Monday, April 7, 2008

L.A.? New York? Texas? You be the judge.

Tree-in-a/from-a-bag, anyone? Artist Yuken Turuya gets his message across loud and clear. Repped by Shoshana Wayne Gallery.

The L.A. Art Fair last week has gotten some press-- most not so good since the close of business last week. Apparently in years' past it had many more exhibitors and had taken a greater hold on artgoers' attention span. But no matter to this blogger, for this was the fairest fair of all for mine tired eyes. Working full-time at the gallery, doing my duties at Red Dot and still attending Armory, Pool, DIVA, and L.A. proved to be truly exhausting, and tonight is honestly the first chance I've had to really sit down and catch my breath. But I did love LA Art Fair and here's why-- it was a simple, well-paced and well-hung show; the galleries were smart and sharp; and I was in and out in less than 12 minutes. Now that's what I call an efficient show!

In the case of photographer Susan Anderson, repped by Paul Kopeikin Gallery, I was immidiately held captive. There, in all her seven-year-old glory, lay a flush, come-hither "Jacklyn". Now here's a fresh-faced muffin who could probably rival Aguilera in her Lady Marmalade heyday for pancake makeup. Anderson takes a no-holds barred approach in posing her subject suggestively, glossing over the very lip gloss that is doing its darnedist to cover up the immense stench of the child beauty pageant industy. "Jacklyn" is a drastic transformation before our eyes of a child taken away from childhood and plopped into full-fledged whoredom. A child will not pose like this on their own unless prompted. It is not in their makeup yet. The same with the subject's eyes. The slate of innocence has been wiped clear away, leaving an automated bubbleheaded goon in her place. These boots are made for walkin' right into that perp's van. Hope "Dateline NBC" is waiting. But Anderson's commentary is purely visual. The image needs no press release or artist statement. It speaks for itself.

Next up, artist David Rathman at Mary Goldman Gallery. Never has a piece so reminded me of my early 20s. In fact, about the only thing missing from this picture is the green shag carpeting of so many basement practice spaces. I love the haphazard nature of each of the painting's elements-- a dirty strewn sock, a dusty vinyl 33RPM on its way to the scrapheap; the Marhsall amp awaiting some nice feedback from the bass; the ciggies resting; and the buck observing it all. Here is a nice snapshot examining the things that make a musician tick. But of note-- where's the musician? The stories cannot be written without the author. Interesting take, but I will say this-- Rathman, for posterity's sake, has created far too clean a scene for any real indie cred. I see no roach resin anywhere, and there's a serious lack of stickers on the amps.

The roadie in the above image is also not an accurate portrayal, for he is actually hard at work. Any person who has lived through a backstage should know that any proper roadie would be on slouched against the of the amp nursing a Yuengling. As a many year scenester survivor of the Boston and New York music scenes, this was a great piece of nostalgia-- especially for New Yorkers right now, with the loss of so many great venues over the past few years. R.I.P. CB's.

In the same vein of that worship of the forgotten days of vinyl, I very much enjoyed seeing the work of artist Chris Martin at Daniel Weinberg Gallery, whose work often includes old 78's, etc. But I felt that it was a kind of weird, if not improper choice-- especially since Martin's more Brooklyn that Brooklyn. All around, it would have been nice to know that LA Art Fair was more about L.A. artists than L.A. galleries, but that's what art comes down to most of the time anyway. Region is an acquried taste, as well as place of origin. Enjoy.

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