Thursday, January 28, 2010

Your Social Life - A British Invasion In LA!

Sorry beloved readers for being so late with the latest installment of YSL. Been a bit busy writing and falling in love all over again with Walter Benjamin (I mean, as far as imaginary boyfriends go, this one if very classy - if improbable).

That's why you're not seeing me tonight at Art Los Angeles Contemporary, the art fair that replaces the other art fair, you know, the short-lived one that is somehow postponed to next year, except the new one is at the Pacific Design Center (because, let's face it, there's NOTHING else going on at the PDC but art galleries filling it from time to time) but with the same galleries as the last art fair. The ones that haven't closed yet. In any case, most galleries at this year's fair are the usual suspects with brick & mortar locations in LA, so, what's the point of having a fair going on, let me ask you?
I think the most useful thing this fair can accomplish is demonstrate how practical it were if all galleries in LA were conveniently located in the same neighborhood. Just saying. Meanwhile, FBC! wishes all exhibitors to sell out their booths, because God knows the times they are a-difficulting, if not a-changing too much.
I'd recommend you click on the list of events and programs associated with the fair, which are certainly the most interesting part for us impoverished non-collectors, especially the Hollis Frampton event, the two programs about the legendary Ferus Gallery (young ignorant artists fresh out of art school, this one is for you). You can tell we're going through lean times because alternative spaces are included in a self-guided tour, and there's a panel discussion about women in the art market, things that would almost remind me of the 1990s (a time when art was daring, young people, since no one was selling).
I'm sorry for myself I have prior social commitments + writing to do, otherwise I'd spend some time there.

Obviously because it's officially art month in Los Angeles (there was Photo LA earlier this month and also the other art fair, the really, really lame one) there are other things going on this week, but FBC! particularly recommends the premiere of Jeremy Deller's movie at the Silent Movie Theater. Deller is the living proof that someone can actually be a YBA and a good artist, plus he went to the Courtauld and one has to support fellow trained art historians. So go and flock The Posters Came From The Walls, with Deller himself in attendance.

And if you're in possession of an invite you can go see my other favorite British artist, Rachel Whiteread who has an opening at the Hammer. The Hammer is spoiling us with what promises to be yet another excellent show on the heels of the magnificent Charles Burschfield retrospective that closed earlier this month. Whiteread is better known for her sculptures but here she will be showing her drawings. I'm hoping for quite a treat, a little bit like the Vija Celmins exhibition a couple of years ago.

Now if some museum could bring us a kick-ass Mona Hatoum show, I'd be extatic. Have a great weekend you all!

1st image, taken from the Hammer Website:
Rachel Whiteread, Black and White Floor, 2001
White ink on black paper. 21 6/10 x 33 in. (55 x 84 cm). Private Collection. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.

2nd image: taken from the website for The Posters Came From the Walls

Friday, January 22, 2010

Please Excuse This Unvoluntary Interruption In Our Service

Los Angeles has been subjected to heavy rains since the end of last week. Consequently (or maybe unconsequently, it's hard to tell) the FBC! household has suffered several interruptions of power and of its internet connection, between a few hours and a full day and a half in some cases.
As a result I've been unable to update the blog and resume the weekly installments of Your Social Life. Hopefully next week should see us get back to normal.
Meanwhile, there's a bunch going on this Saturday, but I'm not linking as it takes too long (and my connection may break up again soon).

Quickly, this weekend: opening at David Kordansly, USC's MFA open studios, the show at 18th Street in Santa Monica (curated by Bob Sains & Andrea Bowers, if I recall correctly), the inaugural show at Susanne Vielmetter new space in Culver City, Matt Mullican at Kunsthalle LA in Chinatown and if you are in Springfield, Oregon don't miss Winter Freeze at Ditch Projects.

You can complete that round-up by visiting shows that have already opened a while ago, such as the current exhibition at Steve Turner Gallery, the painting show at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, the one at the Torrance Art Museum, and Air Pressure at the Glendale College Gallery.
And, if you are in NYC, don't miss Ivan Morley at Kimmerich (Morley is a close FBC! friend and my favorite living painter) and the group show at Wallspace.

Lastly, if you are driving in Los Angeles these days, don't forget to: switch on your headlights, make sure your windshield wipers are not worn out, drive slower than usual, keep a bigger safety distance between cars, and switch off that stupid cell phone of yours.
This was a PSA by FBC!, happily applying her lack of monetary resources to lobby for public safety for all on the road. Thanky, you people.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help Earthquake Victims In Haiti

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti

Aside from Doctors Without Borders, there are a few others organizations you can donate too in order to help the population. This link to the LA Times lists various organizations where you can donate.
Please remember that even if you're broke, a donation as small as $5 can mean a supply of drinking water to somebody.

Thanks for helping any way you can.

Friday, January 8, 2010

LaLaLand Museum To Ditch Usual, Standard Non-Profit Heads For Famed Commercial Gallery Director?

Rumors have been madly flying around in LA and in the virtual world as to whom would be tapped to be the next director of MOCA. While the museum is currently touting is wonderful collection, word on the street is that among the three names being mentioned in the LAT article quoted on the link above (Lisa Phillips, Lars Nittve, Jeffrey Deitch), the strongest contender is Jeffrey Deitch.
FBC! would have liked Lars Nittve very much, the man has impeccable international credentials as a museum director, though probably not the type of pull that brings in the wealthy donors and collectors MOCA desperately needs to survive.

We'll know for sure on Monday when the museum introduces its new director, but if it's Deitch we can foresee some unprecedented issues revolving around conflict of interests arising. Can a powerful gallery director steer a non-profit museum toward a new direction without abandoning its committment to aesthetics, scholarship, conservation and education? Because, you know, museums are not ONLY about spectacular exhibitions that bring foot traffic: for this, here in SoCal we have Disneyland.

One thing seems pretty certain about MOCA's next director: (s)he won't be called Michael. Whether (s)he wears cowboy boots is not determined yet. No word also about whether a naked Lady Gaga will spring out of a cream cake to announce the winner's name, or if a remake of the 10 commandments by Francesco Vezzoli will follow the press conference, starring Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst as Moses and God, respectively.

[yes, I am well aware the picture above shows a store sign in Chinatown. Sorry, I hadn't any picture of MOCA or Deitch handy]

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pablo Leon De La Barra In Los Angeles!!!

This week FBC! has been graced with the visit of Pablo Leon de la Barra, who's better known for the Centre for Aesthetic Revolution blog, the magazine he publishes, Pablo Internacional and the exhibitions he organizes with his other entity "White Cubicle Toilet Gallery" in London. In short, Pablo is loads of fun, and one of the nicest people in the art world.

We met with his partner David at LACMA, where they had been checking out the permanent collection, and we had coffee from the horrid coffee cart, after being ignominously chased from Pentimento (the fancy restaurant on the plazza) on the grounds that "the coffee at the cart was the same", which I can certify is absolutely untrue. It's way worse at the cart, even though the coffee at Pentimento itself cannot hope to ever be represented in the Most Fabulous Espresso Ever Worldwide Contest.
FBC! is happy to go on record with the assertion that the coffee cart at LACMA offers the worst espresso this side of Starbucks, and God knows how many bad espressos FBC! has had in Los Angeles in particular and in the United States in general*.

But it was OK because we joined the über-cool Stuart C. shortly after at Street, the newish restaurant on Highland and Melrose, where the food was pretty good (the décor, on another hand... but the service was lovely).
Yours truly had a white tea with rose something in it (it was just OK, not infused enough) and got some Turkish Donuts with rosehip jelly and cream that were awesome. I'm not sure they do donuts in Turkey, but these were really good. Light and not greasy.
Judging from my companions' reaction to their food, the various dumplings they had for starters were truly great, and their entrees very good. Can't say much more, I wasn't hungry so I didn't ask for a taste.
We all had a super secret conversation, of the kind that always remind me that whatever the art world other failings may be, it's still full of super interesting and great people. Sorry, can't share our confidential meeting minutes with you, but I can disclose that the part revolving around food came to the conclusion that:

- Church & State downtown is meh, and certainly as French as FBC! is a tall, leggy Swedish blonde.
- That Musso & Frank and The Pacific Dining Car are much beloved LA institutions, may they never close, and may they always retain their ancient staff. There waiters, bartenders, etc. are not allowed to retire or die, ever.
- Bottega Louie is a very solid place downtown
- Mo-ChiCa should be on everybody's "to try" list.
- British food can be extremely good if well-prepared (we were speaking traditional Brit. fare, not gastropubs)
-Pablo and David and Stuart should all come back very soon, as there are too many places to try. For example, Pablo and David need to do a thorough exploration of the San Gabriel Valley Chinese restaurants culture, followed with some research at Jitlada and Ruen Pair, etc.

It was tons of fun, and if you check Pablo's blog you can have a good idea of what he's been doing during his short stay in Los Angeles. Similarly, if you visit London soon, I can only recommend you check David's restaurant, Bistrotheque.
We shopped together for a few ingredients after lunch and judging from the way David shops, tastes food and talks about it, I'm certain the food and wine there must be really delicious. I learned more about New World wines in 5 minutes with David than I could have ever hoped from browsing books and going to tastings, etc. Thanks, David!

The only sad thing was that the Burchfield exhibition and the New Topographics show were over by the time Pablo, David and Stuart were in town. Los Angeles, it would have been smart to prolong these for our London visitors.

* FBC! has renounced to find great espresso in LA and usually makes her own stovetop coffee at home. But if I have to get coffee somewhere, it is usually very good at Bottega Marino on Larchmont, a distant second would be Intelligentsia, and the 3rd is the espresso at Surfas.

Happy New Year, FBC! Readers

Dear Adored, Beloved Readership,

FBC! is back briefly to wish you a Happy New Year, hopefully a much better one than last for everybody, and while I'm at it, let me wish everybody a fabulous new decade as well. With a saved planet, hopefully with less people on it (I'm working very actively at not procreating, and if LA drivers keep on ramming into me I should also personally contribute in lowering the overall mortality age), less poverty, more education, more arts, etc. etc. "imagine all the people, la la laaaaa la la".

It doesn't start too well here in sunny SoCal, what with LAUSD planning to eliminate elementary arts education, and Michael Brand stepping down at the Getty. I'm not going to conjecture why and how Michael Brand is leaving, because the Getty recent endowment troubles and subsequent knee-jerk reaction in implementing drastic cuts have been well-documented elsewhere.
No, I just wanted to remind you that Michael Brand was the other museum director in LA named Michael who wears cowboy boots.
He and Govan are about the same height, and I guess the similarity ends here, though both arrived in LA roughly at the same time, to take the helm of museums (seemingly) in crisis. Whatever the reasons of his departure, FBC! wishes Michael Brand the very best for the future, and wants to remind everybody that one of the best shows in LA last year was the French Bronzes one at the Getty.

As for the LAUSD cuts, they are really regrettable, but what can you expect from an administration that cannot even train its students to spell and write correctly at the end of 12 years of formal education, as any instructor in local community colleges and in the Cal State system can witness?
FBC! also wishes the best of luck to governor Schwarzenegger in trying to shift the budget in California from privileging prisons to favoring higher education instead. If he succeeds, our hope is that funding will go into loads of remedial classes to teach students how to write, count, and maybe eventually learn to do research without using the internet. We also hope that this change will allow the Higher Ed. various faculties to destroy the illusions of all these poor American children who have been told that their self-esteem was much, much more important than doing a great job at any given assignment (we wish them the best of luck in their professional life as well).

With this, best wishes to you, beloved readers, and a few more posts later.