Museums

Wish Fulfillment

1207582406_c456cce5d6On an overcast Tuesday afternoon, when the traffic from the nearby 10 and 405 freeways is just starting to pack in, Bergamot Station in Santa Monica looks and feels more like an industrial depot center than one of Los Angeles’s prime gallery  hubbubs, and local art-dealer hot-spot of international acclaim. The parking lot if half-empty. Lonesome employees rumble by with crates full of water-cooler jugs. Sporadic patrons drift in and out of massive gallery spaces. On the whole, the place seems cold, even uninviting.

That is unless you accidentally stumble into the hallway of the Santa Monica Museum of Art—denoted only by a metallic sign that says “Museum”—and find yourself wondering what all the small, clay objects are doing strung up on the wall, as if hanging from massive, marker sketches of keys, backpacks, doorknobs, and necklaces. It’s this quaint collection of colorful figurines which, from first sight, breathes humanity into an otherwise blue atmosphere. For good reason too: every ornament on the wall is made by an artist below the age of 18—mainly ranging from 5-years-old to 10.

It’s called Wall Works: Project Icons and is the brainchild of clay and found-object artist Anna Sew Hoy. In collaboration with SMMA and six participating schools from around the Los Angeles area, Hoy asked children from kindergarten through 12th grade to describe their personal wishes, and transform them into pocket-sized “talismans” to help visualize their fulfillment. The wishes themselves, as written in the kids’ own handwriting, and paired with photographs of their corresponding talismans, can be viewed in conjunction with the exhibition. And all it takes is a quick glance at one or two of these wishes to get you digging through them like a treasure chest filled with jewels of innocent brilliance.

“I wish for a talking star to play with me,” writes Karina, who’s  yellow clay star sports sunglasses and a full rack of teeth.

“I had a limen tree so I can have limen juice,” says Megan. And no, this is not simply poor spelling, because Megan’s talisman is neither a lemon nor a lime. Not yellow nor green. It’s in between. It’s a limen. Why no sports drink has come up with this word combination before is beyond me.

It’s interesting: most of the younger kids’ wishes have to deal with fruit, or animals, mice in particular. And the pocket icons they create to represent these wishes are all courageously distorted versions of reality—imperfect, and yet lovely. Only when the children and their respective handwriting grow older, more refined, do the wishes become more realistic and abstract at the same time. Earnestness and anxiety replace playfulness.

“To be good at soccer,” one boy announces. “To be a better basketball player.” “To have a bigger garden.” “To be an architect.” Most all are sports and career related, with the occasional plea for world peace thrown in the mix. The older kids’ clay talismans also become more defined and mimetic, while losing some of the accidental whimsy of of their younger counterparts.

Extrapolating the results—or at least my observations—of Hoy’s project into the greater art-world, I can see how a place like Bergamot Station can seem so cold, the warm humor of its art lost in the jumble of warehouses and parking spaces. It’s the fulfillment of those older childens’ wishes for bigger and better things taking over the goofy vitality of those younger, fruit-and-mouse wishes.

And yet still, when you look at the wall of hanging talismans, they all pretty much look alike, old and young together. Each one the subject of natural distortion—due to the imperfect nature of clay-work—and each one something more than just a good luck charm. They are tactile. You can feel the wishes with your fingers. You can see it. It’s not just an airy idea. It’s a creation.

Anna Sew Hoy’s Wall Works: Project Icons can be viewed at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in Bergamot Station until May 31. For more information, please visit www.smmoa.org, or call (310) 586-6488.

Posted in Art, Conceptual, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, Galleries, Mixed media, Museums, Neighborhoods, Santa Monica No Comments »

What’s What in the Art World at Large (And What To Do in LA)

yves_saint_laurentWe may be geographically far from, well, everywhere in the world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep up with all the arts endeavors across every which pond.  So here’s a bit of news (for the very serious and elite readers) and a bonus round of what’s going on in LA that really deserves your attention (for those who care about little outside LA county).

First, a stop in Paris at the Petit Palais.  The Parisian museum brings to the fore the artistic achievements of none other than Yves Saint Laurent.  Curated by Florence Muller and Farid Chenoune, the exhibit, called Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective features gowns, menswear, some of the designer’s treasured personal items used in creative pursuits, and it highlight themes used throughout the many collections in Saint Laurent’s illustrious career.  One ticket to France, please! {Global Post}

Onto Italy.  In Milan, our very own Placido Domingo’s Operalia competition has commenced.  Founded in 1993, Domingo’s opera competition is meant to find the cream of the crop amongst new talent in opera.  The singers represent not only a range of vocal categories (from coloratura soprano to the lowest bass), but also an array of countries around the world.  The competition ends May 2 (this Saturday), so you’ll have a new vocalist’s career to follow starting Sunday, May 3rd.  We have a feeling it will be meteoric.  {Culture Monster}

Not to shower the French with too much attention, though they don’t mind, Sotheby’s has made quite the announcement prior to the upcoming auction season.  The storied (and once thought lost) private collection of legendary Parisian art dealer Amrboise Vollard is set to meet the auction block.  His career was spent promoting such up-and-comers as Picasso, Cezanne, and Renoir and Vollard’s collection includes not only paintings, but such enticing items as prints, drawings, and artist books.  The sale will be held in London on June 22, so brush up on your British colloquialisms.  {ArtInfo}

Back at home, there is much to celebrate.  Dig into your pockets just a bit to buy yourself a ticket to the Architecture and Design Museum’s official Grand Opening!  For $75, you’ll mingle with a veritable who’s who of the architecture and design world in LA at the reception tomorrow night (April 27), (hint: you can also find them anywhere from Father’s Office to Tar Pit on weeknights), check out the first exhibit, and bid on things at the silent auction.  {A+D Museum}  Also, if you haven’t uploaded his schedule into your iCal already, Gustavo Dudamel has returned to the LA Phil – he’s conducting pretty regularly from now through May 8 on a number of concerts all worthy of splurging for tickets.  {LA Phil} This is your last chance to see LACMA’s exhibit Renoir in the 20th Century.  The exhibit closes May 9. {LACMA} Last, but certainly not least, turns out that parodies of Wagner and his Ring Cycle abound.  LA Times’ Culture Monster shows us the best of the best. {Culture Monster}

Posted in Architecture, Art, Bring Your Flask, Classical Music, Conceptual, Contemporary Art, Downtown, Exhibitions, Fashion, Festival, Food & Drink, Galleries, Miracle Mile, Museums, Music, Neighborhoods, Old School, Painting, Personalities, Photography, The Social Scene No Comments »

Electric Lady Blues Days

Face it: people forget. We forget about music, and how good it is. In our perpetual i-tunes search of the latest and newest, we forget  to stop every once in a while and  pay tribute to the greats. Which brings us to this city’s true music Mecca, the GRAMMY Museum, which holds access to the oldest,most rare—not to mention loudest—archives of American music, everything from Copland to Kanye, as well as hi-tech installations that make browsing decades of music history a breeze. Whether you’re one of those with a well to-do collection of rare vinyl, or among those drowning in the witty repartee of record store clerks, you should probably stop by for a brush up with the basics.

Amidst these music genres that the United States—and by extension, the museum itself—has collected, 60s rock resonates stronger today than almost any. The ghosts of three tragic, ‘Summer of Love’ icons, in particular, collectively haunt the mansions of pop-music more than most “original” artists would care to quantify. The exhibition Strange Kozmic Experience: The Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix invites long-time lovers of flower power and budding rock ‘n’ rollers alike to climb the ladder up into the attic of rock royalty, and explore the explosion. Gathering items as extravagant as Janis Joplin’s custom-painted 1965 Porsche Cabriolet to the outfits Hendrix, Joplin, and The Doors wore on stage, to Jim Morrison’s personal journals, the Grammy Museum sends you down the rabbit-hole of psychedelic rock, and lets you find your own way out…if that’s even possible.

By Danyel Madrid

Strange Kozmic Experience: The Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix opens April 5th at the GRAMMY Museum.  Please click here for more info.

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SUNDAY FEATURE: Westward Ho: Exploring America’s Artistic Frontier

Watson-the-Shark2It’s not hard in this day and age to be disillusioned with the idea of America. Documentaries like Food, Inc., Religulous, and Sicko present ample evidence that we have veered a great distance from the America envisioned by our forefathers. Whether they be social, political, religious, or economic, my generation rarely sees beyond the fissures in our disintegrating national culture, and the art world is no exception. As an Art History major with a focus on 18th Century British and French art, I’m not likely to grab the car keys and rush myself to an American art exhibition. I was playing for team Euro-snob.  But after my visit to LACMA’s newest exhibit, American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915, I’m writing this article with my tail between my legs.

The exhibition’s 75 paintings universally express what it means to be an American, and how artists played a critical role in characterizing the American identity and experience. Wandering from room to room in LACMA’s American Stories, the viewer will observe the progression of American history through art, from the tense and politically charged pre-revolutionary era through the brink of World War I. The exhibit showcases art from a broad range of subject matter, including immigration, exploring new frontiers, industrialization, and family life, all subjects that were popular for American artists seeking to capture the sweeping changes that distinguished the fabric of our nation.

Some of the most revealing early American artists dared to dig beneath the young country’s façade and hint at the darker side of a culture tainted by slavery and violence. John Singleton Copley’sWatson & The Shark” (1778), recounting a young British merchant’s brush with death, is among the more dramatic, attention-grabbing works in the exhibition. The expert depiction of heightening tension, accelerating winds, and a mounting sense of disaster are reminiscent of history paintings of the Great Masters. Beyond the theatrical re-telling of Watson’s spectacular rescue from a shark attack, the painting symbolizes a small community, struggling through crisis to save one of its own. This sense of survival, possible only by the unity of the people, resonates throughout the cannon of American art and history.

Paintings of everyday life and familiar scenes of leisure bring intimacy to the exhibit’s portraits of early America. William McGregor Paxton’sThe Breakfast” (1911) uses a subject matter that appears frivolous to set a mood of loneliness and frustration. Paxton’s sense of humor is tempered by a strong adherence to academic technique that gives his painting a serious and significant tone. A wealthy woman sulks as her husband, unaware of her isolation, reads the morning paper—a symbol of his engagement with the outside world juxtaposed by the conflicting situation of his female companion. She is shielded from the outside world, not only by the drawn blinds and curtains of her breakfast nook, but by the impenetrable domestic sphere that society forced her to inhabit.

While I looked upon “The Breakfast,” two women behind me snickered as one of them did an impression of the aloof husband, “Oh honey. Why are you so upset? Don’t I give you everything you want with your maids and beautiful home?” I couldn’t help but snicker along with them. It was an experience we all could identify with in some way or another, whether it is because we are women, or American, or simply empathetic for a person who sometimes feels seen, but never heard.

Indeed, it was impossible to wander through American Stories without comparing the paintings to my own personal experience of being an American. Familiar scenes that transcend the confines of time, including John Lewis Krimmel’sFourth of July in Centre Square” (1812) and Lilly Martin Spencer’sYoung Husband: First Marketing” (1854), warm the heart with their familiar portrayals of urban daily life. Francis William Edmonds’sThe New Bonnet” (1858) and William Glacken’sThe Shoppers” (1907-08), make one chuckle at the predictable scene of the American woman’s affinity for shopping, while alluding to the rapid growth of mass world consumerism. It is through these strikingly recognizable narratives, most of which are presented with references to slavery, pre-suffragette sexism, and mass consumption, that we are able to further understand our controversial history and absorb the significance of the courageous and distinctive genre of American art.

So whether you’re sporting a “Freedom Isn’t Free” bumper-sticker on the back of your Ford pick-up or reading this article on your iPhone while in line for your cappuccino at Intelligentsia, this exhibition will unquestionably change and expand the way you think about our national art. It is with the highest esteem that I admit that American Stories did me proud.

-By Brittany Krasner

American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915 is on view at LACMA through May 23rd.  For more information on tickets and viewing hours, visit www.lacma.org.

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Narrating the Adventures of the Mind Among Masterpieces

Recently several people, whose opinion I greatly respect, have introduced me as an art critic. I was gobsmacked by the label the first time, and truthfully, no less the second and third. I am an arts enthusiast for sure. In fact it consumes almost every moment of my life: by day I’m a museum publicist, by night an art socialite perusing the latest openings and fundraisers around town, on the weekend an art history instructor, and—in my spare time—I share my thoughts and experiences via Facebook, Twitter, and this site. But a critic? Definitely not.

On Thursday night, MOCA hosted a panel on the future of art criticism with Sasha Anawalt, director of the University of Southern California Annenberg Arts Journalism Program; critics Andrew Berardini and Sharon Mizota; and MOCA Associate Curator Bennett Simpson. While the discussion did explore the effect of the Internet on traditional media, as the event was billed, I was particularly intrigued by the panelists’ views on the differences between criticism and journalism, in respect to the arts. Berardini and Simpson were both remiss to call themselves ‘art journalists,’ preferring the title ‘arts writer,’ while Mizota said she was a part-time journalist. Anawalt was surprised they all distanced themselves from the term and said that by her definition anyone writing about anything “commits an act of journalism,” regardless of tweeting, blogging, or publishing in a newspaper. Simpson asserted that the most visible writing about art in the art world doesn’t happen in newspapers, but in exhibition catalogues, art magazines, and, increasingly, blogs. Mizota argued on behalf of newspapers’ ability to occupy a more general space and be accessible to a broader range of people. She feels there has been too large a separation between the language of the art world and the general public, and tries to bridge that gap in her feature writing and her reviews.

As I was listening to these writers debate, I was recalling the words of the famed critic Clement Greenberg: “Art criticism, I would say, is about the most ungrateful form of ‘elevated’ writing I know of. It may also be one of the most challenging.” I thought, perhaps the reason I am hesitant to call myself an art critic is because I have such respect for the profession – though I don’t necessarily believe it’s always done well. Another reason might be that I’ve always thought of art criticism much in the vein of John Ruskin, who espoused that “The true work of a critic is not to make his hearer believe him, but agree with him.” Yet I, personally, write from a place of passion, not a place of persuasion (and if I was to accord strictly to Ruskin’s 19th century definition, my gender might disqualify me entirely).

That is not to say there aren’t many terrific critics who write without a persuasive agenda. During the panel, Berardini himself said: “I am not trying to convince anyone of my opinion, I’m just trying to start a conversation.” I know my writings on art—at least museum and gallery exhibitions—tend to feel more like friendly reportage than criticism, which one friend described as an “impeccable use of the gonzo technique.” Whatever label it is given, reportage or criticism, I hope that my writings most closely embody the philosophy of Robert Hughes who said, “I have always tended to take art contextually. If I have any merits as a critic, they have to do with my ability as a storyteller, and above all I wanted to tell a story.”

Note on Title: A slight paraphrase of the brilliant quote by Anataloe France, “A good critic is one who narrates the adventures of his mind among masterpieces.”

By Rebecca Taylor

The Museum of Modern Art (MOCA) is located at 250 S. Grand Avenue. For more information on events and exhibitions, please call (213) 626-6222, or visit www.moca.org.

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The ‘It’s Not To You’ Syndrome

I recently found myself sitting on a couch in a dark room inside the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts at USC watching a play-test of a brand-new interactive video game.  I use the term ‘interactive,’ because it was less like your typical Nintendo or PlayStation proceeding, and more akin to one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ movies, only digitalized, intricately detailed, and not a little influenced by the likes of Spielberg or Christopher Nolan.  The game takes place in a slightly futuristic society, and at one point, the protagonist, a detective, is sitting in his beat-down, windowless office going over clues, when he puts on a pair of special sunglasses.  These sunglasses allow him, and by proxy, us, the audience, to perceive his spacial environment as a pristine mountain-top, or a Redwood forest.  The effect is novel, and provokes a round of ‘wouldn’t-that-be-cool’ comments from anybody who’s watching, yet it also brings up an interesting, modern phenomenon.  I call it the ‘it’s not to you’ syndrome, and it works like this: you’re sitting in a beat-down, windowless office, but…it’s not to you.

Don’t get me wrong, this syndrome is hardly new or original, although it is intensifying in our digital age.  And one person who’s exploring this intensification is artist Jeffrey Wells with his newest exhibit Seeing While Seeing at the Bergamont Station Arts Center, a part of the Santa Monica Museum of Art.  Wells attempts to recreate the optical illusions of everyday life—the after-image of an exit sign, the undulating intersection of two vertical walls that meet at a right-angle—using video projections.  Thus the viewer is left questioning whether or not an illusion is physical or digital.  Both are percepts, separate from what some would call “objective reality,” but only one is an intentionally manipulated percept.

What Wells—along with the interactive video game, to a certain extent—may be attempting to illustrate is the danger of the ‘it’s not to you’ syndrome.  Because how do you really know what is?  Or who’s presenting what to you, for that matter?  And as the line between what is and what is to you gets smaller and smaller, what becomes of you?

Jeffrey Wells’s Seeing While Seeing is on view until April 17th at Project Room 1 in the Bergamont Station Arts Center, a part of the Santa Monica Museum of Arts.  Bergamont Station is located at 2525 Michigan Ave, Building G-1.  For more information, please call (310) 586-6488, or visit www.smmoa.org.

Posted in Art, Conceptual, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, Galleries, High Brow, Installation, Mixed media, Museums, Neighborhoods, Santa Monica, Save + Misbehave, Video Art No Comments »

Portraiture’s Victorious Fight in the Modern Age

ingres38.JPGWhen most people think of portraiture, images of aristocracy adorned in their finest medieval robes atop a crackling grand fireplace in some remote European castle probably come to mind.  When I mention that I focused on 18th-19th Century portraiture in college, people look as if they’re about to fall asleep before I can finish the sentence.  But this past Saturday, I attended a lecture at Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum presented by John Klein, Associate Professor from Washington University in St. Louis, that reminded me of the magnetism and presence of portraits. In his lecture, “Matisse, Picasso and Beyond: How Portraiture Survived Modernism,” he examined the means by which the art of human representation prevailed through an era defined by its antipathy to historical convention.  Through the study of modernist masters like Picasso, Matisse and Giacometti, Klein arrives at a universal truth: human beings will always and forever be obsessed with themselves, others, and how others perceive them.

“Damn Portraits!” began Professor Klein, quoting Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres—an abrupt and honest exclamation that served as a perfect prelude to the difficult battle that portraiture was doomed to fight once the modern age descended on a timeless artistic tradition.  Ingres, like many artists of his time, despised portraiture.

He often complained that the overwhelming number of commissions from high society kept him from focusing on “more important” subject matter.  In the 19th Century, it seemed as if the only demographic that had an affinity for portraiture was the social elite.  When the 20th Century began, many creative figures decried the art form’s declining relevance.  Portraiture posed a series of difficult questions for the artist: How does one capture the complexity of human identity? How can an inner quality be expressed outwardly?  How can a still representation do justice to a personality trait that is defined by its movement? Modernism, says Klein, provided the platform that was so desperately needed: a movement that joined portraiture with the abstraction of the avant-garde.

grn_eyesThrough an array of examples, Klein revealed how artists like Picasso and Matisse were uninterested with the centrality of the sitter, which historically would have been fundamental.  In works like Girl with Green Eyes (1908), Matisse blended his sitters into a decorative pattern where no single component of the painting could dominate.  Picasso’s Gertrude Stein (1906), on the other hand, showcases both the artist and the sitter, serving as a visual statement of the height and legitimacy of both Stein’s and Picasso’s careers. Klein taught the audience that through the execution of her face, as was common with many of Picasso’s portraits, the artist imposed a mask-like quality that hardly resembled Stein’s genuine appearance. The primitivization of her face is a symbolic and telling mark of the beginning of an important aesthetic shift.

After the First World War, artists became increasingly cynical of humanistic values, and rapid advances in photographic technology threatened representational portraiture.  Expressive abstraction began to take hold, providing the artist with infinite ways to communicate power, status and legitimacy—and the line between art and vulgarity became harder to define.  Marcus Harvey’s Myra (1995) is an example of how modern portraiture could become a PR dream come true. Harvey’s portrait of Myra Hindley, a woman convicted of murdering multiple innocent child victims, is comprised of tiny flesh colored hands, hands meant to represent those of the children that she murdered.

180px-marcus-harvey-myraPortraiture’s many levels of expression, as in Myra, have the potential for endless symbolism and emotion.  I could feel the tension in the lecture hall when Myra came on screen, and I could see that the man next to me was trying to conceal his goose bumps.

Professor Klein’s lecture was most certainly a personal highlight of my many years of studying and appreciating portraiture. Regardless of one’s knowledge of art, he was able to communicate his subject with admirable passion and vigor.  Professor Klein carried the double-barreled theme of portraiture and its modernist survival from the turn of the 20th Century through the fall of Saddam Hussein. It was quite frankly one of the most fun Saturdays I’ve had in a while, and I don’t think I was alone.  The jam-packed lecture hall’s enthusiastic applause was proof enough that nobody was falling asleep before Klein could finish his sentences.

-By Brittany Krasner

The Norton Simon’s calendar of educational lectures will certainly expand your art related intellectual repertoire.  For more information on upcoming lectures, please visit their website.

Posted in Art, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, High Brow, Museums, Old School, Painting, Pasadena, Personalities, Photography No Comments »

The Fool’s Journey

FoolDuring stressful weeks, it is always recommended that you check in with your nearest and dearest psychic(s) at least once if not twice.  You’ll never know how to handle your many doting suitors, luxurious travel plans, and multi-million business deals without a little help from your friends.

But, if stepping into darkened, incense infused rooms isn’t exactly your cup of tea, get a healthy dose of insight and art the next time you are in the Miracle Mile.  The Craft and Folk Art Museum just opened The Fool’s Journey: The History and Symbolism of the Tarot, an exhibition that draws together the imagery, history, and iconography of tarot cards over time.  This show will highlight the 22 cards of the Tarot’s major Arcana – from the Fool to the World — and will present historic and modern examples from stylistically different decks.  Also, plan to see how tarot cards have influenced the imagery of other works of art.

See?  Isn’t it already making better sense now?  At least you have part of your weekend plans squared away.

The Fool’s Journey: The History and Symbolism of the Tarot will close at the Craft and Folk Art Museum May 9th.  Please click here for more info.

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A Decaying Art Form

The job of a film archivist is a relatively new one.  It sounds silly.  (If my friend Pete has a massive DVD collection, is he suddenly considered an archivist?)  But what a lot of people don’t know is that film is a kind of living organism.  It decays quite rapidly over time.  And as depicted so graphically in the latest Tarantino venture, Inglorious Basterds, most of the movies made in the silent-era were shot on an ultra-flammable cellulose nitrate film base.  Due to this highly unstable stock, as well as the recklessness of early studio storage, a great many of the films made in America before 1920 are either lost, or have turned to dust.  In fact, no type of truly durable film base was even introduced into the movie-making landscape until the early 1990’s with the popularization of polyester.

Enter the heroic film archivist, whose job it is to preserve the ever-growing, ever-decaying amount of film stock from the grips of its natural demise.  Mark Toscano of the Academy Film Archive is one of these heroes, who most recently co-curated the REDCAT screening of Now You Can Do Anything: The Films of Chris Langdon.  This series of fourteen short, experimental films were all made within the period of two years, from 1973 to 1975, and would have easily been lost were it not for the efforts of people like Mark Toscano and fellow filmmaker/Angeleno, Thom Andersen.

Yet Langdon’s shorts, interestingly enough, seemed to work in spite of preservation.  The magic was in her apparent disregard for such preciousness.  Her film “Bondage Boy,” for instance, featured 16mm shots of a guy in a basement dressed in a woman’s slip and bound with ropes in various positions, all to the soundtrack of an uppity 1950’s swing tune.  “Picasso,” another one of Langdon’s works, was, in her words, “the first post-mortem documentary” of the famous painter, fully completed in four hours for a little under $5.

Langdon, who was present at the screening, addressed the audience afterwards.  And it was clear that her main motivation behind the 83 minutes of film we had all just sat through was simply to film something.  One piece was a joke, another was a bet, and one was just to get over the plain fear of wasting money through a camera.  In a sense, she was fueling the need for future experimental film archivists like Mark Toscano.  Because without artists with the courage to waste film, why would you need someone to preserve what’s special about it?

The Redcat is located Downtown at the Roy and Edna Disney/Calarts Theater in the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  For information about upcoming screenings and performances, please visit www.redcat.org, or call (213) 237-2800.

Posted in Bring Your Flask, Downtown, Film, High Brow, Low Brow, Museums, Old School, Personalities, Video Art No Comments »

Fart-ing

People tend to forget about food when talking about art.  In fact, food isn’t even allowed in most museums, as if the paintings would get jealous.  And although much ado is made out of drugs, nobody ever asks what an artist was eating at the time of their masterpiece.

Of course, like most artistic discourse, this is all backwards.  The oldest surviving cave paintings, which in all likelihood are the first known pieces of human art, are all depictions of food (or sex).  Therefore, no conversation about artistic merit should begin without first discussing the work’s relationship to the “original” art, food art (or for short: ‘fart’).  One person who certainly knows the power of the ‘fart’ is Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Prize winning food critic for LA Weekly.

In his much-celebrated column, Mr. Gold creates weekly pieces of art inspired by the best and worst food in Los Angeles.  Starting last month and running until January 23 at the Harriet and Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex, various artists are doing just the same; they’ve even decided to pay tribute to ‘the Gold-en boy’ by re-using his column title: “Counter Intelligence.”  The work on display here, however, goes beyond the literary and into the realms of sculpture, photography, video, and performance, all in the name of the edible.

Because as any foodie like Jonathan Gold knows, you can’t make ‘fart’ without the food.

“Counter Intelligence” can be viewed until January 23rd at The Harriet and Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex in the Cal State campus. For more information please call (323) 343-6600.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Exhibitions, Food & Drink, Galleries, High Brow, Low Brow, Museums, Neighborhoods, Personalities, Photography, The Social Scene No Comments »