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THE INTERSECTION OF ART, DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE // ISSUE 30


T H E F U T U R E of A R T F A S H I O N , and F I L M . WE BELIEVE IN YOU. #ARTATGENART

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CONTRIBUTORS MASTHEAD

MEGAN ABRAHAMS is a Los Angeles-based writer, artist and contributing art critic for Art Ltd., Fabrik, ArtPulse and WhiteHot magazines. For links to some of her work, and more info, visit her sporadically updated blog: onbeyondwordsandpictures.com

Publisher Chris Davies Associate Editor Peter Frank

JACKI APPLE is a Los Angeles-based visual, performance, and media artist, designer, writer, composer, and producer whose work has been presented internationally. Her writings have been featured in numerous publications including THE Magazine LA, The Drama Review, Art Journal, and High Performance. She is a professor at Art Center College of Design.

Managing Editor Aparna Bakhle-Ellis Creative Director Chris Davies

SHANA NYS DAMBROT is an art critic, curator, and author based in Los Angeles. She is currently LA Editor for Whitehot Magazine, Arts Editor for Vs. Magazine, Contributing Editor to artltd., and a contributor to Flaunt, Huffington Post, Montage, Desert Magazine, Porter & Sail and KCET’s Artbound. She studied Art History at Vassar College, writes loads of essays for art books and exhibition catalogs, curates and/or juries a few exhibitions each year, and speaks in public every chance she gets.

Art Direction & Design Chris Davies and Paul Soady Contributing Writers Megan Abrahams Jacki Apple Shana Nys Dambrot Peter Frank Kio Griffith Simone Kussatz Rebecca Leib Lanee Lee Max Presneill Phil Tarley Kathleen Whitney

EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Editorial editorial@fabrikmedia.com Advertising advertising@fabrikmedia.com

SIMONE KUSSATZ is a cultural journalist and American Studies Specialist (M.A.). Born and raised in Germany, she studied in the US and Berlin. She’s been a regular contributor to Art Ltd. and ArtScene.

Contact 269 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 1234 Beverly Hills, CA 90212 http://www.fabrik.la

LANEE LEE is a Los Angeles-based writer who uses her craft to pursue her passions: travel, culture, cuisine, and discovering artisans from around the globe. You can follow her latest quest at www.laneelee.com and @wanderlushdiary.

INFORMATION Fabrik Magazine is published by Fabrik Media, Inc., 269 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 1234, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Contents cannot be reproduced in part or in full without the written permission of the copyright holder. The opinions expressed are those of the artists and writers themselves and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Fabrik or Fabrik Media, Inc. Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN LOS ANGELES

ON THE COVER

THE INTERSECTION OF ART, DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE // ISSUE 30

TPOT, 2015 © David Spanbock Read more about the artist on page 80 of this issue.

PETER FRANK is art critic for the Huffington Post and Associate Editor for Fabrik magazine. He is former critic for Angeleno magazine and the L.A. Weekly, served as Editor for THE magazine Los Angeles and Visions Art Quarterly, and contributes articles to publications around the world. Frank was born in 1950 in New York, where he was art critic for The Village Voice and The SoHo Weekly News, and moved to Los Angeles in 1988. Frank, who recently served as Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum, has organized numerous theme and survey shows for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and other venues. McPherson & Co. ‑Documentext published his Something Else Press: An Annotated Bibliography in 1983. A cycle of poems, The Travelogues, was issued by Sun & Moon Press in 1982. Abbeville Press released New, Used & Improved, an overview of the New York art scene co-written with Michael McKenzie, in 1987.

REBECCA LEIB is a LA-based writer and comedian whose writing has appeared on NBC, VH1, Disney, PBS, Beautiful/Decay, Art Ltd., Reductress, Comediva and more. You can follow her on twitter and instagram at @RebeccaLeib. MAX PRESNEILL & KIO GRIFFITH FROM ARTRA CURATORIAL, a volunteer organization for the implementation of new modes of exhibition, locally, nationally and internationally, that feature artist-led emerging platforms and opportunity based interactions and community building via social practice type events. Founded in 2009, the group has instigated large scale art events and exchanges, as well as the alternative art fair Co/Lab, throughout Los Angeles and has new projects being presented in China, France and UK in 2014, as well as the continuation of their MAS ATTACK series of events both in LA and other US cities. PHIL TARLEY is a Fellow of the American Film Institute and an artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association. An art and pop culture critic, he posts stories on the WOW Report, ArtWeek LA and writes about contemporary art and photography for Fabrik. The Critical Eye, his art blog, is featured on Fabrik’s website. Tarley’s writing and photography has appeared in the LA Times, the LA Weekly, Adventure Journal, The Advocate and Adult Video News. He curates photography for the Artists Corner Gallery in Los Angeles. KATHLEEN WHITNEY is a writer and sculptor living in Los Angeles.


CONTENTS 8

28

Spotlight: Rain Room at LACMA

28 Spotlight: Frans Lanting’s Life: A Journey Through Time 38 Profile: Sean Yashar: A Design Industry Leader Makes His Own Fun 50 Profile: The Los Angeles Art Association’s Legacy 56 Spotlight: Art in Season: The Los Angeles Art Fairs 70 Fresh Faces in Art: Emergent Presence: Artists You

Should Know

86 Art About Town: Exhibition Reviews 96 Art About Town: Performance Reviews


RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY… A CHAT WITH FLORIAN ORTKRASS AND HANNES KOCH, CREATORS OF RAIN ROOM, LACMA’S NEW EXHIBIT THAT SIMULATES A RAINSTORM. —

WORDS LANEE LEE IMAGES COURTESY OF RANDOM INTERNATIONAL

RAIN ROOM BY RANDOM INTERNATIONAL (2012). RAIN ROOM AT YUZ MUSEUM. PHOTO: DELIA KELLER


AND IT DOES


SPOTLIGHT

Where does it rain, but you never get wet? Although not a riddle, the Rain Room exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) might prompt a guffaw, or at least a grin. Created by Random International, a collaborative studio for experimental practice within contemporary art in London, the multi-sensorial installation, illuminated by a singular light source, simulates an indoor downpour. But here’s the catch: walk into the storm and, via sensors, it stops overhead but continues elsewhere. An ethereal experience that elicits childlike awe, Rain Room is one of the most profoundly moving (and selfie-photo-inducing) L.A. art installations of the year. Although not a new Random International concept (its first version was mounted in 2012), each Rain Room is different in size and configuration. We caught up with the heads of Random International, Florian Ortkass and Hannes Koch—known for installations that meld technology, science, architecture and nature—to understand their inspiration behind the project and discover what’s next. (Spoiler alert: robotics!) Fabrik: Your first Rain Room was mounted at the Barbican in 2012. How many Rain Rooms have been shown since then? Florian Ortkass/Hannes Koch: Since the exhibition at the Barbican, it has been shown at the Museum Of Modern Art, New York (2013), the Yuz Foundation in Shanghai (2015), LACMA in Los Angeles (until 6 March 2016), and will be permanently installed at the Sharjah Art Foundation (2017). Why rain, instead of some other type of weather? For us, Rain Room was less—or actually not at all—a project about the weather. Rather, we see it as an investigation of the countless artificial and mechanized environments and systems that are omnipresent in life today—some of which humankind can more or less control, and some of which control humankind completely. The studio is interested in the reaction to such systems and environments, and how they can go undetected even whilst being used on a daily basis. Then there is that ephemeral quality of rain and trying to recreate it. 10

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SPOTLIGHT

RAIN ROOM BY RANDOM INTERNATIONAL (2012). RAIN ROOM AT YUZ MUSEUM. PHOTO: DELIA KELLER


RAIN ROOM BY RANDOM INTERNATIONAL (2012) PHOTO: RANDOM INTERNATIONAL


RAIN ROOM BY RANDOM INTERNATIONAL (2012). RAIN ROOM AT YUZ MUSEUM. PHOTO: DELIA KELLER


SPOTLIGHT

How is the LACMA installation unique? There is a slight geometric reconfiguration. Whereas previous Rain Room iterations have been rectangular, at LACMA, the field of rain is in the form of a square. From the initial concept, this has been something we wanted to investigate, but we never had the space to do so until now. But for us, the most intriguing part of the exhibition begins when the setting-up process ends, once the first visitor enters the piece in a new location and a different context. Here in L.A., drought is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and it seems to be the first connection that is made when they experience the piece. We somewhat expected this, the drought being such an immediate part of life for everyone in the city, but the extent of it is crazy. For some of the kids visiting the piece, it is the closest they have ever come to experiencing rain in their lives! For children to see rain for the first time inside a museum… Of course, they then try to get wet. In a sense, this offers a dark, sci-fi view into a future where it is not only animals that are preserved though captivity but also natural phenomena—all of which we now take for granted as “available.” In this context, Rain Room could also be seen as a reflection of individual impact—and the accumulation of this impact—on environments. There could be a hundred people inside Rain Room but, by principle of the piece, there just wouldn’t be any rain… Speaking of drought, Rain Room uses approximately 528 gallons of water (for perspective, the average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day). Is it recycled? From the very first instance, when we were initially considering how this piece could be realized, we knew we wanted to recycle the water. There was never any question about this. The water is collected, filtered, treated and tested while it’s being cycled. It was actually one of the most difficult problems to solve. Typically, in the studio, we learn as we go; for most things we want to do, knowledge has to be learned from scratch. This involved a lot of experimentation, testing, and tuning with the final piece in situ.

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SPOTLIGHT

Is there a message for Angelenos on the topic of global warming/water use you’re trying to communicate? If we have a message, it is not only to Angelenos, but also to all of us. Our hope is that Rain Room can offer a space for contemplation and an amplification of conversations surrounding the relationship between man, machine, and environment. Everything we do has an impact. Art has a unique capacity to question generally accepted and established ways of doing things, and to prompt new questions. What is it about the Rain Room experience that elicits such strong reactions of joy? As a child, you play in the rain. Then, as you grow into adult life, it simply becomes a nuisance when you’re on the way to work. We get used to things and take them for granted so easily. When there is indoor rain that can’t be touched, maybe the surreal quality creates some space from the familiar. And why do you think it has such lasting power that droves still attend, even though it’s been a phenom for more than three years? (LACMA tickets are already sold out!) It is a very open work. Everyone has their own experience and can find their own interpretation, but at the same time it evokes something in the collective consciousness. You founded Random International in 2005. Over the last 10 years, what RI project are you most proud of, and why? Audience (2008) is one of our earlier works, and in some ways it is very simple. There’s a hoard of small rectangular mirrors mounted on cast iron bases that are very subtly animated to behave as though they are living. Their form doesn’t really represent any type of living being, but through nuances of their movement, they are perceived as such; people always refer to the mirror units as ‘little guys’ or something similar. Creating Audience, resolving the tiny refinements that make or break the piece being perceived as someone “alive,” marked a crucial point in the studio. It prompted us to ask some big questions about how the human

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RAIN ROOM BY RANDOM INTERNATIONAL (2012). RAIN ROOM AT YUZ MUSEUM. PHOTO: DELIA KELLER


SPOTLIGHT

mind perceives motion and how little information it needs for the recognition of natural forms. These questions remain at the core of the studio’s research, and we just keep on digging deeper. When Rain Room was first exhibited at the Barbican in 2012, it was a huge moment. Although it was four years in the making and had been prototyped and tested, there were so many unknowns—public reaction being the largest. Maxine and Stuart Frankel (who originally commissioned the work) and the wonderful team at the Barbican took a massive leap of faith with us. None of us could anticipate the queues and selfies that were to come. It was an experiment. Then, Tower at the Ruhrtriennale (2013) was quite something to witness. Using water as the material to make a 20-meter high building within the epic Zollverein [a former industrial complex, now World Heritage site, in Essen, Germany] was quite a feat. There is no tracking in Tower. The walls of water appear and disappear instantaneously and no water falls directly at the center of the structure. But that gentle, meditative aspect of protection you can get in Rain Room is totally absent. Tower is elemental. Can you talk about the working relationship between you and your partner in creating projects for Random International? We are very different from one another. We share the artistic direction of the studio, both in terms of the conceptual—partially choosing a deliberate ignorance of what implications a certain decision might have—and the realization process, where we can be very pragmatic. It usually starts with one of us two bringing an idea, or the start of one, to the table. The selection process is harsh. Going live, together with the team, we then split up the roles necessary to bring an idea to life, including technical development, communication, financing, and production development. Which future projects are you most excited about? We’ve been working with a biomimetic robotics lab at Harvard, and the research has led us down a fascinating path which we continue to explore with new works in development. Then, working with Max Richter on concepts for the durational performance aspects of his incredible work Sleep is simply extraordinary. Increasingly, we are working in the public realm, which is both exciting

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SPOTLIGHT

and intriguing. In recent years, we’ve also stepped up the research aspect of the studio, and there is a lot of internal anticipation surrounding our next studio symposium. If you had all the resources/time/technology/superpowers at your disposal, what kind of project would you do? That’s a dangerous question… Introduce tax relief for civil courage and good humor. Or set a competition to formalize successful alternatives to Capitalism (ideally the prize still has value by the time we have a winner)…or not. What other artists in your technology-meets-experiential art genre inspire you? Ideas come before technology. Way back, the tools and materials were not always readily available for people to realize what they wanted to, but they still managed. Those artists who were early participants in LACMA’s original Art & Technology program, the proponents of the Light & Space movement, they are inspirational in their attitude and approach. Those who have a more direct inspiration to the works? Roboticists, neuroscientists, biologists – nature. Besides your own, what’s the most life-altering art exhibit or other creative performance you’ve been to and why? Birth of my first child. [Florian Ortkass and Hannes Koch both have children and concur it was the most profound creative event of their lives.] –––– RAIN ROOM at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LACMA) 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90036 Through March 6, 2016 Tickets are sold out, but LACMA is releasing new tickets. Go to: http://www.lacma.org/public-ticketing-information-rain-room to sign up for email Rain Room ticket alerts. More information can be found on Random International’s website at: http://www.randominternational.com –––– Web fabrik.la

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photo l.a. programming James Welling, Artist In Conversation with Virginia Heckert, Curator, Department of Photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum

Robert Mapplethorpe, “Beyond Good and Evil” Moderated by Paul Martineau, Associate Curator, Department of Photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum with Ryan Linkof, Assistant Curator, LACMA & Michelle Brunnick, Curatorial Assistant, Getty Research Institute

The Instagram Effect, How Instagram is Changing the Way We See Photography Moderated by Ivan Shaw, Executive Photography Director, Vogue On Collecting, Weston Naef, Curator Emeritus, Department of Photographs, The J. Paul Getty Museum, and Michael G. Wilson, Renowned Photography Collector, join in Conversation ALT Process, Artists Working in Alternative Practices Moderated by Virginia Heckert, Curator, Department of Photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum

Jim McHugh, LA Photographer with Edward Goldman, Art Critic, KCRW “Art Talk” In Conversation, On Capturing the LA Art Scene Over the Past 40 Years Collecting and “The Myth Of Contemporary Photography” A Panel Moderated by Stephen White Artists Take Issue: Perspectives and Practices in Activist Photography Moderated by Shana Nys Dambrot, Art Critic & Curator LAtin American Photography in LA? Moderated by Idurre Alonso, Associate Curator of Latin American Art, Getty Research Institute

Rock in Photography Moderated by Hugh Brown, Hugh Brown Heavy Industries & Former VP Art / Creative Director Rhino Entertainment

Vision & Visionaries A Conversation About Inspiration and the Creative Process, presented by The Lucie Foundation The Golden Decade, Photography at The California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, 1945-55, Ansel Adams & Minor White Moderated by John Upton, Art, Professor Emeritus at Orange Coast College Sponsoring photo l.a. & FOCUS photo l.a. programing

docent tours Weston Naef Curator Emeritus, J. Paul Getty Photography Department Ryan Linkof Associate Curator Wallis Annenberg Photography Department LACMA Ivan Shaw Executive Photography Director, Vogue Paul Martineau Associate Curator, J. Paul Getty Photography Department

installations James Welling: Choreography courtesy of Regen Projects • photoBOOKs P.O.V. Selections from Los Angeles Collectons • FOCUS photo l.a. finalists

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FRANS LANTING’S LIFE: A JOURNEY THROUGH TIME —

WORDS SIMONE KUSSATZ IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ANNENBERG SPACE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

GIANT TORTOISES AT DAWN, GALAPAGOS ISLANDS © FRANS LANTING/WWW.LANTING.COM


SPOTLIGHT

How did life begin?

This question has preoccupied humankind for thousands of years, perhaps from the time of the emergence of consciousness, paving the way for religion, which postulated a god or divine being. However, the Greek thinkers Thales of Miletus (624-546 B.C.) and Anaximander (611-546 B.C.E.) didn’t believe in these supernatural forces and came up instead with a general scientific world view. Their ideas were further developed by later thinkers such as Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BCE) and German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), and then by 19th Century evolutionists such as Charles Darwin. Today, there are several competing scientific theories, which experts try to prove (or disprove) with the help of the Large Hadron Collider. While many still believe it could only have happened through the intervention of a supreme being, others, such as astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, believe time started at the moment of singularity, so that there was no time before the Big Bang for a god to create the universe. That is something to keep in mind when viewing Dutch photographer Frans Lanting’s fascinating exhibit, Life: A Journey Through Time, currently at the Annenberg Space for Photography. The seven-year project, realized with the help of his partner, Christine Eckstrom, is more than merely a series of nature and wildlife images. The exhibition embodies Lanting’s photographic interpretation of life on Earth from the Big Bang to its present diversity, embracing a scientific viewpoint. Included are more than 70 images and a documentary film with comments by Lanting, biologist E.O. Wilson, and Mars Program Chief Scientist Richard Zurek, as well as other experts. It also contains two videos of Lanting’s TED talks and a six-minute film presenting the photographer’s images choreographed to the music of composer Philip Glass. The exhibit is divided in seven parts. It opens with “Elements,” introduced by a poem by Lanting and photos of his interpretation of Earth’s early history, before life. Hence, images of a volcano at dawn in Hawaii, a waterfall in Brazil, and the Sun shining through a group of icicles in Antarctica, hinting at the five classical elements: earth, air, fire, water, and space. The theme, “Beginnings,” itself begins with an image of a Geyser at dawn in Nevada, shot with a strobe that illuminates the green strand of cyanobacteria growing on its dome and spewing boiling water into the morning sky. “Cyanobacteria were the first life forms to convert sunlight and water into energy through photosynthesis, releasing oxygen 30

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FRANS LANTING AT EDGE OF VOLCANO, HAWAII/WWW.LANTING.COM

FRANS LANTING AND CHRISTINE ECKSTROM AT EDGE OF VOLCANO, HAWAII/WWW.LANTING.COM


VOLCANO AT DAWN, HAWAII, USA © FRANS LANTING/WWW.LANTING.COM


TIDAL SURGE, NEW ZEALAND © FRANS LANTING/WWW.LANTING.COM

FLOWER HAT JELLY, CALIFORNIA, USA © FRANS LANTING/WWW.LANTING.COM


SPOTLIGHT

as a by-product,” Lanting explains. The section also includes images of stromatolites, diatoms, fossils, ocean jellies, and schooling fish. “Out of the Sea” is devoted to life as it went ashore, suggested by photos of a whisk fern in Hawaii, a land snail in California, and a leatherback sea turtle in Surinam. For “On Land,” Lanting and Eckstrom travelled to the Galapagos Islands, stepping into the footsteps of Darwin, shooting giant tortoises by moonlight to represent an epoch dominated by reptilian giants. “I wanted to make each image true to a certain period of time without showing anything that evolved later on,” Lanting says. From there, the story takes off with “Into the Air,” first featuring a photo of a frigate bird with its wings flapping in twilight, symbolizing the time when reptiles became capable of flight and pterosaurs were still around. Other photos of exotic birds and flowers include images of a hummingbird feeding on a ginger flower and water lilies spreading their leaves to absorb light from the sun. These pictures stress the beauty wiped out when an asteroid hit the earth about 65 million years ago, causing mass extinction. The show shifts to “Out of the Dark,” focusing on the era of the rise of mammals with a series of stunning photographs: a jumping kangaroo in Australia, zebras grazing in the grasslands of Kenya, an elephant and an antelope standing peacefully side by side, while sipping water at a lake in Botswana. At the very end, a photo of a chimpanzee hangs next to the image of a human fetus, implying the evolution from ape to man. The exhibition closes with “Planet of Life,” showing Lanting’s vision of the collective force of life as a sixth element, inspired by James Lovelock’s Gaia theory. Whether or not we agree with Lanting’s vision and the theories he touches upon, his exhibit makes us aware of our fragility and of how precious our planet and its life are. –––– Life: A Journey Through Time October 24, 2015 - March 20, 2016 Annenberg Space for Photography 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067 ––––

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PHOTO: Š SARAH HADLEY

3 days of photography exhibitions, photobooks and artist talks. April 29-May 1, 2016 Raleigh Studios, Hollywood photoindependent.com


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PHOTO © STEPHEN BUSKEN


SEAN YASHAR: A DESIGN INDUSTRY LEADER MAKES HIS OWN FUN —

WORDS SHANA NYS DAMBROT IMAGES COURTESY OF SEAN YASHER/AUX

About five years ago,

irrepressibly exuberant design consultant Sean Yashar had one of those sparkling, brilliant ideas of breathtaking clarity and revolutionary potential, the kind so seismic they change not only a life, but an entire industry; the kind so often born when one asks the simplest of questions; the kind that start with “How come no one’s ever…?” and the answer, it turns out, is you’re the one. “A designer,” said iconic architect Buckminster Fuller, is “an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist.” The idea that independent designers, makers, and venues might benefit from the same kind of marketing representation, audience development, and promotional support as musicians, actors, writers, architects—and, increasingly, visual artists—have long relied on, may seem obvious now. But when Yashar founded his LA-based decorative arts branding and management company, The Culture Creative, in 2010, such a thing barely existed in the design industry. It’s still fairly rare.


PROFILE

Yashar grew up in LA, and he knew exactly how executive producers and agents and managers figured into the culture business. In the course of building his own independent practice as an interior design professional, he had occasion to interact with patrons, clients, consumers, media, designers and fabricators, buyers, curators, and event producers, but hardly ever at the same time. These interdependent islands in the decorative arts archipelago were accustomed to operating hermetically; forcing design consultants like Yashar to practice an unwieldy shuttle diplomacy that he sensed was blocking the free flow of ideas, obstructing rather than facilitating communication between artists and audiences. At a certain point, he found himself wondering, how come no one’s out there identifying and advocating for emerging talent? We have the makers, we have the patrons, we have the world’s attention. How come no one has been able to bring them together? LA is already an international creative hub, in other words, and Yashar realized it was time we started acting like it. From the start, The Culture Creative was more than a practical matter of streamlining logistics. It was about opening lines of communication. By connecting dots between interested parties, Yashar built a client roster that became its own community, with the combined resources to cultivate ideas at every stage, from inception to completion to appreciation and placement. Depending on the circumstances, Yashar’s clients can do everything you can think of and stuff you didn’t even know you needed, from ad campaigns to licensing agreements, brand identity, deal brokering, collaboration, sponsorship, commission wrangling, cross-platform media strategy, event planning, industry networking, product launching, and website design. As Yashar sees it, “everything I do is connected through a common thread,” and his roster of clients and projects reflect his eclectic ambitions. From young talents he can discover and support as they develop their voices to established figures who are ready to go to the next level; from stores, showrooms, museums and galleries to trade summits and entire neighborhoods, Yashar is basically the world’s most elegant incarnation of “a guy who knows a guy.” All of this has made him a bit of a wunderkind among design-world insiders. But to the general public, he’s probably best known for his role as programming director for the La Cienega Design Quarter’s annual design event LEGENDS and for branding as well as co-creating (with Darren Gold) the West Hollywood Design District’s DIEM (Design Intersects Everything Made) festival.

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PROFILE

DEVICES

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PHOTO © ROGER DAVIES


PHOTO © ROGER DAVIES


PROFILE

PHOTO Š ROGER DAVIES

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PROFILE

After DIEM’s wildly popular inaugural edition in 2012, its unique template of discussions, exhibitions, tours, and interdisciplinary mixers has been thriving under the leadership of luminaries like Frances Anderton and Mallery Roberts Morgan. Yashar could not be happier. “The spirit of what we envisioned is flourishing,” he enthuses. “I’m very proud.” In contrast to such large-scale projects, Yashar has unveiled AUX (pronounced “auxiliary”), The Culture Creative’s in-house production wing, with the goal of promoting experimental design, art, and craft through the release of original limited editions, often as an accessible way of introducing emerging designers directly to new audiences. For example, AUX’s second release is Devices, an edition of 39 unique sculptures by Sean Brian McDonald, composed of mysterious, vaguely geological objects made of cotton, silk, chiffon, paper, Styrofoam, and enamel whose contours and heft mimic smartphones but are completely functionless. Unless, like Yashar, you regard disrupting assumptions, shifting the quality of attention paid to ordinary things, using the language of design to generate meaningful personal experiences, and offering wry social commentary as “functions.” “I think of my office as a creative space,” says Yashar. “I love working with clients; helping them realize their vision is so rewarding. And there’s always an opportunity to educate my clientele, to expand their awareness of what is possible. But ultimately that process is about parameters and compromise. At AUX I can do whatever I want. Working on direct creative collaborations with my artists is personally very fulfilling, and I deeply appreciate having both avenues to express what I’m about.” What he’s really about, at heart, is being interested in the stories we tell ourselves through the things that surround us. As Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius once remarked, “Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.” Web fabrik.la

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IRON DOME. MIX MEDIA ON CANVAS. 81” X 72”

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LIDIA SHADDOW PAINTINGS AND PRINTS


PROFILE

THE LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION LEGACY VISIONARY SUPPORT FOR EMERGING ARTISTS —

WORDS MEGAN ABRAHAMS IMAGES COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION

Here in the heart of Hollywood, the equivalent of a casting call for visual artists seems entirely appropriate. Not unlike its entertainment industry counterpart, the art world is a fiercely competitive realm. Recognizing this, one organization has been devoted to helping emerging artists gain a foothold for much of the last century. Two or three times a year, the Los Angeles Art Association (LAAA) holds new artist screenings, accepting entries from emerging painters, sculptors, photographers, creators of assemblage, multimedia, collage, installations and video—not in competition for a role, but vying for membership. The dynamic art organization, which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2015, is a trove of resources and support for its artist members and a vital player in the LA art scene. In addition to programs geared to help its members build their careers, LAAA’s 2,100 square foot exhibition space, Gallery 825, provides a platform allowing emerging artists to gain exposure to collectors, curators, gallerists, and critics. In an interview at the gallery on a quiet November afternoon, Peter Mays, LAAA executive director since 2005, said, “It’s about their talent. We’re just giving them some opportunities and resources to develop it a little bit.” As noted, LAAA embraces a stunning diversity of artists pursuing a broad array of artistic disciplines. Today, there are more than 500 members, roughly 60 percent female, ranging in age from 18 to 80, with a concentration in the 20- to 35-year-old age range. Once they become members, artists have access to numerous services such as portfolio reviews, career advice, peer critique 50

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PROFILE

groups, workshops, and mentoring opportunities to help them on their paths. Of the nearly 200 artists who apply in each wave, about 20 percent are admitted after review by jury panel (a different panel each time). Annual dues are $290, with scholarships available to financially disadvantaged artists after the first year. The organization holds an annual benefit auction and other fundraising efforts to support this and other initiatives. “Artists are amazingly talented folks,” Mays said, “and both the market and the world outside force them into being marketers of their work, spokespeople for their work, writers about their work. They’re expressing themselves visually initially, and that should be applauded, but the rest of the world is forcing them into these other discrete areas. It’s a need we can help them meet.” In her recent solo show Fragmented Realities: City of Dreams, Teale Hatheway, an LAAA member since 2011, explored a dramatic concept. Mounted in the Wurdemann Gallery, the windowless back space of Gallery 825, Hatheway’s installation featured painted panels suspended from the ceiling,

THE LEGENDARY EDWARD G. ROBINSON SERVED ON LAAA’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS.


PROFILE

stenciled maps and prose chronicling different emotional responses to the city. A sort of artistic preservationist, Hatheway extrapolates design elements like cornices, lampposts and other Los Angeles architectural motifs, paying homage to the city’s history. Itself entwined in the history of the city, LAAA has played a leading role in the local art community since its inception in 1925. Originally named the Museum Patrons’ Association, the non-profit organization has evolved dramatically from its initial raison-d’être, to offer the community an opportunity to view art and to build a collection of European and American art “for the people of Los Angeles.” In 1933 that collection was given to LACMA and the organization shifted its attention to local artists. Several art-world notables played leadership roles in shaping the destiny of the LAAA. Lorser Feitelson, renowned hard-edge painter and host of the 1960s NBC series, Art in Our Times, served as LAAA director for many years, as did Helen Wurdemann, then Art in America’s Los Angeles correspondent Wurdemann, in particular, was a stabilizing force who steered the organization through much of its early development. Under Wurdemann’s leadership, the capital was raised to purchase the space at 825 North La Cienega Boulevard, a former shoe store, where LAAA has been located since 1961. The alumni roster includes art world luminaries such as Feitelson, Helen Lundeberg, Man Ray, Hans Burkhardt, Jules Engel, Rico LeBrun, Joe Mugaini, Millard Sheets, June Wayne, Frank Romero, and Jirayr Zorthian. In recent years, Mays, who sees his role as that of a public art advocate, has expanded LAAA’s programming to include participation in local, national, and international art fairs and events, broadening the reach for member artists. Also invaluable is the exposure LAAA artists have to galleries and curators from museums like LACMA, the Hammer, MOCA, SFMoMA, and Mass MoCA. While outside experts have long participated in Gallery 825 programming, under Mays’ leadership exhibition protocol has expanded to maximize the placing of LAAA artists’ work before art-world decision makers. “We gave outside jurors full autonomy on all our programming,” said Mays, a curator himself. “Now, literally, 98 percent of everything you see here or off site is juried by an outside curator.” One recent exhibit Chestnut was curated by Walter Maciel, owner of the eponymous Culver City gallery. The group show, which was on display this past

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PROFILE

LAAA PRESENTED ELYSE WYMAN’S POWERFUL AND PERSONAL EXHIBITION “CONCEAL/REVEAL” AT GALLERY 825

LAAA ARTIST MARILYN LOWEY’S RECENT INSTALLATION AT GALLERY 825

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LAAA ARTIST RACHEL KASTER’S SCULPTURE “HATCHING”


PROFILE

October, explored narrative in contemporary art, even as connoted in abstract work. Commenting on the latitude and criteria of his selection process, Maciel said in an email interview, “The show sort of became a conceptual novel with subjects and themes weaving in and out. The abstractions were necessary to add different types of narrative that make their points within the context of the figurative and realist works. I chose works that were engaging because of content and/ or use of materials but ultimately spoke to me and my personal taste.” In concert with its exhibitions, Gallery 825 hosts monthly Conversations with the Artists, inviting the public to engage in informal dialogue with artists whose work is on view. At last November’s Conversation about three solo exhibits and Chestnut, Mays listened in, contributed insights and prompted the artists to reveal more about the personal motivation behind their work, much like a proud dad taking an active interest in the exploits of his kids. Again, the main purpose of all this is to get recognition for the artists of LAAA and to help them launch viable careers. As such, unlike a commercial gallery, Mays is delighted when a gallerist comes along and takes away an LAAA artist. “We reside outside the art world politic by virtue of our non-profit status, and also the way we function,” Mays observes. “We want the artists in here to get poached. We don’t have a proprietary interest in them. At our openings sometimes you will see other gallerists here. There’s no conflict.” Taking stock of everything Gallery 825 offers, Mays zeroes in on what may be its most important attribute: community building. “The community is really a big part of who we are,” Mays said. “I think this is kind of a safe place for artists.” In a related observation, Teale Hatheway said what she had valued most about her LAAA affiliation were the contacts she’s made among both artists and guest curators. Since her solo show, though, she has reassessed. “Today, I would say, far and away, the greatest value for me was my recent exhibition. LAAA is not a dainty organization. The competition is stiff and growing in numbers, but the non-profit nature of the space is ripe for experimentation and risk. The combination of those two qualities really forced and allowed me to push my proposal further… LAAA is a great opportunity for artists who are inclined to think big.”

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SPOTLIGHT

ART IN SEASON THE LOS ANGELES FAIRS —

WORDS PHIL TARLEY

Art in Los Angeles is always in season. Whether contemporary, modern, or works from ages past, this year’s line up of art extravaganzas delivers objets from every genre. Each exhibition offers up art to stir our hearts and minds and to inflame our desire to acquire. LA’s art fairs bring us daring dealers, clever celebrities, art parties, art stars and, hopefully, the rare, world-changing artwork that can bring our soul and intellect to places we have never been before. Hooray for the dizzying array of Los Angeles art shows! I can hardly wait for them to start; there are so many hungry walls needing to be fed.

PHOTO LA JANUARY 21-24, 2016 THE REEF/LA MART, DOWNTOWN LA

Photo LA, now in its 25th year, is the longest-running fine art fair west of the Hudson—not just Mississippi—River. Stephen Cohen, the fair’s impresario, is spot-on with his pick of Regen Projects’ James Welling as the fair’s photographer guest-of-honor. Welling’s scintillating use of color and abstracted superimposition in his large-scale inkjet prints is both thrilling and intelligent. His latest body of work, “Choreograph,” opening at Regen Projects on February 20th, will preview at the fair. Downtown LA has become an international destination for art patrons and enthusiasts. The Broad Museum is a fresh magnet hot-spot, and the arrival of new cutting-edge and blue chip galleries such as Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel 56

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SPOTLIGHT

JAMES WELLING, 7690, 2015, INKJET PRINT ON RAG PAPER, 42’’X 63”. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND REGEN PROJECTS.

add to the creative vitality of DTLA, a vitality Photo L.A. is also very much a part of. Last year, the fair’s REEF location attracted 12,000 visitors. Programs this year will include lectures, roundtable discussions, panels, docent tours, book signings, and various installations. In an age when we are all invested in the nebulous space of the Internet, it’s an epicurean, urban joy for the photographic community to come together corporeally in a shared experience of brilliant art and commerce. For tickets and more info, visit www.photola.com.

LOS ANGELES PRINT FAIR JANUARY 22-24, 2016 BONHAMS ON SUNSET BOULEVARD, WEST HOLLYWOOD

Continuing a 29-year tradition, the Los Angeles Print Fair returns to a new location, at Bonhams auction house on Sunset Boulevard, in West Hollywood. Collectors in the know flock to this venerable Los Angeles fair. The opening night festivities, Friday, January 22, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., benefit Self Help Graphics. All attendees are entered into a raffle for a framed artwork by Frank Romero.  Exhibitors, all members of the International Fine Print Dealers

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SPOTLIGHT

GOING TO THE OLYMPICS BY FRANK ROMERO. SERIGRAPH. 20 X 53 INCHES. IMAGE COURTESY OF WARNOCK FINE ARTS.

Association (IFPDA), are experts in the field of fine-art multiples. On offer are etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and other kinds of prints created by artists of historical importance. For tickets and more info, visit www.losangeles-fineprintfair.com

LOS ANGELES ART SHOW: A NEW FOCUS FOR 2016 JANUARY 27-31, 2016 LOS ANGELES CONVENTION CENTER, DOWNTOWN LA

This behemoth of an art show, now in its 21st year, has been reawakened and renewed. Last year, a brilliant incandescence shined out from every corner of this vast exhibition. A curatorial synergy rose like a phoenix, up into a new realm of world-class luxury, organizing the art into highly cohesive sections. I spent most of my time in the contemporary part of the fair where a genius grouping of international galleries served up a potent mix of edgy, thoughtful work. Opening night—this show has a colossal vernissage—attracted some of the most beautiful women in Los Angeles. Draped in wonderfully sexy, low-cut dresses, swathed in fur and dripping with jewels, these women glistened and throbbed with glamour. (Sadly, the men were not so memorable.) This edition of the LA Art Show has refined its focus, in order to bring us a different kind of fair. For 2016, the promoters have split the exhibition into two sections. One of these main events, the Los Angeles Art Show, will be devoted to only modern and contemporary art. Located next door, the Los Angeles Fine Art Show will exhibit historic and traditional artworks. The LA Art show is

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SPOTLIGHT

one of the world’s largest such events, occupying 200,000 square feet of exhibition space and boasting close to 60,000 attendees last year. As I said, it’s a really big show. For tickets and more info, visit www.laartshow.com

MARK RYDEN, ANGEL OF MEAT. COURTESY BG GALLERY, SANTA MONICA—AT THE LA ART SHOW.

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SPOTLIGHT

ART LOS ANGELES CONTEMPORARY JANUARY 28–31, 2016 BARKER HANGAR, SANTA MONICA AIRPORT

Now in its seventh year, Art Los Angeles Contemporary is a smart, elegant, worldly, doggedly intelligent show, featuring work that can be sophisticated and edgy at the same time. I am always surprised and delighted by this fair’s fare. ALAC returns to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, with 40,000 square feet of exhibition space and soaring 40-foot ceilings. ALAC features blue chip and emerging galleries from around the world, with a strong focus on those from Los Angeles. Participants present the latest works from their rosters, offering an informed cross-section of what is happening now. The exhibition provides a cultured, urbane environment for art collectors, curators, and patrons of the arts.

VERENA DENGLER. YOUNG MALE PAINTER CHANNELLNG FALCO GAZING AT KEITH FARQUHAR’S NEON VAGINAS THROUGH CHANEL-STYLE CHAMPION LOGOS, 2015. OIL, ACRYLIC, GRAPHITE AND HANDSTITCHED EMBROIDERY ON CANVAS. 51 3/16 X 74 13/16 INCHES (130 X 190 CM).

This year, Marc LeBlanc, ALAC’s curator of events and programming, has organized an expanded program of talks and lectures. In addition, the fair hosts a series of artist seminars, film screenings, and performance series. Special events are staged on site at the art fair as well as throughout the city in satellite locations. For tickets and more info, visit www.artlosangelesfair.com 60

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SPOTLIGHT

FABRIK EXPO JANUARY 29–31, 2016 WILLOW STUDIOS, ARTS DISTRICT, DOWNTOWN LA

In its inaugural year, Fabrik Expo—a project developed and produced by this publication’s parent company, Fabrik Media, Inc.—envisions itself as a unique platform for emerging, established, and unrepresented artists, designers, and collaborative groups to proffer their work to a global audience. This exhibition is all about independent presentation. The Expo is meant to be a catalyst for an intensely-charged, dynamic exchange of creative ideas and processes. The organizers have conceived a place “where curators, collectors, writers and gallerists can form meaningful connections with artists that can, hopefully, last a lifetime.” This conceptually diverse exhibition is the sister show to Photo Independent, successfully launched in 2014 as the first photography-only artist fair of its kind. Fabrik Media, producer of both shows, supports art-makers by providing innovative venues for their work to be exhibited, published and represented by a network of insightful, prescient art-world professionals. Fabrik Expo’s debut at Willow Studios, a 30,000-square-foot indoor/ outdoor film production and event venue, is an auspicious cultural marker for DTLA. As a provocative nexus of creative innovation, the fair is being held in the central enclave of LA’s ever-evolving and internationally known Arts District, the urban engine that drives the city’s most progressive and eclectic visual culture. For tickets and more info, visit fabrikexpo.com

VOYAGE THROUGH THE VOID. © NOBUHO NAGASAWA—FABRIK EXPO

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SPOTLIGHT

STARTUP FAIR LA JANUARY 29-31, 2016 HIGHLAND GARDENS HOTEL 7047 FRANKLIN AVENUE, HOLLYWOOD

Hollywood hipsters brace yourselves. Prepare for the onslaught of culture vultures descending on Los Angeles for this wild art-fair-driven weekend, to hit central Hollywood too. StARTup Fair LA—sister fair of the eponymous San Francisco version—mimes the grand mini-genre of hotel art displayed and arrayed from room to room. This is stARTup’s first year in the Southland after its successful debut up north. Co-founders Ray Beldner and Steve Zavattero are riding the nouveau trend of the artist-driven fair, where exhibitor-artists pay for the space and keep one hundred percent of their sales. Since stARTtup stages in a hotel, the fees the artists pay for this fair include two nights at the hotel, complimentary continental breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and all hotel and occupancy taxes too. Such a deal. Done well, hotel presentation can be fun and worth a visit if the art is good and the artists get up in time to make their beds, properly. For tickets and more info, visit www.startupartfair.com

KATHY AOKI. CANOPIC JARS (OF GWEN STEFANI), 2009. CERAMIC. 15” X 5” X 5”—STARTUP FAIR LA

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SPOTLIGHT

CLASSIC PHOTOGRAPHS LOS ANGELES JANUARY 30–31, 2016 BONHAMS, 7601 W. SUNSET BLVD., LOS ANGELES

Vintage, Modern and Contemporary Photography Classic Photographs Los Angeles began in 2010 when a small group of leading galleries and photography dealers, looking for an alternative to oversized art fairs, organized an intimate photography show at the Michael Dawson Gallery in Los Angeles. The following year, three of the original participants, Michael Dawson, Amanda Doenitz, and Richard Moore, formed Classic Photographs LLC and expanded the size and scope of the show while preserving the emphasis on quality of work and expertise of exhibitors. Sweet and small, Classic Photographs Los Angeles is one of my favorite fairs. I bought a wonderful retro-colored Chinese opera print there last year. For tickets and more info, visit www.classicphotographsla.com

WILLIAM EGGLESTON. UNTITLED [PINK BATHROOM], 1970-1973. 20 X 16 INCH DYE TRANSFER PRINT. NUMBER FIVE IN A LIMITED EDITION OF TEN. FROM THE EGGLESTON ARTISTIC TRUST, THE COLLECTION OF THE ARTIST. COURTESY ROSE GALLERY, SANTA MONICA—CLASSIC PHOTOGRAPHS LOS ANGELES.

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SPOTLIGHT

PALM SPRINGS FINE ART FAIR FEBRUARY 11-14, 2016 PALM SPRINGS CONVENTION CENTER

The Palm Springs Fine Art Fair may be the most relaxed event of the season. East Coasters come to the desert to warm up; Angelenos come to chill out. Scheduled over the extended President’s Day Weekend coinciding with Palm Springs Modernism Week, the art fair offers an eclectic mix of modern and contemporary art in the tranquil and trendy Coachella Valley desert resort. According to the fair’s website, The City of Palm Springs announced in 2015 that last President’s Day weekend set a record for the largest number of visitors in its history. Hundreds of art works found new homes and robust art sales were recorded by most of the 66 exhibiting galleries. The opening night event is a benefit for the Palm Springs Museum. For tickets and more info, visit www.palmspringsfineartfair.com

ANDY MOSES, MORPHOLOGY 1505, 2015, ACRYLIC ON POLYCARBONATE MOUNTED ON CONCAVE WOOD PANEL, 54X78 INCHES. PHOTO BY ALAN SHAFFER, COURTESY OF WILLIAM TURNER GALLERY— PALM SPRINGS FINE ART FAIR.

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SPOTLIGHT

PHOTO INDEPENDENT APRIL 29-MAY 1, 2016 RALEIGH STUDIOS, ACROSS THE STREET FROM PARIS PHOTO ON MELROSE AVENUE, HOLLYWOOD

Photo Independent’s stated mission is to forge opportunities for photographic artists and photobook publishers to be discovered by global audiences, and what better time and place for that than during LA’s Month of Photography. Year three of Photo Independent, produced by Fabrik Media Inc., creator of Fabrik Magazine, ArtCapitol.com and Fabrik Expo, further

DENNIS HOPPER. PHOTOGRAPH BY SCOTT CAAN—PHOTO INDEPENDENT.

establishes a respected venue for high-caliber, under-represented photographic artists who cannot participate in gallery-based art fairs. At Photo Independent, image makers can present their works directly to appreciative international photophile audiences that have gathered together in Los Angeles to attend the various fairs and exhibitions. Spread across the soundstages and theaters at the Raleigh Studios, across the street from Paramount, Photo Independent and its sister program

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SPOTLIGHT

Photobook Independent provide artists with a unique opportunity. Exhibiting photographers can present their work to curators, galleries, collectors, editors and publishers who seek to acquire, and commission the best photographic talent today. This year’s edition of specialized programs, seminars, artist talks, and private portfolio reviews provides a distinctive forum for exchanges between artists and the professional photographic community. For tickets and more info, visit photoindependent.com

PARIS PHOTO/LOS ANGELES APR 29 -MAY 1, 2016 PARAMOUNT PICTURES STUDIOS • MELROSE AVENUE, HOLLYWOOD

Can our city sustain four potent photography fairs—Photo LA, Paris Photo, Photo Independent and Classic Photographs—all in one art season? You bet it can. In fact, I think we’ll have five by 2017. Photography is the incendiary art form of our age, and Los Angeles, the quintessential image tastemaker and taste-breaker, has always boasted a dynamic photographic as well as cinematic identity. From thousands of head shots full of Hollywood dreams to Getty Museum photographic classicism and on to the colossal images that mark (or mar) our phantasmagorical billboards on Sunset and Wilshire Boulevards, Los Angeles relies on the photograph more than any other city on earth. Paris Photo Los Angeles bills itself as the world’s most celebrated art fair for works created in the photographic medium. The Fair is held each spring at Paramount Pictures Studios, the ideal setting for exploring how artists have been and are using still and moving images in the 20th and 21st centuries. Paris Photo Los Angeles exhibitors present historical and contemporary bodies of work, cutting-edge solo shows, and book projects by renowned and emerging artists in Paramount Pictures’ soundstages and, in delightful incongruity, on their back-lot movie-set replica of New York City streets. Built around cultural events involving artists, collectors, and cultural institutions, Paris Photo Los Angeles, includes the Sound & Vision series of conversations and screenings as well as unveils little-known or never-before-seen photographic material. Paris Photo Los Angeles 2015 hosted 79 galleries and art book dealers, the roster including work from more than 17 countries. For tickets and more info, visit www.parisphoto.com/losangeles

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Fast sacks. Safe sacks. ArtSacks. Say goodbye to piles of bubble wrap, rolls of packing tape, stacks of cardboard and hours of packing and unpacking your artworks for shows, exhibitions and fairs. This is pretty simple. Slip you work into one of our felt sacks, flop the top over, and you’re on your way. It’s even faster to unpack. What used to be hours, is now minutes. All the time protecting your valuable work from chips, dings and scratches. There are 9 sizes that hold artwork from 16” x 20” up to 50” x 72”, with extra padding around the bottom, which allows you to put your art down safely just about anywhere. Check us out at www.ArtSacks.net.

ArtSacks. For the sake of your art. ©2015 Bochworks LLC


FRESH FACES IN ART: ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

EMERGENT PRESENCE BY ARTRA CURATORIAL | ARTRA Curatorial is comprised of Max Presneill (MP), Kio Griffith (KG) & Colton Stenke (CS)

WILLIAM BRADLEY In mutating various methodologies of painting’s past, Bradley utilizes Photoshop to order the information. This allows his work to investigate the languages of painting distanced from the original source and with a dispassionate eye. Of course, during the actual painting, some intuitive elements return, but they are subordinate to the conceptual structures of his process. The results are bold and bright abstract paintings that remind us of the history of abstraction, of doodling and mark-making through the lens of formal planning, leaving in question the role of the artist’s hand while simultaneously exploiting it. (MP). http://www.william-bradley.co.uk

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(ABOVE) ONE GOOD REASON, 2015, OIL ON CANVAS, 79 X 69 IN. (LEFT) BOUNDLESS OCEAN, 2015, OIL ON CANVAS, 79 X 69 IN.


FRESH FACES IN ART: ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

TED BYRNES Assimilations of constructed pitches waste away into an ad hoc arrangement of undifferentiated fields where wood, metal and any other material in percussionist Ted Byrnes’ striking range, weld, shred, transpose and invert into a microtonal cyclone that could undulate deadening silence. In what could be a Formula One joyride, but unstrapped and seated haphazardly with a prepared instrument, i.e. power drill in one hand, Byrnes oscillates the dashboard of paraphernalia pushing limits, testing the physicality of the vernacular. Topological noise-scapes shift in rearrangements: its definitive encounter, real and free of subject/object bifurcation, leaves the listener unaware of any technicality, only to note conscientious maneuverings. (KG). http://tedbyrnesdrums.com

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(ABOVE) TED BYRNES / COREY FOGEL: PERCUSSION DUO LIVE PERFORMANCE. SATURDAY MAY 17, 2014. 356 S. MISSION RD. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALEXANDRA NOEL / 356 S. MISSION RD. (LEFT) TED BYRNES LIVE PERFORMANCE WITH MAZEN KERBAJ AT THE POP HOP IN HIGHLAND PARK (LOS ANGELES). PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIO GRIFFITH.


FRESH FACES IN ART: ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

HARRY DODGE Dodge navigates through his intellectual obsessions with playful and absurd mixed media sculptures (and accompanying drawings), assembled from the found detritus of urban living. They are colorful, visceral, and fun, but a little threatening, like clowns or fools. And like the role fools traditionally inhabited, they are likely to speak their truth regardless of what one may want to hear, to the bane of kings throughout history. Related to his own body, they are informal, ad-hoc, transient, and provisional. They seek a physical, bodily, “real” relationship in a cyborgian social network existence that leaves us alienated from the world and each other at times: lewd, rude and dangerous to know. (MP). http://harrydodge.com

(ABOVE) INSTALLATION VIEW, THE CYBERNETIC FOLD. (RIGHT) IT IS THE FACT THAT I AM ORIENTED TOWARD THE ’NOT ME’ THAT ALLOWS ME TO DO THIS OR TO DO THAT.

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FRESH FACES IN ART: ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

DWYER KILCOLLIN Using an elaborate algorithmic process of hand-casting stone, glass, resin and other materials, Kilcollin creates sculptural works that sometimes are freestanding, often wall mounted, typically emanate a sense of weight, history and memory. They are archeological digs in reverse, placing layer upon layer to construct the reminders of presence through absence. The somehow blurred perceptual experience is finely balanced by the raw factuality of the works. As testaments to fleeting moments forever caught, they inhabit a condensed space that is both poignant and nostalgic but very now, very raw. (MP). http://www.dwyerkilcollin.com

(ABOVE) BANQUET, CONFERENCE, 2015. GRANITE, FELDSPAR, CALCIUM CARBONATE, RESIN. 43 X 102 X 71 INCHES. IMAGE COURTESY M+B GALLERY, LOS ANGELES.

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(ABOVE) SUNNY 5PM BOOK, 1ST POSITION, 2014. SILICA, GLASS, CALCIUM CARBONATE, FELDSPAR, DIRT, PINE NEEDLES, UV-RESISTANT RESIN, BRONZE HARDWARE. 22.125 X 16.5 X 3.5 INCHES. IMAGE COURTESY M+B GALLERY, LOS ANGELES.


FRESH FACES IN ART: ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

NATE PAGE Public intervention in a designed environment can animate surfaces, mobilize boundaries that unfold into immeasurable expansions in their use, and turn private space inside out into public domain. Nate Page investigates the intangible issues of psychological significance that tend to be ignored in environmental decisions. While each one of us is a nodal point in this action to manifest biophilia; straddling nature and community; privacy and alienation, the paradox of living among modern architecture and the quest for functional engagement is a reconsideration in extending our sensibilities, unlocking the visual aperture without making permanent changes. (KG). http://www.natepage.com

(RIGHT) INSTITUTED ANGLES OF PATH AND DISPLAY, 2013 IRON HANDRAIL, LUMBER, DRYWALL, 18’ X 5’ X 60’. ARMORY CENTER FOR THE ARTS, PASADENA CA. (BELOW) COUCHBLEACHERS, 2015. WOOD, LOCALLY COLLECTED COUCHES, 15’H X 55’W X 15’ D. VERGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS, SACRAMENTO CA.

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FRESH FACES IN ART: ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

DAVID SPANBOCK Spanbock’s large formal controlled sweeps of the brush, laden with limited palette ranges, both engage with aspects of painting, particularly abstract expressionism, while refuting the emotionalism of the gestural movement. The paintings rely on the basics—color, stroke, materiality, and composition—but retain their identity as markers of time and experience, if indirect and diffused. The gesture that he does use is straight, from one side to another, a discreet unit amongst many. The inter-relationship between these units offers a metaphor for society as much as our own histories, of actions and memories of those. (MP). http://www.davidspanbock.com

(ABOVE) TPOT, 2015. ACRYLIC ON PANEL, 24” X 18”

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(ABOVE) TPOT, 2015. ACRYLIC ON LINEN, 48” X 30”


FRESH FACES IN ART: ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

SUNÉ WOODS When intimacies fall short of meeting in the middle, an unassuming nameless companion and moment reclaim the silent space in between. Returning home to uncover proof and notice the unbearable flattened facts that mean no more than an idle swim, buoyant and suspended in time, disrobing in short breaths that utter muted doubt. Suné Woods’ video installations, photographs and collages are lenses that could be corrected but are not. Purposely interpreting the dialogue of absence, cultural vulnerabilities and eradicated social memories, Woods’ characters, human or non-human, play out the waiting game of recapturing a regrettable script. The testament is the process of baring oneself, humanity’s intricate condition, the intensity and sophistication hard to ignore. Yet by the end, neither the narrator nor the reader can doubt that this is precisely what has happened. (KG). http://www.sunewoods.com

(RIGHT TOP) CHAOS (RIGHT BOTTOM) ESCAPISTS (BOTTOM) ESCAPISTS

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FRESH FACES IN ART: ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

KIM YE Power identities and fetish roles outstrip partner selections, manifesting carnal knowledge of the nth degree in Kim Ye’s open source locker room politics. Her performances are corporeal prescriptions: sculptures of desire, paintings of allure, installations and video which are bondage lairs, irresistibly inviting booby traps that provoke but ease into the unexplored, unconventional and the damned. Ye’s influences leave nothing unturned. The sexuality-based paradigm is punk, revolutionary and necessary; roused from BDSM philosophy, it presents multitudes of intercoursed quantum physics; collaboration, intimacy, and conversation about residing in the body you are in and communing with the corporate subculture. (KG). http://kimye.com

(ABOVE) CAPTIVE AUDIENCE, 2015. LATEX, WIRE. 104” X 48” X 2” (RIGHT) INSTALLATION, 2015. ASTROTURF, GROMMETS, THREAD, STRETCHER BARS, LATEX, EMBROIDERY HOOP, VINYL, ZIPPER, ARTICULATING WALL MOUNT.

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REVIEWS HAMMER MUSEUM UH-OH: FRANCES STARK (1991-2015) (OCTOBER 11, 2015—JANUARY 24, 2016) Words Simone Kussatz

Although the Frances Stark exhibition almost stings you with its revelation of highly personal information, it is still very engaging. It celebrates language and communication, from base utterances to highly developed stages, thus from humans’ first single words to contemporary multilinguality. The show juxtaposes informal language with academic jargon, letter writing with current forms of digital communication, and literary writing with songwriting. In particular, Stark’s fondness for lettering and alphabets is visible everywhere, from the show’s title to elaborate collages in which they appear, sometimes repetitiously, other times exuberantly, as in the letter spirals of her Chorus Girl series. Stark’s love for language shouldn’t come as a surprise, as her mother was a telephone operator and her father involved in the

BOBBY JESUS’S ALMA MATER B/W READING THE BOOK DAVID AND/OR PAYING ATTENTION IS FREE, (2013). PHOTO: BRIAN CONLEY.

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printing business. Her oeuvre, however, goes much deeper than that. Many of her works touch upon important social and political issues. One such issue is men’s fear of emasculation, apparent in Stark’s video My Best Thing (2011)—the highlight of the exhibit, shown also at the 2011 Venice Biennale—in which an American woman and an Italian man get involved via Chatroullette and he leaves her as soon as her career begins to take off. Stark’s social sense also expresses itself in her mixed media piece Memento Mori I (2013), shedding light on the situation of the unemployed, especially the underemployed intellectual. Her works also make a strong and varied feminist statement, particularly in her series If Conceited Girls want to show they have a seat (2008), inspired by Goya’s Capricho Ya tienen asiento in which the presence of a chair disrupts the traditional order of things, and her Bobby Jesus-inspired pieces including Behold Man! (2013) and multi-channel projection Bobby Jesus’s Alma Mater b/w Reading the Book David and/or Paying Attention is Free, (2013), in which women are cast as artistic masters and men as their muses.

L.A. LOUVER, VENICE MATT WEDEL: PEACEABLE FRUIT (NOVEMBER 13—DECEMBER 30, 2015) Words Kathleen Whitney

Peaceable Fruit presented large-scale ceramic sculptures that emphasize Wedel’s preoccupation with figurative and botanical imagery. The work is largely narrative and draws on archetypal themes. (Wedel has stated that the exhibition’s title “… is a kind of hopeful signifier and idealized blueprint in understanding the future of humanity.”) Wedel’s work reflects his awareness of various folk and vernacular sources, including figurative majolica and the works of Henri Rousseau, Gustav Vigeland, and Edward Hicks (whose Peaceable Kingdom cycle lent its name to this series). Wedel’s ceramic sculpture, not only a technical tour de force in terms of material and surface, is produced at an astonishingly large scale. Yet he doesn’t aim for spectacle; size is commensurate with concept. The subtly colored botanical works resemble succulent plants, thick tubular forms with flowering crowns, oddly magnified so that the organic anarchy and perfervid nature of plant life are taken to the point of science-fiction parody. One of the largest pieces in the exhibition, Banana Tree, is a whorl of entangled stems and phallic protrusions culminating in several banana bunches too heavy to sustain their own weight. Wedel’s figures combine the heroic, poignant, and bathetic in equal measure, resulting in a fractured modernist classicism reminiscent of Picasso and

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MATT WEDEL. BANANA TREE, 2015. CERAMIC. 72 X 79 X 58 INCHES. COPYRIGHT MATT WEDEL. COURTESY OF L.A. LOUVER, VENICE, CALIFORNIA.

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Elie Nadelman. Figure with Heads is a creamy white, larger-than-life female nude bent over to caress a head resting at her feet, one of several bearing stylized, nearly identical features. This piece has dual meanings, referring to the loss of a child but also to the slaughter of the innocents. These objects would be neither credible nor possible in any other medium. They are embedded in a dialog with modernist figurative sculpture and maintain a restrained emotional narrative, earnest and devoid of irony. However grotesque, Wedel’s work is rooted firmly, and sweetly, in fantasy and myth.

LAUNCH LA, LOS ANGELES MARION LANE: NEW WORKS (NOVEMBER 14—DECEMBER 5, 2015) Words Megan Abrahams

With their reconfigured pudding-like puddles of blossoming color interlaced with psychedelic delectability, Marion Lane’s paintings are a sort of contemporary hybrid of the poured creations of Lynda Benglis and dazzling op-art innuendos – all accompanied by mysterious echoes of Aubrey Beardsley. Lane’s latest series of mesmerizing paintings integrates hard-edge angles with the soft, round shapes the artist forms with poured paint and a process of layered appliqué. Mostly eschewing painting’s traditional tools and techniques, she has perfected an innovative approach to the acrylic medium, creating abstract imagery that suggests morphing organic shapes flavored with a soupçon of the surreal. A recurring black and white theme can be seen in the largest work in the show, Untitled 5 (2015), a swirling sea of contrasting paint that was reproduced in wallpaper on some of the gallery walls. With their inventive composite forms superimposed on top of horizontal planes of color, other of the works vaguely suggested landscapes. The artist’s 2012 exhibit Adventures in Suntan Alley, depended more on the premise of landscape, setting or place. But these newer paintings stand on their own as paint-scapes, situated somewhere on the vibrant and limitless continuum of abstraction. They represent nothing except the whimsical visions conjured from Lane’s own imagination. Lane’s work manifests, in the purest sense, the aesthetically gratifying quality of a smooth surface supporting the dynamic interaction of form, shape and color. Having visited Lane’s magical world, the viewer can now become a part of it, as her motifs have been transformed into a collection of wearable art—clothing, jewelry and clutches patterned in the artist’s signature eye-candy—which accompanies the exhibit. Web fabrik.la

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MARION LANE. UNTITLED 4, 2015. ACRYLIC ON PANEL. 24” X 24”UNTITLED 4, 2015. COURTESY LAUNCH LA.

MACHINE PROJECT, LOS ANGELES PATRICK MICHAEL BALLARD: RETURN TO FOREVERHOUSE (OCTOBER 2—DECEMBER 14, 2015) Words Rebecca Leib

Machine Project always sets the bar high for ambiguous, whimsical programming, but Patrick Michael Ballard’s Return to Foreverhouse was one of its more intensely immersive installations. For one hour, the viewer and five close friends (or curious strangers) were invited into a task-based adventure featuring, but not limited to, bright lights, birthday parties, 1980s children’s programming, sexual surrealism, and prosthetic ears. 90

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Viewers—again only six, no more no less—were transported from an Echo Park street corner to velveteen puppet purgatory in an enigmatic miniature living room. When inside, the space’s bubblegum palette posed many challenges, in order to “free” human and non-human characters alike from what seemed the haunted remains of a children’s television variety hour. Superficially engaged with millennial TV nostalgia, the piece in fact examined darker coming-of-age themes including burgeoning sexuality, the inevitability of death, and what tea to brew for a reclusive and potentially riddle-answering elder. The experience might have prompted a critical reappraisal of kid classics such as The Muppets, Fraggle Rock, The Smurfs and Meet the Feebles, all pointing to Return to Foreverhouse’s ideological and symbolic origins. The hour-long experience was full of surprise and tension, despite an underwhelming culmination. Still, the piece was less about satisfying traditional narrative structure and more about the interplay between media, childhood, and memory. It is delicate work unpacking the devices, educational and otherwise, so closely tied to one’s upbringing; but Return To Foreverhouse did so with a healthy dose of immersive absurdity, easy to give oneself over to. Ultimately, the question was (and remains) not if you chose Return to Foreverhouse, but if it chose you.

PATRICK MICHAEL BALLARD’S RETURN TO FOREVERHOUSE. COURTESY MACHINE PROJECT.

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MELIKSETIAN | BRIGGS GALLERY, WEST HOLLYWOOD AURA ROSENBERG: WHO AM I? WHAT AM I? WHERE AM I? (OCTOBER 31, 2015—JANUARY 9, 2016) Words Shana Nys Dambrot

Like many conceptual artists, Aura Rosenberg produces individuated series, diverse in medium and scope, with and without collaborators, in short-term and ongoing motivic structures. Who Am I? What Am I? Where Am I? is a long-term photography project to which some 80 artists—including John Baldessari, Mike Kelley, Laurie Simmons, Dan Graham, Lawrence Weiner, Lyle Ashton Harris, Jim Shaw, and Marilyn Minter—have already contributed portraits…of their own and other people’s children. Though constituting a stylistic island in Rosenberg’s practice, the series fits into her oeuvre with its engrossing perspective on the methodology of constructing social personae. Laurie Simmons/Lena (all works 1996-98/2015, archival pigment print, 76 x 60 inches) depicts a young Lena Dunham photographed by her artist mother, made up in the haunting, charming garb of a ventriloquist’s dummy. This image radiates the awkward self-possession of a precociously creative soul; with its frank stare and challenging eye contact, it powerfully inhabits the large scale in which all the photos

COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND MELIKSETIAN | BRIGGS, LOS ANGELES. PHOTO: MICHAEL UNDERWOOD.

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are printed. It is also an effective reminder how susceptible children are to the theatrical bug, as apparently the motif was Lena’s idea. Less involved in the stagecraft has been Carmen, Rosenberg’s own daughter, the original and frequent muse for the project, seen in three of the five works at the gallery. As one might imagine, Carmen harbors mixed feelings about her participation. John Baldessari/Carmen is one of the clearest examples of the guest artists’ own visions, not Rosenberg’s, providing the dominant aesthetic. She has set the terms, boundaries, and permissions with which the others operate, providing the endless variation the series displays and creating a context for casting children in difficult works of art. As an example, the decomposed posture of Mike Kelley/Carmen, one of the earliest collaborations in the series, has a certain operatic trauma entirely germane to Kelley’s perennial motif of disrupted innocence.

SEYHOUN GALLERY, WEST HOLLYWOOD ALI ALIZADEH AND EBRAHIM MOHAMMADIAN Words Peter Frank

Brothers of Turkish extraction living and working in Iran, Ali Alizadeh and Ebrahim Mohammadian do very different types of work. Alizadeh is a sculptor, specializing in elegant stone or bronze renditions of animals, especially bulls, that in their elegant stylizations brim with references to ancient (especially Mediterranean and mid-Eastern) votive renditions of the same subjects. Even more vibrant, if less couth, than these curvaceous presences are Alizadeh’s gritty metal assemblages into which the tools of his trade—tongs, nails, hammers—find their way. As a result, these mélanges seem at once as tempting as casseroles and as fearsome as the foundries that forged them. Mohammadian normally works in two dimensions. In principle, his reliance on styl© ALI ALIZADEH. ized depictions of the human figure parallels his COURTESY SEYHOUN GALLERY brother’s reliance on such depictions of animals; but, while Alizadeh’s objects command a dramatic presence, Mohammadian’s gentle, mysterious work occupies a more poetic realm. Working small and in black and

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white, as if rendering the pages in a book, Mohammadian conjures what can only be called cocoon people—figures with bulbous, comic heads enmeshed in some sort of wrap clothing—floating in nebulous spaces. The most arresting series engaging these humanoids pairs them with opposing “pages” scored with grids and marked (sometimes with three-dimensional objects) as if a board game were being played upon them. The format and the media involved here turn these recondite “pages” into © EBRAHIM MOHAMMADIAN. COURTESY SEYHOUN GALLERY a commentary, however opaque, on the human condition. They also propose a kind of artist’s book that brings central Asian traditions of the illustrated book into the (post)modern era. This arrestingly scored imagery bespeaks modern concepts of alienation, will, and the manipulation of the individual; but Mohammadian also infuses them with a sense of adventure, transport, and even bliss.

CAROLINE TUFENKIAN FINE ARTS, GLENDALE SAM GRIGORIAN: WEST COAST PREMIERE (NOVEMBER 8—DECEMBER 10, 2015) Words Peter Frank

Over the past few years, the Yerevan-born, Berlin-based Sam Grigorian has generated a remarkable body of collage—remarkable not only for the delicacy of its tonality and the power of its non-objective imagery, but for its dramatic engagement of size. We think of collage as a particularly intimate medium, but by working entirely with non-referential forms and assembling them into neo-cubist compositions, Grigorian is able to work on an abstract expressionist scale. Indeed, the larger his work, the more powerful, not only because of its breadth, but because of its rhythmic and sensuous command of lateral space and expansive surface. Although incidental references to such notational factors as writing and musical notation recur in his work, Grigorian is principally interested in texture, structure, and muted coloration, that is, in the color and shape of paper—from fine letter paper to parchment—itself. He achieves a relatively uniform (if still vital) “skin” by layering, treating, and scratching away outer layers. Not preoccupied with qualities of weathering, he still subtly depends on them to achieve tonal balance from area 94

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to area. The bigger the work, the more it becomes a map or topography, regions defining themselves and roads and borders emerging to connect them. Color, even in the most decorative arrangements, enters quietly and maintains a respectful subordination to composition. In his smaller works, Grigorian plays more traditionally with collage elements, and with language. In their artfulness and playfulness, these pieces are hardly less persuasive than his mural-size works, and their constrained size does make them more approachable. But their images and conceptual preoccupations are more familiar, more in line with what we have expected from collage over the last century. The vision and ambition manifested in the large works, by contrast, are as unanticipated as they are stunning.

SAM GRIGORIAN. HIGH WAS THE SKY, 2006. MIXED MEDIA, DÉCOLLAGE, 78” X 78”. COURTESY CAROLINE TUFENKIAN FINE ARTS

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PERFORMANCE REVIEWS Journeys to Heaven and Hell REDCAT JOHN FLECK: BLACKTOP HIGHWAY (OCTOBER 22-25, 2015) Words Jacki Apple | Photos Rafael Hernandez

Cinema has been the 20th century’s big screen mirror, a mirror in which we have played out our aspirations and ambitions, fantasies and follies, transgressions and terrors. It has afforded us the opportunity to lose ourselves in the spectacle, to briefly slip out of our own skins into someone else’s so that our collective and individual past, present, and futures collide and coalesce. Yet there is still something about the shared experience of live theater that cannot be duplicated. The transaction that occurs between performers and audiences, as well as within the collective body in that darkened enclosed space and time, is irreplaceable. It is one of immediacy and vulnerability, and is never the same twice. There is always the possibility of failure, as well as of something magical, even transcendent. In his latest work, Blacktop Highway, John Fleck pits theater and cinema against each other in a dialectical tennis match between text and image, deconstructing themselves and each other. In a virtuoso solo performance, Fleck plays all the parts—screenwriter, narrator, commentator/critic, and all characters, both human and animal—in this “live” movie, masterfully volleying back and forth between his on-stage acting and film projections on three screens. The vehicle for Fleck’s frequently hilarious theatrics is the horror film, and he employs all the tropes of the genre and then some. His probing into the vilest depravities of the human psyche is set within a distinctly 96

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American landscape both filmic and real, and he makes full use of a quote from master of the form, Stephen King: “I believe the artistic value the horror film most frequently offers is its ability to form a liaison between our fantasy fears and our real fears.” Described by “screenwriter” Fleck in a “noir” inflected voice, the story begins with an auto accident on a deserted blacktop highway in the dead of night, in which the stranded driver, “an attractive man with a briefcase,” approaches a rambling ruin of a house in the woods, with a sign out front that says, “Taxidermist.” From there on, it progresses from one horrifying scenario to the next, as we meet Jane, a crazed old woman, her violent twin brother Frank, and the product of their incest, a caged, monstrously deformed creature, plus the specter of their abusive, Bible-thumping father and numerous animals both dead and alive. All are brought to life, as it were, by Fleck’s hooting, squawking, grunting sound effects, operatic histrionics, gender-bending vocal dialogs, and descriptive narration. No sin is left out of this cesspool of illicit sex, lust, greed, gluttony, bestiality, scalping, and torture. At the same time, Fleck delivers his story as parody, with a knowing dash of campy exaggeration to ease the discomfort of the transgressions. Intercut into the stage antics are several satiric film sequences of Fleck as a pretentious academic spouting postmodern theory à la Foucault and Baudrillard (with a sprinkle of Lacanian psychoanalysis), posited as critical commentary on the performance—the perfect counterpoint, reminding us that, decades later, art professors are still feeding postmodern theory to students. Only now, most of them don’t get it, as all life, without distinction, has become a mediated “simulacrum” for teacher and student alike. Web fabrik.la

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IMAGES FROM JOHN FLECK’S BLACKTOP HIGHWAY


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What holds it all together is Fleck’s brilliant use of cinematic montage structure, i.e., a literal translation of long shots (a little model car runs down the double white stripe of his black pant leg), medium shots, and close-ups (Jane’s spotlit hand opening the door), reverse angle shots, zooms, pans, etc.—in his use of props and lighting. Credit also goes to lighting design by Vortex Lighting, and to director Randee Trabitz. Blacktop Highway cleverly imbeds media critique in deconstructed staging, thus allowing us to laugh and cringe at the same time, just as the horror film allows us to indulge in the catharsis of vicarious terror —“the liaison between our fantasy fears and our real fears”— without consequences. At the end, Fleck breaks out of character and addresses the audience as himself, reminding us of the importance of live theater in this age of mediated experience.

CENTER FOR THE ART OF PERFORMANCE AT UCLA SANKAI JUKU: UMUSUNA—MEMORIES BEFORE HISTORY (OCTOBER 16-17, 2015) Words Jacki Apple

Nothing could be more opposite than Umusuna—Memories Before History, the latest work by the acclaimed Japanese Butoh company Sankai Juku, founded by Ushio Amagatsu in 1975. This is a cosmic work of visual theater that encompasses the primal reality of humanity suffering in its quest to overcome the ravages of nature and history and striving towards transcendence, The images are both visceral and poetic, an eternal generational cycle of birth, life, and rebirth. The vehicle is the human body and spirit. Butoh was born from the ashes of Hiroshima. Umusuna, which translates as place of one’s birth, is performed by eight bald male dancers in androgynous costumes, their bodies dusted in white talc. The staging is starkly elegant and the dancers are transformed from one state to the next in changing washes of color. Time is measured by the continuous flow of a stream of sand falling like a column of rain and by two large scales suspended in the air moving up or down, from balance to imbalance, from one scene to the next. Set in evolutionary time across eons and simultaneously within range of our memories spanning the recent past, the scales remind us that justice is relative and struggle is universal, as much an inner state of nature as an outer one. Umusuna opens with sixty-six year old Amagatsu, wearing only a long skirt, moving with incremental slowness towards us, as if pushing his way into space. One feels the enormity of the effort. Another section lit in red evokes the horror Web fabrik.la

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of Hiroshima as well as volcanic fire. The dancers writhe, arms bent as if to block, hands claw-like, mouths open in a silent scream. The sound is relentless, thunderous rumbles and pounding metallic percussion. Tightly curled bodies unfold and awaken, arms push and pull through air, testing the space. The sands of time flow through their hands, to the sound of wind. In green light they emerge in white dresses, to tend the earth as bells ring. The gestures are minute and tightly controlled, yet charged with intense, deeply expressive energy. Stillness has weight and substance. At the end, seven Buddha-like figures appear bathed in white light, eternal ghosts transcending into emptiness, reaching for enlightenment. In Umusuna, the audience has been drawn into the performers’ space/time experience in a way that can only happen in live theater. The emotional power of the performance moves us into a meditative awareness of the beauty and anguish, fragility and strength, of the human condition, leaving behind an imprint on body and soul that stays with us long afterwards.

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Simone Castrovillari

THE ALIENITY WITH THE PEARL EARRING. 58 X 40CM UNFRAMED. ROME, 2013

www.simonecastrovillari.com


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