Wednesday, June 23, 2010

John Baldessari at LACMA Los Angeles

Welcome to conceptual artist John Baldessari's retrospective complete with gift shop at LACMA. The entire second floor of BCAM is now Baldessari-land with 150 works created from 1962 to the present (and a site-specific 60' nose and 60' ear hanging from the building's exterior).    John Baldessari: Pure Beauty runs through September 12th. Inaugurated at the Tate Modern in London, the show will move to the MET in NYC after its Los Angeles dates.

Based in Santa Monica and a well-loved fixture of the LA art scene, Baldessari's relationship with the museum has been fruitful, advised LACMA's CEO Michael Govan today. The artist helped design LACMA's logo and also art directed the stunning Rene Magritte exhibition that memorably included Magritte's signature blue sky above.

I've always thought there was much sly humor in his text and photo pieces; his answers to journalists' questions today were peppered with wry observations and funny comments. A self-professed film addict, Baldessari is a fan of film noir and often uses found film stills in his work. He finds that movie imagery (the dying cowboy, for instance), captures stereotypes and cliches that are embedded in a viewer's mind. He seeks to manipulate and tweak them to mean something else.

"I don't think art should be elitist," he advised. To that end, there's a Baldessari iPhone application coming out Friday and a commissioned mixed-media series, entitled "W/Studio 54," on display at Wolfgang Puck's CUT restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire, Four Seasons too.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Vader Project is back in Los Angeles: 100 customized Darth Vader helmets

Hey "Star Wars" movie fans and pop-culture enthusiasts: this show is for you. One of the most popular events during the annual Star Wars' fan convention held in Los Angeles in 2007, the Vader Project returns this month (June 11-20) to its own pop-up gallery at 6812 Melrose Ave. The brainchild of my friends Sarah Jo Marks and Dov Kelemer of DKE toys, the Vader Project is 100 Darth Vader helmets customized by artists such as Gary Baseman (above).

At the pop-up gallery you will be able to not only see the one-of-a-kind creations (and some are rather wacky) but also buy a catalog of the entire collection before it goes to auction in July at Freeman's Philadelphia Auction.

You may not get to see "real" "Star Wars" characters like those at the fan-boy convention, but you never know.

Daily from  Noon- 6 p.m. June 12-20, 2010
The Vader Project
6812 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036