It occurred to me that most of you might know next to nothing about me, so I figured I'd introduce myself: I'm Matt Kennedy, the director of La Luz de Jesus Gallery. Some of you O.G. scenesters may remember me from back in the golden age of lowbrow when I was the manager at Billy Shire's original Melrose location where I worked alongside gallery director Alix Sloan (and actually hired artists like Aaron Smith and Christian Clayton as gallery personnel) until 1995, when Billy Shire relocated the whole Soap Plant / Wacko operation to Los Feliz, and I entered the entertainment business.
I did a lot of acting, a bit of recording, a healthy amount of producing, and ran a few video labels that earned me the type of Geek street-cred that I'd always longed for. I even moled myself into the studio system and somehow managed to keep aware of the emerging and established talent in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, London and elsewhere. As a patron I probably kept a few of the smaller galleries in business, and consider myself fortunate to have been presented with an opportunity to return to my roots in the Shire Empire and reacquaint myself with the artists whose careers were launched in those heady days of the early to mid 90s.
Back in May, I was presented with the opportunity to become a columnist on Daily Dujour, and after nine months of waiting, I've finally been given my login info, so you can read me here or read me there ...and just in time for the 4 person exhibition that opens this Friday (February 5th at 8PM) at La Luz de Jesus:
This is the first show that I've assembled completely on my own. When I first stepped back into the position as gallery director, the majority of the 2009 schedule was in place. As sometimes happens, there were a few re-schudules (and one rather public dropped show) that allowed me to bring some new talent to La Luz de Jesus and Billy Shire Fine Arts. I'm proud to have been the person that brought Christopher Ulrich and Myron Conan Dyal to BSFA, and to have given first shows to Jessica Dalva and Misato Otake at La Luz de Jesus. But mostly the position was one of a clerical/sales nature; managing the artists' deadlines, contacting buyers, overseeing publicity and booking the ads. As I approach the close of my first year back, the role is much more of a balance between gallery director and show curator. I booked this Friday's show back in July, and the joy of watching it open is difficult to express in words -least of all words that serve as an introduction.
Having seen the work in this show, I couldn't be prouder of Shinya, Miran, Kim and Jim (aka Transmission Atelier).
With the consolidation of BSFA back into La Luz de Jesus, I feel like I'm finally getting a chance to do what I do best, and that's to take the years of experience I have (marketing niche media) and steer it into the heart of my greatest passion -art. I've been overseeing a complete redesign of the La Luz de Jesus website, I've set up Artofficial: the official La Luz de Jesus Gallery Art Blog, and most recently launched a La Luz de Jesus Art YouTube page. The first video I've produced for the new blog and YouTube page is a studio visit with Danni Shinya Luo. It's something of a trailer for her Spiritual Deficiencies exhibit, which opens this Friday alongside Miran Kim's Uncomplicated Treats, Kim Scott's Peep Holes and Magic Boxes, and Transmission Atelier's If the Shadows Could March.
We've got a new beverage sponsor, NAKHON, and we're expecting a special visit from a very special catering truck, too. We know how to throw a party around here and I encourage you all to come on down.
This exhibit will run the entire month, closing on Sunday, February 28th.
I also had my friend Jennifer do a Studio Visit with Karen Miso Hsiao, whose The Cold Returns show will be closing at CHG this Saturday. It's a great show and I encourage you to check it out while you still can. If the link doesn't work, you can access her video on the La Luz de Jesus Art YouTube page.
See you this weekend in the flesh, and back here next Tuesday!