Saturday, September 12, 2009

Taking A Much Needed Break.

Dear Readers:

Thank you so much for your support and interest in my blog. Running a site like this is more work than it would seem on a prima facie level. Hours of research and writing, not to mention plenty of one-on-one time with the art and artists, makes TMITF the success that it is. What started out as an [therapeutic] experiment of sorts has evolved into something truly magical and life altering for me. THANK YOU!!!

As many of you may know, I have recently been accepted into the M.A. program at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and will be working toward a degree in Aesthetics and Politics. This degree will allow me to better synthesize and hone my critical and theoretical outlook on art, culture and the various egos that navigate its stormy seas. Due to the level of rigor and time that needs to be invested in a program like this, I will not be able to contribute as frequently as I would like. However, please keep your e-mails and suggestions coming, as I still plan on contributing stories as time permits.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Guess Who's in the September Issue of AD???


Q: Why should you pick up the September 2009 issue of
Architectural Digest?

A: Because I made it into the "AD Letters" section (page 28)!

I authored a letter to the editor regarding an AD article on Brazilian architect Marcos Bertoldi from July 2009. You can read the original article here, but my claim to fame is in the print version only.

Osmar and Maria Cristina Casagrande Bertoldiand residence
Curitiba, Brazil
Architect: Marcos Bertoldi

Thursday, July 23, 2009

TMITF on break until August...

Dear Readers:

I'm taking a mini-vacation from blogging for a bit. I have a lot of stuff going on right now and need time to regroup. I will be back soon, so no need to fret!!! In the meantime, please drop me a line at if you have any comments or need to get a hold of me.

See you in August!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Julius Shulman Dies at 98.

Farewell "Uncle Julius"

While in New York this past weekend, I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Julius Shulman's passing. Known to many in his field as "Uncle Julius," Shulman had a long and prestigious career -- which spanned more than eight decades -- as a photographer of some of the world's greatest architectural gems, many of which were located right here in L.A.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, 1965
A.C. Martin Partners
Photography: Julius Shulman

Commonly referred to by many as an architectural photographer, Julius Shulman never seemed content with carrying such a moniker. "I'm not an architectural photographer. I hate it when people call me that," Shulman told me back in 2007 when he invited me over for a snort of scotch at his Rafael Soriano-designed home and studio. "I don't just shoot photos of buildings. I shoot photos of buildings interacting within their respective surroundings. I'm an environmental photographer."

When I returned this afternoon to L.A. I was anxious to re-read Julius' contribution to Barbara Isenberg's book State of the Arts (if you don't have this book, you must get it!) After re-reading it three times, this excerpt felt like a great way to end this post. It clearly illustrated one of Julius' many admirable traits -- confidence.

"Every photograph I ever took came out. I never had any second or third exposure or revisits to a site. In sixty-four years of photography, I've never had a remake. I never was told by an architect to go back to and do it over again. Never. As a matter of fact, people began to call me "One-Shot Shulman," because I took one negative of each picture and that was enough. I knew it would come out."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!

Piece of cake, anyone???

Wayne Thiebaud
Around the Cake, 1962
Oil on canvas
Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas
Gift of Ralph T. Coe in memory of Helen F. Spencer

Tomorrow is my birthday and I will be out of town celebrating. However, I will be back early next week to review the Judith Bernstein exhibition at The Box in Chinatown (VERY exciting!!!) If you happen to have a copy of Art in America from June/July 2008, there was a fantastic writeup about her work.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy the Theibaud painting (above) in honor of moi.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

INCOGNITO @ SMMoA this Saturday

Things Aren't Always As They Seem

SMMoA's INCOGNITO logo designed by John Baldessari.

Just when you thought you were too old to play hide-and-go-seek -- peek-a-boo, there's SMMoA! The Santa Monica Museum of Art will present their 5th annual INCOGNITO exhibition and benefit sale this Saturday, May 2nd, beginning at 7 p.m. sharp (get there early if you want to grab a good spot in line).

For those who have never attended before, you're in for quite an experience. The mood is very much like Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving), only this time artists, dealers and collectors are the ones who are elbowing each other for all the bargains. The show is comprised of more than 650, 8 x 10 in. works which were generously donated by numerous artists working in a wide array of styles. There are no museum labels indicating which artist created which piece, so buyer beware! For only $300 per work (plus tax), you could end up with a killer work by notables John Baldessari, Mark Bradford, Kristin Calabrese, Exene Cervenka (BTW, I LOVE the band "X"!), Alexandra Grant, Leonard Nimoy, Ed Ruscha or Jennifer Steinkamp, among others. Are you enough of a connoisseur to recognize who's who? Come down this Saturday night and find out! Admission to the event is $100 per person($135 at the door). But, please, remember that all sales are final! If you'r still on the fence, check out the video from last year's event here.

INCOGNITO will take place at the Santa Monica Museum of Art on May 2nd, 2009; 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica; Begins at 7 p.m., but line up may start earlier; Admission tickets are $100 per person ($135 at the door); Works of art are $300 each (plus tax).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The People vs. Louis Vuitton and MoCA

Honest Oversight or Intentional Scam?

Takashi Murakami's "limited edition" prints, similar to the works above, sold at MoCA for $6,000 a pop.

LATer Mike Boehm reported today on the ongoing dispute between luxury goods retailer Louis Vuitton, the beleaguered Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) and would-be entrepreneurial print collector Clint Arthur. Mr. Arthur alleges that Louis Vuitton and MoCA failed to adhere to the Fine Print Act which, among other things, legally defines what constitutes a fine [art] print and how it should be sold to consumers. According to the act, the State of California defines it as follows:

"Fine print" or "print" means a multiple produced by, but not limited to, engraving, etching, woodcutting, lithography, and serigraphy, and means multiples produced or developed from photographic negatives, or any combination thereof.

That seems pretty legit and straight forward to me. So far, so good. The legal jargon continues with defining limited edition:

"Limited edition" means fine art multiples produced from a master, all of which are the same image and bear numbers or other markings to denote the limited production thereof to a stated maximum number of multiples, or are otherwise held out as limited to a maximum number of multiples.

Uh-oh, I think we have finally run into a problem here. Since the works in question were admittedly created from scraps of left over material from the Murakami-designed Louis Vuitton handbags, I think that this evidence alone proves that Louis Vuitton incorrectly marketed the prints a limited edition.

Usually, limited edition prints of this ilk are printed according to specific guidelines and standards set forth by the artist and a master printer. In consultation with the artist, the master printer will go through several print proof runs in order to achieve the correct color(s) and registration (a fancy print term which means precise color or image alignment) needed to print the edition. Once the desired look is achieved, the master printer will designate that specific print as the bon à tirer, or "good print" in French. The bon à tirer serves as the printer's template (master print) for the rest of the edition. If there is no bon à tirer, then the print is most likely not a true limited edition -- case closed! I'm eager to see how the judge will rule on this, but I guess we'll have to wait until this summer to find out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures

DISCLAIMER: This article references my employer, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The views expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of LACMA, LACMA's leadership, LACMA's Board, or LACMA's staff. Furthermore, the views posted on this blog have not been influenced in any way by the aforementioned parties.

"Mmm, Chocolate Lion Tower...aaaaahhhh" (In my best Homer Simpson voice)

Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures installation view at LACMA. Dieter Roth's Chocolate Lion Tower is to the left.

The Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures closes at LACMA on April 19th, so make sure to check it out ASAP! The show is intellectually stimulating (and dense), both in subject matter and artistic tradition. It will definitely leave you with a greater appreciation for and understanding of late mid-century German avante-garde artists working in front of and behind the iron curtain. Selections include works by Joseph Beuys, Hans Haake, Raffael Rheinsberg, Gerhard Richter, Dieter Roth, Sigmar Polke and others. All were scions of twentieth century image making in Germany, and successful at taking visual polemics to an whole new level.

My favorite work from the exhibition was Dieter Roth's Chocolate Lion Tower, 1968-69. I think that this work conclusively proves that it's okay to play with your food so long as it's in the name of art. Known for incorporating food stuffs into his compositions, Roth's art is tasteful, both, literally and figuratively! The work itself is a recreation of the original from the late sixties. Made entirely of chocolate, the cast sculpture of pint-sized lions stacked on top of one another is meant to slowly decay as the show travels from venue to venue. Roth's medium selection seems to view art through the lens of a perishable object rather than a cherished keepsake. Notions of value and materiality are simultaneously exalted and excoriated. In a recent exhibition-related lecture at LACMA, this piece was specifically sited by contemporary artist Paul McCarthy as a direct influence on his 2007 Chocolate Factory installation in New York City, where he tuned a gallery space into a fully functioning confectionery.

This show might be of great interest to people who were far too young to understand the politics of the Cold War, as well as practicing artists with an affinity for conceptual art. This is one history lesson that should not be missed.

Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures through April 19, 2009 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; Phone: (323) 857-6000; LACMA closed on Wednesdays, open Fridays 12:00-9:00 p.m., all other days 12:00-8:00 p.m.; Admission $12.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

UPDATE: Tonight's Kehinde Wiley Talk SOLD OUT!

High Art, High Demand.

I noticed that tonight's 7:00 p.m Kenide Wiley lecture at the Getty Center is SOLD OUT. Apparently, there will be a standby line so you may just be in luck...but get there early!!! Otherwise, go to the opening reception at Roberts & Tilton on Saturday, April 4th from 6-8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Keepin' It Real With Kehinde

He Can Paint and Make a Statement

Kehinde Wiley
Randerson Romualdo Cordeiro, 2008 (from The World Stage: Brazil)
Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in.
Courtesy of Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, CA

If you have plans next Thursday, April 2nd, say 7 p.m.-ish, break them! Artist Kehinde Wiley will speak at the Getty Center about his work and his upcoming exhibition, The World Stage: Brazil, at Roberts & Tilton in Culver City. Wiley has been one of those artists that I have admired for several years now. His fresh approach to painting and dynamic use of historical references makes him one of the brightest and most innovative artists out there.

(Above) Jacques Louis-David's Bonaparte Crossing the Alps at Grand-Saint-Bernar, 1801

After receiving his M.F.A. from Yale in 2001, Wiley made a name for himself by painting large-scale canvases of young African-American males reenacting religious and classical portrait poses of centuries past (you know, the ones that were only reserved for the rich, powerful and obnoxiously white.) His artistic repertoire also includes some notable Hip Hop sitters, including Ice T, LL Cool J and Grandmaster Flash. Empowered by the medium of the masters along with a skilled hand, Wiley invites the models to come by his studio and flip through various art history books that he has collected through the years. The models are then instructed to pick their favorite paintings and poses, thereby allowing them to envision themselves in a specific scenario or environment that they feel coincides with their individual personalities. And then Wiley takes care of the rest. He sets up a mesmerizing dialogue between himself, the [historical] artist, as well as the sitter. The end result is portraiture with vivid personality, buttressed with contemporary elegance and class that is befitting of Hip Hop royalty. Even if the subject matter does not strike you, the self-evident triumph of technique will. Trust me, these works will blow your mind!

(Above) Kehinde Wiley's Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps, 2005

Kehinde Wiley, The World Stage: Brazil, April 4 – May 30, 2009 at Roberts & Tilton, 5801 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Phone: (323) 549-0223; Opening Reception Saturday, April 4th, 6 – 8p.m.

Kehinde Wiley on His Art and Its Influences lecture Thursday, April 2, 2009, at the Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium, 1200 Getty Center Dr. Los Angeles, CA; Phone: (310) 440-7300; Admission: Free; reservations required.