Thursday, January 28, 2016

The 2016 L.A. Art Show - So. Much. Art!

The opening of the 2016 L.A. Art Show was last night, and it was truly something to behold. Art just everywhere! So much art it can feel overwhelming to see it all, especially when you're stopping to talk to people you know every few feet. We got there a little late, and I began hyperventilating about how we could possibly see it all ... when person after person said, just cruise, relax, enjoy the pieces you see vs. trying to see everything. Such good advice ... and with that, I was off! (and this is just a random sampling of all that I saw ... someone else might have a whole different trove of photos).

Opening night is so fun to see all the people, but opening night is more about that than even the art. It's hard to see the art, in fact, because so many people are squeezed in around the crowd pleasers that you can't really appreciate them as well as they're meant to be appreciated. But that's why you go back over the weekend. To see things like Melanie Pullen shooting people for her High Fashion Crime Scenes, where there was a huge crowd all night.

A bunch of exhibitors had interaction going on, with performers dressed up to match the art in some instances ...

Or you could BE the scene, if Robert Vargas chooses you to create a mural of in front of you ...

There was a lot of live painting, with giant creations coming to life right before our eyes ...

There was a big showing from Asian artists this year, with a whole Chinese section, and a lot of great stuff from Korean artists as well.

There was a "Fortune" castle, where once inside you were surrounded by mirrors and giant wedding cakes ... but I didn't see any fortunes?

There was an adorable "Bakery" from the Daniel Rolnik Gallery, selling little works of art like (and of) baked goods, complete with a Chef back there. Fun!

A great part of the L.A. Art Show is the fun. Every few feet you run into fun people you know, and with as many Venice folks that make the trip downtown, it calms me down a little bit about artists disappearing in Venice. The Art Scene remains strong!

It's also one of those shows where you realize that absolutely anything can be considered art. A pile of purple sandbags? Art.

A claw holding the Earth while it rotates? Art.

A giant red Sumo wrestler statue? Art.

Taxidermied animals chilling in a dining room setting? Art.

A pile of inflatable animals? Art.

Tires rolled out with fabric across the floor? Art. Just think up an idea that looks cool, and it's Art!

A true highlight every year, and the section I beeline for, is Littletopia. It's where all my favorite stuff is.

My MOST favorite within Littletopia every year is always Red Truck Gallery.

What a delight to walk up and see Noah Antieau and Nick Sin chilling there at the table with friends like they were having a house party in the middle of all this chaos.

Antieau curates his awesome gallery with mostly treasures from New Orleans, where they are located (until they open another one soon in San Francisco - yay!). He represents his Mother, Chris Roberts Antieau, and her simply gorgeous works of folk art and quilts, of which I adore every single one. Like this one, Constellations.

They also feature whimsical automatons like you won't see anywhere else.

Antieau was excited about his new artist that does teeny tiny carvings on the top of pencils out of the lead. Tiny!

I would love to have stayed and hung out with the Red Truck boys, but there was just too much ground to cover. This year's Dali and Warhol heads were replaced by Frida Kahlo, in the always eerily real work of Kazuhiro Tsuji. Trippy.

This year we pretty much skipped the bars altogether because they just take too dang long (although spreading them out this year helped some with that), though you could see a lot of your friends in line if you so chose. I ran into my old pal, Seth Green and his wife, Clare ... and only then was jealous I didn't have a drink to toast him with.

We met a couple who had just returned from Banksy's Dismaland - they reported that it was pretty cool, and they sported a whole lot of merch.

Not to be outdone by Banksy, Mr. Brainwash has a strong showing here, especially with his very cool Jimi Hendriz made out of smashed vinyl records. Loved it.

A nice companion piece with this for me would be the great piece of a guitar wielding butterfly girl that I want by Mark Andrew Allen, who I learned worked out of Venice for years. And also misses Hal's.

Allen's booth also featured a "Selfie Booth" that I did not participate in because I don't do that, but people loved it as much as they to take selfies. A lot.

There were also a lot of butterflies from Damien Hirst, of course, and there was one that almost exactly matched my dress. I had to take a photo - but not a selfie.

Never mind the selfies, most of what people were doing was taking pictures of themselves with all the great art. It can't be helped.

You could see yourself in the cool, steel and studded skateboards hanging on one wall ...

But then, you could see yourself in a lot of the art ... and isn't that what Art is? And why you like it? I mean, I've been a sucker before ...

Some of the art is frustrating because you feel like a monkey could do it. Then there's the art that you have to wonder just how they did it, because it doesn't feel like anyone could do it, so intricate and amazing it is. That's the Art world, though. Just blame Obama.

There was a lot of David Bowie art (that all seemed to be done before his death at least), but this was the best one, kind of 3-D.

A similar looking piece was up the way, of a woman, made entirely from wine corks, lighters, and other ephemera that makes up mixed media. Save those wine corks!

If you needed a little break from art and the bar lines, you could cool out with some friends and play some arty ping pong. Why not?

Someone who could probably really use a break was performance artist, Millie Brown, with her Wilting Point piece. She is lying there almost naked, surrounded by flowers, surviving on only water for the five days of the show. She is "focusing on the beauty of the external decomposition around her, and the evolving changes within." And being photographed an awful lot. It was beautiful, but I bet it gets pretty old for her before the weekend is up.

My friend Big Cookie was showing with his sculpture series, Toy Soldiers, depicting young boys as violent men, but still children, in his biting social commentary work. It's powerful stuff.

I loved this deer with waterfalls eyes.

I also loved this piece made from rice paper rolled up, where it would change color depending on where you stood.

There was a crazy installation of sound waves and stuff that I didn't really get from the Metabolic Studio, but it's always fun to immerse yourself in something.

Which is, of course, the point of art, I think. To immerse yourself in something outside of you, to discover the inside of you. There was a big red wall near the VIP area that quoted Auguste Rodin, saying, "The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live."

That's what Art is all about, what LIFE is all about, and I hope you'll get to enjoy some for yourself this weekend at the wonderful L.A. Art Show. I barely scratched the surface here, so you've got a lot to see!

The L.A. Art Show runs now through Sunday, January 31, at the L.A. Convention Center Downtown.

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