Let the Good Times Roll: LA Art Spring 2012

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The first quarter of 2012 is over, and June, the half-way mark in the year, is not too far away. Significant changes in the Los Angeles art world that impact the global art community include the tragic death of 57 year old Mike Kelly, whose work was shown most recently in Los Angeles in A Tribute to Mike Kelley at the MOCA. Kelly's work is currently on view at The Whitney Bienelle in New York City. A retrospective of his work is being organized by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and will travel to MOCA in 2014, which is something to look forward to. I never met Mike Kelly but knew several people who were closely acquainted with the artist at various times, and I always felt a pang of empathy for the muddled emotions his installations, with their dirty throw-away toys, evoked. (For more on Mike Kelly, read the New York Times obituary here.)

And speaking of toys, Chris Burden's Metropolis II which arrived at LACMA in January, is something like the Chuck E Cheese's of art exhibits: meaning, in person, there are a high density of children who you have to be careful not to trip over as they swoon in a google-eyed daze over the clitter-clatter of hundreds of passing hand made cars. Yes, it's the ultimate pine wood derby—bring your kids. (Check out a brief clip on the installation in the video at the end of this article.)

Like a toy train brought to life, MTA Expo Light Rail Line's planned construction forces the demolition of the C Building in Bergamot Station, which currently houses SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS, ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY and TRACK 16. SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS will hold its last live public art on Saturday June 9th starting at 6pm & Sunday, June 10th, 2012 starting at 1 PM, C2 Gallery at the Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA. Highlights of this auction include the seminal 1970’s silkscreen by Andy Warhol of Mick Jagger, signed by both.

Should the displaced Santa Monica gallerists ride the Expo line downtown, they might be drawn to abundant convertible space in the corridor near Hope Street, virtually adjacent to the multi-million dollar Ritz-Carlton residencies. Neighbored by the savvy PYO Gallery down the block, the Terrell Moore Gallery, an edgier artist-ran space, has been drawing crowds more than ever this year. Events range from a charity show of portraits of Ellen DeGeneres, to informal painting lessons, which I learned about one evening from a participant, who began the relationship by showing up regularly to drink a couple beers with Terrell. One day Terrell said, "Wanna paint something?" and a disciple was born. Standing out front, drinking a beer, with the "student," I, the art writer, was hanging around waiting for a good quote. I no longer recall how I incited him, but I distinctly recall Terrell's Texan drawl and the phrase "some paint on it," and then "some more paint," and "then some more paint. Then I come back..." you get the idea. I am honestly not sure if he said "slap" or "put" or "lay" some paint down, so anything I could add would be the type of embellishment which conflates memory. A few more neighbors would make for a good downtown contingent distinct from Gallery Row, which is open mostly for artwalk and the ten thousand people who appear out of nowhere along with food trucks and bands seeking to break into the tuba-disco circuit. art

You have to see it to believe it: A giant rock has Los Angeles star-struck. My partner and I just happened to be out for an evening stroll early in March when we bumped smack into the fanfare and caravan preceding the 340 ton boulder, as it made its slow but serpentine trail through the city to its installation on the West Side, where it will eventually appear to "levitate" above a corridor where people can view the mass from below. As we decided to wait for the rock's arrival, police created a blockade and motorists were turned away, and crowds gathered, including news announcers, much like the spectacle surrounding a visiting dignitary such as President Obama or Prince William and Princess Kate. Passing vehicles who rolled down their windows while careening, and begged us to tell them, "Who is it? What's going on? What happened? What are you waiting for?" "It's for art!" I yelled, instantly promoting Michael Heizer, the artist, far up in my esteem for taking the Pet Rock to its logical apex, rock stardom.

- Moira Cue


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