The Death of American Spirituality, 1987, by David Wojnarowicz. Part of the exhibitionTake it or Leave It: Institution, Image, Idealogy, at the Hammer Museum. Opens Sunday, in Westwood. (Collection of John Carlin and Renee Dossick. Courtesy of the Hammer.)
The Lost Frontier, 1997-2005, by Llyn Foulkes. (Image courtesy of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.)
I had the great honor of profiling painter Llyn Foulkes for NPR News. Not only did I get to spend some quality time in his studio, I got a private concert on his one-man band, The Machine. Plus I got to see his collection of curiosities (skulls!). Foulkes has an an all-kinds-of-gangbusters retrospective at the Hammer Museum: gritty, funny, desperate, intense, and beautiful, with works, such as The Last Frontier, above, that are just mind-boggling in their content and material construction.
Pleasepleaseplease click over to my story or stream it below — and if you’re in SoCal, definitely check out the show. It’s up through May 19.
P.S. After you’ve listened, check out this performance of Llyn playing “Your Cheatin’ Heart” on The Machine. ♥♥♥♥
On the boardwalk: Case Study House Incense Burners, for the design-conscious stoner-intellectual. Definitely art. Or would that be architecture? (All photos by Celso + C-M.)
In a place as impossibly horizontal as L.A., it’s always nice to see the city’s highly centralized arts institutions leave their sinecures for some guerrilla activities at the fringes. For the first ever Venice Beach Biennial, the folks behind the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. biennial got a crew of more than 50 fine artists to go and set up some stalls amid the outdoor circus that is the Venice Beach boardwalk. I decided to forgo the map that was available at some stalls and just troll the boardwalk in a state of general cluelessness. This way, I could see how good I was at picking out the artsy fartsies from the run-of-the-mill weirdos.
I didn’t get to see everything, unfortunately. (I had a very important fish taco appointment with friends.) But what I did see convinced me that this is something that the city’s institutions should be doing more of: inserting art into the world, in ways that are confusing and disorienting. Most significantly, however, the whole exercise offered the very real convenience of conceptual art and patchouli in a single location — always a winner in my book.
Bag Lady in Flight, by David Hammons — ca. 1970s (reconstructed 1990). Part of the exhibitNow Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980, at the Hammer Museum. Opens Sunday, in Westwood. (Collection of Eileen Norton, courtesy of the Hammer Museum.)
If there was one place I wish I could be this week, it’s SoCal, for the official launch of Pacific Standard Time. There’s gonna be all kinds of great exhibits. Below, I’ve listed some of the ones opening this week that have caught my eye. (Don’t forget Asco at LACMA, which has already opened.) Naturally, there are many others coming up, so check out the Getty’s hub website for a complete list of all the related exhibits.