Awol Erizku & Isabel Yellin @ Night Gallery

Hidden away amongst old industrial complexes in the outskirts of Downtown Los Angeles, there is a cool little space called Night Gallery (@nightgallery) that is currently exhibiting two up-and-coming artists, Awol Erizku and Isabel Yellin. If you drive past a strip club on Washington Blvd, then drive through the small alley behind it, you’ll arrive at the gallery through a small opening in the parking lot fence. Yes, it sounds sketchy. Yes, it’s safe.

In my day job I work in one of those industrial factories in the area, but even I would have never guessed a bona fide art gallery existed around here. LA is so confusing sometimes.

Awol Erizku

Erizku (@awolerizku), a Los Angeles-based artist, primarily gained his notoriety as a photographer, many of his subjects being young and famous rappers and artists themselves. Although he disdains being known as the “Beyonce portrait photographer”, his fame catapulted earlier this year when Beyonce posted a photo on Instagram of her pregnant self in front of a large ring of flowers, announcing that she is expecting twins. That photo quickly became the most liked picture on Instagram EVER within a few hours.

In his latest show with Night Gallery titled Menace II Society, Erizku explores police brutality (#fucktwelve), race identity, and female empowerment through the lens of popular culture. I’m always drawn to the in-your-face, pop culture driven, subversive visual art, so Erizku fits the bill perfectly.

Isabel Yellin

Inhuman, uncomfortable, confusing, sensual, and sexual. Those are the words that entered my mind when looking at this amorphous body of works by Isabel Yellin (@isayell) exhibiting alongside Erizku in the same space. Titled It’ll Come, the shapes and materials used in these sculptures inform the range of emotions that viewers experience.

For example, the black, shiny latex material evoke images of a violent sexual act, while the conjoined pale-fleshed figures on the wall confound yet bring forth warmth, like two sisters holding hands and walking down the street.

Overall, it’s a weird experience standing between the figures, but I found myself coming back to look at them several times. I’m sure you’ve all experienced not being able to look away after playing those pimple popping videos on YouTube. It’s gross and fascinating at the same damn time!

The two shows run until October 7.

Night gallery is located at 2276 E Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90021.

– Los Angeles, CA

Street Snaps: Invader on Paris Streets

While roaming Paris streets, you cannot turn a corner without finding Invader’s (@invaderwashere) mark on the city. From invasions of more recent years, you can clearly tell that Invader grew bolder and more ambitious, both in size and in visibility. Whereas in 2000 you’d see small invasions that required concentrated effort to find it, by 2009 pieces grew enormous and invaded prominent street corners.

Of course, copycats are abound in the city, but it isn’t too hard to tell the real deal from the fakes based on quality of the work from cheap tiles to not so geometric arrangements. If you think you might be fooled, it’s easy to use Flash Invaders to confirm.

Between myself and my travel buddy, we had a ton of fun trying to see who could find the most invasions. Below are some of my favorites that we found.

PA_1100>2014>50 Points – This John Hamon guy was everywhere in the city too.  Seems he’s some kind of guerrilla artist himself.

PA_360>2000>10 Points

PA_800>2009>50 Points

PA_1161>2015>30 Points

PA_769>2009>50 Points

PA_1127>2014>50 Points

PA_1030>2012>50 Points

PA_682>2006>30 Points

PA_878>2011>20 Points

– Paris, France

Hello My Game Is – Part Deux

We had a post last March about Invader’s (@invaderwashere) museum show at Le Musee en Herbe through friends of the blog, but last month we got a chance to visit the beautiful city of Paris for the full experience ourselves. Even better, while exploring the city, we ran into dozens of invasions by the maestro to see what an ambitious endeavor the artist is carrying out around the world, but especially in his hometown of Paris. Please enjoy the photos and our thoughts on the show.

Space Invader may be the only street artist in the world that could exhibit in a children’s museum while still maintaining his street cred and not feel out of place. His whole artistic manifesto seems to be an invitation to embrace our nostalgia and never stop exploring. I knew that Paris was ground zero for Invader’s tiled invasions, and so I could not help but to keep my eyes open and high up to make sure I didn’t miss any. Instead of being on my phone (unless I was playing Flash Invaders!!!) or looking in a travel guide to see where to go next, we wandered the city on foot and followed people into small alleys and large plazas looking for the next invasion waiting for us around the corner. This newest show by Invader called Hello My Game Is… is no different in its mindset.

The show is for children as much as it is for adults. For children, it is full of wonderment and cartoon characters transformed into forms that are not quite right but still very familiar. It’s simply fun and accessible. It’s art without the pretense. For adults, it is a chance to share with our children the superheroes and characters that we idolized and what they meant for us when we were their age. For those without children yet, it’s a chance to be a kid again, kneeled on the floor putting coins into an arcade game machine to play Pong and Pac-Man.

You might have to wait a while to find your game open up.

Le Musee En Herbe is a children’s museum made up of 4 small rooms. When I did my first walkthrough I was disappointed that it was so small and that there were not as many Invaders on the walls as I had hoped, but I actually ended up spending 3 hours in it exploring every piece in the show. It’s an intimate setting and it worked better this way. I’m sure that’s exactly how Invader intended it to be.

The show is also super interactive. In the first room, there are 5 old-school arcade game machines from Pong and Pac-Man to Tetris. The games are free to play and almost always occupied by someone. The nostalgia I felt as I squatted down to play the games was overwhelming, but I didn’t remember it being so uncomfortable kneeling in front of an arcade game. I guess I’ve grown a few inches since elementary school. In the second room, there is a control station with many buttons and as you push on each, the large projection screen will display a corresponding image of a past invasion around the world and also light up a red dot next to a replica of it displayed on the wall. In the last room there is a large section on a wall where you can create your own tiled invasions using colored magnets. Kids really got into it here making Minions and other weird creatures.

This is the control station where you can see many invasions from around the world and replicas of the invasions are displayed on the walls.

Invader’s message to attendees of the show is simple. “Have fun, stay for as long as you want, but while you’re here forget about anything else.” The fact that a street artist of such notoriety was invited to show at a children’s museum in Paris is a sign of how far along the genre has come. Being prominently featured in Banksy’s mockumentary Exit Through the Gift Shop probably didn’t hurt either. Regardless, this is a street artist that is breaking laws everywhere he goes putting up his works on walls that do not belong to him. With this show, Invader transcended street art and is clearly blazing his own path.

If you visit the show in person, don’t forget to pick up some stickers from the vending machine! You never know what you’ll get.

The show runs until September 3rd.

– Paris, France

Kerry James Marshall – “Mastry” @ MOCA

Although Kerry James Marshall’s Los Angeles leg of the touring retrospective came to an end on July 3rd, I’ve put my highlights from the show above. There are far more knowledgeable people on the artist and his history to explain the show to you guys than me, so below are links to check out. And I’m a bit lazy to write today…

LA Times article details the background on Marshall and his exhibition of 80 paintings: For Kerry James Marshall, the mission is clear: Bring portraits of black life into very white art museums

MOCA Curator Helen Molesworth shares her insights on the retrospective during a walkthrough of the gallery [46:39]: Helen Molesworth on Kerry James Marshall: Mastry

And lastly, the official press release from MOCA on the opening of the exhibition, Kerry James Marshall: Mastry.

– Los Angeles, CA

Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects Celebrates Turning Twenty-One

Subliminal Projects, Shepard Fairey’s (@obeygiant) skateboard-company-turned-fine-art-gallery celebrated its 21st birthday last night in Echo Park. Artists that supported the gallery over the years filled the white walls with their works, free beers and ciders were flowing, and DJ bounced music off the halls. It looked like several of the pieces were from Shepard’s personal collection, like the Space Invader “Andre the Giant has a Posse” homage. Even Best Damn Art Blog added another Mark Drew piece to the collection. Pretty cool show.

Some of the artists displayed at the show included Shepard Fairey, obviously, Tristan Eaton (@tristaneaton), Invader (@invaderwashere), Albert Reyes, Mark Drew (@markchronic), Barry McGee, Dabs Myla (@dabsmyla), Jim Houser (@jimhouser), and Skullphone (@skullphone), among many, many others.

The show “Twenty-One” runs through July 15, 2017 at Subliminal Projects on 1331 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA, 90026.

“Young World (Slick Rick)” is a part of the BDAB collection!

Barry McGee, aka Twist

– Los Angeles, CA