Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Your Social Life In These Dire Economic Times

The recession is supposedly over, which I'm sure the 12%+ unemployed in LA will tell you is total bullshit, as will all the people who currently don't have health insurance coverage and even those who had it but ended up filing for bankruptcy after being dropped by their insurance company, something that's not going to improve at the rate our beloved President is dragging his feet to impose a public option.
Since you and I know that no, the recession is far from being over (or if it is, can we have our taxpayer money back, dear bankers and AIG executives, so we can pay our rents and buy health insurance?) we're left with a dearth of options to entertain ourselves cheaply, that is if we don't infringe on copyright laws and download a bunch of stuff from the Internet. Thankfully, old-fashioned reading is still free, thanks to our public libraries (which people in Philadelphia almost lost, can you believe it?) and if you visit museum strategically, art viewing can also be free, about once a week on some inconvenient evening all over the country. In parts of the country that haven't shut down their museums yet, that is, or imposed levies on cultural (Philadelphia, I'm looking at you, and your bloodsucking civic leaders who manage to be even more inept than SoCal ones, a record!)

Now, if you live in Los Angeles (or New York City), luckily our non-profit organizations and our local art dealers are doing a public service for you, letting you enjoy a healthy dose of visual arts to restore your soul and sometimes, if you're very, but very lucky, even stimulate your intellect.
So let's start with Not Los Angeles at the Fellow of Contemporary Art space, which Geoff Tuck kindly signaled to my attention. I also want to publicly thank him for letting me know that yes, that's it, MARGO LEAVIN FINALLY GOT HERSELF A WEBSITE!!! Wow, better late than never.
It's this Saturday, which is also the day of the 3rd LACE annual 10k art crawl, "Out of Bounds" which is combined with a membership drive. So for $50, or for free if you're already a member, you can walk in Hollywood (a radical concept, I know) and enjoy an afternoon of fun, while supporting a venerable local non-profit space.
Speaking of non-profits, if you are in Riverside this weekend, don't miss the opening of Intelligent Design at UCI's Sweeney art gallery. It looks really good. And still in Riverside, let me give a shout out to the Small Wonder Foundation, an interdisciplinary space which also publishes [com]motion magazine.

It's all very well, but what about people who wants to mill around West Hollywood on a Thursday afternoon and early evening? Why, they can go to the Pacific Design Center which allows lots of art dealers to show artists, rent-free, in exchange for filling up empty show-room spaces and try to (visually at least) somewhat mitigate the experience of the recession for what is basically a high-end shopping mall. Nature has emptiness in horror, and apparently so do owners of commercial shopping malls. I hear this type of thing is also in the works in Palm Spring and I heard of similar ideas in the UK. Whether it will be a positive experience for the viewers, the artists or the galleries is difficult to say.

[the picture here has nothing to do with the post, it's a building that now has retail spaces but that I hear was Bruce Nauman's studio in Pasadena in the 1960s]

A Few Pictures From The Chinatown Openings

As you remember, on September 12 Los Angeles was chockablock with openings all over the place. Yours truly didn't really have to run all over the place to catch what was going on, since I was invited to a very delightful dinner party downtown. I did manage however to quickly check 3 openings, Analia Saban at Tom Solomon/Cottage Home, Libby Black at Charlie James and the group show The Curse of Ceramics at China Art Objects. I didn't stay long enough to feel like I can write anything meaningful, so I'm just posting 3 pictures from the shows, plus a view of the bathroom floor at Cottage Home/Tom Solomon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Your Social Life Is About To Become Incredibly Busy

... At least this week. Yep, it's this time of the year again, back-to-the-artworld-frenzy when everybody and his uncle is about to have an opening. And, given how LA is spread out, it's going to be hard for everybody to navigate the gazillion social events held between Chinatown, Culver City, WeHo and other locations. This year FBC! isn't even trying, because I have a dinner invitation exactly at the same time everybody is gallery-hopping, so you won't spot my Frenchy self anywhere.
[In passing, thanks for all who asked about my post-car-accidents-health. In short, finished physical therapy 5 weeks ago, neck still stiff and shoulder still hurting, but I'm functional if not at 100%, and I could do without the exponential increase in migraines that followed the whiplash thing.]

Anyway, here's a short list of a few worthy openings. Not that the others are not worthy, but I have trouble to keep up with the hundreds of press releases and invites littering my mailbox.

1. OK, so tonight Wednesday, François Ghebaly, my fellow Frenchy (we dont know each other personally) open his new space on Bernard Street with Neil Beloufa and Philip Loersch. He's also launching in his old space the LA Kunsthalle on Saturday with a solo show by Joel Kyack but the website isn't up and running yet. Anyway, if you show up in Chinatown around the time when everybody opens on Saturday, you should be able to see it. Also tonight an opening at Parker Jones who needs a better website too.

2. And on Thursday, something I almost forgot to mention, but you should have a look, there's June Wayne at Khastoo Gallery, from 6 to 8 PM.

3. On Friday at The Box, don't miss Rachel Khedoori. Still on Friday a new artist-run space, Jaus, opens On The Shoulders of Davids. It's on the Westside, a welcome addition to what is mostly a calcified blue chip-dom neighborhood artwise, if we except SMMOA. Speaking of which, Jaus is on your way to go to the opening of the Allen Ruppersberg big solo show at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, so it's super convenient! You can also go to Hollywood and see Ami Tallman at Circus Gallery.

4. On Saturday around noon don't miss the Bruce Nauman skywriting piece to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. You can swing by the Daniel Buren installation installed at One Colorado while in Pasadena, and go see the anniversary exhibition since it's been opened for more than a week now. Details of all the festivities here.

Still on Saturday, FBC! pal Analia Saban is having an opening at Tom Solomon/Cottage Home. Everybody is opening in Chinatown, so don't miss while you're there Libby Black at Charlie James and The Curse of Ceramics at China Art Objects.

Of course you will have to decide what is the most propitious moment on that same day to run to Culver City and see Elad Lassry at Kordansky, or an obviously Art & Language-influenced Dave McKenzie at Susanne Vielmetter.
Still in Culver City, don't miss the show curated by FBC! favorite curator Aram Moshayedi at LAXart, no less than the awesome William Leavitt! Aram is also curating a group show at Cirrus next week so it will be a Moshayedi-intensive week for you art foks. Cirrus hasn't updated its website or put a decent link, so to make your life easier the opening will be on Thursday, September 17th from 6.30 to 8.30 and you may be able to spot the Frenchy if you go on the very early side to admire The Awful Parenthesis.
Meanwhile still in Culver City this Saturday the 12th there's Titus Kaphar at Roberts & Tilton while Michael Dee has an opening at the Western Project.

Closer to my Mid-City 'hood, at Steve Turner there's Joshua Callaghan as well as Zoë Sheehan Saldana (soory, can't manage to put the ~ where it belongs!) while John Knight opens at Richard Telles. A bit further West, Doug Aitken opens also at Regen Projects. While I have no idea about what's happening at Margo Leavin because SHE HAS NO FREAKIN DECENT WEBSITE and I've fell off her mailing list after a few changes of jobs. If someone talks to her, please convince her to get a real website, not that stupid artnet-hosted one, and please no flash, no animation, no cute music and provide linkable url. That would make many a blogger day.
On the West West side of the Westside, there is an opening at Mark Moore of a group show where Mario Ybarra is featured, which is the main reason why I mention it.

5. OK, that's pretty much it, with the addition of two fundraisers I want to mention. One is the benefit auction for Les Figues Press which unfortunately happens to be at LACE on Saturday, when most everybody will be cavorting through town, schmoozing at openings and so forth, so I fear it may be forgotten in all the brown noise around. If you have a minute, please go and donate and help support contemporary, independent and experimental literature in Los Angeles.

The second fundraiser is also very important, and if I were not so broke I'd love to attend it, it's for the William H. Johnson Foundation Gala. It's in 2 weeks at Gemini G.E.L. I know most of my readers could barely afford the $100 ticket (as an individual patron), but if you can, please go support the Foundation. They're doing an incredible job of supporting and recognizing African-American artists and have an outstanding record in awarding their annual prize to really good ones. The gala is on September 26 and you can buy your ticket until the 19th here.

(pics: Analia Saban from her upcoming show at Tom Solomon, and a banner from the William H. Johnson Foundation)