did make it to the last day of Amy Bessone at David Kordansky Gallery. Many are the reviews of that show so hit Google yourselves and read. Aaron Curry, Two Sheets Thick opens Saturday, June 5 from 6 to 8 pm. This promises to be quite an ambitious exhibition – Curry’s signature sweat bead-on-metal-looking silkscreens on cardboard will paper the gallery and envelop you and me the viewers. His panel and slot almost two-dimensional sculptures will – who knows what they’ll do in that atmosphere?! It sounds as though experientially the gravity and density of everything may vary completely from place to place and moment to monent. The references in the press release set a pretty high standard – let’s go on Saturday and see what happens!
Parker Jones Gallery was closed on Saturday. We missed Joe Deutch’s performance and the opening on Friday. We’re sad. After the fact congratulations Parker.
Parker Jones, 8545 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 90232
Last weekend for Michael Dopp’s show at Kinkead Contemporary. Coming to the space on June 12 are paintings by Angela Dufresne.
Kinkead Contemporary, 6029 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 90232
Reading images and text, reading images as text, a combination of two images that suggests a text. Arne Svenson at Western Project shows The Library: Books and prints. Pictures of paper towels that read as portraits, landscapes and still lifes. Weird things – all the little hole dots we know, tiny ducks or puppies, cheerful clean colors all larger than life, glossy funny and unsettling. Appropriated pictures of firemen, fathers, mothers, babies, clowns, all the images that represent childhood juxtaposed in hilarious if frightening pairs. Sit on the ground, don the white gloves and leaf through these large format books. Have a ball!
Western Project, 2762 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, 90034
Robert Heinecken and group show They Have Not the Art to Argue with Pictures at Cherry and Martin. The show includes wall work and vitrines with what I understand is one of two complete sets of Heinecken’s magazines. I kept thinking I was looking at current work. Brian Kennon and Christopher Russell came my to mind, in addition to the artists included in the exhibition – Erik Frydenborg, Nicolás Guagnini, Wade Guyton, Leigh Ledare, Amanda Ross-Ho, and Collier Schorr.
Is MOCA looking at this set of magazines? LACMA? Can I buy enough lottery tickets to make sure it stays here? Can we all pitch in to donate them? Heinecken taught at UCLA for 31 years from 1960 to 1991. He made work that I can’t believe any gallery or museum would show at the times he made it. He made work I am amazed we don’t see more of now when it feel’s so necessary.
The spectacle-ized world we live in, the magazines, advertisements and images that document and help create this world – often the magazines we enjoy only in private and invest with our cultural shame – these are the tools Heinecken put to use. Sarcastic, lambasting, insightful and funny as hell. He would interleave and bind pornographic and hilariously altered images in everyday lifestyle magazines to biting effect and then place these on newsstands for distribution. He helped to invent the notion of an “image” as a cultural commodity rather than as a picture – and then he mined that vein for thirty years. Both definitions of mine apply here: to dig for ore and to lay mines. Successful on both counts Heinecken was.
After the Robert Heinecken show at Cherry and Martin we stopped in Mandrake for a drink, me a caiparinha and David a negroni. While there we argued lightly, inspired to a comfortable old argument by Philip Martin’s use of Marshall McLuhan’s phrase “They have not the art to argue with pictures.” (excerpted completely here in Google books The Discourse of Advertising by Guy Cook.) The way Martin quoted was “The text accompanying images in advertising is only there to distract your mind while the pictures do their work.” It was a pretty basic disagreement David and I had about McLuhan’s glib [Glib? In your opinion! ed.] assignment of power to a place outside the self. That depresses me. When I try, however, to pursue an intellectual trail of argument I get confused and tongue-tied and fall back on “Well you’re just wrong!” David, a student of intellectual history himself, sort of carried McLuhan’s conceptual water.
In my fantasy life (where I’m always making up trailer trash drama) I imagined that furious with frustration I hurled my sticky caiparinha in David’s face then kicked over his barstool, grabbing him and rolling to the ground. With more alcohol, much slapping and table throwing, and nasty things said about each others mother our fantasy battle continued. We wrestled on the floor, a thrashing heap of middle aged endopsychic passion occasionally peppering the air with shouts of “Meaning derives from text!” and “Images control!” and “The medium is the message!” and “Yeah, but he wrote that in words not pictures!” while Drew Heitzler and the various Blums and Poes in attendance that day continued to play their music, talk with friends and basically ignore us.
We ended this (imaginary) Battle of Self Determination vs Cultural Imperative outside on the curb of La Cienega Blvd., asleep in each others arms lying in puddles of our own vomit.
What we really did that afternoon was continue to chat while we finished our drinks. David made a nice tale incorporating the names of cocktails on offer posted on the letterboard, “It was a Dark and Stormy night in Moscow, Caiparinha rode up in her Sidecar wearing sexy golden Mules, her butler (never did get his name) was at the wheel and her pack of Greyhounds ran alongside the motorcycle.” Then someone gave someone a French 75 and giggling, I lost track of the story. We walked to the car holding hands and drove to Chinatown.
Do go see the Robert Heinecken / gallery artists show They Have Not the Art to Argue With Pictures at Cherry and Martin. Then mark out February (or maybe March) 2011 on your calendar because Marc Selwyn and Cherry and Martin (click on Artists then check out the great images on Heinecken’s page on Selwyn’s site) will together host what will be the largest exhibition of Heinecken’s work on this coast in a long, long time.
Cherry and Martin, 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd., LA 90034
Marc Selwyn Fine Art, 6222 Wilshire Blvd., LA 90048
Looks like Scott Treleaven is opening a show at Selwyn’s on Saturday, June 5 from 6 to 8 pm, Cimitero Drawings.
Outpost for Contemporary Art presents for your consideration Oupost Cup Futbol Day. I don’t know much, I only know that my friends Carlyn Aguilar, Daniel Lara and Tom McKenzie are playing. Probably more, since this is the most popular field game in LA. Anything that gives me the opportunity to link to Jennifer Doyle’s From A Left Wing blog make me happy!
Outpost Cup Futbol Day, Sunday, June 6 from 10 am to 6 pm, Vista Hermosa Park, LA.
Ltd. and Shirley Morales news: Ginger Wolfe-Suarez’s opening was wonderful and (how often does one get to say this about an art exhibition?) the show smells great! Evocative sculpture redolent of mint, lavendar and more. Go. Coming in September Ltd. will feature Kalup Linzy’s first solo in LA. As it happens Linzy will be in town filming General Hospital during the exhibition. Taking Linzy’s endearing if startling characters to visit the maternity ward they might have been birthed in was charmingly arranged by James Franco. Good god. The friends that one keeps. Whew!
Ltd. Los Angeles, 7561 Sunset Blvd., LA 90046
A large and eerie-sounding show opens at Khastoo on June 10: The Alchemy of Things Unknown (and a Visual Medetitation on Transformation) Granted you have a few days to prepare but I suggest you check the site so you don’t mess up the spell. Picking not entirely randomly from among the 18 artists included: Aleister Crowley (he always gets top billing), William Blake, Zach Harris, Alfred Jensen, Marylin Manson, (I give up, I have to list them all. It’s too amazing!), Susan Hiller, Austin Osman Spare, James Lee Byars, Raha Raissnia, Jim Shaw, Scoli Acosta, JFC Fuller, Paul Laffoley, Cameron, Harry Smith, Harvey Bialy, Kenneth Anger, and Angus Maclise.
I always say this, and I’m usually right: You need to see this show at Khastoo. I swear on a stack of Necronomicons.
Khastoo Gallery, 7556 W. Sunset Blvd., LA 90046
On that note my friends I leave you to your own devices. Let them be good ones!