Notes on Looking, April 7 thru tbd
Hi Ones Out There Who Are Kind Enough To Read Me,
It’s nice to talk with you again. We all know that I have to get alot of things in this post…. it’s already 5 am Thursday morning, far past my optimal publication time. Eek. (Back when I could get away with sleeping 3 and 4 hours a night this was all much easier.) Quickly then, and in the order only of my dreams:
Benevento in Hollywood suddenly has two beautiful spaces, which now are in great beauty with Ned Vena’s tortuously repetitive paintings and installation in both. It is a wretched truth that the images I am currently finding online do no justice to these paintings, but don’t fret – you will go to the gallery and check them out, right? At 7578 we see works made with vinyl tape (youi will see later that this is audio tape) mounted in parallel(ish) lines on white canvas. The tape is peeled off. The white is shocking. The stripes are iridescent. The effect is, quite literally, moving. Go in the back room where Vena has mounted this same vinyl tape directly on the walls. Wow. Here the look of Vena’s jaggedly dis-parallel audio tape mounting makes me think of a disjunctive narrative – the story of Modernist painting perhaps. History and memory have cleaned that particular story up for us, but being of human creation it must have been a little shattered? This show brings to my mind some vision of the individual and collective intent that had us all seeking perfection in the Modern, and the cultural (smug) satisfaction we still are left holding. Walk down to 7556 Sunset and discover the beauty of a much dirtier and smudged Modernist urge. Ohh! I think I will leave it at this, maybe the promise of a little dirt with get you to Sunset Blvd? It worked for Donna Summer…
Michael Benevento, 7556 and 7576 Sunset Blvd, 90046
Ltd Los Angeles, directly across the street from the first Benevento, is showing five videos by Pablo Sigg in The Swedenborg Room. A text begins this exhibition – don’t you dare cringe! Text is Not Evil in an art show. In fact this one is fun! And illuminating. The story of Emmanuel Swedenborg, his apparent possession and then his work to establish a philosophy outside of the Eighteenth Century’s nascent modernism. Swedenborg kind of made a space for magic and the mystical within, or alongside, the Age of Reason. In Sigg’s writing, and then continuing in his exhibition, Sigg tracks this story through the art of cinema – of the magic room where spirits visit and wonders happen. To the Exorcist, to be precise. Yay. Regan once again gracing us with her foul (and tempting) commands. Beautiful, tortured Father Karras (also tempting us). Um, and then Satan and God, too. And the desire for a camera, and to be Directed. Such a sweet 70s moment this movie was!
Ltd Los Angeles, 7561 Sunset Blvd, #103, 90046
SOON TO BE NEXT DOOR TO LTD!!!!! Country Club Los Angeles. Yay! The estimable John Knuth, with his friends Christian Strike and Matt Distel from Cincinnati, are packing up the big house on 8th Street and heading to Hollywood kids. This action is so stoke-worthy! No news on their website yet, but Knuth (and also Shirley Morales of Ltd) mentioned this fact to me and John knows I can’t keep my mouth shut – so the story must be for release. Shall I suggest that you keep your radio tuned to Notes on Looking (dot) com for future Country Club alerts??? I do, I do, I do.
I did not make it to Overduin and Kite (which may be between shows) nor did I travel down to 6150 Wilshire to see the last day of a great group show at Marc Foxx (I know it was great because David John of You Have Been Here Sometime said so. You’ll want to scroll down on John’s site – if I link directly to this older post then you will miss all the beautiful images he has curated since then, and that would be a shame.)
QUICK UPDATE APRIL 14 2:17 AM: Marc Foxx group show closes Saturday, April 16. Go this week!
(6 am. Gotta go, jump to work… bye for now. Back at noon.)
I also did not get to Rirkrit Tiravanija at 1301PE yet. It seems as though there was a performance, and perhaps a party. Certainly a listening opportunity! Mr. Relational Aesthetics-Thai Cooking-Riot and Uprising Documenting-Guy is making “Murder and Mayhem” look like fun. Downstairs and next door (official entry out on Wilshire) Acme is showing paintings by Daniel Cummings and photographs by Iwan Baan. BOTH SHOWS CLOSE APRIL 16th. So go!
Oh hey, wait a minute. Back to the Michaels. Benevento and Clifton, that is. Not the Michael Benevento on Sunset Blvd but his doppleganger in NYC. Clifton Benevento Gallery, at 515 Broadway, NY NY 10012. Why am I telling you about an exhibition in NY? Um, because many of my favorite artists are showing there in “3348 Hours of Sunshine,” that’s why!!! And being one of the most relentless fan-bases for just about any art maker I admire I shall upload you images and tempt you desperately. Yeehaw.
Do you also know that in that much talked about Big Apple Kristin Calabrese is opening a show at Brennan & Griffin? What? No? BUT YES. Kristin Calabrese, “People Might Get Hurt,” opens, why this Saturday! Buy your tickets now.
So okay, it is now after 1 pm, lunch is done, done, done. I need to stop long before completion. SAD.
LACE tonight. Asher Hartman, remember???????
Dan Graham tonight. Final closing party tonight and Friday night. Both nights work by many artists. Matt Siegle, for instance – “is this a Back Soon message in the doorway, or are you just making art at me?” Such an awesome opportunity to go to Chinatown. Join Facebook so you can see what’s up…..
ACP at Cottage Home tonight.
This is all sooooo tough. Go out and have fun. See things. Learn stuff.
Of course there’s more. “Al Taylor: Wire Instruments and Pet Stains” at SMMoA. I can’t count on all my hands and toes how many people of quality have recommended this show to me. Of course you should see it. Hell, of course I should see it! Closing April 16. Which means this weekend, for me at least. On April 16 I plan to be cruising out to UC Riverside for three not-to-be-missed Nathan Bockelman, Cameron Crone and David Gilbert MFA Thesis Exhibition. Yay! At the Sweeney Art Gallery. Yes, that would be the NEW Sweeney Art Gallery in the Barbara and Art Culver Arts Center. And yes, this historic preservation and adaptive reuse has been brought to you by my own Harley Ellis Devereaux Architects and Engineers. And yes, my favorite architect on the planet – David Richards – was Project Manager. Annie Chu of Chu + Gooding was the Design Architect. Best team in the world. Ok, I need to call this out. HED has a regrettably 20th Century website. It doesn’t make me happy for linking. Since I good naturedly teased Amanda Ross-Ho for the better part of a year about her own website I feel I must come clean here… And I notice now that Ms. Ross-Ho is still “Coming Soon” too. Some of us work too hard at the work to do the site.
While we’re still partially in Santa Monica, also at SMMoA are The Donkey Show in the project room and… more Daniel Cummings in another project room. Both playing through April 16.
And it seems that David Pagel reviewed Taylor’s exhibition on Culture Monster for the LA Times.
Speaking as we were of David Pagel, if one should be traveling to Santa Barbara this Sunday Pagel will be talking about and perhaps with Charles Garabedian at the Santa Barbara Musuem of Art on Sunday, April 10 at 2:30 pm. Go. See the paintings, here the talking, visit the really beautiful entry room of the museum which is filled with lovely Greek and Roman statues. This entry makes a good introduction to Garabedian’s exhibition! And you’ll still have time to race to the Contemporary Arts Forum. And you should.
Charles Garabedian at SBMA, 1130 State St., Santa Barbara 93101
“Eating Apples in Paradise” and Bloom Projects: Sarah Cain, Santa Barbara at SBCAF, 653 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara 93101.
All mentioned Santa Barbara exhibition open through May 1, 2011.
Bye again, off to LACE.
9:30 pm. And now I’m back. “God, don’t you ever stay at home?” The lovely lady inquired from the stage, then following with “Let me entertain you…” Pack up your apples girls, and get back in the trees indeed.
Yes, well, starting this final bit with memories of Gypsy Rose Lee and turning next to Asher Hartman and Curt Lemieux. Allow me to title this portion:
Someone’s Finally Tellin’ Mah Story – First Thoughts on Asher Hartman and Curt Lemieux
LACE was crowded for this event, we arrived just as Brian Getnick was introducing the artists. It seemed like an interestingly varied crowd – art people I recognized, some people whom I imagined to be fans of Hartman, I know that LouAnne Greewald and her class of USC undergrads from the Cultural Studies program were in attendance – so it was a good mix for a performance. Some were believers, some were people open to an experience and all of us spent our time trying to grapple with the odd experience that performance presents.
Getnick warned us to “stay three or four feet away from the performers – for your protection as much as theirs” but that we were to “Get up, don’t sit. Move around the performance, see it from all sides!” Many people did just this, as the costumed actors performed in a circular space amidst the audience. They were dressed kind of burlesque-ey maybe, old style “Hollywood Entertainer” suits, these suites were wearable sculpture by collaborator Curt Lemieux, some with feathers and some with wooden placards on their backs. At first I eased into a “watching the acting” mode – this is kind of defense for me, I think. It makes is easy when I can tag something in my head – this way I feel able to… (oh dear this is a horrible admission to make) control the experience. Carol Stakenas put it well, after the show in conversation with me and front gallery muralist (and coincidentally also a grad student at UCR) Nice Lowe: (hugely paraphrasing here) “I was tempted into watching the performance and felt like I could choose my understanding of what the actors were doing. But then it picked me up like a kitten, by the back of my neck; and then it dropped me into another reality. This is the thing about performance – sometimes you recognize what’s going on and expect it to continue but, being human and active, performance surprises you in real time. In its time, I guess I mean, not in mine or yours.”
Hmm. So can you describe this performance for us Geoff? Ouch. I am trying now. I’m vaguely recalling individual lines: “Straights are the marksmen of (our) perversity” and “Did you hear the one about the fag magician who disappeared in a poof of smoke?” “Where’s the rage? Where’s the anger? What’s the point!” “You’re the most famous fairy in the world, Paul (Lynde). How do you describe yourself?” To which Lynde replied, in his most queer, affected and drawn out vocal manner, “Huuummm-b-llllle.”
Have I mentioned bitterness? Have I mentioned being alone, in a bar, in a bus station, on the street – before the days of free outness, prior to “Gay Pride,” when one would stare longingly at men, never sure – always a little afraid and ashamed because you knew that when you approached one, sure they might let you blow them but as one character stated it “They’ll make you pay for it.” Each of these fruited dramas were played last night, for laughs and for moments of startled recognition.
It was funny to be taken back there. I sort of thought that was all gone from my life. Sometimes during the action I laughed so hard I peed, and pretty often I also cried.
(This peeing part is not simply a Julia Roberts quote – it’s an effect of a prostatectomy. No big deal, life happens and we move on. But if you want a take away – and who wouldn’t after this opening? – any of you gentlemen out there who are frustrated with that other rather famously commercialized post-operative dysfunction: don’t use the pills and shots. You know, the drugs that begin with “V” and “C.” Use a pump. I swear on a stack of now useless condoms. The pump is fun. Everybody involved gets to… take a hand, so to speak. And who wants to put another expensive and creepy drug in one’s body? Ask a doctor. If you’re shy, hell – I’m obviously not! Ask me. Cheers.)
Seeing the crowd around me reacting, becoming engaged and enlivened I was also forced to think to myself “Well, Geoff. All these people are getting this. We in this room are all invested in the public action, this purgative dance. Did you think it was just you? Do you really believe this difference crap? Can you imagine that because you lived in a different time and because you are queer that your life is inherently, essentially other than these other people who are watching? Good lord, most of them are younger and many are straight. Or even trans, or simply decline to state.
Difference is us, Geoff. All of us. (This I learned tonight, this I needed to hear. Thanks Asher.)
Tonight’s “So Funny It Hurts” was a magnificent performance. The structure of the event was anecdotal, yes – but I think perhaps that was true to the experiences being enacted: queer men living from trick to trick and seeking fame instead of… whatever else life may have withheld. These lives were anecdotal, these men were performers on stage and off. They never went home. And at the end, a later generation – several later generations in fact – have tagged them as “liars” and “embarrassments” and cried out with exasperation (and shame) “Don’t call me Mary, you old fag!”
What’s the point?
Possibly more and definitely pictures later.
And of course, today Friday I notice how much I left out.
Saturday at FOCA, “Site as Symbol,” curated by Bari Ziperstein and Jill Newman – Survey West Collaborative. Detail on happy image above. Party Saturday, April 9 from 6 – 9 pm at Mandarin Plaza, 970 Broadway, Suite 208 in Chinatown, 90012. FOCA throws a great party, the artists involved and the members supporting who attend make for a really zesty multi-culti salad. “The flavor of the evening shall be intelligent tang with a spritz of good, louche fun.” Take this from one who experiences a bunch of louche, tangy intelligence with the nice FOCA friends!
A mix of events is perhaps what one wants in a weekend. Good Magazine, all weekend long, is hosting a launch party at Atwater Crossing. What is “Good?” Well, it seems like nice people featuring benevolent options for social activity and activisation and making use of clever graphics with cheerfully compelling headlines. With some partying thrown in for good measure. What caught my eye? A reading with LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, writer Joe Day and architect Craig Hodgetts from Reyner Banham’s classic “Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies.” Good Lord! On the 7th Street overpass of the 110 Fwy. This is sort of at the bottom of the much loved Downtown Slot.
All of which brings us to CicLAVia. Walk, bike, or stop anywhere along the way to join in – generally from the Heliotrope Bike Haven at Melrose Ave to Hollenbeck Park on the east bank of the 5 Fwy. If all your friends aren’t there it’s because you’re not meeting enough people along the way. Fun will be had and made by all participants.
Or so I imagine. Time for a little coming clean: my eyes are way bigger than my head, or whatever that saying is. Life is a huge place and I can fill up twenty-four hours faster than say lickety-split. so, I will see you where I see you, and continue to suggest things will do, and those that I wish I would do.
Now I am off, without mentioning our excitement for the Thomas Ades festival at LA Phil. Sunday was…. thunderstriking. Green Umbrella on Tuesday was as superlative as I can imagine. Ades writes and plays music just so bewitchingly! And then he trundles cheerfully off the stage like a magician who is happy with the spells he casts. Tonight is Gerald Barry’s opera “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Good god!!! Oscar Wilde. Gerald Barry. Thomas Ades. LA Phil. Life does not get ANY BETTER. Um, tomorrow Saturday, is Ades conducting the west coast premier of his own “Polaris” along with Messiaen’s “Eclairs sur l’Au-Dela.” First LA Phil playing of this important and much desired by some of us final work of Messiaen for large orchestra. TO CONSTANTLY REPEAT MYSELF: I AM SO STOKED.
Complete Native Strategies and So Funny It Hurts posting:
So Funny It Hurts, March 9, 2011
So Funny It Hurts, Part 2, March, 17, 2011
Native Strategies – Brian Getnick helps us look at Performance Art in LA, posted on March 20, 2011
NoL: April 7 thru tbd, (scroll down to “Someone’s finally tellin’ mah story…” for Asher Hartman review), April 7, 2011
So Funny It Hurts, last night, April 15, 2011
Paul Outlaw, So Funny It Hurts performance April 16, 2011
Nathan Bockelman: UCR Thesis show and So Funny It Hurts performance posted on April 19 and 23, 2011