Monday, March 31, 2014

F (for Whatever) Live Moldy Slide soundtrack FRIDAY!

For their first live appearance since the Mike Kelley tribute concert at the Box in 2012, F (formerly Faüxmish and F for Ache) will perform live, in a free, improvised soundtrack to a previously unscreened program of found moldy slides presented by Jancar Gallery in conjunction with their current exhibit of Doug Harvey's Found Moldy Slides. Special guest saw solo by Christian Cummings.

F is a Los Angeles art-rock supergroup whose motto is "Simplicity Through Noise," and who have developed a practice rooted in improvisational ensemble playing using electric guitars and vintage synthesizers, in various combinations of three or four.  F has released one limited edition full-length vinyl/CD recording and is currently compiling its follow-up, F2. F are (l to r): Doug Harvey, Marnie Weber, Dani el Hawkins,  and Dani Tull (who will unfortunately not be performing on this occasion).

"F for Found Moldy Slides" Friday April 4th, 8 PM
Jancar Gallery, 961 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Program should run approximately 30 minutes.

Vinyl is Cool Again (Again)

The second in my series of backed up critical links; micro-labels as art medium:

"Lately, I’ve been thinking about the weird inversions of mainstream and underground culture, particularly as regards formats—the vinyl record for example. Talking with Rick and Joe Potts and Dennis Duck (all founding members of the Los Angeles Free Music Society) on my KCHUNG radio zine, they all emphasized what a revolutionary concept it was in 1975 for a bunch of experimental weirdos—the Potts’ band Le Forte Four in this case—to issue their own LP without the imprimatur of a record company.

Of course “Bikini Tennis Shoes”—a collage of Musique Concrète, experimental electronic noise, processed studio chatter and appropriated Papal addresses, packaged in cast-off misprint sheets of Blue Boy and Pinky postcards from the Huntington—didn’t exactly burn up the charts. In fact they couldn’t successfully give away all 200 copies. “People would bring them back,” remembers Rick, “saying ‘Maybe you know someone else who would… appreciate this better.’” Now, copies sell for, well, there’s only one listed on discogs, and they’re asking $743.06.

That’s part of the weirdness—the fetishization of artifacts for their inferred position in a history of cultural resistance or innovation, rather than for their actual content, like they’re props in some nostalgic sitcom—or fashion accessories. And don’t think I’m not talking about The Art World. But the rules of the vinyl game keep shifting. Only a few years after “Bikini Tennis Shoes” every trust-fund punk was starting a micro-label, and there was a still-uncataloged tsunami of DIY releases. Then, with the advent of CDs (and subsequently mp3s), self-released vinyl became first obsolete, then a perversion, then collectible, then a niche consumer demographic—where it got stuck for a good decade.

But the situation has mutated again recently—maybe a critical mass of hipsters has effected a figure/ground shift. The turning point may have been the success of Mississippi Records, which gained international prominence by issuing short-run editions of what are essentially pirated Roots, World and Other music recordings. The record label had become a purely curatorial entity, and moved into the realm of what I suspect to be the future of art-making—the filtration and organization of the overwhelming and exponentially increasing flow of information precipitated by the digital revolution. In other words, collage

In a medium where you can’t even keep track of the thousands of aggregator sites, stepping down to an obsolete technological format is an elegant way to eliminate 99% of the choice work. Sort of like writing a sonnet, or haiku. One artist who has been expressing himself via a tiny record label for several years is LeRoy Stevens. The LA-based, Chicago native’s most recent release was an example of the kind of historical archival project we need to see a lot more of—a double LP of soundtracks by legendary Angeleno performance artist Barbara T. Smith..."

Read the rest of Under the Radar: Plastic is Fantastic Again here, or in the March 2014 print issue of Artillery Magazine.

Images:  Le Forte Four Bikini Tennis Shoes, 1975; v/a Life Is A Problem, Mississippi Records, 2007; Barbara T. Smith, Untitled Drawing from Sound Piece for Notes and Scores for Sound, 1971. Pencil on paper, 18 x 24 inches

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lee and Elvar in da House

Filmmaker Lee Lynch with his young Icelandic spawn Elvar (AKA Kevlar AKA Hiram Thorbjorgson) came by to participate in the Mannlicher Carcano Radio Hour. Bono reincarnated! What? He's not? So Flight #1721 was a hoax? We've got some catching up to do people!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mike Kelley Sound Work on Less Art Radio Zine

One of the things that sparked the genesis of Doug Harvey's Less Art Radio Zine was the absence of any local radio programming chronicling Mike Kelley's substantial body of experimental musical work in the weeks after his suicide (though John Allen on WFMU did an impressive roundup).

Since so much of this weekend in LA is devoted to the opening of Mike's retrospective at MOCA, I figured I should do a show devoted to Destroy All Monsters, The Poetics, Gobbler, music from Day is Done and Plato's Cave, Rothko's Chapel, Lincoln's Profile (featuring Sonic Youth), a couple of cuts that Mike cited as influences, a songpoem he wrote, and maybe a tribute number or two.

I've sent out a few probes, but since its so last minute and everybody's tied up with the MOCA festivities (for want of a better word), I'm not expecting to have a guest this week, which is kind of appropriate. Sunday March 30, 2014 at 12 noon at

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

steve roden Picks Rags!

I haven't been posting my recent art critical writings lately, for some reason, so I have a bit of catching up to do -- here's my review of steve roden's most recent show at Vielmetter Projects, published in the December 2013 issue of Modern Painters -- still very hard to come by in LA, and their web presence is negligible -- but definitely one of the better art mags out there. Here's is the slightly longer unedited version:

"Even in his native LA, it’s taken almost 20 years for the art world to grasp the extent of steve roden’s complex, genre-blurring oeuvre. That’s partly his own fault, having begun his career by compartmentalizing his international sound art activities under the moniker in/between/noise. But as the synaesthesia kicked into high gear, roden’s diverse activities – oil painting, drawing, collage, assemblage, sculpture, installation, film, video, writing, blogging, archiving and curating… and sound art – began to resemble facets of a gigantic crystalline matrix. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Transparent Hauntologies

I was just reminded of this very thoughtful and accurate rundown of the Found Moldy Slides as hauntological artifacts akin to the Disintegration Loops of Billy Basinski and the lo-fi pop gems of Ariel Pink. Be sure and click through to his other articles on art and music as examples of "the haunting of a historicised present by spectres that cannot be ‘ontologised’ away."

"One of the most exciting things about hauntology, I think, is that it’s possibly one of the first aesthetic movements in quite a while to see some very specific equivalence in technique between sonic and visual art. I’d been looking long and hard for a visual counterpart to the music of The Caretaker, William Basinski and lately Indignant Senility– I knew one definitely existed, it was just a matter of finding it – when I suddenly found a postcard of an image from one Doug Harvey yesterday.
The Caretaker, Basinski and Indignant Senility (call them the ‘playback hauntologists’) create new pieces of music from ancient tape and vinyl recordings that are treated or weathered down in various ways until they become an ironic, emotionally-laden dark ambient noise. Generally their work is not what you’d call collage – the recordings they use are chopped into long extracts, looped or even left to play in their entirety, but significantly they don’t combine samples (as The Focus Group does) or mix in more contemporary elements (as Boards of Canada and Mordant Music do). In this way the outlines of the original source object are faintly intact, but it’s heavily ‘decayed’ or ‘decaying’.
The rotted celluloid paintings of Peter Doig, which I described in my big ol’ treatise on and survey of hauntology, seemed a bit analogical to this process, but since they were paintings, the original image (even if based on a photograph as it usually was) was always ultimately contrived. To make the equivalence closer, the original source object would have to be an image that was recorded in a similar way as sound is recorded on tape or vinyl. Such a recorded image would of course be generated through photography.
The images in this post are slides found by Doug Harvey in the growing pile of waste kipple outside the Los Angeles home of a serial hoarder, following some kind of intervention or change of heart. Untouched for years, the slides had fallen prey to damp and mould, a process which dramatically transformed the colours and forms within them..."
Read the rest of Adam Harper's Out of the Mould, the New here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Not in the show, but moldy as hell...

DOUG HARVEY - "Found Moldy Slides"
March 15 - April 12, 2014

TEL 213 625-2522
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 5 PM (and by appointment)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Download Glenn Bray on LARZ

Glenn Bray and I got to stretch out over almost 90 minutes for Sunday's Less Art Radio Zine on KCHUNG, playing the music of Spike Jones, Basil Wolverton, Fred Blassie, Omo the Hobo, The 3 Haircuts, Zacharly, Tuli Kupferberg, Bowen Weems, The Dinks, anonymous "blue" country swing 78s, an audio collage recreation of the Sunset Strip riot by Sonny Bono, and much more! We got to discuss Glenn's huge new book from Fantagraphics, The Blighted Eye, and many of the artists represented therein -- including Carl Barks, Harvey Kurtzman, Byron Werner, Cameron Jamie, and others.

I once again forgot to take a photo during the session -- but above is a wholly convincing artist's rendition of what it must have looked like. Although most of the music Glenn selected tends toward the novelty/fringe R&B categories, it came out in our off-air discussion that he actually attended the T.A.M.I. show, saw Syd Barrett live (and post-Syd Floyd in a bar with about 10 people in the audience), BowWowWow's debut in London, and many similar epochal moments in rock history! Guess I'll have to have him back! Sorry about the loud Chinese opera. Oh yeah, and we're doing a book signing at Arcana Books in Culver City on Sunday April 6th - details TK.

And here is the link: the link.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Viral Moldy Slide Memes

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Glenn Bray on LARZ Sunday March 16

To coincide with the publication of Fantagraphic's massive "The Blighted Eye: Original Comic Art from The Glenn Bray Collection," Glenn will be my guest on this Sunday's edition of Doug Harvey's Less Art Radio Zine (Sunday at 12 noon at, spinning Spike Jones, Basil Wolverton, wrestler Fred Blassie, and other sound artifacts from his chequered past. Here's a profile I did on him a couple of years back...

Glenn Bray
Visionary quester

Most art collectors are passive and predictable, content to acquire works that represent their good taste and knowledge of the art historical canon. Then there are those who are more correctly identified as patrons — initiating projects, conducting obsessive research, sometimes bringing to light overlooked or forgotten niches of culture.

For years, Jim Shaw kept urging me to visit Glenn Bray’s collection, but it wasn’t until I wrote a catalog essay for an exhibition of his archive of work by the visionary grotesque comic book artist Basil Wolverton that I finally made the short trek to the Valley, where Bray still manages the hardware store his father founded, and lives with his partner, Dutch underground comix legend Lena Zwalve.

Bray has several peculiar claims to pop-culture fame — his rediscovery and patronage of Wolverton in the early ’70s initiated a revival of interest in the artist’s work and a flurry of high-profile gigs. Bray brought forth into the world the entirely new genre of Wrestling Music by recording and releasing Fred Blassie’s 1976 Pencil Neck Geek single, which became one of the iconic records of Outsider Music after Dr. Demento put it on heavy rotation. Bray also sought out Carl Barks, the then-still-anonymous Uncle Scrooge comics auteur, and convinced him to get Disney’s permission to create an oil painting based on one of his classic cover illustrations. One painting, A Tall Ship and a Star To Steer Her By (1971), became hundreds — and a welcome income stream in Bark’s later years.

While the bulk of his collection focuses on comic art — in addition to the largest private collection of Wolverton material, he owns probably the finest collection of original work by MAD’s Harvey Kurtzman, and was a major lender to the Masters of American Comics exhibits — Bray tends to support the fringier elements of the graphic narrative world, with major shelf age devoted to underground geniuses like Kim Deitch, S. Clay Wilson and the late speed primitivist Rory Hayes, plus substantial dosages of punk-era torchbearers Gary Panter and Savage Pencil. Not surprisingly, his taste in contemporary Art World artists leans to figures like Shaw and Jeffrey Vallance, not to mention a long-term strategic alliance with Cameron Jamie, who shares Bray’s obsession with the European Anti-Santa Krampus.

Bray’s most momentous jump-start was probably to the career of the extremely eccentric Polish modernist Stanislav Szukalski, whose gorgeous and idiosyncratic hybrids of Art Deco, Picabia-esque Surrealism, and non-Western visual motifs was almost as startling as his complex theories of malevolent yetis interbreeding with humanity, or the physiological evidence of the Great Deluge mappable in every human’s facial features through the science of Zermatism. Bray found the aged Szukalski living a few minutes from his Sylmar home and undertook the restoration of the larger-than-life artist’s rightful place in history by publishing several tomes of Szukalski’s art and philosophy and promoting the work to anyone who would listen.

The quixotic sculptor became a cult figure and a star in the early Juxtapoz canon. When Szukalski died in 1987, Bray and Zwalve — with artists Rick Griffin and Robert and Suzanne Williams — scattered his ashes in the quarries of Easter Island, the ground zero of Zermatist cosmology. In 2000, Bray’s boosterism finally came to fruition when the Laguna Art Museum hosted “Struggle: The Art of Stanislav Szukalski,” the artist’s first museum retrospective and quite possibly sponsor Leonardo DiCaprio’s greatest contribution to Western culture.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Found Moldy Slides at Jancar Saturday!

TEL 213 625-2522
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 5 PM (and by appointment)

JANCAR GALLERY is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by DOUG HARVEY - "Found Moldy Slides"

March 15 - April 12, 2014
Opening reception for the artist: Saturday, March 15, from 6 - 9 PM
Live Slideshow with musical accompaniment by the Moldy Drum and Bugle Corps at 8

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

50th Anniversary Show and Panel Discussion at LAVC

I think I've mentioned this before, but it seems to me increasingly true that LA's junior college galleries are becoming the only viable alternatives to to the market-driven commercial galleries and museums and the tenurific logrolling of the more hifalutin academies. I may have started getting this idea when Dennis Reed and Diana Zlotnick put together a mid-career survey show of my work a couple of years back for LA Valley College, where Dennis was Gallery Director and Dean of Arts.

Now celebrating the 50th anniversary of its opening, LAVC Art Gallery makes a strong argument for my theory, with a string of shows that focus on lesser known geniuses (a Saul Bass show in 1965; the psychedelic photos of Edmund Teske; Richard Pettibone's postmodernism avant la lettre, and so on) as well as idiosyncratic curatorial projects including groundbreaking surveys of Japanese-American photography and underground political graphics from Czechoslovakia.

I'm flattered not only to be included in the anniversary exhibit, but to have my Limp Chandelier (and a ghostly sculpture of Jay Sebring) gracing the poster and the cover of the accompanying catalog. The show opens Thursday March 13th, and I'll be participating in an 8 PM panel discussion at the opening. Visit their webpage for more info and directions:

Passing Time: 50 Years of Exhibitions
Guest curated by Dennis Reed
March 13 – April 24, 2014
Opening Reception & Program, March 13, 7-9 pm

Los Angeles Valley College
5800 Fulton Avenue
Valley Glen, CA 91401

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Flugeldar live radio session now available for free DL!

As always, Lee and Christian's chemistry was spectacular, and previous DJ didn't show up so we got in nearly an hour and a half of inspired post-contemporary singer-songwriter treasures, including old chestnuts such as "Our Name is Fireworks," UNRELEASED new material including "Freedom in Three Weeks" and "Asking Rachel," and an adaptation of the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right to Party"!

It's a bit of a shambles, so I'll probably edit out the tech fumbling and add some stuff to make a mixtape, but I also recommend the unrefined experience, available now for free DL or streaming from the KCHUNG Archive. Here's the link: The link.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

FLUGELDAR (Christian Cummings & Lee Lynch) on LARZ tomorrow

This week's edition of Doug Harvey's Less Art Radio Zine will feature the historic reunion of Flugeldar (originally known as Fireworks), the mid-Zeros art school band that galvanized the milieu from whence sprung forth Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Lavender Diamonds, and others. Anchored by the dual singer/songwriter geniuses of visual artist Christian Cummings and filmmaker Lee Lynch, the band has been on hiatus for several years, while Cummings produced his solo album Slavebation and Lynch was enjoying the hospitality of the underground fairy civilizations of Iceland.

The band will perform live in the studio, and we'll listen to some of their new demos, some vintage recordings, and some of their influences. And - if there's time - we'll discuss their recent extracurricular activities, including Christian's recent solo show ANTI-URGES & STARGATE at Chin's Push and Lee's new documentary on failed capitalist archetypes, ranging from a full-time Dog The Bounty Hunter imitator to James Holmes, the Aurora theater shooter who dressed as The Joker.