Saturday, February 27, 2010

Because Everybody Needs A Bit Of Einstürzende Neubauten

On a melancholic, rainy Los Angeles evening.
One of my favorite Einstürzende Neubauten song, perfect to listen to while reading Walter Benjamin.
You can buy EN records and songs here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Your Social Life, Looking Up At Too Many Billboards

But be careful when you drive, OK?
This weekend is the opening of Too Many Billboards at the MAK/Schindler House, but really the exhibition is all over Los Angeles.

But before we get into that, tonight is also the kickoff of a 2-day event, 40 Years of Video Art: A Critical Reappraisal of an Art Form, at Cottage Home in Chinatown, a collaboration between Tom Solomon and the Goethe Institute. It's at 7.30 PM tonight, there are screenings and discussions, and you can download the complete program on the website of the Goethe Institute (link above).

Back to the billboards. The opening is tomorrow, with artists talks, a bus tour, etc. All the information you want is here. Most crucially, there is the map of the various billboards so you can do a self-driven tour. Just be very careful and don't hit any other driver or pedestrian.
But if you want to avoid driving (and who wouldn't want, in Los Angeles?), take the bus tour! The list of artists is mouth-watering, from Kenneth Anger to lauren woods, and includes FBC! gal pal Susan Silton (hi Susan!) as well as one of my favorite LA photographers/post-conceptual artists, Ken Gonzalez-Day (I picked up the picture from his website.)

Speaking of post-conceptualism, whatever that means, I've promised a few people I was going to write about my thoughts on the Valentine Day musings of Roberta Smith during the next few days. Stay tuned!

Lastly, I received an email form Suzanne Adelman letting me know about a group show she's in (and, no, I don't know her) at S1f Gallery. It's opening on Saturday, so if you are not running out of time go check it out, it's located at one of my favorite buildings in LA, the American Cement Building.

Have fun, and drive safely.

image: How Many Billboards, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, 2010.
Courtesy of Ken Gonzales-Day and The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Benjaminism Of The Day

"[...] the bourgeois apparatus of production and publication is capable of assimilating, indeed propagating, an astonishing amount of revolutionary themes without ever seriously putting into question its own continued existence or that of the class which owns it".

Walter Benjamin, The Author as Producer, 1934
(reprinted in Art in Theory, 1900-1990, Charles Harrison an Paul Wood ed. Blackwell, Oxford and Malden, Mass. 1992. Abridged version)

A Few Notable Links

We don't usually spend too much time linking these days, because, frankly, we're busy elsewhere. On Facebook, mainly. (FBC! is also en Twitter, but still doesn't see the point).

But I've just read Barry Schwabsky upcoming article on Dorothea Tanning in The Nation, and I feel like you should all read it. Not only Tanning had a formidably interesting life (she'll turn 100 in April!) but she wrote about it. FBC! was obsessed with Tanning sculptures during the 1990s and has always wondered why why why no one had ever curated a show with them.
I vaguely recall that maybe LACMA is about to organize a retrospective of hers (??? can someone at LACMA confirm or infirm? thanks!) along with a show of another FBC! favorite, Helen Lundeberg.

Another link I'd like to share with you, courtesy of Lauri Firstenberg: Rough Winds, work made by the young LA artist Alex Israel. He's finishing his MFA at USC (I'm sure you can see the influence of Charlie White on the video) and should graduate this Spring. Alex is also one of most passionate person I've ever met when it comes to contemporary art, and an extremely knowledgeable guy as well. How many knowledgeable young artists do you know? I bet it's because he's so well-read that he's also very humble. FBC! ran into him at the Dan Graham/Stephen Kaltenbach/Lee Lozano opening and is super happy that he chose to pursue his career as an artist. Looking forward to seeing more of his work.

Picture: Dorothea Tanning, Nue Couchée, 1969-70, Mixed media, 385 x 1089 x 535 mm, Collection of the Tate Modern, London, © DACS, 2006.

Your Social Life

Quickly, because I know the attention span of the Twitter crowd is brief and scatterbrained.

There are only 2 things you should do this weekend. One of them is attending the closing of All Time Greatest at FOCA, with a special performance by Simon Leung tomorrow. It starts at 7 PM and the performance is at 7.30.

And on Sunday afternoon, please go to Collaborations, Collaborations, Collaborations at REDCAT, organized by FBC! friend Harold Abramowitz: you will attend readings by la crème de la crème of avant-garde writers in Los Angeles. I'm linking to the Facebook event page because I can't find it on REDCAT's website. And, speaking of REDCAT, if you're flush and there are tickets still available (?), you could also see the Wooster Group performing North Atlantic.

That's all. Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hitler Learns Jeffrey Deitch Got The MOCA Job

A bit of fun to help you start the week.

Thanks to Tom Christie who posted the funniest "Hitler learns blah blah blah" video found on Youtube, and special thanks to Youtube user 334point5 for uploading it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

In Other Somewhat Related News

That you can file under "recession", "cuts" and "arts funding". As you may know, the city of Los Angeles is considering cutting funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs, in effect eliminating it altogether in a not-so-distant future. Knowing that the City is very near bankruptcy, that the unemplpyment rate is dangerously close to 15% in the City, that Nothrop Grumman is leaving the region, etc... I don't think whatever activism we, as the collective art world/art community can really do would achieve anything *that* significantly effective, but nonethess it seems vital to reiterate the economic importance of the arts in the local community to begin with, and the international impact of Los Angeles in the visual arts.

There will be a debate/discussion/town hall meeting at the Mandrake tomorrow evening. I'm linking to their Facebook event page, but I'm sure you can just show up after 8 PM and join the conversation. You can also log on this page and participate to the movement to try and keep the DCA afloat. Your presence is actively required at this Wednesday's Council Meeting.

If You Missed Dan Graham

And you can be in Chinatown in 20 minutes...Enjoy!

More Pictures Of The Stars In Action: Graham And Kaltenbach Perform

A Bit of Magic in Hollywood: Dan Graham, Stephen Kaltenbach, Lee Lozano at Overduin & Kite

I wish I had more time to actually write in depth about the magical moments that happened last night in Hollywood for the opening of Dan Graham, Stephen Kaltenbach and Lee Lozano at Overduin & Kite. Instead, I can only leave you with a few pictures and recommend you go visit the excellently curated show. Unfortunately if you weren't there last night, it means you missed that historical moment when Dan Graham performed his 1969 Lax/Relax piece (appropriate for Los Angeles).

The ghost of Lee Lozano was present with pieces such as the No Grass one, but also through Stephen Kaltenbach who proposed a few renditions of her past works, and performed a couple of pieces.

Stephen Kaltenbach at the opening. The whole series of his Artforum ads is presented in the gallery. A longtime underground legend, Kaltenbach's work has enjoyed a revival recently thanks to the efforts of Another Year In LA. He gave us a very eloquent and moving talk about what happened to him after the 1960s and how he got where he is now.

Dan Graham kindly accepted that I took a picture of him. He's one of my art gods, and it was really nice to see so many youngish artists being awed by his presence. I've met him a few times but I'm still star struck each time I see him (which I'm sure he would find absurd)

One of Kaltenbach's Artforum ads. I strongly recommend to young and not so young artists a very informative visit at Overduin & Kite. All you ever wanted to know is there.
Have a beautiful visit.