The Venice Art Walk, this year being held the weekend of May 16-18, remains the single major public art event of the year. Since the demise of the L.A. International Contemporary Art Fair it is rather poetic that this volunteer- and good deed-driven fundraiser should have outlasted the corporate-driven event's ability to draw an audience. But the good will of the local artists and media, and absence of sniping by gallery professionals, butresses the pleasant Spring atmosphere of a sun-drenched stroll enriched by the encounter with area artist studios. With optional extra parties, docent bus tours, the food faire and the silent auction, it adds up to the kind of event that will appeal to you even if you never attend other exhibitions during the rest of the year.
For this 18th annual weekend it all looks familiar and comfortable. Over 100 artists will be participating. The centerpiece image that goes onto the commemorative poster and t-shirt, Breathe, was created by Karen Carson, the subject of a four-exhibit retrospective just last year. And your $45 ticket (on up, if you plan to take a docent tour or attend one of the private concerts) goes to the Venice Family Clinic's work to provide medical services to low income families who would otherwise lack access to health care.
The main event, the Art Walk, is on Sunday the 18th from 11am
to 7pm. Parking at the Westminster, Walgrove or Broadway Elementary
Schools is free, and free bus shuttles run all through the day.
For tickets and further information call (310) 392-8630.
Francis Beernard, "Dietrich,"
advertising poster for a stove, c. 1930. Photo courtesy of Nicolas
Bailey. Featured at the L.A. Modernism Show.
The week before, the L.A. Modernism Show returns to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for its tenth year. One of a series of small but focused art fairs that came to the foreground with the demise of the single, large fair, Modernism encompasses the whole of the twentieth century and a broad range of cultural media--including, but by no means limited to, fine art objects. Furniture, jewelry, clothing, and even books that are "modern" often are now antique as well.
Considered aesthetically, this show offers one way to synthesize your vision of the American century. Just don't forget that these objects represent the particular inventory available through participating dealers--all of which is looking for a home. Unlike a museum show that strives to bring together normally far flung objects specifically to organize a unifying vision, a fair such as this brings collections together by coincidence with the intent of disbersment. Thus, the specific flavor of each annual show can vary greatly from year to year.
Modernism opens with a benefit preview on May 9, 6-9pm, that will benefit the Los Angeles Conservancy's work in the area of historical architectural preservation. Ticket price is $50. Regular show days on Saturday and Sunday run from 10am to 7pm and 11am to 5pm respectively. General admission price is $10; children under 16 are free when accompanied by an adult.
The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium is located at the corner of Main Street and Pico Boulevard. For further information call the show's organizer, Caskey, Lees & Olney at (310) 455-2886.
woodcut, 27.7cm x 35.9cm, 1929.
Georges Rouault, "La Parade", color aquatint,
30cm x 26.5cm" 1926.
"Unauthorized Biography", acrylic on linen, 64'x46", 1974.
Russell Forester is a prolific artist who lives near San Diego. He has been creating abstract paintings, drawings and sculptures since the 1950's, but is the first opportunity locally to see and evaluate the scope of his endeavors. As well as being a painter and accomplished draftsman, Forester has also worked as an architect--designing the structure of the original Jack in the Box as well as other retail structures in Southern California. This extensive exhibition presents the many different aspects of his work, and is worth multiple viewings (Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica).
John Chamberlin, "Alsatia Will," painted steel,
58 1/4 x 64 3/4 x 55", 1992.
John Chamberlin's sculpture was a late but welcome entry into the Abstract Expressionist lexicon when he first emerged in the late 1950's. His use of auto parts re-formed into twisted and knotted abstract calligraphy-in-space, often painted in jaunty counterpoint, was jazzy and exhuberant. It moved beyond the serious, often pompous "authenticity" common to the movement's ideology towards a humorous and even celebratory use of media from American culture that helped lay the groundwork for the Pop artists. Recent work on view suggests that, whether or not this aesthetic statement means today what it once did, Chamberlain is a master of his media and retains his ability to create energetic, visually engaging sculpture. The work stands alongside that of Frank Stella's as having espoused abstraction in a sustained way that is orthodox yet vibrant (Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Orange County).
Jackson, "Untitled (8. 8. 89-II)," ink/watercolor on
paper, 37 7/8 x 23 3.4", 1989.
Oliver Jackson's forte is the line. Four untitled nude drawings are simple--a hip and torsos--yet captivating. The strength and elegance of Jackson's lines give these renderings their appeal. In his watercolors the line is looser, more relaxed, yet just as exquisite. These figures take on a symbolic quality, as if they are floating through an ethereal, dreamlike space. In some of the large oil paintings, however, the line is lost in the density of the paint. The paintings that retain some of the linear quality of the drawings are more successful. In a small, untitled piece from 1996, the form of a crouching figure is scratched into the black paint at the center of the painting. Surrounding the figure is paint of bright, celebratory colors which overpower the black bleakness of the central figure (Porter Troupe Gallery, San Diego).