LA///FIRST LOOK: AARON ROSE’S “BORN TO CRY” AT ECHO PARK’S HOPE GALLERY

January 23, 2009  |  art, LA, News, Openings  |  Comments Off

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Aaron Rose's guitar gently weeps...

Artist, musician, vintage clothes horse, and curator AARON ROSE—best known for his traveling genre show "Beautiful Losers"—is no stranger to tears. With a band called The Sads, it comes as no surprise that his current show of painted objects—his first solo exhibition since 1992—should be called "Born to Cry." Installed at Echo Park's promising HOPE GALLERY, the show sees Rose's Mexican art influences channeled on the surfaces of a diverse array of stuff, from guitars, chairs, and suitcases to table lamps and tables themselves. Color is key in Rose's work, and the palette here radiates warmth, belying the sorrowful messaging (ie: "Too many teardrops for one heart") of his slogan-driven work. Affordable as the day is long, it's the perfect show to crack open the wallet at to bring a dose of much-needed color into the house in these trying times. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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MELBOURNE///OPENINGS///TODD JAMES’ “DISASTER & DOUBLE DISASTER” AT DON’T COME GALLERY

January 21, 2009  |  art, Australia, Graffiti, News, Openings, Street Art  |  Comments Off

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Todd James' hot pink war machine...

Melbourne's uninvitingly named hotspot DON'T COME GALLERY is currently playing host to "Disaster & Double Disaster," a show of new paintings by NYC's resident cartoon agitator TODD JAMES (aka: REAS) that opened its doors to a dedicated crowd of fanboys and girls last weekend. Continuing his brightly-colored critique of the American corporate war machine, James has created an extended series of medium sized pieces starring his familiar array of tanks, girls, bombs, battleships, and fighter jets, all joyfully beating the crap out of one another with plenty of blood spilled to show for it. Hopefully, with Obama officially behind the desk, REAS' days of wartime inspiration will be numbered, but in the meantime, he's in like Halliburton, mining the current US-led aggression for all the visual inspiration its worth. While the show is nearly sold out, four beautifully executed limited-edition prints are available for sale from Don't Come while they last. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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LA///ORIGINS OF STYLE///MARTHA COOPER’S “STREET SHOTS” AT SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS

January 21, 2009  |  art, Graffiti, LA, News, Openings, Shepard Fairey  |  Comments Off

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Martha Cooper brings back the old days at Subliminal Projects...

Beginning in the 1970s, legendary NYC street photographer MARTHA COOPER captured some of the most indelible images of the vibrant upstart Hip Hop culture of pre-reconstruction Manhattan. Her massive body of color photographs documents the most crucial movers and innovators of the era, from the then-burgeoning realms of bombing, breaking, rapping, alongside everyday peeps straight-up bugging out on the block. Snapshots of what already seems like a long-bygone era when downtown was still a dirty word, rats had the right-of-way, and curb culture wasn't yet a marketing tool are reminders of the true meaning of early Hip Hop and the power and innovation of youth culture the likes of which we might not see for some time. Currently on display at SHEPARD FAIREY's Echo Park gallery, SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS is "Street Shots," a must-see selection of some of Cooper's greatest hits with visuals so vivid the sounds and smells of the era almost leap from the prints. And that’s a good thing. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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POLITIKS///FIRST LOOK: “MANIFEST HOPE DC” ART SHOW RINGS IN OBAMA INAUGURATION

January 18, 2009  |  art, Feature, Nike, Openings, Politiks, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Street Art  |  Comments Off

manhopedc1.jpg Just in time to celebrate President-Elect BARACK OBAMA's upcoming inauguration on January 20th, the SHEPARD FAIREY-organized MANIFEST HOPE DC art show (in collaboration with MoveOn.org) has opened its doors to the public in the nation's capitol. An extension of the original "Manifest Hope" show last year at the Democratic National Convention, this year's installment enjoys the distinction of celebrating a hard-won change instead of stating the case for it. Featuring original artwork by a diverse array of artists including Shepard Fairey, Tim Biskup, Tristan Eaton, Ron English, David Choe, Maya Hayuk, Andy Howell, Chris Pastras, HAZE, Travis Millard, House Industries, HVW8, Zoltron, JK5, Justin Hampton, Robbie Conal, and Sam Flores, the inclusive show is intended to reflect the grassroots movement that helped propel Obama to unheard of stratospheric heights. HAVE A LOOK:

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NYC///OPENINGS///JEFF LADOUCEUR “DOES THE APOCALYPSE”

January 13, 2009  |  art, News, NYC, Openings  |  Comments Off

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Following his amazing and massive outdoor installation at the Vancouver Art Gallery (photos below for those who missed it) throughout the summer of 2008, perennial Supertouch favorite JEFF LADOUCEUR has just unveiled a small show of new drawings at NYC gallery ZIEHER SMITH. Provocatively titled “Do The Apocalypse,” the collection finds the artist—whose style falls neatly in between Barry McGee and Marcel Dzama—once again channeling despair into absurdity in a range of delicately rendered pencil on paper works. His tragic figures whither and mope across an unwelcoming tundra with comic resignation. Hobo-esque “Schmos,” men whom curator Jordan Strom notes, “stretch and contort… more by existential accident than heroic design,” are tangled, trampled, and beaten down. Piles of their blue-shirted corpses are carried away on the back of a woolly mammoth. Elsewhere, figures and disembodied heads float through groundless voids of white paper. All boring artspeak aside, it’s a fantastic show of work at incredibly affordable prices ($1,500—$3,500) guaranteed to make you feel good about buying art again. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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LA///FIRST LOOK: JESSICA JOPLIN’S STEAMPUNK MENAGERIE

January 13, 2009  |  art, LA, News, Openings, Steampunk  |  Comments Off

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JESSICA JOPLIN's steampunk menagerie of would-be animals and mythological creatures failed to impress no one at her "Clockwork Circus" opening at Culver City's BILLY SHIRE FINE ARTS this weekend. Renowned for her technical prowess in rendering all manner of imaginary animalia using antique brass parts along with bones, bullet casings, and other unlikely materials that she carefully manipulates, Joplin echoes the otaku attention to detail of her Japanese counterparts who comprise the majority of the scratchbuilt sculpture community. Flawless in their design and uncannily lifelike despite their inherent impossibility, the retro-futurism of Joslin’s creatures’ is a welcome departure from the glassy technology and Apple store minimalism of 21st Century life. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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NYC///FASHIONISTA///STEPHEN SPROUSE LIVES ON AT DEITCH PROJECTS (WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM LOUIS VUITTON)

January 10, 2009  |  art, Fashion, News, NYC, Openings  |  Comments Off

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Undoubtedly, a legion of young hipsters, streetwear fashionistas, and luxury goods junkies would be left scratching their heads in bewilderment if pressed to elaborate on the legacy of STEPHEN SPROUSE. Luckily, the legendary downtown art shrine known as DEITCH PROJECTS, in collaboration with Parisian luxury brand LOUIS VUITTON has provided an immersive introduction to the late artist's indelible legacy in the form of their epic "Rock on Mars" retrospective exhibition that opened its doors to a cadre of NYC's illuminati last nite. A pioneering designer who cut his teeth in the fertile late '70s & early '80s downtown scene (his earliest client was downstairs neighbor Debbie Harry), Sprouse daringly infused day-glo graphic elements of crucial counterculture scenes like graffiti, punk, and hippies into an array of groundbreaking and always rock-centric fashion statements over the course of his roughly 20 year career. Forever plagued by soaring highs and crushing financial lows, the designer was rescued from the brink of obscurity by Marc Jacobs when the designer tapped him to create a new line of instantly sold-out designs for Louis Vuitton in 2001, effectively revitalizing his name in the process. Unfortunately, lung cancer would claim the Sprouse's life in 2004 exactly at the precipice of a major comeback that would never be. Funded by Louis Vuitton as a grand homage to the oft-underappreciated visionary, the Deitch exhibition collected previously unshown fine artworks originally created by Sprouse for an unrealized show called "Rock on Mars," with vintage fashion drawings and iconic clothing designs to provide the most comprehensive overview of the artist's prodigious oeuvre ever assembled. Opening to the public this weekend, the show is the first must-see event of the New Year, shining a much-needed light on an otherwise gloomy art scene still coping with the "morning after" of 2008’s crippling economic collapse. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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LA///YOSHITOMO NARA IN THE WILD WILD WEST

January 9, 2009  |  art, Japan, LA, News, Openings  |  Comments Off

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One of the Southland's finest shows of the New Year is actually one that opened very quietly on the cusp of last year's holiday season and probably got lost in the shuffle along the way. Simply put, YOSHITOMO NARA's eponymous show of new paintings, drawings, and large scale sculpture at Culver City's venerable BLUM & POE GALLERY is an incredible collection that locals should run, not walk, to see. Nestled among the artist's trademark renderings of Keane-eyed boys and girls in a variety of media sits a full-scale prairie-style wild west wagon filled to the brim with drawings, canned food, and vintage tchotchkes as a centerpiece, succinctly exemplifying Nara's fascination the West and all that it represents. Make no mistake; the show is a knockout on all fronts with Nara operating at the top of his game in all media, especially in a series of black & white drawings that exhibit some of his finest linework to date. A closing date of February 7th comes as a godsend indeed for his legion of fans who have yet to make the pilgrimage. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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LA///OPENINGS///RAYMOND PETTIBON’S “CUTTING ROOM FLOOR SHOW II” AT REGEN PROJECTS

December 16, 2008  |  art, First Look, LA, News, Openings, Origins of Style  |  Comments Off

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From Moai heads to buttplugged politicians, Ray left no visual stone unturned... 

As the year we're all ready to forget comes to a tantalizingly close finale, LA offered one last incredibly bright spot on the artistic horizon with the debut of underground art legend RAYMOND PETTIBON's show of new color works "Cutting Room Floor Show: Part II" at West Hollywood's REGEN PROJECTS. A counterpoint to his epic show of early 1970s & 80s black & white ink drawings at the gallery in September, Pettibon's installment of new work was awash in shockingly bright color, and armed with the poetic malaise and pointed cultural insight that is the hallmark of the artist's oeuvre. With wildly diverse subject matter ranging from the Bush administration, dogs & polar bears, Easter Island Moai heads, fighter jets, and baseball players & surfers, to the Notre Dame cathedral perched atop a military aircraft carrier, this SoCal hardcore punk art legend proves that innovative aesthetic evolution is a good thing, and that this year's overarching theme of "change" is indeed a motto to live by. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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MIAMI///NIKE SPORTSWEAR DOES SOME “ART DAMAGE” AT BASEL WITH THE SADS, NO AGE, AND PANDA BEAR

December 8, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Art Basel, Art Freaks, Miami, News, Nike, Openings  |  Comments Off

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"Art damage" might just be an understatement...

NIKE SPORTSWEAR took the hipsters to town at this year's ART BASEL in Miami on Friday nite when their AARON ROSE-curated "Art Damage" party broke open in conjunction with the NADA art fair. Featuring visual displays drawn from the label's "Being True" photography campaign, video portraits of NSW athletes by acclaimed artist ROBERT WILSON, and elements of their recent alliance with the "Beautiful Losers" documentary film, the party shifted into overdrive when the evening's real entertainment kicked in courtesy of musical guests THE SADS, NO AGE, and PANDA BEAR. Needless to say, heads were rocked, sweat was poured, and art was damaged by all. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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