CONTINUING AND UPCOMING
EXHIBITIONS IN BRIEF
MAY SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS: VENICE ART WALK,
CRAFT & FOLK MUSEUM REOPENING, MODERNISM SHOW
The sixteenth annual Venice Art Walk has long been the major open studio event of the year. A galvanized circle of year-round volunteers, led by Sheila Goldberg, produce this weekend artfest in support of the non-profit Venice Family Clinic, which provides medical and other related support services to the homeless and those who cannot afford medical coverage. The main stage is the Westminster School in Venice at 1015 Lincoln Boulevard (at Abbot Kinney). Entrance price is $45 (remember, this is a donation to VFC), and includes the map and catalogue to the studios of more than sixty participating artists. The school also hosts the usual Silent Auction of work by about 300 artists, and the Food Faire, which offers dishes from 18 top quality L.A. retaurants. If you can handle dropping over $100, there is a selection of more rarefied activities to get even more deeply involved with: Friday evening private concerts ($100 per ticket), Saturday and Sunday Docent Tours ($95 per person--including a gourmet restaurant lunch); and a closing Celebration Dinner on Sunday night at Bergamot Station (ulp--$175 per ticket). On tour Sunday, watch also for a variety of special exhibits scattered around Venice. For further information and reservations call (310) 392-WALK.
The week before Art Walk, the Craft & Folk Art Museum reopens, at last, with two large survey shows and the predictable bevy of social events to celebrate and support the occasion. The rennovated facility features 25,000 feet of space, more than double its previous size. The first exhibition, Points of View: Collectors and Collecting, showcases a cross-section from the Warmbold collection of Mexican folk art, along with a selection of wood objects from a group of local craft art collectors. A history of the Museum provides the basis for the second show, Museum for a New Century. This time line-based show presents photographs, art objects and archival material that summarizes Craft & Folk's history dating from its founding as the Egg and the Eye in 1965, and projecting "The Future" that is currently being planned. Special events scheduled to celebrate the reopening fall on May 12 (a benefit preview), May 13 (a preview for current and new Museum members), and May 14 (the official public opening). For further information call the Museum at (213) 937-5544.
The same weekend will also be highlighted by the annual Modernism Show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This is an eclectic array of fine, decorative, and applied arts associated with the numerous 20th century modernist movements as presented by seventy-five exhibiting dealers. The preview opening night on Friday, May 12 from 6-9pm will benefit the Los Angeles Conservancy, which helps protect historic architecture in Los Angeles. Benefit tickets are $50, while regular admission on Saturday (10-7pm) and Sunday (11am-5pm) is $10, and includes the catalogue. Tickets are available at the ticket window, or may be reserved by calling (310) 455-2886.
John Gutmann, now in his nineties, has been photographing for over 50 years. He is best known for his black and white photographs that document urban life: images of graffitied cars, chalk-marked streets and roaming people. Entitled Unfamiliar Images this exhibition, rather than presenting the photographs that Gutmann is best known for, focuses on less familiar terrain. The photographs still, however, encapsulate Gutmann's love and life and knack for making dynamic compositions out of the ordinary activities of everyday life (Paul Kopeikin Gallery, West Hollywood).
Everyone knows and loves the work of David Hockney. It is hard not to. His drawings, paintings and prints are accessible. They are brightly colored and fun to look at. This exhibition features both large abstract works as well as figurative paintings, specifically portraits of Hockney's dogs Stanley and Boodgie. Painted in different sizes and positions, these paintings reflect the tenderness with which Hockney views the world. Dogs have specific personalities and Hockney captures their essence in these works. Coupled with the abstractions, it is easy to see the scope of Hockney's talents and to understand why he is among the most revered artists working today (L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice).
Felicity is a wild and colorful group exhibition curated by Phyllis Green that includes work by 17 artists. This exhibition exults in its title and makes the most of the theme of happiness and bliss. The work ranges from Marnie Weber's video installation in which an eskimo-type figure playfully walks through the wilderness, to Tyler Stallings hand-made astronaut suites. The works are as much about materials; toilet paper (Dani Tull), frosting (Doug Hammett), white fluids (David Green), paper plates (Lynn Aldrich) as they are about what is made from them. Abstraction seems to reign here. Felicity is a substantial exhibition that deals with a light subject matter (Jan Baum Gallery, West Hollywood).
Ruth Hardinger's sculptures, scattered around the floor of the gallery, transport the viewer into another world. The various pieces contain diverse elements--cloth weavings; sleek glass disks; whimsical, pigmented plaster rings resembling lumpy, over-sized doughnuts; and clay vessels and sculpted animals that elicit notions of ancient ceremonial rituals. Although suggesting an element of hope in the blending of the modern, technological world and indigenous communities. Her methodology, incorporating forms she commissions from Oaxacan artisans, contributes to the sense of harmony her sculptures generate (Porter Randall Gallery, La Jolla).
Pervert is an exhibition, curated by Catherine Lord, that brings together the work of 15 gay and lesbian artists from the United States, Canada and Europe. Among the artists included are Lyle Ashton Harris, Catherine Opie, Millie Wilson, Judie Bamber, Doug Ischar, Nicole Eisenman and Glen Ligon. Each of these artists is known for their confrontational imagery and their interest in sexuality as a subject. Opie photographs members of San Francisco's leather dyke community, while Harris photographs himself, often in white face and in drag. Eisenman makes cartoon-like drawings about lesbian themes while Bamber makes intricate paintings of vaginas. Pervert is a challenging exhibition that confronts difficult themes but should not be missed (UC Irvine Fine Art Gallery, Orange County).
The Music Box Project is an exhibition of artist-made music boxes. Visitors to the museum are taken through the exhibition in small groups. Because the works are delicate, viewers are not allowed to touch them, rather they are shown, one by one, each artist's creation. A number of well know artists were invited to participate in this project. Among the highlights are pieces by Christian Marclay, Annette Lumier, John Cage, Joseph Kosuth and Vito Acconci (Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach).
Animals are the subject in the form of paintings, prints, sculptures and drawing in Zoology: Animal Images in Art. It reminds us city folks how far removed wild animals have come to be from us, in some cases even becoming relics of the past, as expressed in R.B. Kitaj's The Most Important Film Ever Made. Among the 29 artists are such familiar names as Ed Ruscha, David Gilhooly, Joan Brown and Roger Herman. The wide gamut of creatures ranges from Joan Moment's Tropical Fish series, to Ruscha's Rooster, to Milton Avery's Lamb, to a Roy Lichtenstein Bull Head, and one of Deborah Butterfield's signature Untitled horses. Indeed, among the most moving are those of horses, such as Joe Andoe's 4 Horses and Joseph Raffael's Shaba II. Most, but not all, of the artists here give animals their due respect and raise their image to a higher level than patronizing cuteness. The best works here reveal that life without these creatures would mean no life at all, and that how we value them relates to how we value our fellow man. Of special note are Brown's Grey Wolf with Red Clouds and Dark Tree, and Donald Roller Wilson's Kathleen and Shirley's Friend's Friend Wait (BankAmerica Gallery, Orange County).
Vested Power: Icons of Domination and Transcendence explores the image of the hood. The hood, or pointed hat, is a loaded symbol with multiple meanings. This exhibition explores the historical roots of the symbol as well as its use in contemporary art. Among the artists in the exhibition are Manuel Ocampo, Dominique Blain, Philip Guston, Andreas Serrano, and William Wiley. Exhibitions with such specific thematic unifiers are often problematic, but because of the hood's wide range of associations, this show transcends the didactic, and ends up being both informative and thought provoking (CSU Fullerton, University Art Gallery, Orange County).
Some Late 20th Century Abstraction is one of the first exhibitions since LACE moved to it's new building to fully make use of the space. The front gallery houses the hilarious work of Sean Duffy, who makes teddy bears out of beer cans and yarn. His objects are both endearing and pointed commentaries about consumer culture. In the front window is an installation by Barry Morse and Sue Kornfeld about the actress Gloria Graham, whose star is outside of LACE's window. Serge Armando, Arturo Herrera and Marko Milovanovic each explore the notion of minimal abstraction making compelling works that not only function well on their own, but also draw strength from the juxtaposition. In the back gallery are beautiful black and white photographs by Wendy Moore (LACE, Hollywood).
Like LACE, LACPS is where to go to see who and what is up and coming. Simultaneous exhibitions fill the back, front, window and hallway galleries. Of note are Franklin Westerbrook's color photographs that utilize computer graphics in a seamless way. Wester-brook is a master at cutting and pasting from different sources to make a single image that speaks about racial tensions in Los Angeles. Westerbrook has a sophisticated sense of design that makes his images amazing to look at and to figure out. Coupled with Westerbrook's photographs is an image/text installation by San Francisco artist Armando Rascon. Also on view is documentation of a bus poster project by Otis photography students (Re:So-lution [LACPS], Hollywood).