Saturday, October 30, 2010

Soviet Space Whippet Costume

OK, I normally don't endorse this sort of thing, but given the unlikely confluence of the Soviet Space Dog Program and whippets, I felt I had to jump on the bandwagon. Thanks for the tip, Mrs. HGE!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

TONIGHT! Another Opening! Hooray!

Ramirez Family at WLAC Art Gallery
9000 Overland Avenue, Culver City CA 90230
Opening Tonight Oct 28, 7 - 9 PM

Show continues through Dec 9th
M-TH 10 AM - 4 PM

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oops, forgot about this invitation for tonight's opening...

"The sun is out and the Freak's net a-chillin, git on down to Chinatown in about an hour and forty minutes."
- Jean-François Lyotard

Image: Detail from As-is Is As As-Is Does (completed 2010) Acrylic, enamel, aquarium gravel, collage, and appropriated photograph on canvas dropcloth. (Unauthorized collaboration with Erik Knutzen)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

'Doug Harvey: Unsustainable' opening Friday Oct 22, 6 – 9

Doug Harvey Unsustainable

Jancar Gallery

961 Chung King Rd (in Chinatown)
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Oct 22 – Nov 13
Wednesdays – Saturdays (12 noon–5 PM)

Expanding on the body of Rotted and Pre-rotted works exhibited as part of the Untidy Retrospective (LA Valley College 2008) - which consisted of paintings that had been left to molder and rot outdoors for more than a decade, then sometimes altered, and further decayed – the works in Unsustainable follow the arc of this chance-based collaboration with the forces of entropy further into the realms of the indefensible by incorporating or building on the deliberately and/or accidentally weathered artworks of others.

These Unauthorized Collaborations include Eusanathia 1, a post-apocalyptic icon painting of St Eustace’s visionary encounter; St Vincent on Arrakis, which reimagines the 17th century French patron of leprosy and thrift stores in an alien landscape of aquarium gravel; and the epic As-is Is As As-Is Does, which also utilizes aquarium gravel, and may be misread as an allegory on the role of popular culture in the fall of the Soviet Union.

Other works in the show include The Eye of Horus, a minimalist geometric composition painted on an obsolete found home video projection screen with dirt from the grave of Bobby Fischer; Clear the Grid II, a collaborative painting with 18 other artists which depicts the teenage chess champion in action; and The Dignity of Labor, an interspecies collaborative interrogation of insect architecture.

Unsustainable opens simultaneously with solo shows at Jancar Gallery by Nancy Baker and Cyril Kuhn.

The opening reception is Friday, Oct 22nd from 6 – 9 and features a live solo electrified pepperocini jar performance by Daniel Hawkins and the turntable stylings of DJ Scotty Lazr.

Image: Dream House (completed 2010). Acrylic, latex, enamel, spray foam, collage, aquarium gravel, and appropriated foam-core architectural model. (Unauthorized collaboration with unknown architect)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Todd Schorr and Gustavo Hererra through ... Aw forget it...

Todd Schorr at Ben Maltz Gallery; Gustavo Herrera at Human Resources

If you've been out of town for the summer, or just hibernating, you may have missed a couple of shows that close after this weekend [ie: Sept 11], but shouldn't be missed. At Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery, lowbrow/pop-surrealist/whatever painter Todd Schorr is the subject of a last-decade survey featuring more than 50 paintings, drawings and sculptures from Schorr's pop culture–saturated fever-dream imagination, rendered with a meticulous technique that blends his illustration training with a passion for the Old Masters, and a horror vacuii compositional frenzy that is equal parts Will Elder (early MAD magazine) and Hieronymus Bosch (early ergot poisoning).

Inspired and encouraged by lowbrow sensei Robert Williams, Schorr ditched a lucrative commercial-illustration career in the mid-'80s to become one of the first artists to define the underground movement of populist imagism that became a worldwide grassroots phenomenon in the following decade. Fan favorites like The Anguish of Carl Akeley (2008), The Spectre of Monster Appeal (2000, collection of L. DiCaprio – eeeeeeeek!) and Ape Worship (2007), the showstopper from Laguna Museum's 2007 "Juxtapoz" show (and an in-person must-see if only for its ornate Schorr-designed frame) vie with lesser-known works to give a solid glimpse of the kind of obsessional visionary craftsmanship that guarantees this frequently scorned subculture isn't going to go away.

Across town at the dead end of Chinatown — and at the far end of the meticulousness spectrum from Schorr — Gustavo Herrera has resurfaced with a roomful of his dark, funny, formally virtuosic but slapdash constructions. Herrera — whose similar installation is pretty much the only thing I remember about the first "All-MFA Supersonic" exhibit in that wind tunnel in 2004 — had a couple of crazy-ass shows at Black Dragon, including the one with his former collaborative posse 10lb Ape, where they boarded themselves inside a multimedia assemblage cube and blew pot smoke out at bewildered viewers.

Then Herrera dropped off the radar for a while, only to pop up here, at Human Resources — a new collective-project gallery in the former Parker Jones/David Kordansky space at the end of Bernard Street. "The Birth of Satan" is a multimedia interactive art installation including paintings, sculpture, assemblage, a hilarious video installation, a table of satanic zines and other literature, and a series of performances. There are cardboard and macaroni masks, abstract sculptures named for famous friends of Satan (e.g., Kenneth Anger), a Duchampian reclining-nude installation and a cutout silhouette of the USA collaged with horrific celebrity photos of Paul McCartney, Prince Harry, etc. — all amended with a little Hitler mustache. Everything is deceptively slackerish: Spend any time with the work and you'll be bowled over by Herrera's scathing wit, philosophical and art-historical sophistication, and seemingly offhand aesthetic virtuosity

Brad Eberhard through last week, oops. Sorry Brad.

Brad Eberhard at Tom Solomon Gallery

Brad Eberhard is equally proficient as an abstract painter and collage artist — not to mention rock & roll, as the hulking leader of local post-garage idols Wounded Lion (who just concluded a successful West Coast blitzkrieg and are playing UC Irvine and the Smell next week). In his two previous shows with Tom Solomon (one each of the paintings and collages, and both last year!), Eberhard seemed on the brink of merging the two traditions, melding his meticulous abstract-formalist modulations with the wit and narrative evidenced by the cut-and-paste work.

In new works like Whaler (2010), he seems to have made the leap, carefully recreating the improvisational patchwork geometry of a torn-paper collage in oils, and passing the threshold into deliberate pictorialism — in this case the titular sailing vessel. Other works pull back from easy legibility, with fragments of landscapes and figures flickering among the layers of luminous blobs, inserting a bit of grit in the Kandinskian idealism of his purely abstract concoctions, which at times seem to come too easily to him. Sometimes it's beneficial to allow the outside world to intrude a little.
Image: Whaler 2010, Oil on canvas over panel

See more of Brad's work online here.

Michael C. McMillen through a week next Saturday!

Michael C. McMillen at L.A. Louver

L.A. native Michael C. McMillen's 1981 installation Central Meridian (The Garage) remains one of the most subtle, poetic and experiential critiques of the institutional art environment ever devised. A longtime cornerstone of LACMA's old, shabby Anderson Building (now the Art of the Americas Building), The Garage provided a sudden bubble of mystery-and-nostalgia-laden privacy in the midst of the white-cube panopticon ride of big-museum design and management. Enormously popular with the public, the work has been "not on public view" since "Transformation: The LACMA Campaign" bumped the Modern Art west to the Ahmanson. Supreme bummer.

The good news is that in early 2011 McMillen is going to be the subject of a museum retrospective including a cavalcade of classic installations like The Pavilion of Rain (1989) and The Red Trailer Motel (2003). The bad news that its at Oakland’s Museum of California (unless you live in Oakland, in which case its probably the best news you’ve had all year – Ha ha) – with no plans to travel it to the artist’s hometown. The good news is that McMillen’s first solo gallery show in almost seven years opens on Wednesday, September 15 at LA Louver, and promises to be another triumph of the kind of installation-as-theater we have come to expect from the former Blade Runner model maker.

Lighthouse will consist of two chambers nested within the reduced white-cube panopticon ride of LA Louver – one displaying a series of illuminated oil paintings and bronze sculptures cast from found materials; the inner containing the titular installation showing a raggedy-ass building stuck in a tar-pit, with a whited-out billboard acting as drive-in screen for McMillen’s flickering dream-within-a-dream projections. One of McMillen’s earliest mentors was a neighbor who made the Tesla coils for James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931). Michael C. McMillen’s installation are a kind of avant-garde walk-through cinematic experience with one foot there – in pre-digital Hollywood effects culture – and the other in the criminally uncharted post-modern legacy of west coast assemblage and installation. The scary thing is... It’s Alive!

Michael C. McMillen: Lighthouse
L.A. Louver, 45 North
Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA
Sept 15 through Oct 30

Image: No Dancing (detail), 2002, sign painters enamel on wood

Dani Tull through the day before yesterday - oops!

Dani Tull at Mark Moore

Dani Tull's work over the last decade has frequently referenced psychedelia, as with the peyote cacti and tie-dye sky framing Tull's depiction of our scavenging prehistoric ancestors in (Study for) Unfolding the Stone (the painting that graced the cover of the Weekly for its 2008 "Some Paintings" art issue), or the heavy-lidded stereotypical stoner cartoon on the faux cover of his hypothetical hippie zine, My Fluorescent Beatitude (2005).

His latest body of work will be previewed as part of Mark Moore Gallery's "Ultrasonic V: It's Only Natural" opening on September 11. Titled "Golden Eagle," the new work is a radical departure from his earlier work, and not only for its obvious abandonment of cartoonish representation for elaborately carved, reflective encaustic abstractions — kaleidoscopic mandalas of golden, featherlike striations that shift dramatically depending on the viewer's point of view.

The new works still deal with psychedelics, but rather than filtering the topic through the plausible deniability of pop culture–mediated irony, they derive from the artist's recent commitment to the exploration of mystical states of consciousness through the shamanistic use of plant entheogens, and are intended to act as "technological objects that charge and release transcendent energy." Now that's what I call functional art!

Image: Golden Eagle 2010, encaustic wax, oil and acrylic on stretched burlap Check out more of Dani's work online here.

Wally Hedrick through Saturday!

Wally Hedrick at the Box

Wally Hedrick (1928–2003) was one of the seminal figures of the West Coast Beat-era artistic renaissance. It was Hedrick, in fact, who approached Allen Ginsberg in 1955 to do a poetry reading at the Six Gallery, resulting in the famous ground-zero happening of the Beat phenomenon, including the first public reading of Ginsberg's "Howl." Hedrick was a founding member of Bruce Conner's Rat Bastard Protective Association, introduced Jerry Garcia to the blues, and supported his wife — painter Jay DeFeo — as she labored on her 2,300-pound masterpiece, The Rose, for eight years. He was a beloved and influential teacher in the Bay Area for decades.

So why is his upcoming solo show at the Box in Chinatown only his third in Los Angeles? Granted, that S.F. assemblage crowd was pretty disdainful of L.A. — especially after Wallace Berman was hounded out of town — and Hedrick was notoriously uninterested in the social dimension of Art World stardom. But the fact that Hedrick was using his art practice to actively denounce America's presence in Vietnam as early as 1959 might have had something to do with it as well.

Although Hedrick created stellar artworks that anticipated assemblage, kinetic art, pop, neo-expressionism and so on, his habit of not-very-carefully concealing messages like "Fuck the FBI" in his paintings (Bury-Berry, 1964) pretty much guaranteed his status as an artist's artist. His two previous L.A. shows — both posthumous — were almost polar opposites: Michael Kohn Gallery's 2007 "Estate Sale" featured mostly Hedrick's late, deadpan appropriation paintings of antique advertising engravings. The Box's previous outing re-created 1967's War Room, an architectural environment originally built from early works Hedrick had overpainted in black monochrome. The new exhibition — opening September 17 — will land somewhere in between, focusing on his sometimes garish political paintings from the '80s, but ranging from 1962 to 2000. —Doug Harvey

THE BOX | 977 Chung King Road, L.A. | (213) 625-1747 | Sept. 17-Oct. 23 | Reception Fri., Sept. 17, 6-9 p.m.

Wally Hedrick, Danae, 1980, Oil on Canvas,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Solo Collage Exhibitionette Wrapup

Awesome thanks to y'all who turned out for the thing at the place and special shout out to Trois Frere (martyr division) Patrick Paper for his nonjudgmental complicity. Above you will see the ireeproducable comic panel, meaning check it out in person at such and such a place. Below, LA art connoisseurs Linda Stark and Anita Bunn sublimate their profound emotional response to "Flash Fudd: The Amazing Power of Fudd"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Solo Collage Exhibitionette

Doug Harvey's "Flash Fudd: The Amazing Power of Fudd"
Oct. 15 – Oct. 28
The Grey Wall @ ALIAS BOOKS
3163 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA (in Atwater just east of the I-5) 90039
Phone: 323. 661.9000

OPENING Oct 15, 7 - 9 PM

"Flash Fudd is both the title and vague androgynous protagonist of a series of collage comic strips dating back to 1978 (though rooted in a series of comic collages dating to 1972) and continuing to the present day. A hybrid of Flash Gordon and Elmer Fudd, FF is nevertheless most often depicted as a woman. The collages derive from all manner of graphic narrative sources, from daily... newspaper strips to pictographic directions for opening Japanese noodle packets, as well as virtually any other form of printed image and text. Although non-linear, they are intended as a form of narrative, and motifs recur across many years. New episodes are often constructed atop photocopies of older episodes, incorporating fragments of the earlier collage into the new one. The smaller FF’s have often been printed in small runs and distributed through the mail to random addresses or left in record stores, bus stations, phone booths, etc." 'The Amazing Power of FUDD' is the most recent of the FF collages, part of a series of larger scale (and therefore unreproducible) 'stories'. More examples, dating back to the 70s, are viewable online at

the showing of one work by one artist on

within the confines of
3163 glendale blvd.
los angeles (atwater) 90039
323. 661.9000

the artists
Peter LIASHKOV, Sept. 3 – Sept. 16
Anita BUNN, Sept. 17 – Sept. 30
Francesco SIQUEIROS, Oct. 1 – Oct. 14
Doug HARVEY, Oct. 15 – Oct. 28
Constance MALLINSON, Oct. 29 – Nov. 11
Dr. LAKRA, Nov. 12 – Dec. 2
Pierre PICOT, Dec. 3 – Dec. 16
Derek BOSHIER, Dec. 17 – Dec. 31

Curated by Pierre Picot
"soft opening" on the first Friday of each show (7 to 9pm)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We've all heard the theory; Now Comes Proof!

Miller: Well the way I see it it's exactly the same. There ain't no difference between a flying saucer and a time machine. People get so hung up on specifics. They miss out on seeing the whole thing. Take South America for example. In South America thousands of people go missing every year. Nobody knows where they go. They just like disappear. But if you think about it for a minute, you realize something. There had to be a time when there was no people. Right?

Otto: Yeah. I guess.

Miller: Well where did all these people come from? hmmm? I'll tell you where. The future. Where did all these people disappear to? hmmm?

Otto: The past?

Miller: That's right! And how did they get there?

Otto: How the fuck do I know?

Miller: Flying saucers. Which are really... Yeah you got it! Time machines. I think a lot about this kind of stuff. I do my best thinking on the bus. That's how come I don't drive, see?

Otto: You don't even know how to drive.

Miller: I don't want to know how. I don't want to learn. See? The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Semi-Triumphant Redux

Portfolio continued his almost-winning streak by taking his class and Reserve Winners at the Burbank Kennel Club All Breed Show held, paradoxically, in Van Nuys (at LAVC where my Untidy retrospective was held). Above we see Portfolio and his (and Chloe's) half-raccoon-faced brother, Diesel (handled by Val Nunes-Atkinson), in the ring. The mysterious and sinister Viggo won Best of Breed, but the photos I took of him were all mysteriously clouded and unusable. I did manage to get a shot of the back of his co-owner Bo Bengston (in aqua shirt) in the background of this trophy shot.

When the shouting died down, we walked around and found a crateful of Manchester Terrier puppies with their ears done up all fancy like. This aerial shot seemed necessary. Por lil fellers.

Finally, we never made it into the photography area to pose with cardboard cutouts of dead celebrities, but I managed to squeeze off this clandestine shot revealing Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe in what might be a compromising pose. If this art criticism thing doesn't pan out, I'll be looking into the paparazzic arts.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Further Puzzling Evidence

This was the sky in LA at 6:43 PM on Wednesday, Sept 29, 2010. These images were taken with a canon Powershot SD900 and have not been altered in any way except to resize them for online viewing.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Big Break in Squash Baby Case!

Those of you who have been following the local saga of Squash Baby and the recent disappearance thereof (as reported on the Homegrown Evolution blog) will be startled by the new evidence which has been brought to light by independent researchers who forwarded to myself as an unbiased journalist the above photo, clearly depicting Mayor Villaraigosa in an act of Tempecultural Sabotage. Let us break out the scythes and possum tallow torches and surround his castle, brothers and sisters!