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20 miles, 25+ Galleries, 7 Hours Of TruffleHunting, 1234 Words

May 5, 2010

“Enthusiasm is the only means of true and direct investigation, enthusiasm always leads to an objective which is creation…” – Yves Klein, 1950

A couple of days ago I had the great pleasure of going to galleries with my dear friend and fellow painter Richmond Burton. Now I must confess that I have precious few people with whom I truly exercise what I have dubbed TruffleHunting. Let me explain briefly the term as it applies to not only my aesthetic life but also this blog. I have, for a while now, viewed visiting galleries as embodying the role of a truffle pig: I will scour acres and acres of barren forest for the pleasure of that one delectable and irrepressible morsel. If one is hungry for aesthetic engagement, intellectual challenge and optical transcendence this is the only path. And to be perfectly honest, finding one truffle in Twenty attempts is not a bad ratio.

Richmond and I started at 10am. We spent 7 hours, drove a little more than 20 miles and visited in excess of 25 galleries around the Los Angeles Landscape. The range of aesthetic success was uncommonly high which proves that Los Angeles is a sensational landscape for Fine Art. But you do have to make the effort and if this blog can assist those who are the least bit curious, then hoorah! Here then, the path of out TruffleHunting excursion with links to each gallery and a map at the end.

LA Louvre Gallery, Venice. Charles Garabedian Paintings and David Hockney digital prints. I have to give Hockney major chops for embracing technology the way he does. Need I remind anyone that this consummate painter and draughtsman significantly changed the landscape of photography in the 70’s with, first, his gridded Polaroids and then freeform photo collages. This collection of portraits is light years better than the landscapes that LA Louvre exhibited less than a year ago, but the jury is still out in my heart. Maybe I’m just too enamoured of the touch of his pencil on paper to be won over by these yet.

Dunham at Blum and Poe

Blum And Poe, Culver City. Carroll Dunham Paintings. A remarkable show of bravado painting. The Trees are cartoony and one is ominously hung with a noose. Stylized women’s genitalia with bushy black pubic hair abound. Painting at the beginning of the 21 century is rough and tumble. “It’s a bitch to be an artist,”  Dunham seems to be saying “But let’s do it anyway!” I’ve thought of these works every day since seeing them. Aggressive, yes. Alienating to some, possibly. Resonant, absolutely! In the end, the single best Truffle of the day!

An interesting side note is the scathing review by David Pagel in the LA Times. To me, it is so off the mark and reveals that critics who examine merely the surface often wind up with polemics that are veneer thin.

Angles Gallery, Culver City. Iva Gueorguieva Large Scale Paintings

Walter Maciel Gallery, Culver City. A sincerely interesting exhibition in the back room of pencil drawings by Charles LaBelle of buildings executed on pages of a book. Technically virtuoso, emotionally resonant.

LAX Art, Culver City. Installations and Sculpture. It must be said that a terrific site specific tile wall mural by Artmio adorns their entrance way and is, especially on repeated viewing, completely successful. Decorative yet disarming.

Lazarrini at Honor Fraser

Lazarrini at Honor Fraser

Honor Fraser, Culver City. An absolutely sensational show of the sculptor Robert Lazarrini. Guns, Knives and Brass Knuckles exquisitely rendered in anamorphic elongation. A tour de force.

Roberts and Tilton, Culver City. Installation and Paintings by Adam Pendleton.

Dan Weinberg, Mid Wilshire. Unfortunately closed for installation but a painting was mounted on the exterior that spoke of the curious possibilities of the Chris Martin exhibition to come. Worth a return visit.

Acme, Mid Wilshire. Some terribly good painting going on here. Of Particular note are some modestly scaled works by Alexa Gerrity.

1031PE, Mid Wilshire. A sensational exhibition of German Photographer and conceptualist Uta Barth. The bottom gallery has serial B&W work that is intelligent, funny and thoughtful. A little love child action of Duane Micheals and Vito Acconci. The diptychs upstairs are less successful but still stronger than the last five years of her productivity.

Marc Foxx, Mid Wilshire. Installations and sculpture by Mateo Tannattt

Steve Turner, Mid Wilshire. Paintings by Rowan Wood that had both Richmond and I yearning for the work of Andrew Spence.

Edward Cella, Mid Wilshire. A terrific gallery and a terrific show. The gallery concentrates on the overlaps of Art and Architecture and like a great ven diagram, mines this territory excellently. The current exhibition is of watercolors by Frederick Fisher, an architect of substantial renown and who designed the LA Louvre Space in Venice that started our adventure.

Marc Selwyn, Mid Wilshire. Marc was kind enough to let us in although the installation was in progress. Drawings and sculpture by Barry Le Va of such rigorous compositional style that I was simply blown away. sculptors are often such excellent draughtsman and this proved to be the case once again with Le Va. A comprehensive and well curated mini retrospective of an artist whose importance is vastly undervalued.

Regan projects, Beverly Hills

Manny Silverman, Beverly Hills. Incredibly Sexy Surfaces of paintings by Maxwell Hendler. Cast resin and polished to within an inch of their life, these monochromes are nonetheless generous. Their perfect surfaces still maintain an odd analog charm.

M+B Gallery, Beverly Hills. Alas closed for installation but in the front office and exhibition space I noticed that Benjamin has taken on the work of Kim McCarty. I’ve liked her work very much for many years and it’ll be interesting to see her work in this gallery in the future.

Louis Stern, Beverly Hills. Abstract Paintings by June Harwood, Helene Lundeberg and Anita Payro. Payro’s pieces are particularly attractive in that classic modernist tradition. Nothing earth shattering but it’s nice to encounter well made paintings.

Gursky at Gagosian

Gursky at Gagosian

Gagosian, Beverly Hills. What a pleasure to see the second to last day of the Andreas Gursky Exhibition. In the newly expanded gallery, these large-scale photographs have the impact of paintings, the diligence of an incredibly witty conceptual artist at the height of his aesthetic prowess. Once again, seeing work of this scale on the internet is such an injustice. Scale is as much a subject matter than what is depicted. Upcoming in June is a Nancy Rubins Show!

Shoshona Wayne, Bergamont Station, Santa Monica. A remarkable show of large-scale photographs by Pietro Hugo documenting the people of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry. Disturbing at times, riveting at others, the exhibition demonstrates the continuing impact of photography in a contemporary world. It is to Hugo’s credit that having seen the work without reading the press release my retinal vertigo was cascading between wonder and repulsion. Having assured the transition from non-fiction to fiction did nothing to quite my senses.

Craig Krull, Bergamont Station, Santa Monica. Large scale books and photographs by Michael Light. These arial photographs work their wonder on you with the same fascination I insist on having a window seat on every plane ride I take. With my nose pressed against the glass I take in the terrain. Light does the same.

Mark Moore, Bergamont Station, Santa Monica. Paintings by Tim Bavington

Patrick Painter, Bergamont Station, Santa Monica. Sculpture by Liz Craft. Heroic Scaled pieces, lots of tooth and wit. The gee whiz factor is undeniable whether the emotional or narrative content is there is somewhat in question.

Rosamund Felsen, Bergamont Station, Santa Monica Videos and Sculpture by Joan Jonas

Adey at de Jesus

Adey at De Jesus

Luis de Jesus, Bergamont Station, Santa Monica. Our last top on this marathon session turned out to be the perfect respite. A newcomer to the Bergamont line up, de Jesus recently moved up to Los Angeles from San Diego. The exhibition/ installation by David Adey is simply great. It works on so many levels-the weight of knowledge, the cerebral/optical pendulum swing, and heck it’s just fun to look at, walk under and take in. De Jesus will definitely be a destination gallery and I look forward to their next exhibition.

(Note: Photographs all precede the description. Having a bit of an issue with captions unfortunately.)

-Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, May 5th, 2010

Oh yes, the map. Here it is!


6 Comments
  1. Robert Ziebell permalink

    I think you should try the same kind of truffle tour, but on a bike. Then perhaps another truffle tour that would alternate decent bars with galleries (please ask me to go on that tour with you).

    • The Bike Idea is unappealling. I’ve never liked looking at art either out of breath or drenched in sweat. The bar idea is nothing short of brilliant however. How one’s aesthetic appreciation is either increased or decreased with a couple of Bourbons under the belt would make for a fascinating study. We here at TruffleHunting invite you for such an outing.
      Cheers,
      Herr Müller

  2. Thea Klapwald permalink

    Howdy, fellow truffle hunters. I think you’re all nuts. After two or three great art experiences I’m ready for lunch. After 25 mediocre experiences, I’m ready for a nap.

  3. That sounds amazing. I would pay you to take me on that tour and buy drinks, and peddle the tandem bicycle.

  4. it’s settled, then. …next truffle hunt will be a Bar/gallery tour to as many bars within radius of
    non-sweating/panting walking distance of a few galleries! – brilliant, indeed!

    • Robert Ziebell permalink

      My bags are packed for a fall tour. Herr Muller start cleaning the shot glasses.

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