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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
– Los Angeles, CA
New Image Art in West Hollywood opened another great show this past Saturday with a cast of artists from their stable ranging from emerging to establishment, and everyone else in between.
The piece that stole show was, by far, the towering and dazzling Retna (@ironeyeretna) below. For those of you interested in acquiring a work of this size from the street-artist-turned-super-star, be ready to plunk down six figures.
If a solo show from a particular artist captures the state of mind of the artist over the course of execution of the artworks, then a well curated group show can capture the zeitgeist of the present through a diverse set of voices.
Below are a selection of works that caught my attention at the show. If you are in the area, head over to the gallery to see the rest in person. Tell’em BDAB sent ya.
Los Angeles’s own Revok stepped further into the fine art world this weekend with his new show at Library Street Collective‘s space in Mid-City, Los Angeles. Titled “SYSTEMS”, it explores several ideas on canvas, a first for the artist to use this medium for an exhibit, and blank metal street signs, a medium he is, without a doubt, familiar with from his days as a graffiti writer (Ironic note: Apparently Revok’s vendor for the street signs is also Los Angeles city’s street sign supplier).
This piece was the star of the show, not only in its size but also in its complexity in execution, especially since all the other pieces in the show seemed straight forward. This is from a series called “Tape Loop Paintings”, created by rolling a paint covered paint roller wound with tape and transferring its paint onto the canvas surface with all its idiosyncrasies. It was really tough to get this shot with so many people hovering over it to figure out how it was painted.
This grouping was my favorite from the show, just because of the engineering that took to create the pieces. When I see these, in my mind I’m trying to design my own version of the jig that Revok uses in the Instagram video below. This series is titled “Instrument Exercises”. Watch the video and you’ll see why.
8 spray cans ejecting its content in exact synchronicity… It is completely mechanical, but there’s still poetry in it.
“Anti-paintings”. These felt sophomoric. The artist first painted names of passed friends and family on the blank street signs, then scrubbed them out, only blotches and silhouettes of the original being left behind. Decorative at least, meditative at most.
The last of the 4 series included in the show is titled “Self Portraits”, which aren’t self portraits at all, at least not in the traditional sense. Cloths that were on his studio floor for the last months to years were stretched onto painted canvas surfaces. Like the Anti-paintings, these fell short for me. I couldn’t get a good picture of the series, but you can see parts of them in the left-hand side of the above photo.
Overall, it was a fun show with large crowds taking in the creative atmosphere in the room. Although this feels like Revok’s foray into the more traditional white-walls-gallery type shows, the tools that he utilizes to accomplish it are not traditional at all. I’m looking forward to the next phase of ingenuity from Revok, #JasonRevok.
-Los Angeles, CA
The Japanese superstar artist Takashi Murakami’s newest show titled Learning the Magic of Painting is opening this Saturday, 9/10/16, at Galerie Perrotin in Paris. It is his newest show, but I don’t think all the pieces included are new because I’ve seen some of these pieces exhibited at his last show in Tokyo, Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats (hit the link to find my highlights from the show at Mori Art Museum earlier this year).
Unfortunately, or fortunately for my bank account, BDAB won’t be able to make it to Paris to attend the show, but here are some of my favorite Murakami works from the last year that I had the opportunity to enjoy in person.
Better In than Out, an obvious parody of Banksy’s outdoor New York City residency titled Better Out than In that took place around the city of New York back in October, 2013, is not a show that is in any way affiliated with the notorious street artist Banksy. Let me reiterate that.
Banksy did not provide the artwork for this show, he did not create any new work for the purpose of showing it at Taglialatella Gallery, nor did he ever set foot in the gallery. This is a gallery that specializes in the secondary market, meaning they take on consignments or buy artworks from private collections to sell at a huge markup. Banksy has never done a show of this nature nor will he ever do so. The recent “bemusement park” Dismaland, a totally off-the-wall art-show-cum-performance-art, that he created in Weston-super-Mare would bemoan to death a show like this.
But for those that have not had a chance to see Banksy’s work in person, such as myself, this is a fun little gallery to visit in Chelsea, if you ever visit NYC, like myself. Most of the works on display were print editions that Banksy’s released in the last 10+ years, but there were also original works. I’m not entirely certain of their authenticity, although the name cards mentioned being authenticated by Pest Control. No, Pest Control isn’t an extermination company. That’s Banksy’s institution for authenticating prints, originals, or any other artwork (except for street works, which is to deter people from stealing works from the street) that may have been created by Banksy. However, there is an easy way to find out if a Bansky street art you find on the street is real: Visit Banksy’s website because he will update his site with pictures of any new street piece. These days you should never buy any Banksy artwork without having a certificate of authenticity from Pest Control. But I digress.
Click through to find the pictures from the show. I purposely did not take a picture of a Banksy piece that was stolen from the street that they had displayed center stage in the gallery. No need to encourage behavior like that. Enjoy.
“On Our Hands” is the latest solo exhibition of new paintings of various media and sculptures from Shepard Fairey (@obeygiant), and the first solo exhibition the artist has had in New York City since his “May Day” show as the swan song exhibition of Jeffrey Deitch’s Deitch Projects in May, 2010. The new show came to a close on October 24th, but for those who could not attend, here are some words and photos from the show.
Fairey’s art has always leaned political in subject and bluntly direct in nature so as there not to be any ambiguity of the message that he intends to deliver, and “On Our Hands” was no different. This new body of work from the artist tackles many topics that has been generating headlines on mainstream media, such as environmental atrophy caused by oil and gas industries, police brutality, campaign finance reform, and global feminism. The title of the show suggests that it is our responsibility, that the power lies in our hands, to solve these greater problems of the world.
Fairey has always put his money where his mouth is and shouldered the responsibility of focusing the lens on these problems through his public murals, exhibitions, charitable works, and creating recognizable works that reach a critical mass where we can actually start to make a difference. Although this new body of work is not conceptually profound (I admit though there is no other stencil artist in the world that is doing it with such finesse. I mean, look at how he incorporates pieces of retired stencil into his painting to create a 3 dimensional aspect.), in the context of his body of work outside the gallery space it makes complete sense.
Some of the most powerful works in the show are the least assuming, for example the above three portraits. Upon first glance it is nothing but portraits of anonymous women. By my American sensibilities, these women are Muslim, but their ability to convey regality and piercing strength with not much more than their eyes hint at Fairey’s message of equal rights for women, even in Arab countries, that women should not be viewed as inferior and should be given equal treatment to men. There’s also a veil of criticism of American sensibilities as well. Notice how I immediately assumed these women are Muslim because they donned what looks like the hijab?
Another thing strikes me is how Fairey makes his art accessible for so many levels of collectors. The canvas pieces are priced at around $48,000, well outside of the budget of 99.9% of America, but the works on paper, retired stencils, and stencils on found papers can range anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000, which makes his shows within budget for many collectors despite the blue chip status that Shepard Fairey has been enjoying for the past few years since the first Obama campaign. In cooperation with the gallery, Pace Prints, which is just one floor below the Jacob Lewis Gallery, released sets of prints in the $2,000 range. Also the artist releases art prints almost weekly on his website in the $45-60 range that could fit even a college student’s budget.
Although the show has come to an end, click through to find 30+ high-res photos from the show.
What a turnout for Thinkspace Gallery’s newest sold-out exhibition, a three-man show by Aaron Horkey, Esao Andrews, and Joao Ruas titled “The Gilded Age”. A line to enter the show started forming around 5:30pm and by start of the show at 6pm the line was easily 60 people strong. The line continued for the remainder of the night.
Aaron Horkey and Joao Ruas each brought 9 new works for the show, and Esao brought 8 new works, including a massive 48″x36″ piece, the largest piece in the room. Not only in the artworks themselves, but the attention to detail in the presentation (Aaron Horkey painstakingly lettered the title under each piece by hand) could hardly go unnoticed. There’s a lot of pictures to be shared so I’m going let the pictures do the talking.
Click through the link to view 48 pictures from the show.