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A creative blog by Arthur Kegerreis on The Whole 9

Arthur Kegerreis – aka Liberal Art, aka Himat Singh – is interested in way too many things, although curiosity has not killed this cat yet. In LA for 14 years now, he has lived in NYC; VT; Amherst, MA; Santa Fe; Madison, WI; and grew up on Long Island. Arthur has been a cabinetmaker, guitar maker, Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Pilates instructor, graphic designer, composer, and playwright, though he now spends most of his time taking photos, writing songs, making video art, and building websites. Having fought his night-owlish tendencies all his life, he is fascinated by the creative process, so jump in and talk shop into the wee hours…or not.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: West Side Openings 7/10

July 10th West Side Art Openings

They say there’s no accounting for taste. Well, let me be your Deloitte & Touche; friends don’t let friends buy bad art.

You may not know the paintings of Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Jerry Garcia, Rik Okasek, or Paulina Porizkova. You might be missing out. But if you know them for other things, there’s a reason for that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m rather fond of Joni Mitchell’s paintings. But I like her music a lot better.

It may come as no surprise that Dennis Hopper’s works at Robert Berman Gallery in Bergamot Station practically scream “Don’t you fuckin’ look at me!”

This forgetable collection of works is a reminder that one might be better off peeling the sheetrock off the brick wall, knocking the back out of a frame, and hanging it over the wall than taking an actor seriously as an artist. Maybe it’s a case of the “Emperor’s New Clothes Art Syndrome,” but Berman has been known to occasionally show remarkable art by people famous for things other than their artistic creations. He probably is just showing this stuff because, well, it will sell. His better offerings include a recent glass-topped kneeling skeleton coffee table, I think by one of the members of Sonic Youth. This exhibit sure didn’t do much for me, and didn’t leave me chomping at the bit to attend MOCA’s show of Hopper’s works. Obviously Hopper knows more than a little bit about art, but these prints certainly aren’t masterworks. I’ll certainly miss his filmic efforts though.

Tucked in the back corner of Bergamot Station that night was another opening, blaring the Richard Strauss soundtrack from Kubrick’s “2001.” Copro Gallery was showing cartoon paintings inspired by Kubrick’s films and executed by Carlos Ramos. Also on display were mildly disturbing works by becca that verged between fashion illustration and hello kitty art, littered with splotches of paint suggesting a darker reality surging through these picturesque candies, like the monster in Alien emerging from the gut.…

There was something about these works that caught my fancy. But what I found myself more distracted by were the Laguna Art Museum’s In The Land of Retinal Delights catalog. And the candied pretzels. Not to mention the well-coiffed gals sauntering about the galleries.

Escaping Bergamot Station, my friend and I made our way to the more pedestrian 18th Street Art Center’s open house. The parties were dying down by this point, but I finally saw the Highways Performance Space. I have heard for years of friends having performances there, but had never seen the space, and didn’t realize it was housed in an artist’s community. They’ve got an intriguing little exhibition of Wagner-inspired costume designs, akin to illustrated novels. The art center hosts a number of resident artists, and two had open studios; maybe they’d have been better off waiting another month or two.

But what really made the evening worthwhile were the kinetic and light art works at Bleicher/Golightly Gallery, overlooking the beach in Santa Monica, near the 3rd Street Promenade. The exhibition, curated by Joella March, entitled, “Turned On – A Survey of Kinetic and Light Based Art,” is described as, “a group exhibition of 12 artists working in a variety of mediums and genres who incorporate light and technology in their finished product.” The works varied from Rube Goldberg-esque sculptures to cartoon doll sculptural fantasms to evocative translucent sculptures illuminated by video screens, and each work was utterly clever and brilliant.

Life Is A Dream by Tim Hogan

Recycled Childhood by David Brokaw

Waterfile #710 by Joella March

Angel Seat by Jim Jenkins

woMAN… by Stephen Anderson

South Jump by Kyle Chew

Nail by Kunio Ohashi

Blackbird by Brian Stotesberry

Two Happy Carrots by Jim Jenkins

By far my favorite work in the show, though, was Suitcase Project 2 by Kyle Chew. This piece was a suitcase on rollers that illuminated the floor as it rolled around through the crowd. Certainly cause for alarm during your next airport visit. Somebody call Homeland Security!

Suitcase Project 2 by Kyle Chew

So in summary, let me suggest you buy all the works from this exhibition instead of any of Dennis Hopper’s. If you like Hopper’s work, buy a Blue Ray of one of his movies. You’ll get more satisfaction out of it. Or hire a contractor to rip the sheet rock off your wall.

  1. Funnily enough I saw Dennis Hopper’s work last night and couldn’t figure out what looked dingier — his work or Berman’s gallery. I’ve heard (from people I trust) that he actually took a few really good photos in his time. The fact that I can’t remember whether I saw any of his photos or not might be a testament to the zeal of my 2-1/2 year old daughter as we ripped through Bergamont Station, but more likely it’s just that there wasn’t anything that really caught my attention.

    Note however, that I do remember a magnificent photo by Sebastiao Salgado in the Peter Fetterman Gallery, a series of amazing sculptures in another gallery, and a somewhat puzzling photo series in a third that examined the lives of Mexico’s nouveau riche.

  2. Yet, against all my prejudices and prejudgements, I’m forced to acknowledge that there has been some excellent work done by celebrities better known in other areas. Viggo Mortensen is an outstanding painter, David Lynch is also a hell of an artist, David Byrne’s done some very interesting work, Richard Gere’s photos of Tibet are amazingly good, Jeff Bridges has done some fascinating panoramic B&W photos on various film sets he’s worked… I even like some of Dennis Hopper’s art, particularly photo portraits he took of other actors such as Paul Newman and Dan Stockwell.

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