Monday, March 30, 2009

Closed Until I Heal

Hi all,
so yesterday while going on a trip to Santa Barbara with friends, we got rear-ended in a chain collision. Again, the second in less than 2 weeks, my 4th car accident in 3 years. My neck hurts as hell, my head is aching, I'm sore all over and the collection of bruises on my right arm isn't pretty. I was going to blog about my studio visit with Juan Capistran and a couple of other things, but I'll do that when I'm functioning again. Meanwhile I really, really need a good lawyer specialized on car accidents, if only to be able to afford proper care. If you have some references of someone you have used, I would love a referral. Thanks.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour in Los Angeles - March 28, 2009, 8.30 to 9.30 PM

Having decided to snub local openings, but in fact being forced by circumstances to stay home (had to give back the rental, Mam'zelle VaVaVoom still at the car doctor undergoing loads of surgery, poor thing) I decided instead to observe Earth Hour, that moment today all around the word where supposedly 1 billion people are switching up their lights. With time zones and all that, supposedly we're saving power, easing a bit of Planet Earth pollution load, etc.
I'm a bit unclear on the concept, I mean, obviously a large part of the action is totally symbolic, but we're asked to blog about it, post our pics on Flickr, Tweet or whatever that means, etc, isn't that a bit counter-productive in term of reducing our carbon footprint?

With the laptop on, I'm sure I'm using some vital energy, plus the candles I'm burning are releasing CO2, also they are your standard IKEA paraffin wax tea lights. I'd be ready to bet paraffin wax is one of your everyday bad pollutant (and I'm sorry but being carless and very broke, I cannot go and buy pure beeswax candles, as much as I love their smell), and being from IKEA they must have been made somewhere on the other side of the globe and carried to Burbank, California, home of the nearest Swedish Giant, at great expense for the health of our planet.

This being said it's very pretty in here, I'm glad I'm participating in something, even though I'm wondering right now what they are doing at the Tom Lawson opening and if David Kordansky (hi Dave!) is lighting his space with candles? I'd love to see that.
Happy Earth Hour everybody, have a nice weekend, and for Californians reading me: happy Cesar Chavez Day on Tuesday!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

1999 at Cottage Home, China Art Objects at 10

After showing you the pictures of some of the art in the previous posts, here you can see some of the people who were in attendance, above Steve Hanson, showing a piece to a couple of people.

The artists Vish Jugdeo and Scoli Acosta with writer William Wright laughing because I'm waving at them from upstairs, where I'm admiring Vish's piece (I didn't know it was his actually, I love it when a piece I like has been made by a pal!)

Artist (and former colleague) Peter Wu with girlfriend Samantha (whose last name I didn't catch, apologies!)
Everybody who's anybody, as they say, was around, and I socialized with more people in one evening than I usually do in a month, including Tom Solomon who was wearing a great pocket flap, but was too modest to have his picture taken. I saw my pal the fabulous painter Ivan Morley and we saw a bunch of people, but my memory isn't that good tonight so I'll stop the name-dropping here.
It was a really cool anniversary, everybody was relaxed and mellow just like the good old days when there was no money to be made in the LA artworld, and there was this great sense of community around. Ah, the good old days of yore... On another hand, I was pretty sore and really tired (see car accident mentioned elsewhere) so if there were tensions around I didn't notice, and frankly I couldn't care less. I was just glad that China Art Objects had made it through its first decade, and I wish Steve and his partners many more decades like this. Happy anniversary China Art Objects, and a special thought for Giovanni. As I've said elsewhere, we miss you.

1999 at Cottage Home, China Art Objects at 10

Even more pictures! I'll attribute the artworks when I have some time and my head doesn't hurt anymore. You can have fun guessing anyway!

1999 Cottage Home, China Art Objects at 10

More pictures from the show.

1999 At Cottage Home - China Art Objects At 10

A few pictures from the show. More text later, I've been suffering from horrible headaches since that March 16 accident.

China Art Objects 10 Year Anniversary

10 years ago, the LA art world was much, much smaller, art stars/local art school faculties were mingling with their students at their openings (indeed, they attended their student's openings!), Culver City was a foreign place no one had ever heard about, the hot spot was 6150, Bergamot Station was already starting to be a bit passé and you could, on opening day, hop from one place to another and see all the art in town within 2 hours! Not that traffic was lighter (it wasn't) but there were far fewer galleries, art students, artists and attending curators or critics around, and let's not talk about collectors (incidentally, only the small proportion of collectors has remained the same since 1999). In Chinatown, some Art Center-related friends (let's say they all met at the ACCD Library, even if it isn't entirely true) created a gallery, named after the sign left by the previous store, China Art Objects. There was a cool, dark and narrow small store right next to it full of bric-à-brac , where many an art student bought some shabby trinkets for pennies, and right across the gallery was a rather dirty convenience store (where Goldman Tevis, later Mary Goldman and now David Patton stands).

Last Saturday, China Arts Objects celebrated its 10th birthday, with a 2-part show: the first one in the "historical" gallery (which has doubled since 1999, bye-bye, cool weird store next-door!) and the second at Cottage Home, the space it co-occupies on a rotating basis with Sister and Tom Solomon.

The founders of CAO were the late Giovanni Intra, and Steve Hanson, Peter Kim, Amy Yao and Mark Heffernan. I'm sure everybody had a thought or even a drink in Giovanni's memory last Saturday.

On Saturday, CAO proudly featured its historical artists in its own space, and organized an after-party at the Mountain Bar, which yours truly didn't attend because my recent car accident left me really sore and therefore easily tired. But before the opening I had the pleasure to dine with Andy Alexander and Stephanie Taylor (and their respective spouses, child, friend of mine, etc.) who were among the first artists to be shown at CAO at the beginning of its first decade.


I remember a Stephanie Taylor performance that was held in front of the gallery on Chung King Road (wasn't Prina there too?), and a collaboration between Andy Alexander and Andy Ouchi that took place in the gallery basement/storage, an installation-cum-sculpture-cum-party environment made for the audience to party on. With some rocks and succulents if memory serves right.
There was a party vibe to China Art Objects back in the old days, which was also much in the air last Saturday. I didn't really ask how the party was (I've been in major pain most of this week, thanks for asking) but judging from the crowd at Cottage Home when I left around 8.30 PM, everybody in LA was there.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TeenAsianSluts.Porn: Poll Results Are In

So last poll I ran was about how FBC! could make some money, which I need badly since LA drivers insist on totaling my car(s) every 18-month or so, or else stealing and dismembering them (seriously: 4 cars over the last 5 years). You add to the mix that I'm dangerously and precariously under-employed, and Pomme and I could become homeless as soon as June comes. Like, in 3 months.

So you overwhelmingly voted for me to rename FBC! "TeenAsianSluts.Porn" after the most common type of junkmail found in my mailbox, in an attempt to drive up traffic and maybe, finally, make money through Google AdSense (news for you my friends: if I run them again, you actually have to CLICK on them in order for me to get pennies. As in, 1 cents per million click, I kid you not).
The 2 other suggestions were:
a) for me to sell cutesy pictures of Pomme to Hallmark, but Pomme disagrees, she says she doesn't want too many human admirers as she fears stalkers
b) to find a louche backer and open a speakeasy downtown. I'd love to do that, please, louche backers, come email me and let's find some place!

Unfortunately, until all these materialize I'll probably be thrown on the streets with Pomme, and we won't even have the possibility to live inside Mam'zelle VaVaVoom, since my insurance insists it's totaled (and doesn't offer me enough money for a replacement, obviously).
So, before this happens, and I am very, very serious now, I'd totally appreciate a fundraiser to benefit my Frenchy self and my feline sidekick. I mean, what's the point of bailing out lame Wall Sreet bankers and outrageously incompetent giant insurers if one lone Frenchy blogger cannot keep on entertaining the millions, yes the millions of reader who come daily on FBC?
I take cash, gold bullions, paypal. Or a job. Say, at a museum.
No cashier check not Nigerian princesses. Meet me at LACMA under Chris Burden's light, I'll take your ill-gotten bonus, and you can pass it off as charity and get a tax deduction!

PS: aggressive lawyers specialized in milking at-fault drivers: please drop me an email, with references. Thank you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Your Social Life In Anniversary Mode

No, not FBC! anniversary, but China Art Objects, the Chinatown gallery with which everything started (well, not exactly, let's call it the second or third LA art boom, OK?).
China Art Objects opened 10 years ago and will celebrate this Saturday with a show/bash at Cottage as well as in its original location, followed by an after party at the Mountain Bar. When you go see the show or if you end up at the Mountain Bar, please don't forget to have a thought, or better yet a drink in honor of the late Giovanni Intra, one of the co-founder of China Art Objects. The opening will last from 6 to 9 PM, with many, many artists, so many it's impossible to list them all.
Many are personal pals of FBC! so I'll pay a rare appearance at an opening, but on the early side as I'm recovering from yet another car accident!

[To the moron who plowed into my car at a red light and sent me flying into a SUV: Drop. Dead. Now. And next time you drive, that is if you don't drop dead now, do it with a valid driver's license and put your bloody cell phone away. My future lawyer is going to have a field day with you, b••ch!].

I'm fine, if a bit sore, and taking meds that make me very sleepy, hence the early appearance at the opening. Meanwhile Mam'zelle VaVaVoom is at the car doctor, waiting for her diagnosis, hopefully she's fixable. I have a nice replacement rental but nowhere as cool as Mam'zelleLink VaVaVoom.

Unfortunately, because of this I have to make a choice in my opening attendance, so I will miss Walead Beshty at LAXart, but you guys should be able to go, before or after China Art Objects.
There are lots of other openings on Saturday, such as the group show "The Ballad That Becomes An Anthem" at Acme, with among others, FBC! absolute fav' Mary Heilmann and also Rebecca Morris.
To make your life even more complicated, there's an interesting group show opening at the Armory in Pasadena, Under The Knife (I guess "under the box cutter" was not so appealing, and "running with scissors" was already taken) about artists cutting up paper and doing collages. It's from 7 to 9 PM so I guess if you start at ACME, go to LAXart, then China Art Objects/Cottage you may conceivably be able to reach the Armory at the tail end of the opening.
But wait! There's also an opening at Charlie James in Chinatown. And one at Marc Foxx, who also shows some work by the recently deceased Hanne Darboven.
All in all a pretty busy weekend for opening-goers in LA. Have fun, but above all drive responsively and shove that cell phone in your trunk, OK?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Your Social Life In The Spring

Spring in the air, and recession-proof art events are being held all over LA. It has opened last month already, but tomorrow (7 to PM) is the discussion/roundtable/publication launch of the Sarah Cain & Rebecca Morris exhibition curated by the lovely Nancy Meyer (Hi Nancy!) at the Fellows of Contemporary Art, 970 N. Broadway, Suite 208. The show is up until April 26.
It conflicts with tomorrow's Franz West lecture at USC which follows the show he's having at LACMA where, incidentally, the "Art of Two Germanies" exhibition is very, very good.
There are some shows opening on Saturday, like Rebecca Bird at Paul Kopeikin and if you are in Eagle Rock you should absolutely go to High Strangeness, 12 artists with works about "the paranormal and the unexplained". Jeffrey Vallance (currently also on view at the Hammer), Doris Cypit and Dana Duff are among the artists. The night before, same place, sound event with Charlemagne Palestine!
Have fun everybody, and don't forget to answer the poll at the bottom of the page: FBC! needs to make some dough to keep on providing content to my avid readers!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Oh, Finally, there's a new poll at the bottom of the blog's page

FBC! needs to make real money, quick, so I'm awaiting your suggestions and/or donations.


Your Social Life This Weekend In NYC And LA

Your social life this weekend can be managed efficiently if:

a) you are in New York City and you go see the show at Jack Hanley (Go! Go! Go!): Stephen Kaltenbach, Mario Garcia-Torres and Fia Backstrom, opening tomorrow (pic above: a 1967 piece by Kaltenbach.)


b) You are in Los Angeles: there's the Hammer opening where, no doubt, you may meet the new curators, Douglas Fogle and Anne Ellgood (welcome to LA! Have fun !) but mostly see Nine Lives, Visionary Artists From LA: it includes someone we never get to see, Llyn Foulkes, as well as Jeffrey Vallance, Charlie White, Lisa Ann Auerbach, Julie Becker, Hirsch Perlman, Charles Irvin, Victoria Reynolds, Kaari Upson. I was kinda planning to go but I have too much work so it's likely I'll skip the opening, but I'll make sure to see the show ASAP and report on it.

I think there are other things going on, but I haven't the time to really blog about it.
Have a nice weekend all!

Yet Another Show That Saved The Day In Culver City

What distinguishes a good artist from a crop of truly bad ones? I'd say, internal coherence, a good sense of composition, some tongue-in-cheek humor, and an understanding of how to fill a space, whether it is the space on a sheet of paper of the physical space of the gallery.
Is Dave Muller my favorite artist?

No, by all means, but he's someone who understands how to make work that stands out visually before trying to cram it with too many historical or theoretical references. Not that he doesn't cram some, but he makes sure his works looks good enough to suck us in his whimsical world of Beatles-mania. It's like comfort food: when you see his show at Blum & Poe you know you're not dining at Robuchon (sorry Ferran Adria, you're not my cup of tea) but your experience is pleasant and warm.

I Am The Pollock-Blowfish!

I'm A Dead Icon And I'm Watching You

Thanks Dave, you saved my day (and Joe's day as well!)

Yet Another Culver City Post

It's not that I enjoy breaking down posts in several sections, it's just that the stupid template I use cannot support more than 5 pictures/post.
Anyway, at Kim Light, Marianne Mueller (above) has seen way too many Wolfgang Tillmans, methinks.

Still at Kim Light, Penelope Gottlieb worked on a drawing installation "No $ Down" referencing the California real estate bubble. It's the kind of work I find to be "almost there". The drawings themselves are not really standalone ones, despite being sold as such, and it's a pity because this show works well as an installation and not as a series of separate works. The idea in itself is interesting (typical housing units represented, broken down by drawings of homeless shopping carts) and right on target, or timely.
But the cutesy colored frames (they all seem to be coming out of Aaron Bros. and hand-painted by the artist) matching the drawing colors should be made to go, they totally ruin the overall effect. This being said, I think Gottlieb is an interesting artist (I love that on her bio she lists her work as belonging to "numerous corporate collections including the Fannie Mae Corporation), but needs a bit more, I don't know, rigor.

The last "almost there" artist I saw was James Everett in the project room at Roberts & Tilton, but as I said my camera battery died before I could take a pic.
It's called "Opium Feast" and the steel and wax sculpture is much more interesting than, say, anything Sterling Ruby has ever produced (can't understand the hype, Ruby's work is mega-derivative, maybe it's the macho sculptural component that titillates collectors?). Unfortunately this sculpture is paired with 3 panels (including one called "Climax" that incorporates "ejaculation from a movie star" in its material, hey the 1990s are soooo last Century!) of meaningless words and sentences that want to show their meaningful value by being engraved in Roman-type lettering.
But it's drywall, maybe as some kind of apt-metaphor about the entertainment industry or something (I'm too lazy to think about it, frankly). Drywall isn't really suitable for engraving, and the result looks too sloppy, especially compared to the wax sculpture.
Which, BTW, looks like a nightmare to ship and to conserve, so hurry to see it before it disintegrates!
Becca Mann's drawings, in the same room, were totally unremarkable. Not bad, but nothing to write home about.

Yet Another Day That Could Have Been Interesting In Culver City

A bit disappointed by the current crop at LAXart

Karl Haendel is counting the days until artists lead their own aesthetic revolution again...

Does Yunhee Min work reminds you of something? It should, really, unless you were born in 1990, so you're excused until you take Contemporary Art 101

Uri Nir's was actually very funny, if not particularly ambitious, it was a good distraction from the wood-be art stars who take themselves so seriously.

Yet Another Boring Day In Culver City, All Hype, No Content

All hype, no content: Hype Gallery was closed. We liked the building, at least from outside.

I'm glad I was in very good company (Hi Joe!) during my quick tour of Culver City earlier this week, as the art was mostly: derivative/dumb/poorly executed and you could tell it wasn't the intent of the artist, etc.

Thanks God there's Dave Muller to save the day. And at David Kordansky, if I really don't care for Patrick Hill, I was happy to see a beautiful Will Fowler hanging in the office.
My camera battery died during the visit to Dave Muller's show, so I couldn't take any picture of the show at Roberts & Tilton (fascinating wax sculpture in the project room, boring drawing show in the main space), nor at Susanne Vielmetter (Jutta Koether, not so good, alas), ditto Kordansky.

I've seen a gazillion drawings like these over the last few years. Not bad per se, but you've seen one, you've seen them all. Note: many drawings were unframed in most galleries, a sure sign that they have no money to pay for things like this. Melissa Manful at Taylor de Cordoba

I have trouble to remember if this is Peter Pezzimenti or Stosh Tokarski at JK Gallery, but one thing is certain: someone has looked at too much Mary Heilmann. Not a bad influence, mind you
At Angstrom. Believe me, you don't want to see a close-up of the drawings. Some guy named Matt Chambers, who didn't take drawing classes as an undergrad, obviously.

The dumbest show ever, at Honor Fraser, some graffiti guy named KAWS whose work will remind you all of the East Village in the 1980s. Oh, sorry, maybe you guys were not born. It was circa the previous art-market-boom-crash, kaboom! Pop goes the bubble!