Thursday, June 6, 2019

Chernobyl for Reals


We've been watching the Chernobyl miniseries and the meticulous art direction reminded me of the work of one of my undergrad professors, David McMillan, who has been photographing Chernobyl since the early 90s, and, as it turns out, has a big-ass book just out from Steidl-- http://www.dsmcmillan.com/chernobyl/photographs/
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9783958293977

Image: FLAGS IN STAIRWELL, PRIPYAT October, 1998

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

My He-Man Action Star Phase


When Cathy Ward posted this vintage image of your humble blogger from that summer in Banff 30 years ago, I actually thought it was Sly Stallone as Cobra. At least one of us has gone on to sell a few paintings!


Like Rocky, most of Stallone’s paintings contain a restless, pent-up energy. 
(Photo: Fredrik Nilsen, courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska) via The Telegraph 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

PLEASE HELP! at Wealth Management


"Please Help!" 2019, Peformance, costume, LA-Z-Boy chair, live electronic processing of 30- minute stretched version of Solomon Linda's 1939 recording "Mbube"

as experienced at

Wealth Management hosted by Jeffrey Vallance
May 16, 2019
Chatsworth, California

The second annual Financial Instrument™ group exhibition/art performance/noise music pop-up at Go Build Business in the bucolic Old West town of Chatsworth near the historic Santa Susana Pass nestled in California’s San Fernando Valley.

View, exhibit, and BUY experimental art of all genres and persuasions. Each participating artist will have their own corporate boardroom table for dynamic display of their visual art. A professional sound system will be available for experimental, liturgical, Cajun, and noise music. Live multimedia creations of investment-grade art will be continually projected on a large-scale theatrical screen. Well-heeled art consultants will head up embedded workshops on art acquisition, liquidation, and flipping.

Pathetic Art theory and practice, the abject, the sublime, the equine, the renegade, and the post-liminal will be foregrounded in presentations and discussions. Broaden your artistic girth and social network marketing skills and access creativity management tools! Our corporate staging platform will feature extreme performance artists and obscure polytheistic rituals. Experience Financial Instrument’s corporate slogan equation: ART + PEOPLE = MONEY. Again, join us for an evening of intervention and infiltration into the Corporate Global Art Economy.

Photo Credit: Kristine Schomaker

Sunday, May 12, 2019

G.D. Hustlers!

While going through my back issues of HUSTLER for [caf caf] collage material I came across these mysterious renderings...




While connoisseurs may detect stylistic similarities to the work of Georganne Deen, the credit identifies the artist as Godfrey Daniels. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Dismal Decade



Cover, Jeffrey Vallance’s reprinted edition of Blinky the Friendly Hen.


Eighties nostalgia is a sad and sick thing. In Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater’s early-’90s exercise in ’70s nostalgia, the character Cynthia (played by Beck’s future wife!) explains her Every Other Decade theory thusly: “The ’50s were boring. The ’60s rocked. The ’70s, my God, they obviously suck. So maybe the ’80s will be like, radical. I figure we’ll be in our 20s and hey, it can’t get any worse.” This was a joke directed at those who actually lived through the ’80s, which sucked in ways Cynthia could have never dreamed of.


But there was another ’80s—an ’80s that sought to continue the legacy of the beat/hippie/punk countercultural continuum of idiosyncratic DIY creativity, and—although its structure was appropriately rhizomatic and globally dispersed—much of whose most compelling content emerged from California...


 Continue reading at Artillery https://artillerymag.com/under-the-radar-20/ or ATJ

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Peers-Harvey Biscuit Display


We won't be able to make the opening, but if anyone's jonesing to see a couple of M.A. Peers' classic giant dogs on found upholstery paintings (Princess of Silverlake Adjacent above & Collie below) and/or my previously unexhibited Dark Fudd Rising bottom, Molly Barnes has put them in the faculty show at West LA College Gallery opening tonight (Thursday April 11). Michael Arata apparently has an amazing piece - not sure if Gary Willoughby, Scott Davis, David DiMichele are in or not?

https://www.facebook.com/pg/West-Los-Angeles-College-Art-Gallery-327965253905600/about/ -- the gallery's usually open circa 10 AM - 3 PM weekdays (?)





Monday, March 11, 2019

Stay glued to your TV sets!

Doug Harvey's zine Less Art, last incarnated as a KCHUNG radio show, will soon manifest in video form!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

WImP Out!


Here's my latest Artillery column which coincidentally starts with a shoutout to Tony Conrad, who would've turned 79 today. HBD Schmaltzy!

In Branden W. Joseph’s book, Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts After Cage, Joseph precipitates his excursion into the minutiae of the early ’60s New York City avant-garde on Mike Kelley’s concept-like-thing of Minor Histories—a sort of counter-canonical reportage bringing to light overlooked moments in cultural history when long-lost underground communities crackled with oppositional synergy—often to the direct benefit of a handful of derivative but ambitious followers.



 While Kelley’s Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS) buddies have been given some serious attention along these lines, another LA art/experimental music collective was almost completely lost from the historical record until last year. World Imitation Productions (AKA WImP) are best known as the breeding ground of the cognoscenti’s favorite LA post-punk band Monitor—themselves almost forgotten until the 2013 re-release on the Superior Viaduct label of their sole self-titled 1981 LP. But the WImP collective initially flourished in an even more obscure subculture—that of quirky anonymous fliers, chapbooks, zines and mail-art communications.


Coalescing in the San Fernando Valley—Ground Zero of the festering suburban carnivalesque—WImP scavenged amongst the thrift stores, theme parks, UFO cult headquarters and record and bookstore bargain bins, collecting and recombining the semiotic DNA of sitcom reality into rich and strange mashups—not only in their Xeroxed collage publications, cobbled together from vintage magazine ads, obsolete civics schoolbooks, fallout shelter instruction pamphlets, religious tracts and so on but in Situationist anthropological expeditions to Disneyland, curatorial projects including exhibits of lost pet posters, thrift-shop art and the infamous “Fix-It-Up” show at LACE... continue
reading Under the Radar: Minor History Needs More Mining at Artillery or ATJ


Interior images from Afraid of Modern Living: World Imitation & Monitor, 1977–1982, by Antonio Beecroft https://soundsonpaper.com/

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Miracles Still Happen Every Day!





"A bona fide miracle occurred at the opening (on February 2, 2019) of the Blinky Exhibition at CSUN Gallery. An artwork by Erika Ostrander of the "Shroud of Blinky" was found weeping at the Blinky Show. The Shroud was profusely weeping directly onto a painting by Doug Harvey. The liquid later congealed, looking very much like dried blood stains. Some believe that it was the exhaled breath of gallery goers that condensed on the cloth shroud, the liquid building up until it started to drip. Others, like myself, felt that it was no coincidence that of all objects in the show it was the Blinky Shroud that was weeping."

- Jeffrey Vallance

Friday, February 1, 2019

Still Dead After All These Years...


See my brand new painting Nigel Poupee-Bothaugm, Whippet Detective, Persists Doggedly in his Investigation of the Mysterious Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Blinky the Friendly Hen, Yea Even Unto Beyond the Rainbow Bridge (2019), acrylic and enamel on canvas, as part of Free Range in memoriam of the 40th anniversary of Blinky the Friendly Hen's demise, alongside the most comprehensive exhibition on Jeffrey Vallance's signature artwork yet!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Three Trees - Phyllis Green


Tree #2

I don’t remember where I first ran across Phyllis Green’s artwork in Los Angeles -- but I remember the first time I included it in a show I was curating. It was at Chinatown’s INMO Gallery in 2001, and the show had the punning title Between Representation -- the main point being the fact that none of the artists, for various reasons, were currently part of a commercial gallery stable. Galleries come and go, and Phyllis was one of several firmly established art world figures I was able to include.

I was familiar with some of her then-recent work like the Turkish Bath series (1993 - 1996), which flirted shamelessly with ostentatious decoration and a hybridized sculptural materialism that introduced hi-tech polymers and flocking into a vocabulary ostensibly rooted in clay vessels.



I wasn’t quite prepared for the remarkable, ambitious piece that she installed -- a multi-component sculpture that conflated retail display and tonsorial vernacular in a seamless mashup interweaving art historical interrogation (Duchamp studies in particular), feminism, and her own sumptuous Postmodern formalism.

L12 (Duchamp Party) (2001) was basically a scaled-up steel replica of Duchamp’s 1914 Bottle Rack readymade -- the first true, unmodified readymade, consisting of a store-bought skeletal cast iron structure designed for drying recycled wine bottles after washing -- with flat clear acrylic discs mounted as platforms on the upright spokes of the drier.


On each of these was set one of Green’s then-current Spinning Head 360-degree hairdo sculptures -- featureless, inversely panoramic coiffures sometimes based on notable tonsorial models like aviatrix Amelia Earhart or the cartoon character Little Lulu, but in this case a “generic mid-length ‘do” cast in clay with graphically abstracted brown and black glazes (mimicking the colors and faux-wood assemblage of Duchamp’s 1912 painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 and related works) in an edition of 12.


The default interpretation of Duchamp’s Bottle Rack -- in light of the complex mechanically thwarted eroticism of his subsequent major works -- has been to see it as a sort of phallus tree, perpetually awaiting the arrival of its moist vaginal wine-bottle counterparts (I am not making this up!).


Though it didn’t occur to me at the time, I realized that Green’s configuration -- with the plastic discs forming a barrier between the rack prongs and the inverted wig vessels -- clearly echoes the prophylactic narrative of Duchamp’s masterpiece The Large Glass (1923) with its bride and bachelors locked in a perpetually frustrated choreography of amorous pursuit and ill communication...

Continue reading at Border Crossings (retitled The Contrarian’s Engagement: Current Figurations in the Art of Phyllis Green!) or at Phyllis' UL

Images from http://www.phyllisgreen.net/ - top & bottom L12 (Duchamp Party) (2001); Odalisque (1994); Blue Amelia (2003)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Library Music: a vast and complicated semiotic network contained in a “but.”


It’s been getting harder to tell the difference between weird and normal lately. Case in point: the current flurry of activity documenting the burgeoning interest in an obscure sub-genre of lounge music, known as “Library” or “Production” music. In many ways, the music is about as “normal” as it gets—deliberately derivative, consummately professional, frequently anonymous, and generated in a pragmatic corporate context that in no way overlapped with the contemporaneous cult of artistic authenticity that plagued the recording industry from the ’60s to the ’80s.




In those days, serious popular musicians were expected to have an auteur-like sensibility that eschewed—or at least deprioritized—commercial formulas for idiosyncratic self-expression, often taking months to burnish their masterpieces to a suitable level of artistic perfection. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album is probably the prime exemplar of this aesthetic ideological position. 




Library Music is the opposite. An explicitly commercial enterprise initiated by music publishing businesses, Library Music was generated by myriad (mostly European) companies who hired composers and musicians on a piecework basis to create prefab soundtrack music to be pressed onto very limited-edition sampler LPs (like 200 copies) which would be sent to film, television, radio and advertising companies who wanted bargain basement scores for their low-budget productions.

Continue reading UNDER THE RADAR: Library Music: More Weird, More Normal at Artillery or ATJ

Select album covers from Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music by David Hollander (Anthology Editions) and The Library Music Film by Shawn Lee with Paul Elliott & Sean Lamberth (HutTwenty9 Films).