Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday in Venice

Started with Gregory Lomayesva at Muse in Venice:

About the best thing that I can say is that it was an absolutely amazing space—winding catwalks around a huge exposed concrete center. As for the art? Well, it looked like a particularly literal mash-up of Rauschenberg and Kahlo/Rivera, with thick Native women and gritty screen-prints of guns and text. Later, it seemed, he added endless shoes to his paintings and sculpture. The shoes, whether painted or made, didn't seem well-constructed or particularly interesting. They were, no doubt, in the service of some metaphor or another, but frankly, it seemed likely that any effort invested in trying to discern meaning from the work would only be greeted by stupid meaning. Everything, from the chunky, rounded cod-surreal sculpture to the rhinestones on the Gucci glasses the artist wore, seemed like an empty reference to someone else's art. The best moments were actually more simplistic Rauschenberg knock-offs, with shots of famous Madonna (the pre-Renaissance figure, not the singer) printed in the shape of Glocks. They'd make wonderful handbags for bourgeois scum. The entire show had the feeling of what movies think that art shows should be like, and I pitied the folks there as I belted down their cheap Merlot.

On the way to the next opening, we walked past a gallery that had had a lecture that evening (which we were too late to go to, due to my dithering). I was glad; it was some Robert Ketchum looks like Thomas Kincaid bullshit. I felt bad for the girls in there that looked like they were my age.

Then we made it to the Ken Price show at LA Louver, where they'd closed the bar (frowny face), because, seriously, if you're looking at art like this: , you should be at least a little drunk. It was OK, just, y'know, twenty pieces all playing with organic shapes and the same corroded metallic glaze made for some boring viewing. Luckily, upstairs (in another fantastic space) there were some pretty nice pieces. I wish that I'd brought my digital camera—I'll have to go back for another opening sometime. But mostly, it was gobstopper turds. I think that my capacity to enjoy abstraction like that may just be abnormally low.

Then there was a bit of tangential vignette drama: Some little drunk guy, in flat-brim Dodgers wear, starts asking Amy if she's an artist, etc. Another guy, who looked enough like his brother for me to imagine this moment as having more portent than it probably did, came and gently put his hand around the guy's shoulder and told him "I'm sorry, man, but that's enough…" He sounded legitimately sad, which was why I assumed a connection, despite the gallery guy being dressed to the nines and having only a moderately similar face (they were both Hispanic, and I'm likely racist). It just seemed like this was the gallery dude's big night (though he wasn't the artist, that wasn't clear to me at that moment) and his brother was drunk and creeping chicks out.

Then, outside, we saw the little wobbly drunko goofily chase some screaming yuppie chick who was trying to hide around people. I dunno. I realize that having some dude come after you is frightening, and I started to get my back up, but it also seemed like she was a rich woman who was freaking out beyond all proportion to the guy's actions.


artnut said...

I think perhaps you like Nothing. Lomayesva is one of the few Native American artists with the ability to push the envelope and not always be willing to paint what people want to see. If you had paid attention, the shoes were references to women's innate ability to transfer all their feelings to a pair of Christian Loubiton (sp) shoes or a bottle of Chanel perfume. The butterfly painting is incredible - what is it you can't see? If you're going to give a review of a show, at least give something we can chew on. Bite this.

Josh said...


Look, first off, arguing that it's innate to women the ability to transfer meaning to consumer goods is old hat. Second, that a man is playing with that issue seems pretty condescending. Third, if you're going to make art with such a venal concept, at least make sumptuous imagery, so that there's something else going on.

I did like the butterfly painting, and probably would have been less harsh if I hadn't just seen a Rauschenberg retrospective a couple weeks prior at Gemini, but fuck, dude, can't you admit that he's in a pretty deep shadow there (especially paired with the Madonna/Gun thing)? It was one of the few pieces to have image qua image, and if you're choosing painting as your medium, that's a pretty important part of it.

But if this is your "pushing the envelope" and think that because he's Native American that somehow gives him a pass on making banal statements about consumerism, well, the '80s called and they want your post-Pop 'zine back.

Josh said...

Rather, in that first graph, arguing that anyone can transfer feelings to consumerism is old hat, and arguing that it's innate to women is pretty fucking fraught.