Archive for February, 2010
Billboard by Kerry Tribe
If you live in Los Angeles, you're well aware of the increasing visual pollution caused by the endless propagation of billboards and supergraphics vying for every open inch of Southland skyline. A welcome break to the aesthetic ad-driven monotony comes in the form of the "HOW MANY BILLBOARDS" project, presented by the MAK CENTER, featuring the artwork of 20+ artists plastered (legally) on billboards at key locations in and around the Hollywood area. While the artist roster doesn't exactly blow our minds or, likely, the minds of many young people in the area(WTF, no Skullphone, Ron English, Allison Schulnik, Barry McGee, Barbra Kruger, Raymond Pettibon, Catherine Opie, or Chaz Bojorquez?!), the project itself is a great follow-up to the precedent-setting and more visually stunning ARTBOARD FESTIVAL that took place in LA in 1977 and featured artists like Rick Griffin and Ed Ruscha, a project that has been kept alive in recent years by UNDFTD who have maintained their eye-popping art billboard for several years now.
The philosophical proposition of the exhibition is simple: art should occupy a visible position in the cacophony of mediated images in the city, and it should do so without merely adding to the visual noise. How Many Billboards? Art In Stead proposes that art periodically displace advertisement in the urban environment.
Billboards are a dominant feature of the landscape in Los Angeles. Thousands line the city's thoroughfares, delivering high-end commercial messages to a repeat audience. Given outdoor advertising's strong presence in public space, it seems reasonable and exciting to set up the possibility for art to be present in this field. The sudden existence of artistic speech mixed in with commercial speech provides a refreshing change of pace. Commercial messaging tells you to buy; artistic messaging encourages you to look and to think.
Time and space allotted for artworks in commercial space is limited, and the sea of signs is vast. How can a billboard exhibition make a strong enough impact? Most importantly, the art cannot be passive. It must take a strategic approach, be critically oriented, and explore the billboard as a site.
Artistically and culturally, Los Angeles is an aggregate of dynamic histories. Experimental architecture has been active here since the early twentieth century, radical art since the 1950s. An acute awareness of urban space has always influenced both avant-garde architectural and art practices in Los Angeles. Southern California's overlaps and interweaves of architectural adventurism, pop, and Conceptual Art have generated rich environments for artistic production and yielded influential bodies of art. My co-curators and I felt that these So-Cal syntheses are relevant for the dynamics of pop-public space in Los Angeles today.
It's a win-win situation.
Los Angeles public space begs for smart art to break up the monotony of everyday media fare, and the billboard provides a fertile position for artists who work critically and site-responsively to test their ideas in urban media space. Contemporary art gains a momentarily broad audience, and city dwellers are extended a daily invitation to reflect and contemplate. Channels are opened for experimentation, innovation, and cultural exchange.
The MAK Center, the project partners, and I invite you to explore, enjoy, and tell us what you think.
*Read more about the project HERE...
Billboard by Yvonne Rainer
Billboard by David Lamelas
Billboard by Kenneth Anger
Hard to believe that a comic book sales record could be set at the peak of an unprecedented "recession," but that's exactly what happend this week when a near pristine copy of ACTION COMICS #1 featuring the debut of SUPERMAN traded hands anonymously for the princely sum of $1 million USD. Previous books have fetched in the $500K range but the high 8.0 grade of this museum quality example "warranted" its excessive pricetag. If we had to guess, we'd place newly broke actor Nic Cage in the room for this transaction as he's been selling off his incredible comic book collection for a minute now and even has a son named (wait for it) Kal-El, after Superman's true birthname. We really can't help but wonder, though, what someone in Haiti would think of this news...
*Click HERE to browse an original issue of Action Comics #1 cover-to-cover...
Supertouch buddy KOSTAS SEREMETIS has just completed his STAR WARS-based art film (yes, you read that correctly), "Trilogy." If that wasn't weird enough for you, the March 7th premiere will take place at the CINEMATHEQUE de TANGER in Morocco. Read on:
2009 / 126 mins / by Kostas Seremetis
A moving visual and aural collage consisting of the Star Wars Trilogy, artist Kostas Seremetis edited this 126 minute film, taking the right third of Star Wars, the middle third of Empire Strikes Back and the left third of Return of the Jedi, synchronizing them to dissonant effect. Every frame is a study in Abstract Expressionist Pop art as this moving collage of the most iconic films of our time moves to the sounds of the three films playing simultaneously. Characters move in and out of portions of the screen, ships and battles appear and disappear melding into one part of the screen from another part while the third portion of the screen portrays a crucial moment of discovery in a character's development.
for more information contact:
**Still no YouTube trailer for the film, unfortunately. Kostas, WTF?!?...
"Parking For Key Club," acrylic on canvas, 55 3/4" x 63 3/4", by Ed Ruscha
Amazing new paintings from Supertouch buddy and LA art legend ED RUSCHA. Ed's "Mountain" series is a longstanding hot commodity with a waiting list and pricetags starting past the $1 million mark. Definitely a better investment these days than real estate...
"Iron Age," acrylic on canvas, 36" x 40"
Fountain of Crystal, acrylic on canvas, 30" x 36"
Images courtesy our good friends at Gagosian LA...
Anyone not familiar with MATT TAIBBI's brilliant and cutting political analysis should start tuning in ASAP. His latest in-depth piece in the March 2010 issue of ROLLING STONE on the sham that is the government bank bailout is another must-read:
WALL STREET'S BAILOUT HUSTLE
Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren't just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy - they're re-creating the conditions for another crash
By Matt Taibbi | ROLLING STONE, March 2010
On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America's pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman's role in precipitating the global financial crisis.
The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a "bailout tax" on banks. Maybe this wasn't the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.
Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. "In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines," he said, "I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative."
Translation: We made a shitload of money last year because we're so amazing at our jobs, so fuck all those people who want us to reduce our bonuses. Click HERE to continue reading at ROLLING STONE...
TIPS FROM A MAESTRO OF THE SPRAY CAN
By Jan Ellel Spiegel | NYTimes, February 18, 2010
JASMINE JOHNSON is sprawled on the floor of the Thomas J. Walsh Gallery at Fairfield University here, her red high-tops in the air as she intently sketches on a two-foot-square sky blue canvas.
Nathaniel Jefferson is on a nearby bench, equally intent as he mulls the possibilities of a green canvas. Israel Medina, who goes by Tony, is outside in the cold, energetically spraying paint to transform a pink canvas propped against a tree.
“The wheels are turning,” says the artist John Matos, surveying the work.
These three art students from Bridgeport high schools will be joined by two schoolmates the following day as they work on a project designed by Mr. Matos, who goes by the name Crash (as a student he crashed his high school’s computer).
A child of South Bronx housing projects, Mr. Matos was younger than these teenagers when he began honing his art in the 1970s by breaking into a subway yard at night and spray painting the cars for hours in the dark and cold. Click HERE to continue reading at NYTimes...
Leave it to BANKSY to roll out the premiere of his "EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP" documentary in an unused London subway tunnel beneath the Waterloo train station—AND manage to keep the whole thing secret till now. Billed as "London's newest, darkest, and dirtiest purpose-built cinema," the venue is adorned with new Banksy art installations and rows of couches and theater seats, and even features a "popcorn stall, lounge bar, and stunning temporary toilet facilities." Daily screenings will take place at 6PM & 9:30PM daily until March 4th. Book your tickets HERE now...
Friday was a big nite in the Midwest when SHEPARD FAIREY's Ohio installment of his traveling retrospective "Supply & Demand" opened at the CINCINNATI CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER and shattered the institution's all-time attendance record.Read More
JAMES CAMERON (Avatar):
QUENTIN TARANTINO (Inglorious Basterds):
JASON REITMAN (Up In The Air):
Click HERE to listen...
LEE DANIELS (Precious):
KATHRYN BIGELOW (Hurt Locker):
Click HERE to listen...