Monday, March 23, 2015

Robert Williams and Juxtapoz Magazine At The Barnsdall Art Park

Juxtapoz Magazine and its founder, Robert Williams, are throwing down a big art extravaganza at the Barnsdall Art Park, with their wild work on view to the public through April 19th in the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. When it's foggy at the beach, we head out in search of discoveries around town, which led us east to this art mecca. After a quick stop for morning coffee and donuts at Kettle Glazed on Franklin (yum!), it was time for art. And more art.

I'd ridiculously never been to the Barnsdall venue, and it's great. No fog over there, and the grounds were full of friends and families enjoying a sunny afternoon. A piñata was getting bashed for a kid birthday party, picnic blankets were set up all over, and some people simply napped on this Hollywood hilltop. But we were there for the art. Lots and lots of art.

This is a big show, extra dense, leaving us impressed not only at the scope of this Slang Aesthetics!/20 Years Under The Influence Of Juxtapoz show, but at the sheer amount of talent there is in this giant world. There are so many people doing so many cool things out there!

Robert Williams is the clear star of the show, with his vast collection of multiple genres of work lining most of the walls. I imagine he's a super interesting guy to talk to with all that imagination going on in his mind.

His art has a whole lot of range and styles, from eerie, cartoony sculptures, to little homespun drawings that would be right at home on a needlepoint sampler, with a whole lot in between.

There were a series of paintings that were a swirl of activity, but done in a more classic fashion.

There there were his pulpy paintings, all with his ever-present sense of humor ...

His cute little homespun ones, with pithy sayings ...

There were those crazy sculptures that look as though they might eat you ...

And ones that look like they might be rides (but were not).

There was so much going on in this gallery that it was all you could do just to take it in, never mind notating everything. Please accept this wall of credits as the credits, because I had my hands full just seeing it all.

I took a ton of photographs and barely scratched the surface of all that was on view, so there is still a whole lot for you to go see. This is merely a greatest hits of my favorites of the day. Like this one, for obvious reasons ...

I also loved this one featuring famed skate photographer, C. R. Stecyk III in oil.

This installation was kind of great, making you feel like you were spying on this guy in his seedy motel room. He was just kicking it.

Of course, coming over from the West Side, we were gonna love this one for sure.

This crazy cat took up an entire wall of the gallery...

While this cat like thing won my award for creepiest piece in the show - and that's saying something.

Actually, quite a few of the pieces were creepy, as that is an aesthetic that Juxtapoz has never shied away from, and in fact, celebrates.

This lady was pretty creepy ...

But for every creepy piece, there was just as much lovely.

There were big names featured, like Shepard Fairey and Shag ...

... but just as many artists I've never yet heard of, but probably should have.

There were fantastical pieces that would be great in a Game Of Thrones home ...

...And serious pieces (like this one from Kris Kuksi) that you couldn't even wrap your head around, so involved were they.

I've always been drawn to word art, so I loved this one ...

... And no one can be mad at a crazy pool full of color (by David Cooley).

I'm fascinated by what makes an artist make their choices.

Why a sculpture instead of a painting to express what they want to say? Why an accordion book of people instead of a drawing? How does the idea come to them and what makes them choose their materials? I love knowing all that stuff.

Of all the art we saw in this show, the one that moved me and made me love it the most was this one, by Tel Aviv based artist, Know Hope. Acknowledging The Missing By Missing. The older gentleman cradling his instrument ... he had me at hello. I looked it up and it said the artist "reflects on the blues and its shades." Rad.


After so much color and entertainment for our eyes, it was kind of nice to go back outside and reflect in a simple little chair. 


But only for a minute, as we were now starving. As we set upon our phones to look up east side delicious places to eat, we passed the La Luz De Jesus gallery on Sunset, and figured we'd better see just a little more art.

The gallery is in the back of Wacko, so it took us like an hour of goofing around and finding funny things before we got back there, because that dang store is packed with fun.


All of the art in LLDJ would go great with all of the art at the Barnsdall show. All whimsy, and edgy, and pointed, and good. A great companion piece for the day.

OK, now we were suffering from hunger, so the closest, best place that popped up was Grub on Seward. If potato chip chicken or crab cake sandwiches or blackberry pepper mimosas and a super pleasant room and staff weren't enough, Grub's rules (really just the 5th) ensured that we will return.


Make my funk the P(rince) Funk! 

Thanks for a great day, artists, curators, galleries and pit stops, and Los Angeles as a whole. You were all great.

Slang Aesthetic! and 20 Years Under The Influence Of Juxtapoz are on at Barnsdall Art Park now through April 19, 2015.

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