The Mike Kelley show at MOCA Geffen has a whole lot of everything going on: child nightmare videos, weird banners, scary stuffed animal sculptures, night-light installations of the fictional Kandor, and architectural models of every school Kelly ever went to. There’s also his “Chinatown Wishing Well,” above, his tribute, to a similarly garish fountain located in L.A.’s Chinatown.
It’s a lot to absorb. But while you’re at it, don’t forget to take a peek under and inside many of his pieces, since they often seem to contain little surprises. Under the architectural models, you’ll find a mattress; a pink dresser hides books about sex and a packet of birth control pills; and inside the “Wishing Well” is a mattress, a box of Kleenex, some candles and tub of Vaseline. (This latter space he once described as a “crawl space/fuck room.”)
All of it certainly gets at aspects of the forbidden he often explored in his work. But they also serve as a reminder that if you’re just looking at the literal surface of his pieces, you’re missing a good chunk of the story.
I’ve got deadlines coming out of my ears, so listings are rilly thin. (Don’t have time to comb through all the press releases.) But you can entertain yourself by checking out my MOCA-LACMA explainer, as told in animated GIFs.
Paris: Chris Ware, at Galerie Martel. Opens Friday.
NYC: Alexandra Groczynski, Truisms, at Transfer Gallery. Opens Saturday at 7pm, in East Williamsburg. (It’s the debut show at this new tech-focused space.)
NYC:Blocked, a talk about writing by New York Times critic Holland Cotter, at the School of Visual Arts. Thursday at 7pm, at the SVA Theatre on West 23rd Street.
The age of the e-bookhas created a quandary for people who like to display the things they read (or aspire to read) on the shelves in their homes. Your e-reader may hold a PhD’s worth of Jacques Lacan tomes, but how will your dinner guests know about it? Enter the E-Book Shelf Surrogate (click the image above to supersize), introduced by Hol Art Books at the Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair. At the fair, any visitors who pick up an e-book, will also get an 11×17 print that can be folded into the model of a paper back book, so that you may chicly and casually show off your intellectual ability to your friends. All for only $15!
Tip: while you’re there, pop over to the Gagosian booth, where they’re selling a Destroy All Monsters zine with CD for $30. Probably the only thing I’ll ever be able to afford at Gago, besides the sneering condescension (which is free).
The fair is on through Sunday 6pm, at MOCA Geffen in Little Tokyo.
A viewing of Paul Schimmel’s last show at L.A.’s MOCA,Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-1962 (now closed), would not be complete unless you’ve also taken in this somewhat surreal video produced in conjunction with the show. It’s an uneven buffet of Schimmel commentary with shots of some of the work on view, as well as uncut vintage footage related to a few of the artists. This includes lovely black and white film that Yves Klein shot at judo demonstration in Japan, and there’s loads of footage of Klein crafting his flame paintings — with the assistance of a firefighter and a pair of comely nude models. (I love that he wears a vest and cravat while operating the flamethrower.)
But the pièce de résistance is the early ’80s video of L.A. artist Sal Scarpitta acting out an auto race: it’s totally, charmingly nuts. (And waaaaaay better than some of the other stuff on MOCAtv, which feel like ads for urban clothing companies.)
If you’re a diehard art nerd, set aside half an hour for this. Worth it.
STEP TWO: Rest on top of performer. As the performer breathes, the Angry Bird is gently raised and lowered — a meditation on awareness and mortality.
IF DESIRED, CONTINUE TO STEP THREE: Place Angry Bird head on a Lazy Susan. Inspire grotesque discomfort in your dinner guests by forcing them to confront the probing stare of another as they sip cocktails and dine on tuna tartar.
The L.A. Times is reporting that the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. is in the process of working on a new logo. (You can find the old one here.) In his item, Christopher Knight describes the new design as a “post-Bauhaus/neo-Minimalist affair.” But, I gotta confess. The only thing that comes to mind when I see this is “toy company.” In fact, all of a sudden, I’m experiencing an unrequited yearning for a King Kong Barbie and a Snowtrooper Battle Pack. Perhaps the museum is considering revenue streams I hadn’t considered?
[Update, because I'm a crackhead: This isn't a new logo. It's a logo that was designed for the museum 30 years ago that they appear to have dusted off and used on a press release. Boy, did I just majorly blow it, or what?]
After the jump, a few comparisons to the logo I thought was new, but isn’t really. Sheesh.