Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Give the Pouple What They Want

Recent polling efforts suggest that people prefer cute puppy pictures to bitter addled art criticism, so in the interests of capitulating to the lowest common denominator, I herewith proffer these two photographs: Above: first shot of Portfolio, flanked by Diesel and Phoebe Couture. Below, Portfolio attempts the Whippet Power salute in mid-gallop. Behind him, L-R are Chloe, harbinger of Death (note the scythe-like ear, and the "go into the light" effect), Diesel and Phoebe Couture. These photos were taken at Dr. Suzy's Whippet Emporium on Nov 4th.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Most Whatever of Whenever

"I have to start this listmaking thing by putting aside a few categories. First, the favorite things I’ve already written about this year for L.A. Weekly – The Center for Land Use Interpretation’s “A Trip to the Dump” bus tour; Martin Kersels’ “Heavyweight Champion” at Santa Monica Museum; Amanda Ross-Ho’s “Half of What I Say Is Meaningless” at Cherry and Martin; China Adams’ “Flights of Fancy” at Steve Turner; Peter Saul’s OCMA retrospective; Kippenberger’s “Problem Perspective” and “Allen Kaprow” at MOCA; “California Video” at the Getty, and so on (at this point I don’t want to look at art, let alone write about it, unless it rocks my world).

There’s also the favorite things I can’t write about – M.A. Peers at Rosamund Felsen Gallery because I’m hitched to the artist; the Third Annual LA Weekly Biennial “Some Paintings” at Track 16 and “Aspects of Mel’s Hole: Artists Respond to a Paranormal Land Event Occurring in Radiospace” at Grand Central Art Center because I curated them; Scotty Vera’s “Eat This” at Track 16 because I hooked it up; “Untidy: The Worlds of Doug Harvey” at Los Angeles Valley College because I was the subject – just being honest here; one as aesthetically evolved as myself must operate from a place beyond both false modesty and false pride alike, and anyone who says they aren’t more interested in their own work than that of others is either feeble-minded or unfit for their job.

What’s left is a mishmash of shows I’d like to have written about, books and other pop media artifacts, and other remarkable stuff that fell through the cracks.

Jeffrey Vallance’s awe-inspiring Track 16 installation honoring the 30th anniversary of the interment of grocery store–bought Blinky the Friendly Hen at the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery. The “life-size” Blinky Chapel contained dozens of artifacts from a replica fryer lying in state to elaborate reliquaries featuring bone fragments from the 1988 exhumation and forensic analysis of Blinky’s remains. Even a bad joke becomes transcendent if you keep telling it long enough, and Blinky was no bad joke. Snag the limited-edition catalog reprint, bumper sticker and Frisbee — a sound investment in these spiritually shaky times."

Read the rest of Mixed Media 2008 (except for that second paragraph) here, or ATJ

Pictured: David McDonald's UN 2008; Scottie Vera's Autobody Experience 2007; Jeffrey Vallance's Blinky Trifecta 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shawsaulbrown Sausage

"Curating isn’t always as easy as it looks. It’s rare to find a group of concurrent solo projects that genuinely complement one another — just because two artists happen to use images of trees or refer to cartography or have Photoshop doesn’t necessarily mean their work will have anything more than a superficial verbal resemblance. Museums regularly stumble over this sort of literalism in spite of their long-term scheduling and art-historical resources, and commercial gallerists — with their relatively fast turnover and propensity for attention-grabbing sound bites — are particularly prone.

Which is why, when a triple whammy like the current lineup at Patrick Painter crops up, it’s worth looking a little deeper. On the surface, Jim Shaw, Peter Saul and Glenn Brown seem like an almost arbitrary selection from the gallery’s stable — artists from three distinct generations, two of whom work at opposite ends of the U.S., while the third hails from another continent altogether. L.A.-based Shaw works promiscuously across the media spectrum, from highly rendered figuration to abstract video, while recently ensconced Manhattanite Saul is strictly a painter’s painter. Londoner Brown is also an old-school painter as far as materials go, but his near-obsessive appropriationism (which landed him in legal hot water with one of the science-fiction illustrators from whom he cribbed) lies at the opposite pole from Saul’s seething pop expressionism.

Maybe appropriation is the key? “That’s not really a factor with Peter,” says Shaw, whose own works are frequently chock-a-block with obscure pop-culture references, “and I’m not exactly an appropriator in the way that Jeff Koons or Glenn are. I do occasionally utilize something that somebody else did. But not in a direct way where the appropriation is important to it. For example, I’m thinking of taking pictures of children similar to the ones in these Christian calendars — often I’ll set up a photograph that looks similar to the preexisting things that inspire me, which is a somewhat different action from Glenn.”

Read the rest of Agree to Dis here.

Images: Untitled Scribble (Magician); Wooden Heart; Real Estate Agent Going Crazy - all works 2008

See the shows at Patrick Painter through Jan 10.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Sudden Flurry of Whippets

Apart from disassembling my show and keeping up with writing chores and waterproofing my outdoor stashes of raw Flash Fudd materials, things have been extra hectic due to the recent addition of two 12-week-old whippet puppies to our household. The whole litter turned out to be fluish and unable to keep food down, so we had to spend Monday night at Dr Suzy's nursing them back to health. Pictured are Portfolio's star turn at the All-whippet Mini-Westminster; Chloe with a biscuit (or piece of a tree or something); Nigel and Portfolio in a tableau of now-unlikely intimacy; Chloe - and then Portfolio and Chloe - this afternoon checking out the Mayberry schoolyard. Chloe's a chick with one disqualifying blue eye, Portfolio's a dude who likes to wear Chloe's pink sweater, and we support him in his lifestyle decision.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A New Spin on an Old Chestnut

I had to buy a memory card reader to finally get my video of Nic Waterman's l'il gig at the Echo Curio off my Canon Powershot, onto the computer, and finally up on youtube. But given the seasonal nature of this song -- his creepy detournee of 'My Favorite Things' performed in October at Echo Curio (partly in response to seeing 'St. Sebastian Doubting Thomas Singing Nun' - my own creepy detournee of 'My Favorite Things' included in my retrospective at LAVC- video TK), it had to be done.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Outsider Holiday Music Again

I had a request elsewhere to re-upload these compilations of unusual seasonal recodings (songpoems, celebrities, novelty, developmentally different, amateur, etc) so I thought I'd offer them here as well.

"You may order your pastels from Alaska,
Imported, as the Igloo, in review"
- Evelyn Christmas (songpoem, Vol 2 track 4)

Download Outsider XMAS Vol 1
Download Outsider XMAS Vol 2

Tracklists in Comments

As my invitation to the LA WEEKLY 30th anniversary festivities on Saturday night seems to have been lost in the mail, I wound up attending the much more exclusive Dr. Suzy All-Whippet Mini-Westminster in Agoura Hills (pictures to follow) with MA & Nige. Stopping by Echo Park on the way home, we ran across the above (from across the lake) and below (creeping up on them) depicted cluster of ragged Cacophonic Santas, the dregs of what I understand to have been a jolly debauch. Ah, 90's nostalgia. One angry, pink mohawked S'antirchrist took offense to me taking their picture, demanding "Who are you with?!" "It's OK," I said. "I'm with Nigel."