Thursday, May 19, 2011

Barbara Kruger at L & M Arts

The new exhibition at L&M Arts just opened last weekend, and Barbara Kruger is speaking her mind, that's for sure. Los Angeles native and part-time resident, Kruger, has wrapped the entire West Gallery in her thoughts and ideas about money, power, and desire ... aka a lot of what makes this town tick. It clearly shows you the simple power of words. As you immerse yourself in the huge statements, they take over your mind, force you to think, and when you exit the room, it's with a bit more edge and truth in your step.

The very best thing is that I've been swamped lately and L&M is so close that I was jamming to get laundry done and calls/emails placed before leaving town, and in that lull between wash and dry cycles, I thought, "I'll run down and check out the new show at L&M". I love it. And as it turns out, I needed it.

To step outside of yourself as often as you can is crucial to knowing yourself back inside. Just stopping what you're doing for a few moments and absorbing the ideas that are both someone else's and universally applicable at the same time, is jarring sure, but also real necessary sometimes.

That was taken even further in the dark confines of the East Gallery that is showing Kruger's video installation The Globe Shrinks, 2010. As her press release states, "This work continues Kruger's engagement with the kindness and brutality of the everyday, the collision of declaration and doubt, the duet of pictures and words, the resonance of direct address, and the unspoken in every conversation." Which really means that some guys tell bad jokes, a woman's face on one side is blown by an old GE fan on the other, religious rituals of all kinds surround you on all four walls, words flash by ("Life is too short for cruelty. Too short. Finally, alone in the dark. Close your eyes."), and an unseen narrator says things like "You're thinking about everything you want and don't have. I've got you where I want you. In the dark." True enough.

It was a bit surreal to have stopped everything and ran off quickly to sit in the dark and think about existential ideas, while hearing the traffic of Venice Boulevard zoom by outside, as people of our city sped around trying to get the things they want and don't yet have.

As I stepped back out into the glaring sunlight, squinting and already thinking about what I had to do next ... I did find myself slowing my step, and stopping to quite literally smell the roses (white ones) on my way back to real life. Thank you, Art!!

Barbara Kruger
L&M Arts
660 Venice Boulevard

Now through July 9, 2011

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