Monday, July 21, 2008

Edwin Ushiro at the Project Gallery


Edwin Ushiro “While the Tides Guide You Back Home”
ProjectgalleryLA.com

I chanced to stumble upon a fantastic show at Project gallery in Culver City a couple weekends ago. While it’s quite possible to get completely lost in the murmur of happenings within the Culver City arts scene, this show very much stands out. Ushiro is a young artist already possessing extreme technical prowess, and after he’s done pouring it into his works it’s nearly impossible to tell how they were created. Using some combination of drawing, digital coloring, printing, mounting, painting, antiquing and varnishing, the pieces achieve a strange translucent depth, creating a foggy window into the seemingly intangible. Some of the larger works achieve a complexity that initially feel almost abstract as the denizens of the paintings break into fractal muted tones, and swirling, tidal compositions.

Conceptually the works leave a bit to be desired for me, as the titles, which tend to read more like bad poetry, evoke a wretchedly sweet sentimentality. It’s obvious that the paintings are of old friends from Ushiro’s native Hawaii, done with the intent to create some sort of sensation of longing or time-invoked loss. Not knowing any of these people, and not giving much of a crap, the conceptual center of she show comes off completely emotional instead of even remotely conceptual. The whole show feels like some Hallmark card from your grandmother. I can only hope that at some point the well of old acquaintances and childhood memories runs dry for Ushiro and he’s forced to look some place else for inspiration.
--Snowflake

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"In the Land of Retinal Delights: The Juxtapoz Factor" at the Laguna Art Museum


After seeing the show twice at the Laguna Art Museum, but as a non-reader of Juxtapoz, I must say: I get it. The question remains: do I care?

See, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to think about a show that has over 150 artists in it, and yet still refuses to say anything terribly new, for fear of seeming to engage in the mainstream art conversation; that, it seems, would be selling out to the idea of being lowbrow. As a whole, it says a lot about what we as consumers covet: easily recognizable figures, marketable object images, surreal landscapes in which we can loosen ourselves from the adult body and return to the non-existent utopia of our collective childhood. Scat and scars and Godzilla and pop-eyed girls reign.

The statement for the show asserts that “there has been a huge, but unacknowledged art movement taking place in this country for the last 40 years” and the artists represented in the show are supposedly a collection of the shirked set. I’m baffled by the “unacknowledged” part, because even though I don’t read Juxtapoz, I am very familiar with most of the names on the show’s lineup.

I’m going to pose a factor: the reason I know a lot of these names might be because I have seen the artists show in a number of prominent galleries, but it more likely the fact that so many of them have a commercial element to their work. Take Gary Baseman for example. He collaborates with Harvey’s Seatbelt Bags to create an Artist Series of purses that ratchets the price tag up twofold for a sack with his images sewn or, recently, printed onto it.

But, when standing in front of his painting in the show, I couldn’t help but feel cheated. Canting my eyes slightly to the left, I compared his thinly painted canvas of bobble-headed figures with the superealistic painting of an ass-view of a cow with human in the distance. It wasn’t the photorealistic nature of the other painting that made it so much more interesting to me, but the skill with which it was executed.

But when I looked in the giftshop at LAM, I found not one reproduction of the ass-end-cow on a t-shirt or coffee cup. I DID find, however, a huge number of tchotchkes and doodads with other characters stripped from the paintings in the show. There’s a theme here: if you need a coaster with a low-brow image, you’ve got it. If you need a change purse with a funky figure floating on its surface, you’ve got it. If you need an action figure of your fave huge-eyed borg, you’ve got it. What you don’t have, however, is art.

And as I fingered through the mounds of commercial offerings, I chuckled at the dichotomy: do you want art, or do you want stuff? It seems that there is no room for the big questions that Mark Ryden, Seonna Hong, Date Farmers, The Clayton Brothers, Jim Houser and others were exploring. Their works seemed the least “lowbrow”, whatever that means.

But, it seems, there is plenty of room for the ubiquitous female borg with the balloon head and outsized eyes. This image is repeated to the point of absurdity across a number of artists’ canvases. Who is she; what does she represent? Is she the modern us, looking hugely full of information and commercial plastic junk, and yet still somehow perpetually surprised that she’s supremely unhappy? Is she that missing innocent childhood we’re supposedly nostalgic for? If so, tell her this for me: it never existed.

This is a show of dazzle and wow, of eye-popping images (often with popping eyes of their own), of impressive works representing a genre that is struggling to be dangerous and different. The viewer senses that struggle. And while they grapple with the images swirling before them, they might also consider saving up for that Baseman Seatbelt Bag which will set them back three hundred bones. Because if you can’t own a real piece of art, I guess you might as well settle for a piece of the lowbrow pie.
--The 925

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ground Us -- Huntington Beach Art Center


The pamphlet for this show says "Three large scale site-specific installations will amuse, engage and imagine a new and improved world." I will begin my critique here buy suggesting that these works were not "large" and they were by no means site-specific. Okay, they were pretty bigish, but, but by no stretch large--Serra is large!

I say not site-specific because all three of these works could be re-installed
elsewhere pretty much exactly like they were presented in these spaces so
that removes all aspects of site-specificity. And what is the direct object of amuse, engage, and imagine? Is the author of this statement saying that these three works will amuse, engage, and imagine a new and improved new world? Sorry, I don't get it.

That is where my negative critique of this exhibit ends. The performance of
P. Williams' "The Finishing Touch" is thought provoking and contemporary to
the minute. Yes, the work itself performs; in fact, it self-destructs. When the airplanes first start flying over this city made of garbage and cardboard one feels a sense of foreboding (a 9-11 type of nostalgia).

But then when the large building itself starts to move and subsequently begins to demolish the city, one is suddenly aware that the fear is not from above (from the other), but rather from within (from the self). Point taken, we have nothing to fear but ourselves. Great job P.

Lucrecia Troncoso's "Tree of Life..." is visually intriguing, technically sound, and large enough within this gallery space to captivate its viewers. I am afraid that it has been too long since I saw this show to speak overly intelligent about this work. And I don't want to simply try to respond to her statement in the brochure. However, I do remember enjoying the metaphor and environmental sensibility that this piece was trying to communicate. It engaged me so it must have been a successful piece.

Kiel Johnson's insanely intricate drawing "Survival Mode" is captivating in
a Schiele way. Again big enough for the space and the work definitely draws one in to his comical depictions of urbanity. Not really my style but still, amazing work.

So overall, other than the pamphlet author's poor introductory paragraph, this exhibit is worth a visit--especially now that P.'s piece is "finally finished" as the artist proclaimed at the conclusion of his work's performance.

--ART

Monday, July 14, 2008

Peter Saul, OCMA


Peter Saul, OCMA

Peter Saul currently has some large paintings very nicely arranged on some well-lit walls in Orange County. Who is this guy, and how did he manage to get a museum retrospective? These are questions that didn’t exactly plague me, but that I could by no means answer as I walked through the space. Large and beautifully colored, the paintings run the gamut of depiction from old popish cartoons to grotesque twisted forms vivisecting, chopping, conquering and converting each other. It’s difficult not to like a guy who paints heads being chopped off and liberally uses fluorescent paint, but his subject and color choices are far more sophisticated than merely testing the limits of the visible light spectrum. In the newer paintings he has traded the surface intrigue of his earlier works in oil for rhythmically daubed acrylic, building stylized, freakish humanoid forms in rich colors that seem to provide better than the usual color yield acrylic has to offer. He has weighed in on a variety of subjects, his illustrative approach creating a feel for the paintings that rests somewhere between editorial and satirical, whether it be cops fighting punks on a subway, or conquistadors doing their genocide thing.

Most telling for me perhaps is a quote on one of the placards from Saul himself: “It’s the intellectual dignity of modern art that upsets me, excites me to paint like I do.” There must be some sort of dignity someplace in a man to motivate him to invest so many years into so many large-scale works. With his fantastic proclamation, Saul seemingly attempts to separate himself from the rest of the art world at large, and indeed it’s easy to imagine that for a great many years his stylized, representational works were likely at odds with what everyone else was doing. But here he is, hanging in a museum, with the likes of Baldesarri and Burden across the hall, so he must not have been all that removed. In fact, he is at his best lampooning the established, accepted art stars, his “Francis Bacon Descending a Staircase” and not one of the larger works in the show, is possibly the best and most poignant piece that Saul has brought out of storage. At once a reference and an acknowledgement of Duchamp’s destruction of objective painting, which Saul is still sore about, and Francis Bacon who Saul apparently looked at a time or two. Pretty much says it all.

I also revisited the “Art since the 1960’s” show across the hall, While the first time I walked through the show a couple months ago, the show served mostly as a back drop to the Disorderly Conduct show, something to fill the space, and definitely not a destination in and of itself. It sat quietly and confidently in the corner, smug as it knew something that Disorderly Conduct didn’t. Seeing it again, reminded me how truly progressive art can be, and makes one long for the humor, insight, and challenge of other times. Sure, some of the work is almost 50 years old but it still feels as engaging as anything new. Ok, so it’s also pretty much just stuff from OCMA’s permanent collection and most of the works are second string, oddly arranged, and dusty at best, yet put together it adds up to create a representation of a community of individuals, however loosely linked, attempting to understand, document and affect their time. Which lets face it, is pretty cool.
--Snowflake

Sunday, July 13, 2008

“In The Land of Retinal Delights, the Juztapoz Factor”

“In The Land of Retinal Delights, the Juztapoz Factor”
Laguna Art Museum

Before I roll up the sleeves and get the shovel, let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Juxtapoz show and I recommend it to everyone, artists and philistines alike. The work is a fun, accessible, not to mention gigantic formation of artists whose work and names will be familiar to anyone who has ever picked up a copy of Juxtapoz and indeed many that have not. It’s almost too much imagery to take in all at once and I suspect that there may be a lot I missed, what did manage to permeate the thickness of my skull was challenging and rewarding on many levels.

I think first we need to discuss the context of the work in Laguna. According to it’s own mythology, the lowbrow, underground, pop-surrealist, graffiti, punk art movement was born from the custom culture, counter culture, underground comic scene of 1960’s California, and has struggled ever since to get into the ivory towers of the established art world. You know the art world I’m speaking of right? Uptight, minimally or non-representational, overly conceptual, boring, stuffy, opaque, challenging, educated. It looks like they’ve finally managed to crash the party. With Juxtapoz (the magazine) as the nucleus, several of the older artists in the show and their friends have meticulously constructed an alternate art world all their own. This show feels a bit like a cross between a smorgasbord and a retrospective. But it’s far too soon for a retrospective, two thirds of the artists need to die off, and the surviving ones need to labor in obscurity for years while some ignorant, unskilled young upstarts overshadow their careers before we can even begin to figure out which of them were visionaries and which of them were imposters.

The other main problem I have with this show is the notion that all the art is part of some intentional movement. Yes, it is a snapshot of what is happening at the moment, yes it all fits into Baseman’s notion of “Pervasive Art” however in their rush to glorify the visual, there seems to be a lack of the conceptual, each artist laboring away with their own ideas (hopefully) with rarely an intersection between any two of them except the occasional referencing of the same pop culture sources. The pervasive part ends up feeling populist, swapping the clever for the cool, and critique for mass appeal. Someone wiser than me, when discussing the antics and repercussions of Duchamp and Warhol once said: “They did as much harm for art as they did good.”

I think that statement fits snuggly around the neck of Robert Williams and friends, while they have brought the promise or representational art back from the dead; it’s still missing something like a reanimated Frankenstein’s monster. A tiny quote on Jim Houser’s painting says it best: “This defines us, this flatness in the eyes.”

In this show, the heavy hitters, while easily recognizable, are not where the party is. Sure, Robert Williams and his old pals have some deservedly prominent space but their skills reveal their bluntness when hanging next to some of the fresher work. Sylvia Ji who is the artistic equivalent of a fetus knocks them dead while in contrast, a giant work by the Clayton Brothers, looks like everything you’ve ever seen them knockoff and makes you wonder why we ever cared. Mark Dean Veca’s “There is no spoon” (acrylic and ink on canvas) looks like acrid wall paper with pop culture images woven into the floral motif. Is it d├ęcor as art, or art as decor? It makes me wonder about the way that representational imagery is tied into everything, and how we mitigate and decide the value of each. In his piece, Veca poses questions that the rest of the artwork in the show seems up against: Are we offering new ideas and challenges, or merely creating trendy decoration? As we parody or pay tribute to pop culture, to old comic characters and sci-fi, do we bring any new meaning to the table or do we merely float along on nostalgia? If we reference crap-culture, do we risk becoming more of the same?

I’m just going to say this once and for all, I can’t stand the “work” of Shag, totally hate it! It’s boring, formulaic, and suffers from flatness visually, emotionally, and conceptually. His ingenuity and energy is obviously taxed in the marketing, and merchandizing aspect of his career, for there seems to be nothing left for the art. I hold him in the same regard as I do Thomas Kinkade: With wonder and amusement that he has managed to last this long, that there is someone out there culturally bankrupt enough to find the so called art interesting and worthy of adorning a set of beer coasters, matchbooks, mouse-pads, martini shakers or even the walls of a house, gallery or a museum.

One of the most interesting pieces for me was “Sleeping by day” by Ray Cesar. Born of what seems to be an entirely digital process, the giclee print of a girl with narrow Appalachian eyes is initially uninspiring but offers up a lot of questions. The piece blends in among the paintings, looking from a distance, a bit like the efforts of some uptight egg-tempera painter, but unlike painters which at some point have to reconcile their own abilities, Cesar has instead used a 3-D modeling program offering infinite focus, complete control of lighting, texture and opacity. He has managed to create a hyper-real fantasy world as convincing and eerie as anything I’ve seen in a movie theater. With such control at one’s disposal, it’s a wonder why more artists have not jumped on the digital bandwagon. More to his credit, I think it’s one of the only prints in the show that is a piece of art that no human hands need ever touch. While that fact might negate the importance of the piece hanging in Laguna for some viewers, considering the shameless promotion, capitalization and salesmanship of some of the other artists in the show, Ray Cesar comes off looking like the smartest guy in the room.

Up stairs from the Juxtapoz show is something that for me capped off the whole experience, it’s a relatively small piece with a relatively long name: “The miniature reproduction of the old Laguna Beach art gallery recreated by Margaret and Stanley Sheppard, with sculpted figures by Gail Hindman”. This was in an exhibition of miniature signed canvases by Laguna artists. How do I explain this thing? It’s basically a diorama of what was apparently the old Laguna Beach Art Gallery but looks more like a miniature Unabomber shanty complete with six-inch versions of some dead artists.(presumably) This is a lowbrow work of art of the highest order. Unapologetic and classically kitsch, it glorifies the early cultural pioneers of Orange County who unknowingly created the cradle/grave in which art in The O.C. has attempted to scratch its way out of, for so many years. The piece is a unique representation of the very Orange County art prejudice that the curators, purveyors, and patrons of the Juxtapoz show are trying to break, perched quietly above like a well-mannered monkey on a proverbial back. The tiny plein air painters of waves and hillsides, trapped behind glass in a miniscule purgatory might have a thing or two to tell the artists of the Juxtapoz show about the way the cutting edge inevitably ends up dull.
--Snowflake

Huntington Beach Art Center -- GROUND US

Huntington Beach Art Center
GROUND US
Artists:
Kiel Johnson
Lucrecia Troncoso
P.Williams

When I first arrived at the space I picked up the flyer with general information about the show, which included the three artist statements. On this flyer above the show title it read, "Three large scale site-specific installations will amuse, engage and imagine a new and improved world."
... a new and improved world??? Unfortunately for all living creatures on this planet, this work does not show us something new but forces us to see what we have already done to ourselves and the horrors that could come of it. Certainly to my eyes nothing I saw even remotely improves on our world. Of course we are already living part of this nightmare and these works force you to accept that reality.

I love the way the artist's all ignored the curators bullshit description that sounds like something that was used to sell the concept of the show to some bonehead who doesn't want the art at this once-great art center to offend anyone. If it's one thing that gets me worked up, it's the idea of a curator or gallery owner telling the artist what their work will be about. When did this idea start? If the idea and inspiration for the artist are provided by the curator, what is the artist? Then there's the "artist" who comes up with the idea but lets someone else make the work.
What? I'm confused. See I thought the artist was supposed to do both, but what do I know?

These three works are harsh warnings of what is going on and what's to come.

Troncoso’s, "The Tree of Life (antimicrobial)”, and “Breath" piece is half brilliant and half useless. First the brilliant. Troncoso made a tree out of cellulose cleaning sponges. She says we are all trying to remove ourselves as much as possible from our great-great-great grandfathers the microbes. To me her tree symbolizes a planet of man-made sterilized environments that suck any organic pleasures right out our asses.
Being the father of two daughters myself, I am completely aware of the tendency today to control all aspects of our children's lives. All danger must be avoided, no contact with anyone who has not been given CIA clearance and don't play on the street because we all know that's when the molesters and rapists will get you.

We are all so worried about not dying we forget to live. A huge part of what has shaped me as a person is the fact that as a kid I played almost every day on the streets of our block with a variety of other kids. We created our own games, made our own rules, picked our own teams and found ways to always challenge ourselves. Yea, we got into some trouble and got into fights, but we also learned how to deal with it without some parent in our face saying, "it's ok honey, everyone's a winner", and bullshit like that. My oldest daughter didn't do any of that and I doubt my younger one will either and that, I fear, will be too bad. I don't know why this tree made me think of all this but it did and that to me is good art.

The "Breath" part I don't get: a four and a half minute video of the same trees blowing in the wind. Well, real trees still exist, just go outside, however faux sponge trees are a new one on me. It seams a lot of artists just want to use video because they think it's still edgy. Maybe it still is, but if you’re going to show me a moving two dimensional image on some kind of screen it better be good, because now you’re competing with the billions of dollars spent making images using the same tools, that most of us then watch at least for some period of time daily.

Kiel Johnson's "Survival Mode" is bloody beautiful but a bit much. It is something like getting two steaks for dinner. It was a little overkill.
His world has roads that led nowhere or in circles with buildings built on top of one another until the whole thing becomes a huge surprise ball.
Chaos, where too much is still not enough. We are burying ourselves in our crap! On second thought maybe he wants you feel like you just ate two steak dinners and stopped by Coldstone on the way home.

Now on to Mr. P. Williams' and his "The Finishing Touch".
I was circling the show a second or third time trying to let the work of the three artists sink in when I came upon a group of three ladies. I was in something of a trance looking at the P.Williams work when the conversation of the ladies became impossible for me to ignore. This was not because they were loud; they were not. It had more to do with how I like to let whatever is going on around me flourish and become part of my world. Or you could just say I was nosey. Anyway, I heard one of the women discussing how some of the materials from the show that were not needed for the eventual piece were still in her garage. With that, I had to introduce myself as a friend of P. The nice woman introduced herself as Becky Williams, none other than the artist's mother.
Now I had already been looking at "The Finishing Touch" for some time before this encounter and the interesting part for me is how my perception of the piece grew and expanded in unexpected ways after meeting Mrs. Williams and her two friends.

Before this twist of fate occurred I was noticing how drab, dark and expressionless this city made of trash, cardboard and wood was. Williams took a lot of time to carefully make dozens and dozens of buildings and cars, but he made them all without any character, only using black and grey paint with just enough detail to make it very clear what one is looking at. This is a jammed city of high-rise towers, with a road splitting the middle, with cars and trucks driving on this road going only back to where they started. The only words I could find on the piece were painted on the sides of the trucks that said things like, "dirt, shit, stuff, booze, body hair, bullshit and flesh". Grey airplanes dangled from clear wire above this nightmare. Now as if things weren't bad enough, there is a huge cardboard box with eyes, screaming mouth and claws painted on it, that is unmistakably one of P. Williams' characters. The combination of this sad downtown madness and this nutty looking giant was quite funny and depressing at the same time. This beast I will call The P. Monster. The P. Monster seams to be enjoying the fear he brings to this city. Perhaps The P. Monster has been there for years and that is why no one cares to bother to make life colorful or cheerful in any way. They all know they are doomed, so what is the point?

Now I missed the big performance part of this piece that happened a couple weeks ago so I have been very curious as to what happened. Well as luck would have it Mrs. Williams had the answer... she recorded the whole thing! Before we met, I noticed that she was showing her friends something that was recorded on her small pocket camera. I, of course, loomed in to look, and what took place after that was sheer joy. Now I'm not saying this is on the level of seeing my children born, but it was damn close. Human beings and the things they do fascinate me more than anything else in life.

There are times in our lives that are so great that if we are aware of them, as they are happening, it can make all the hell of this life worth getting through. Here I was at an art exhibit space, where I have exhibited my own work, which is located in the city I grew up in. I'm looking at a small screen of moving images that I'm told is of a performance piece, the very performance piece that I was so bummed out that I had missed. The camera is held by the mother of the artist above the actual artwork and accompanied by very sparse, but telling comments from my three new friends. Mrs. Williams was very careful not to explain what she thought was the meaning of the work. She said that everyone should come to their own conclusions. She was very proud of her son and was not the least uncomfortable with the work or how her two friends or I might feel about it.

Somehow as we watched the screen I felt a strange connection to these women. The art joined us in some way. This grainy film and tiny screen required that we all stood well inside each other’s personal spaces. This unique presentation of a performance began with a pan to show the considerable crowd and then for a while nothing happened. We were still huddled together, not sure what to do, just as the audience in the film was, then finally something began. Smoke started coming from several of the buildings. The planes started moving in erratic and senseless motions. Suddenly The P. Monster slowly came to life, moving in a most sinister and deliberate way. Finally this city was going to get what it had coming, and what it had feared for so long! Gasps were heard as The P. Monster began to destroy the city by kicking and pushing down buildings. Several high-rises were shredded and squashed in a way that would make King Kong or Godzilla jealous. The congested but orderly highway of cars and trucks became a scene much like Hot Wheels and their ramps dumped from a barrel.

I'm told that inside The P. Monster box was no monster at all, but a nice girl who is a senior student of P., who was nice enough to volunteer to destroy all his hard work. Now after the destruction was complete and pieces of the towers and cars are strewn all about, the hundred or more people in the audience didn't know what to do. This is the best part. A man comes over and knocks more stuff down. A woman starts franticly picking up things and trying to repair the devastation. One of the ladies watching this with me said that P. must have felt terrible seeing all his hard work destroyed. That made me laugh out loud. Her reaction was that is was sad that so much hard work should be ruined. The irony of that was priceless.

After the performance piece, someone did in fact put the whole city back together and this was the version I first saw when I came to the gallery.

Mrs. Williams informed me, after her presentation was all over, that I could see the whole thing on YouTube. So when I got home, I did. On YouTube is P.'s version of what happened and it is great but doesn't even come close to how much I enjoyed this wonderful gift of a moment with his mother showing me her personally captured, unedited version, as we all huddled together in fear of the wrath of The P. Monster.
Art gets no better than that.

--The Fish

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

LACMA


LACMA has a new building which is fantastic for LACMA and just sort of OK for the rest of us. It is a large box shaped structure, hilariously sheathed in what appears to be rock dug from the same hole in the ground as that wrapping the Getty. The lighting is mostly from a sun harnessing system of one type or another which even at dusk works very well and seamlessly switches over to regular lights as we spin away from the sun each evening.

The stairway/escalator is placed on the outside of the building and there is a giant elevator in the center of the building, the shaft of which is visible and sheathed in a Barbra Kruger installation (Remember her? Nazi colors, pseudo propaganda that has been recycled by the graffiti artists/criminals du jour like Shepard Fairey and Spazzmat) the installation again challenges the “less is more” ideology, asking if less concept is actually more concept? The art and subsequent viewing experience at BCAM is so much better than anything LACMA had to offer before, but the structure’s content and it’s inception made me contemplate the nature of contemporary art collecting and the role of the wealthy in taste making and declarations of an artist’s importance. But that’s a topic for another lengthy and thoroughly researched review.

Let’s talk about art: I had seen almost all the work few years ago at Broad’s private stash in Santa Monica, and I must say that that it all looks much better in the new space. Unfortunately a Koons is still a Koons no matter how you light it. The work is a virtual who’s who, and a, who gives a crap of contemporary art, giving musty old LACMA some much needed relevancy. That having been said, seeing the work is like visiting old friends that have been telling the same jokes for the last 20 years.

Richard Serra owns the first floor with his giant rusty metal intestine/vagina/whatever sculptures. They definitely have the scale to impress, though I have enjoyed interacting with his other works outdoors a bit more where they have the feel of remnants of some ancient civilization with slightly questionable taste. The placard on the wall stated something to the effect that the sculpture is specific in it’s tolerances and measure down to the millimeter, but you will notice it doesn’t sit flat on the floor, so either it’s not really that exact or the building is off slightly (Ok, I’m nit-picking, but this is the type of stuff I notice) also enjoyed an oil stick piece of his hanging at a slight angle on the back side of the elevator shaft. (Wish I had taken a picture). I couldn’t figure out if it was created on a giant slightly angled piece of fabric or if it was hung incorrectly, or was perhaps even working it’s way off the wall and onto the floor.

John Baldessari’s work is still the most poignant; his blank-except-words paintings did the most for me. One is is emblazoned with the text: “Everything is purged from this painting, but art; no ideas have entered this work”. This acutely sums up my feelings of BCAM and most contemporary art yes, all of my feelings.

After 5pm they have a “pay what you want entrance fee” or lack there of, which I think is fantastic, the cost of admission for myself and a friend wound up being a buck, but only because we were feeling generous. I think they should alter the entire admission fee system to be “pay what you want-as you leave.” If a show was particularly interesting a person might be moved to pay more, not such a good show, you could walk right by the arrogant looking cashiers.

--Snowflake