Mixed media

Big Kisses, Bird Calls, and Puppy Dogs


Pablo Uribe, Atardecer, 2008 (Dusk) – video still

This year, the Los Angeles Art Show made its home at Los Angeles Convention Center.  This venue change provided more space for gallery booths that ranged from contemporary works such as the Wall Project’s Shepard Fairey and Thierry Noir painted walls to landscapes galore — and even more space for project-based installations. The Vox Humana on-site art performance presented street artists Mear One, Kofie, Retna, and El Mac who showed off their talents over the length of the fair on large-scale canvases.  And speaking of more room, I wondered how Sidestreet Projects got one of their woodworking workshop buses into the fair.  These school buses are outfitted with project stations for elementary school children so they can make a nuts and bolts washer sandwich and one FUNdred dollar bills, which I am sure we all could use more of these days.

One of my favorite pieces of the art fair was Pablo Uribe’s video, Atardecer (2008), which screened in a makeshift dark room in the Guest Country program booth’s rear.  While looking at the other works from the 34° 53’ 0” S – 56° 10’ 0” W show, I heard animals sounds curiously mix with the ambient art fair noise.  Upon stepping into the screening area, there was a video of an older man standing before a black background looking as if he were about to perform a gorgeous aria.  Instead of sweet notes pouring out of his mouth, the sound of a dog’s bark came out.  And then the cooing of a bird!  The actor was imitating the sounds of native rain forest animals.

Willy Rojas’ photographs at Barcelona’s Villa del Arte booth depicted miniature figurines interacting

Willy Rojas, Egg

Willy Rojas, Egg

with their food-based environment.  Tiny people ski down slopes of salt or a wedge of hard cheese.  A man broke the shell of an egg with his sledgehammer while a couple ice skates on an orange hued soup.

Speaking of food, the Timothy Yarger Gallery presented Jean Wells’ The Giant Kiss quite literally.  The huge chocolate-scented foil wrapped sculpture demanded a tongue-in-cheek presence while paying homage to Claes Oldenburg’s shop.

The Rebecca Hossack Gallery held quite a few treats, including a gorgeous papel picado-esque paper cutting in the shape of a peacock (Ian Penney), a piece of toast with an image of Shakespeare burnt onto it à la the Virgen de Guadalupe (Maria Morrow), and also Phil Shaw’s photographs of brightly colored bookshelves, which was a voyeur’s delight to snoop the book titles.

And on my way out, I spotted three Jeff Koon’s puppy vases filled with fresh flowers guarding Jean Dubuffet’s Tapis at the Jane Kahan Gallery.  In my mind, they were the guardians of the LA Art Show — a much friendlier and kitsch version of Cerberus.

Fine Arts LA Jeff Koons puppy vase

Posted in Books, Bring Your Flask, Contemporary Art, Downtown, Festival, Galleries, Installation, Mixed media, Painting, Performance, Photography, Video Art No Comments »

A Whole New (LA Art) World

We’d be very surprised if this is true of any of our readers, but it seems that some Angelenos are less than familiar with the art scene in Atwater Village.

Okay, so we are admittedly less than familiar with how to even get to Atwater Village not to mention how we’d start exploring it’s art scene.  The problem is that, well, it’s far.  Then, we don’t know where to go once we’re there – what if we miss the best spot? After all that stress, we’ll surely be hungry and we’re at a loss for where to get a good snack in the neighborhood.  Alas, we tend to just stay in our close environs.

This weekend, November 7-8, however, none of us have a good excuse to skip out on the “spaghetti side” of town, so called because once you get over there, the streets are so windy and confusing, they’re akin to driving around a plate of spaghetti.  The 12th Annual Silver Lake Art Crawl is here again to present you with a whole bunch of things you’d likely not do otherwise: spend time scouring the more eastern side of our fair city, try freshly harvested fish tacos as a result of an art/food experiment, and, well, actually walking somewhere.  There’s also a big celebration at Barnsdall Art Park on Sunday at 1pm, which will feature music, art, dancing, and plenty of food trucks like Cool Haus, Let’s Be Frank, Dosa Truck, Tiago Coffee, and a host of others.

To give us a better idea of all that the Silver Lake Art Crawl has to offer, we recently sat down with the festival’s director Drew Baldwin.  Lucky for you, we taped the whole thing.  Check out our video and definitely head east this weekend – you won’t regret coming across some new local artists nor will you be able to forget the deliciousness that is Lamill Coffee or Café Stella.  Turns out, it’s worth braving the eastbound traffic from time to time.

The Silver Lake Art Crawl is this weekend, November 7-8 from 11am to 9pm both days.  For more information, please click here.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Exhibitions, Festival, Galleries, Installation, Mixed media, Music, Neighborhoods, Silverlake/Los Feliz No Comments »

Los Angeles 3.0

There are some realities that are certainly comforting.  Peanut better goes with jelly.  Cold beer on a hot summer’s day will always taste divine. The sun will rise and set — whew!   We relish these facts, look forward to them, and even expect them, especially the sipping’ on a cool drink part.

But other realities are disconcerting.  First things first, my car doesn’t always start in the morning as much as I will it to turn over.  Not everyone will see eye to eye on your brilliant ideas.  Sometime it just doesn’t work out.  Like you, I don’t want to acknowledge that this happens, let alone expect it.  But in some way, we must in order to reevaluate, readjust, and carry on.

This cold sense of reality must be addressed in one way or another.  As seen in the recent past, it is no surprise that the United States as we know it will no longer hold the same superpower it once exercised over the world. Post-American LA, curated by Pilar Tompkins, is an artistic reality check of what happens when the economical and political structures of our nation shift into unfamiliar territory and its consequences trickle into the cityscape.  Unfortunately, there is little to no reference to the Tupac-alyptic or Escape from LA-esque city we expected.  Artists Carolina Caycedo, Sandra de la Loza, Hugo Hopping, Ashley Hunt, Vincent Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Adrian Paci, Vincent Ramos, and Chen Shaoxiong reflect on the question, “how will we find our footing in a new global society without fully examining our preparedness on the local level?” We might not have the answer right now, but we can count on the things we know until we do. In fact, it is five o’clock right now.

As part of the exhibition, 18th Street 2009 Artist Fellow Sandra de la Loza, will host a series of encounters and discussions entitled The Revolution Will….

Post-American LA runs from August 1 to September 26.  18th Street’s ArtNight and the opening reception is tonight from 6 – 10 at the 18th Street Arts Center.  

Posted in Art, Conceptual, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, Galleries, Installation, Mixed media, Painting, Photography, Video Art No Comments »