Sunday, September 18, 2011

She had to leave...Los Angeles

This post originally had a different title, but I started humming the song Los Angeles by LA's pioneering punk band X. One of the promises I made myself last spring prior to returning back to the states was to spend more than a couple of days in LA visiting with friends and family. In my case good intentions seldom match reality. It was a whirlwind trip.   
My friend Patrick told about the Art In The Streets exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA-click here link to read the Museum's press release). He thought it was something I should see. I take Patrick's recommendations the way Moses listens to a burning bush.  
Tools of the trade.
The exhibit was an eclectic sampling of fliers, posters, tagging, printing, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, found object, performance, situational... 
The consensus from other friends who had seen the show either loved or hated it. I conveyed to Patrick that street art is now over. This has always been a problem in art, even a Monet painting was at one time radical.   
When hardcore/punk band Black Flag relentlessly toured the states hitting the smallest of towns during the early to mid-80's they were directly responsible for inspiring impressionable teens to want to start their own bands. I can see the same for street art, if you are an angry teen stuck in the suburbs looking for something a little more edgy than the Kardashians, defacing private and public property has appeal.    
Patrick told me that Art In The Streets was scheduled to travel to the Brooklyn Museum but was nixed. It appears that the museum conveniently fell short on funding; never mind negative publicity or pressure from the city. To learn more read the NY Times article Brooklyn Museum Cancels Graffiti Show. (A little slant on the article's title.) I guess there won't be a renaissance of painting NYC subway trains.     
Art In The Streets has been criticized for being tidy and contained. Attempting to reproduce the elements of the streets in a posh and controlled environment doesn't bode well with purists. 
Duane Hanson sculpture? 
This could had easily been a flier for  The Dicks or an MDC show. For punk rockers living during the 80's, Ronald Reagan was a godsend. The effect of Reagan's policies and persona on the punk community during the 80's is well documented in Bryan Turcotte & Chris Miller's book Fucked Up + Photocopied: Instant Art of the Punk Rock Movement and Steven Blush's film American Hardcore
Old School Keith Haring. I like that several of my students here in Egypt own Keith Haring shirts. The kids might not be stoked about his private life. 
Sorry the gift shop is closed. 
70's television program Good Times comes to mind.
Patrick and the mailboxes (the name of his new band). 

The positive qualities regarding the exhibit was a decent cross section and interpretations of street art. 

Cholo lettering = downloadable fonts. Nothing is sacred!
I wondered how many visitors stopped at the dispensary down the street for a space muffin prior to entering this part of the show.  

I once bought the zine Lost from my friend Julie. The publication was a collection of lost pets fliers; an actual Milk-Bone dog biscuit was attached to the cover.  
Lowrider culture meets cholo swap meet t-shirt booth. 
A clown pouring syrup on the rump of a blonde chick submerged in an ice cream tub wearing Daisy Dukes with planted sugar cone on her breasts next to a superimposed rottweiler with bouncing lowriders in the background is every man's fantasy. What a shame that I didn't think of this idea first.
No photos were allowed of this Basquiat image. 
No more Yogi. 
Even the pigeons in LA have it rough. After the show Patrick and I headed up to his nephew's gallery in Chinatown- Charlie James Gallery. Charlie has been carving his niche in the LA art scene. Hanging out with Charlie is always an unpredictable adventure. The evening's itinerary included a stop at Jumbo's Clown Room and a Canadian Day improv performance at Upright Citizen's Brigade.

Sonny's pad in little Armenia and his amazing music collection is always a treat. 
Giovanni Marks (Subtitle) and Sonny having a conversation via texting. 
Twin Infinities exhibit at the  Nomad Art Gallery/Compound was curated by Rich Jacobs and Tee Pee Records. Rich was kind enough to ask me to submit a last minute piece. Crashing gallery exhibits was my M.O. this past summer.
Some of the works.
Coliseum jamming on opening night. 
In addition to art, live music, an outdoor wrestling ring, beverages & snacks, there was a tattoo shop in the compound.  
Ana and I did sneak up to Whittier one afternoon for rib fest 2011 at the de la Rosa compound. 

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