Margaret Wise Brown’s iconic children’s book, Goodnight Moon, was published at a time when research on child’s psychology was germinating. The story was instrumental because it strayed from the fairytales and legends typically reserved for children and focused instead on what was directly familiar to them, i.e. what items lay about in their room. Familiarity manifests itself in Greg Ito’s penchant for giant neon-lit candelabras and paintings of mythological imagery juxtaposed with local geography, many of which are bordered by window sills echoing the illustrations from Brown’s book.
In conjunction with Ito’s installation is a dining experience from chef Richard Blais, who’s tailored his dishes to Ito’s works in order to complement and correspond playfully (some plates include “Bird in Hand” and “Unicorn Soup”) rather than mimic abjectly. Hallowed Ground follows a lineage of art and dinner-related installations; Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party and more recently, Monkey Town, come to mind.
Pop-ups have become standard fare as fleeting outlets for creative synthesis; Blais himself could be recognized for his appearance on ‘Top Chef’. But with familiarity also lurks the unrevealed or obscured. “Everything is not what it seems”, muses Blais. The exhibition’s name reinforces the exhibition’s church-like layout, and Ito’s paintings adorn the walls like stained-glass windows. However, while the candelabras induce a divine glow, they also emulate a sordid motel’s vacancy sign or even the hues of a red-light district.
The marriage of Ito’s multidisciplinary installation and Blais’ culinary accompaniment creates a spectacle. Considering the show is also housed in a former Hollywood soundstage, Hallowed Ground alludes to the Entertainment Capital of the World’s capacity to seduce the city’s art world.
Hallowed Ground runs from May 11th - June 3rd, 2018 at ArtCubed LA (1541 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90028).
Liam Casey is a freelance writer, researcher and DJ from Los Angeles. In addition to being a contributor for Berlin Art Link, he also has a background in housing and urban planning, co-developing a think-tank on Los Angeles’ housing crisis. He is also a co-organizer and resident of the queer collective Bubbles.