Thursday, June 16, 2011

Comic Book Deconstruction: Why July is Going to Rule!

I just received this image of Mark Todd's Powerfury Fireworks Stand, which will anchor his upcoming Force Field exhibition, which opens on July 1st, 2011. Mark has delivered an incredible variety of his signature comic book deconstructions for this prestige installation that will occupy the entire space that currently showcases Glenn Barr's Faces show. When last we showcased Mark (at BSFA), he caught the attention of USA Today. A mere two weeks after this show opens, Mark will head down to San Diego Comicon International, where he'll be further promoting this installation. Click the image at left to access a preview gallery.

There's a maturity in the childlike simplicity of this project, which has been underway for quite some time. The explosive presentation of the sequential action that Todd's art celebrates is less juxtaposed than forced upon the public in a clever and relevant construction that configures the 4th of July holiday opening directly into the oeuvre of the show. I rarely venture into art critique with this column, but I find this particular object to be absolutely brilliant. It's a work of powerful significance that posits a logical progression from Duchamp's Urinal to Warhol's Brillo boxes to Hirst's Pharmacy and finally to Mark Todd's Fireworks Stand. This may be one of the most important pieces to come from our Los Angeles Post-Pop culture, in that it undeniably references the nostalgic appeal of the movement that started as Lowbrow, graduated to Pop-Surrealism, and has recently found acceptance under the greater umbrella of California Modern/Figurative. It also closes the circle from comic books to graffiti to pop-art and back again. I think that 2011 is going to stand as a pivotal year for modern art, specifically with respect to the city of Los Angeles. It will be impossible to have any such discussion without referencing the "new school" that started 25 years ago at La Luz de Jesus and how this single gallery has pushed the envelope in ways that few others could and no others did.

There's a full page advertising Mark Todd's upcoming show in the previous and latest issue of Hi-Fructose Magazine, in WHOA's Summer Art Special, and in the upcoming issue of Pop Surrealism Magazine. Also in the pages of the latter is a two page profile of the recent Pop-Sequentialism Exhibition of modern comic book art. With Green Lantern sure to top the box office this weekend, and Captain America: The First Avenger following soon after on July 22 (during Comicon) it seems that the culture at large is once again dancing to a beat that started here.

Also showing in July, we've already got previews posted for Van Saro, Andy Steele and Hui Tan (check back for a Simon Sotelo preview).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Still WACKO After All These Years...

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be." – Douglas Adams

The shop on the masthead of my paycheck turns 40 next week. Coming from New England, where there are churches, banks and possibly even barber shops dating back to the seventeenth century, I realize that doesn't sound like such a long time. But when you consider that The Soap Plant / WACKO is a retail operation built entirely around the Los Angeles pop-culture it reflects and celebrates, this ruby anniversary is a momentous occasion unparalleled. A renown shopping destination for celebrities, stylists, and other taste makers since its doors first opened in 1971, Billy Shire's entrepreneurial empire grew to include one of the most influential West Coast art galleries (La Luz de Jesus, which includes a publishing imprint) and opened up a first-time distribution chain for thousands of boutique toy, apparel, and book vendors from every corner of the planet. Last month Los Angeles magazine published a Wacko timeline, last week People Magazine gave us a shout out following a Bradgelina shopping spree, and tomorrow night the folks at Mnet America | Where asian pop lives kick off the first media profile (at 7PM Pacific Time) with a guided tour from yours truly. The segment (which airs on the BPM program) includes footage of April's exhibitions of Mark Gleason, Daniel Lim, Danni Shinya Luo, and Heather Watts, and highlights work from Frank Kozik. Tune in and tease me later!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Barr Association

Last night's Faces release party and opening reception for Glenn Barr was well certainly well attended –with many of the visitors being well known artists themselves. Photographers from Arrested Motion, Hi-Fructose and Coagula were busy snapping crowd pictures of exhibiting artists Glenn Barr and Lyle Motley flanked by fellow painters Shag, Chet Zar, Laurie Lipton, Anthony Ausgang, THH70, Steven Daily, Danni Shinya Luo, Adam Strange, Christine Wu, and a healthy crowd of collectors and fans.

I spotted a Huffington Post journalist shortly after Los Angeles kitsch-icon Angelyne managed to score a prime spot for her famous hot-pink corvette, right in front of the shop. The former billboard queen caused quite a commotion, which may or may not have contributed to a fender-bender at the corner of Hollywood and Rodney that lured a handful of TMZ reporters. Definitely not just another night in Hollywood!