Thursday, March 25, 2010

Your Social Life, Typing With 1 Hand Edition

Hello, awesome readership of mine,
today the Frenchy has one arm in a sling, the unforeseen consequence of that year ago car accident. Pinched nerve and all that, I'm getting therapy and taking meds (not sure they work, the meds, but make me feel super drowsy). Yesterday I couldn't even hold my phone, so the typing with one hand is a marked improvement, thanks to my awesome therapist Mario.

Anyway, quickly because it is exhausting to type with one hand (not mentioning slow).
Tonight there's a slew of openings at the Pacific Design Center, where I should have been if only because Stephen Kaltenbach is showing something. Alas, my ride canceled and I shouldn't drive, so I hope you give Stephen a heartfelt hug from me. The openings start around 5 PM.
Pacific Design Center
686 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood

ERRATUM: What happens when one is heavily medicated: it's on May 26. Heartfelt thanks to reader Joseph M. for spotting that mega mistake!
[ NOT tomorrow, obviously, there's the West of Rome mega event in Pasadena with my two favorite Mike, Mike Kelley an Michael Smith. Please say hi for me and enjoy!!!]

Saturday, bunch of stuff to. But the one and only event I would go to if I can is the opening at Las Cienegas, with FBC! longtime pal Vincent Johnson.
There's also George Pocari at Cottage Home/China Art Objects and a lot of other things.
Earlier during the day readings with Les Figues Press stable at LACE.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crème De La Crème.

I don't know if my connection will allow me to post, but I wanted the world (hello, few readers!) to get a chance to discover a Belgian pearl, Waylon, with his hit Crème de la Crème.
I'm re-posting the lyrics below in their entirety (promise, I'll take them down if it ends up being a copyright problem) so my nerdy readers can see how they might refer to Chantal Akerman's movie, Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Waylon is unfairly under-recognized, so if you like what you hear/see please join this Facebook group. Maybe we can start a viral campaign to get this masterpiece at the next Eurovision song contest. Most information on Waylon including the lyrics was found here.

She lives all alone
With her daughter
Drinks gin and wine
Just like water
Makes my head turn
I'll get craaaaaaaazy
Name is Mary
I call her baaaaaaaaaby
She's the crème de la crème
Ho, maman
La crème de la crème
Crème de la crème
La ! La ! La !
Crème de la crème
Ha ! Ha ! Hou !

I wish she were here
Hot ! Hot ! Hot ! Hot ! Hot !
(Hot ! Hot ! Hot !)
Panties in black in my baby cart
She makes me sing
Do ré miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
I lose my mind
Don't you feeeeeeeeel
She's the crème de la crème
Ho, maman
La crème de la crème
(Crème de la crème)
Crème de la crème
La ! La ! La ! La crème de la crème
(Crème de la crème)
Crème de la crèèèèèèèèèèèème
Crème de la crèèèèèèèèèèèèèème
Ha ! Hou !

I am a luck
Luck ! Luck ! Luck ! Luck ! Luck ! Luck ! (Luck ! Luck !)
Bring me the stuff
Stuff stuff stuff stuff stuff stuff stuff (Stuff ! Stuff!)
Please touch my striiings
Just fliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing
Get me your wings, your wings
Crème de la crème
Ho, maman
La crème de la crème
(Crème de la crème)
Crème de la crème
La ! La ! La ! La crème de la crème
(Crème de la crème de la crème)
Crème de la crème (Crèèème)
Crème de la crèèèèèème (Crèèèème)
Crèèèèèèèèèème (Crèèèème)
Crèèèèèèèèèèèèème (Crèèème)
Crème de la crème (Crèèèèèème)
Crème de la crème….

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bis Repetita Non Placent

We apologize for the dearth of postings here at the FBC! Headquarters: the connection at our place is so spotty I cannot upload anything (especially not pictures). It's been too frustrating for words, so sorry for not posting anything. If all goes well maybe next week I'll finally put up my reactions to that populist Roberta Smith article, and a review of the American Stories show at LACMA (to be followed by either a reaction or a dialogue with LACMA curator Austen Bailly, TBD).

Meanwhile, don't forget to go to the opening at François Ghebaly's gallery in Chinatown tomorrow evening (sorry, no link), Hopeful.

And, personal and confidential to AT&T: we really, really hate you here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Your Social Life - With Pole Artist In Tijuana

No, not an exotic dancer, and neither an artist from Poland. Rather, FBC! Gal pal Nancy Popp will be executing one of her celebrated streetpost climbing South of the border, in conjunction with the exhibition Performing Public Spaces. The action will take place across from the Santiago Arguello (Alley of the Musicians) near the Reloj Monumental (the giant silver arch) at the intersection of Constitution and Benito Juarez y/o Segunda in downtown Tijuana. All information on the show (which also includes Fallen Fruit, Finishing School, etc.) on the link here.

If you are in Los Angeles this weekend, Jack Pierson has an opening at Regen Projects. In Culver City, Stanya Kahn It’s Cool, I’m Good, opens at Susanne Vielmetter along with Karl Haendel, while A Harmonious Mix Of Objects (with Chris Lipomi, among others) opens at Mihai Nicodim Gallery and to round up the Culver City circuit, Robert Melee also has an opening at Kordansky.
[If you are in Culver City prior to the openings tomorrow, I highly recommend the Judy Fiskin exhibition at Angles].

Closer to my Mid-City 'hood, Tim Sullivan opens at Steve Turner as well as Ilan Lieberman
On the other side of town, Mostly Sculpture Show opens at Sea and Space Explorations.

Already opened, but I forgot to mention it: there's a secret Jonathan Lasker cult for Los Angeles painters, and their worshipping can be currently satisfied at LA Louver, until April 3rd. Since you'll be on the Westside if you see this show, don't miss Diana Thater at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Rachel Whiteread still looks beautiful at the Hammer, and if you drive Eastward to Miracle Mile, LACMA has the Renoir, American Stories, and Robin Rhode exhibitions on offer, plus its great permanent collections. Robin Rhode just opened, don't miss the beautiful video. It's in the Ahmanson Building. Right before you go to the opening at Steve Turner, swing by Marc Selwyn to see the Mel Bochner exhibition.
And, still ongoing, MOCA's collections.

Have a great art-filled weekend!

Pictures: Mel Bochner, No, 2009, Oil on canvas, 60 x 45 inches
Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship (pic found on Susanne Vielmetter website, no credit)

Monday, March 8, 2010

LACMA Scores A Major Collection And A Masterpiece

What makes the greatness of a museum isn't its dynamic exhibition policy, nor its forward education practices, or its leading public programs.
All of these are fantastic contributions, certainly, but first and foremost it's the collection that is here for years, decades, and even centuries to come, as a testimony to the culture that mattered and shaped an era. A great exhibition policy generally doesn't outlast the curators behind it, whereas a great collection outlives museum-hopping, career-oriented curators forever.
People don't really go to the Met, to MoMA or the Smithsonian for their exhibitions, but "to visit the museum" and see its collection. Because, beloved readers, my friends, most foot traffic in a museum isn't constituted from the savvy art crowd only, but from a general audience, the bulk of them being tourists and/or school children.

Museums in Los Angeles have rich collections, but generally speaking do a poor job of marketing them. Some museums worldwide attract a large audience that comes mainly to see their masterpieces (think the Louvre and Mona Lisa), and it is sad that museums here in Los Angeles fail to really reach out and publicize their holdings. Take the Getty, for example. Many people (actually, far many less than you would think) know the Getty has Van Gogh's Irises, but very few realize that James Ensor's L'Entrée du Christ à Bruxelles is there as well.

Since we are talking about Belgians, how many of you remember that LACMA owns Magritte's The Treachery of Images ("ceci n'est pas une pipe")? The "Magritte & Contemporary Art" exhibition originated at LACMA for a reason, and I think the museum should really try to make it better known to the public that it holds a XXth Century masterpiece, and that because of this reason alone tourists should flock en masse to visit the museum.
They'd get to also see a nice Marcel Duchamp readymade nearby (A Bruit Secret) and one of Frank Stella's Black Paintings (Getty Tomb). Plus a few great Kandinsky, not talking about Giacometti and Brancusi. Not bad, eh?

Let's stay in Northern Countries and highlight one of LACMA's relatively recent acquisition. It's currently up in the European Art Galleries*, and I stumbled upon it recently while visiting the collection with noted Los Angeles painter Mark Dutcher. One of my all-time favorite XVI Century Dutch Painter, Adriaen Coorte, who specialized in still-life, left about 60 paintings, and whose works are not something you stumble upon everyday, to say the least.
There was an exhibition in 2003 at the National Gallery in Washington in 2003 (alas, no catalog, but you can download the brochure) and the one at the Mauristhuis in 2008 (there is a catalog, if someone wants to send me a preemptive birthday present, I would be most grateful).

The Coorte in question comes from the remarkable Carter collection, along with a few Rembrandt, a Saenredam, at least one Frans Hals (maybe more but I only remember seeing one last week), one beautiful still-life by Clara Peeters (a female painter, a rarity for the time), and one Frans Post. Post went on an expedition to Brazil and came back with a magnificent set of paintings, the majority of which were later offered to the King of France and are now in the Louvre collections.

All of this to say that LACMA was the recipient of a major gift through the Carter collection (the gift happened sometimes between 2003 and 2009), and that FBC!'s favorite masterpiece of the lot is Coorte's delicate painting of a bowl of strawberries.
Note that it is a Chinese bowl the strawberries are in, and that this style of still-life, obviously, shares similarities with Spanish bodegones but also with, say, the paintings of France's Lubin Baugin.
With just one little painting, you now realize that global trade and exchanges were already important in the 17th Century, and that through it a sort of international style of painting was already permeating what was then the contemporary art scene. And I'm not even speaking about the reciprocal influences between the Delft and the Chinese ceramics.
Food for thoughts? I certainly hope so. Visual delectation? You bet.

Adriaen Coorte (Holland, Middleburg, circa 1660 - after 1707)
Wild Strawberries in a Wan Li Bowl, 1704
Painting, Oil on paper, mounted on wood, Canvas: 11 5/8 x 8 7/8 in. (29.53 x 22.54 cm); Framed: 18 3/4 x 16 x 2 in. (47.63 x 40.64 x 5.08 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edward William Carter (M.2009.106.5)
European Painting and Sculpture Department.

Photograph taken by myself. Feel free to repost, but please credit and link both LACMA and FBC! Thanks.

* The European Art Department at LACMA is currently undergoing some renovations and re-installation. Some rooms can be closed when you come to visit. To avoid disappointment, you can become a member and then come back as many times as you want. More surprises! The Islamic art department is swell, did you know it?

In other related news, I got confirmation that there was going to be an exhibition with Dorothea Tanning in it at LACMA in 2012, In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States, April 1-June 24, 2012

The Delicate Art Handlers At Work At Homeland Security

Below, I'm re-posting verbatim from Allan McCollum's website. He kindly gave me the authorization to re-post. What is really scary about the people who "opened" the crate that way is that it's clearly much more time-consuming, energy-wasting, and plain dumb to destroy the crate like this than use simple power tools to remove the screw on the lid and the lid itself.
You would think whoever did such a horrid job has anger management issues that need to be addressed, and that his/her job shouldn't be handling security concerns for the country.
And, in case they worried the crate might have contain explosives, isn't it more dangerous to attack it like that than open it carefully?

Aside from the personal problem of Allan McCollum, if this type of damages keeps on happening, you can imagine how restrictive it will be for free trade, and how destructive it is for the image of the United States abroad. I can understand that it isn't the job of Homeland Security to train its personnel to be art handlers, but surely they are intelligent enough to learn how to unscrew the side or the top of a crate to check what's inside, no?

"This is how homeland security opened a crate that was shipped to me from a gallery in Berlin, last week (March 2010). Not even bothering to unscrew the lid. It contained a sculpture of mine, from my series, "Natural Copies from the Coal Mines of Central Utah." The shippers told me that insurance won't cover any damages to artworks done by "homeland security.""