Monday, July 26, 2010

A Night of Growth and Discovery

Emi Fontana describes tonight's benefit for West of Rome Public Art as "an unforgettable night for art in Los Angeles... 20 artists involved in different capacities. It will be like a total artwork, a performance festival in a benefit disguise. It will be difficult for our guests to maintain a sense of reality; a lot of transformative sensorial experiences will take place." You should go to West of Rome for details but there is (among other TSE's) a scheduled performance by Ya Ho Wha 13, house band of the 70s LA cult The Source.

Here's an excerpt from my LA WEEKLY column about the Mike Kelley/Michael Smith installation A Voyage of Growth and Discovery that serves as the set for tonight's happening:

"Occupying a cavernous warehouse space in Eagle Rock — normally Kelley's art studio — Voyage is an immersive multimedia installation that includes six carefully synchronized video screens; a densely layered sound track of field recordings, appropriated sound, and a dizzy techno score composed and recorded by Kelley with frequent collaborator Scott Benzel; and eight or nine (depending on whether you count the row of locked Porta Potties) sculptural stations.

The sculptures are the most Kelleyesque element — most of them resemble (and may, in fact, be) the kind of skeletal geometrical playground structures assembled from modular industrial materials that proliferated across the American landscape in the 1970s, a trickle-down aesthetic from the utopian hippie architectonics of Buckminster Fuller, et al. These minimalist spatial determinants articulate the expansive void of Kelley's darkened workspace with elegance and economy, simultaneously referencing the artist's own work (DIY orgone accumulators, models of schools based on recovered memories, etc.) and the often-architectural artworks of Burning Man itself.

Further Kelleyisms are incorporated in the form of discarded clothing items, kitschy dolphin-themed quilts, a "You want it when?!" sleeping bag, and the artist's signature appropriated medium-used stuffed toy animals. Lining the base of a geodesic dome, strung kundalini-style up the spine of a rocketship, or covering a tatty easy-chair in a sinister, Kienholzian mini-installation in the back of a burned-out van, these markers of comfort and domestic stability are the first sign of a recurring theme: the inadequacy of culture to address baby's real needs..."

Read the rest of Baby Ain't Got Back (Yet) here

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