The 17th annual Venice Art Walk comes up on Sunday, May 19th looking to provide the Southland's longest standing open studio tour with another million dollar weekend in support of the Venice Family Clinic. In the years since a group of Westside volunteers first collaborated with the Venice artist community to conduct a silent auction and a Spring stroll through the artists' open doors, other localities have intiated their own open studio events, but none has come close to matching this big daddy. In addition to more than sixty artists selected to open their studios, and the massive silent auction show put up in the hallways of the Westminster School, the Art Walk packs a dizzying array of peripheral events into three days. There's your docent tours, soirées at high end private homes, and a celebration party at DC3 to wrap up. You can leave your kids at the Children's Art Center, and feed them and yourself at the Food Faire (some of L.A.'s best restaurants participate--you won't be limited to hot dogs and popsicles here). Each opportunity to part with your money is also an opportunity to enable the Venice Family Clinic help care for folks who lack health coverage and the cash to pay for it. So starting with the Art Walk itself, figure out what appeals to you and enjoy. For detailed information, prices and reservations call (310) 392-8630, x. 343, or x. 388.

"City Fathers--Hoboken, New Jersey", silver gelatin developed-out print, 11 3/4 x 19 3/8", ©1955 Robert Frank.

Robert Frank: Moving Out displays Frank's early as well as later works so as to articulate the complexity of his vision. Best known for his book The Americans, Frank's vision inspired many photographers. He looked at America with a keen sense for detail and the obscure. Frank was also an inspirational filmmaker, and some clips from selected films are also on display. The exhibit traces his career from the earliest photographs to the more sentimental and emotional collages that he is currently making. His works investigate ideas related to memory and loss (Lannan Foundation, West Side).

In Who's Afraid of Freedom seventeen Korean/American artists from Northern and Southern California deal with issues such as cultural assimilation and its attendant problems such as loss of identity, the difficulties of surviving, and being accepted in a new homeland. The tension between Eastern and Western forms of visual expression are explored and merged. Noteable among the group are Youn Hee Paik, whose large abstract paintings such as Eclipse depict landscapes of the universe inspired by his contemplation of nature; Helena Jin Ah Min's series of four untitled mixed media collages on silk that deal with "Yobaek," or negative space; and Young June Lew's large emotional paintings like A Song for Mother #2, which shows several random traditional robes outlined against a dark and complex field that poignantly suggests an overwhelming mix of memory and struggle (Newport Harbor Art Museum, Orange County).

New Structuralists is a group exhibition of sculptural works that jut off the walls in every direction. The works are colorful assemblages of found materials and hardware. Using the word "structuralist" formally, not philosophically, this exhibition investigates how artists working with a wide range of materials fashion disparate parts into beautiful objects (Boritzer/Gray/Hamano, Santa Monica).

"Waiting", o/c, 27 x 90, 1994.

Francine Matarazzo has successfully filled a large gallery space with impressive abstract paintings. The works investigate notions specific to the language of abstraction: how forms, colors and textures interact on the flat canvas surface. She weaves ameboid shapes and gestural areas of color together across her large canvases to create compelling works of art.

Burt Payne 3 is a jester, and in his latest exhibition he lets his cutting and pointed sense of humor reign. The work is for the most part sculptural installations. In the back room a batting machine throws baseballs against the wall. A plexiglass barrier keeps viewers out so you can only watch this futile exercise. Another piece consists of a sculpture made up of a series of ladders joined at the top creating a jungle-gym type structure that begs to be climbed. In addition to these large works Payne also has created multiples so that everyone can have a frozen Walt Disney doll (Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica).

Joseph Bertiers lives in Kenya, but paints scenes from American culture that he pieces together from radio, TV and newspapers. His obviously self taught style links him with other outsider artists, yet Bertiers is aware of the commodification of his product. His works are humorous and detailed sketches of an outsider's view of politics in the United States. Subjects range from the struggles within his own country to what he sees as the problems in America (Ernie Wolfe Gallery, Santa Monica).

"Linking Ethos: The Millennium Principle", detail of the installation, 1996.

With exuberant viewer participation, Linking Ethos: The Millennium Principle, a collaboration between Myrella Moses and Katy Brooks, addresses the question of how artists can spark public involvement in universal issues affecting humanity. There is a deliberate interplay of time--ancient, current, and future--echoed by a pendulum swinging back and forth in a mound of sand. Witness, a statue of a primitive man, beckons the visitor to enter the dimly-lit cavernous gallery, where a flashlight is given to seek out the exquisitely presented art. Twelve blackboards contain compelling lessons of planetary urgency, contrasted by fourteen intimate, handmade books on an aboriginal culture. Breaking the darkened silence are assorted voices reading profound statements from great world thinkers. Moses and Brooks have heightened the experience by creating a giant blackboard enveloping all the gallery walls. Visitors are able to contribute their reflections, on the blackboards using avail- able chalk, to the wealth of deeply thought-out ideas the exhibition generates (CSU Los Angeles, Luckman Fine Arts Gallery, East Los Angeles).

There are things depicted in Kharlene Boxenbaum's paintings, and Boxenbaum does not sacrifice their thingness--their shape, volume, the identity of their function--in painting them. But these things are not still life elements; they are at once presences, ciphers for a state of mind, and armatures, structures on and around which Boxenbaum can paint "shapeness" itself. "Shapeness" means translucent atmospheres, so vividly colored and palpably brushed that the effect is of air--not fog, but air itself--congealing into objects. In many cases drapery seems to be clinging to these objects. But even here Boxenbaum imparts less the sense of things covered with sheets than of an ether slowly firming into, or at least coating, a chair or a piece of fruit, with ripples forming in this inexorable process (Patricia Correia Gallery, Santa Monica).

Interiors is an exhibition curated by artist Renee Petropoulis that includes the work of Francis Alys (from Mexico), Robin Tewes (New York) and Kevin Apple (Los Angeles). The works are hung so they play off and inform each other, so that one artist's work is not alone on a wall. The paintings, all beautifully crafted, depict interiors. Apple's are highly decorative places reminiscent of a 1950's living room. Tewes depicts more psychological spaces, where children's thoughts are painted like graffiti on the walls. While Alys has commissioned sign painters to interpret from small painted sketches he has created--presenting both as the finished body of work. Each of these three artists paints in a particular style, all realistic yet with different intentions. This show makes one ponder about the double entendre of the word interiors (LACE, Hollywood).

Frank Israel is an Los Angeles architect who has designed many houses and commercial properties in the Los Angeles area. Here elegant photographs (taken by Grant Mudford) of his buildings are on display, back-lit on a horizontal table-like surface. Rather than just present Israel's work, a structure that simulates the architectural spaces he is known for has been erected in the gallery. This elegant display of slanted walls and blue lights creates a frame-work through which to view his models and plans.
Social Documents: Moca's New Photography Collection is a vast exhibition of photographic works by noted documentary photographers including Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, Danny Lyon, Helen Leavitt, Lee Freidlander, Nan Golden among others. Each artist is given ample room and the exhibition winds through many of MOCA's galleries. It is a great opportunity to see many works by such noted photographers, rather than just a single image or two. And it is a great addition to MOCA's permanent collection (The Museum of Contemporary Art [MOCA], Downtown).

The works of Roy Buchman and Lawrence Argent seem to have little to do with each other. Buchman's new paintings explore the urban scene of Los Angeles. They are painted on found materials or on sculpted wood and painted in a realistic style. Both interiors and exteriors are painted, giving viewers an extensive sense of Buchman's interests. On the opposite wall Argent's abstract works are elegant collages that juxtapose encaustic and gold leaf. Argent combines intricate line drawings with empty areas of color. The works investigate the relationship between the natural and the spiritual, as represented by the interaction of the white encaustic and the gold leaf on each of the paintings surfaces (Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica).

David Bunn collected all the cards from the downtown library's card catalogue and has been suing them as the basis of his art for the last few years. In this exhibition he presents language poems made from the titles of sequential cards. The poems, often humorous, often deep are all chance occurrences. Beautifully presented in two formats, one above the other, Bunn sequences the original cards and then types, in a matter-of-fact fashion, just the titles. which create the poems. Also on view are the boxes of cards, stacked floor to ceiling. The exhibition reminisces on the power and beauty of an aspect of cataloging and language before computer technology (Burnett Miller Gallery, Santa Monica).

Isabel Anderson's abstract paintings of food surprise the viewer as she adds a bit of collage to her painterly surfaces. In Baked Potato lizards appear in the upper right corner. Anderson gets a vitality, an energy to her seemingly benign repast. Joan Weber's mixed media photo-collage paintings in bizarre frames have a funky appearance, yet they contain a serious message concerning the plight of animals. In one, cows are stranded on a roof after a flood, while in another a man holds a rabbit he has rescued from harm (Adobe Krow Archives AKA Gallery, Bakersfield).