Misery loves company, and the art scene is full of miserable people. In our vast, virtual memetic culture, @JERRYGOGOSIAN is dissecting the great unregulated art market and its strange ecosystem of fear, lies and egomaniacism. Everyone knows she, or he, is on the inside, but the constant guessing only fuels the fire: Who is @JERRYGOGOSIAN? Click here to read.
Are you staring directly into the mouth of the beast, or are you indeed sitting inside said mouth, observing the surreal landscape below? This is just one of the many visual homonyms that are ever-present in the works of Morgan Mandalay. For his first solo exhibition at Klowden Mann in Los Angeles, the Chicago-based artist has painted worlds that are rife with reference to human figuration, though only vaguely, in the form of phantom hands clutching at tree branches, or humanoid eyeballs peeking through leaves. Bad Sin Frutas tells a story of exile using the memetic power of the Garden of Eden as a template for processing the Mandalay family’s exile from Cuba, and it does so in a time of global refugee crises. Click here to read more.
Defining a culture that comprises 7100 islands, centuries of colonization, and an overwhelming desire to assimilate is profound and Sisyphean. Unlike a migration that takes place over land, the ocean seems to wash away all evidence of the traveled path. The historical narrative that has framed Filipino-American immigration is fraught with this eternal question of identity and belonging. Being part Filipino myself, I learned very little about my grandmother’s life story while she was alive. It wasn’t until after she passed away and my grandfather published her memoirs that I learned just how harrowing her journey had been.
After attending the world premiere of FLEX, a dance theater piece that explores primarily the story of choreographer, Jay Carlon’s father and his immigration from the Philippines to the States, I realized that the erasure of these stories is rather commonplace. Click here to read more.
What does it mean to be a twenty-first century renaissance man? For Maceo Paisley, a wide range of disciplines comes together in a positive feedback loop that supports his indefatigable exploration of human behavior. Using embodied inquiry, he investigates his own identity and presents his findings in performance and film. A prolific writer of prose, he just released his first book Tao of Maceo, which takes inventory of his personal beliefs and aims to define his perspective more acutely. Stepping off the stage, he cultivates community through his Chinatown gallery, Nous Tous and a multi-pronged community practice/social innovation agency called Citizens of Culture. Click here to read more
For anyone who’s seen Velvet Buzzsaw, there were a number of glaring inaccuracies about the look and feel of an art fair, most notably is probably the fact that they’re usually filled with hundreds of slack-jawed visitors under harsh halogen lights who look like they just stepped off a Southwest flight…or a parade float, depending on which day you go. This scene is depicted far more accurately in Mark Flood’s Art Fair Fever, a biting, feature-length parody about the dark misgivings of the art world’s collectors and dealers. Click here to read more.
Miraclegrow is a supersized disruption, an exaggerated shift in scale and perception. Yaghmai’s magnification of a bathroom floor reimagines reality and asks us to consider a new perspective, possibly one of a small household spider. A 17-foot “hair” fashioned from a bent, fused, rusted pipe sits awaiting inspection. A castaway hair, an expended shred of biomaterial carries evidence of unique genetic information, of past drug use, of cheap shampoo. An unnaturally close look at this particle of life is on offer. We see its scales, made from castings and detritus, reminiscent of sedimentary stone, tide pools, and the sand dunes of Mars. The hair reflects onto giant glossy tiles lining the walls, showing some undefined landscape in the process of disappearing or reappearing. It’s hard to tell which. Click here to read our interview with the artist.
Miraclegrow is on view through March 30 at CCA Wattis Institute 1111 Eighth Street San Francisco. photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
Walking into Rosha Yaghmai’s studio is a little bit like walking into the laboratory of a junkyard hoarder/mad scientist. There’s a distinctly pleasant organization to the vast collection of Los Angeles detritus that extends from the studio to the backlot outside. The walls are plastered with images from torn magazine pages, postcards, posters, watercolors and collage works. It’s as though you could hold a microscope to any detail in the room and discover a tiny world within. Click here to read more.
For anyone who has painstakingly worked to build and curate their Instagram page, only to have it disabled unexpectedly, you know just how devastating the loss can be. For those whose accounts have been hacked, the consequences can be much worse. Thus is the case for Alice (played by Madeline Brewer), a young and ambitious camgirl on the rise, who is relentlessly creating new shows and characters to improve her ranking on freegirls.live, a fictional camming site, designed and created specifically for the film. When Alice’s account is hacked and hijacked by someone with an uncanny resemblance, she is forced to outwit her doppelgänger while watching her own identity, both online and irl, degrade rapidly. Aside from the psychic thrill that the narrative provides, this film offers a refreshing subversion to the standard tropes that come from the sexy, horror genre. From the ways that sex work is represented in the film, to the ways that the screenwriter, Isa Mazzei and director, Daniel Goldhaber challenge the standard director-authorship, this film provides a wealth of new templates to consider that are seemingly radical, yet unsurprisingly, quite logical. In Mazzei and Goldhaber’s Cam, the hyper-indulgent and semi-private world of camming is given life in a way that is instantly translatable by the genre. A surreal, thrill ride that seeps into your unconscious mind and humanizes the very real people that hitherto have been unjustly stigmatized by the film and media industry at large.
Click here to read the full interview.
Cam is available to stream as of today on Netflix.
Thanks to our friends at Chandelier Creative, we spent a lovely day capturing the iconic Peter Shire at his studio in Echo Park with director Johnny Le. Watch the documentary for a how-to tutorial on being Peter Shire, which includes knowing a good salad joke, meeting Ettore Sottsass, and owning a lot of hats. To celebrate the premiere we invited some of our favorite people in Los Angeles to the gorgeous Flamingo Estate for a Memphis Milano Bruncheon, which included a special menu created by Shire himself and chef Steven Segar, with items like Habanero pickled beet lollipops and Bel Air bellinis (peach vinegar, prosecco, vodka, and [of course] ping-pong balls). Read more about our collaboration here.
A classically trained, multi-disciplinary choreographer, who is one of the 3 founding members of a dance company called No)one. Art House., Chris Bordenave has recently been working with a number of musical artists, such as Anderson Paak, Mayer Hawthorne, and more recently Solange and Kelela. He has also been creating site-specific works for institutions such as the California African American Museum, Hauser + Wirth, and Solange’s SAINT HERON House. Click here to read the full interview.
Maïwenn is little known in the United States, but in France, she has made an indelible mark on the world of cinema. Most Americans remember her as the seductive, singing alien, Diva Plavalaguna, in Luc Besson’s cult classic, The Fifth Element. However, her future acting and directing endeavors have indisputably eclipsed this small role she played as a teenager. Her acting career started at a very young age, when she moved to Los Angeles and became a child actor. As a director, she has a remarkably intuitive gift for creating masterful scenes that are powder kegs of emotion – with the fuse often lit during the first frame of the movie. The pacing, the chemistry and the fluidity – there is a preternatural authenticity. Over the past ten years she has directed four feature films and one short. Her most recent films Polisse (2011) and Mon Roi (2016) – the latter of which will be released next week in theaters – have won her critical acclaim and a multitude of highly coveted nominations. These accolades include, but are not limited to, the Palme d’Or, the César for best film, best director, and best screenplay. Her film Polisse won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Click here to read more.
Elie Top may just be one of the most glamorous men in Paris. Working silently under the likes of Yves Saint Laurent before his passing, and Alber Elbaz for Lanvin before Elbaz left the helm of the fashion house, Top has gained a keen and sharp insight into the world of luxury jewelry and accessory making. Elbaz’s exit was a perfect excuse for Top to take what he learned as an interminable apprentice and start his own eponymously named label. His new collection, entitled Mécaniques Célestes, is an insight into the ornamental aesthete’s lifelong fascination with all things baroque, classical and talismanic. Gold, diamonds, precious stones and other metals reinterpret the armillary sphere – tiny universes atop a finger, atop a breastbone; perfect and encapsulated. When we met Top, we ambushed him with an interview proposal during a cigarette break from hosting his recent pop up at Maxfield’s in Los Angeles (it was his first ever visit to Los Angeles). Our conversation oscillated between his memories of working with Saint Laurent, his love for jewelry and his new collection. Click here to read more.
At almost 80 years old, David Hockney – who is perhaps the world’s most famous living artist – is more productive than ever. We got a rare chance to visit his busy, paint-splattered and cigarette-littered studio tucked away in the hills of Los Angeles. We had an in-depth conversation over multiple boxes of his favorite brands of cigarettes – Camel Wides and Davidoff, which he keeps cartons of in a drawer marked ‘first aid’ – just between 'sketchbooks' and 'rulers.' Hockey is an avid supporter of smoker’s rights – even in the face of the ocean of studies and laws surrounding the lethality of smoking cigarettes. Hockney can list a number of famous artists that smoked and lived long lives. Indeed, Hockney is a true bon vivant – the last of a breed of artists that lived through multiple generations of bohemia and decadence. Click here to read more.
Watching one of Galen Pehrson’s films, like his most recent, The Caged Pillows, starring the likes of Jena Malone and James Franco, is like stepping into a psychedelic cartoon where you can’t help feeling a tinge of déjà vu – you’re not sure if it was a dream, a childhood memory, or an omen. It’s as though a mixture of real life memories and old movie scenes were plucked from your brain and rearranged into a brilliant new narrative. They’re the renderings of a world that most of us have inhabited for all our lives, but for Galen, who spent the first 12 years of his life in rural Nevada City, without access to cable TV or any other means of consuming pop culture, this world can be seen from a slightly outside perspective. Click here to read more.
Daniel Lanois lives and breathes music in a very literal sense. As a true audiophile, he seems to be marinating in centuries of sound waves, honing in on some of history’s most visceral musical compositions. It’s as though he pulls rhythms directly from the ground and resonant frequencies from the stratosphere. This description may seem over the top, and while it comes from a place of genuine reverence, I can say that over the 3 hours that we spent together, I witnessed this phenomenon with my very own eyes and ears. When he tells a story, it doesn’t suffice to tell it in words. His life story wouldn’t make sense unless he sang it to you, played it for you, and punctuated it with his signature, “yea, man.” Which is why I had to compile all of these bits in an audio file to give you a real feel for who he is and how he communicates. It’s really quite elevating. Click here to read the full interview.
Speaking to Azalea Lee is like talking to that wise aunt who has all those otherworldly insights that she wraps in easily accessible metaphors so that you don’t have to work too hard to arrive at the answers. Whether you actually have that aunt, or you always wished you had that aunt, when you walk into her crystal shop, you immediately feel that sense of comfort and familiarity. Her space is in an old building in the fashion district of Downtown Los Angeles. There’s a weird old elevator that you take to the 9th floor, walk down a short dark hallway, ring the bell and the door opens to a bright, white room with a sweeping landscape of the city and a friendly woman who asks you to take off your shoes. Entering Place 8 Healing is like walking through the pearly gates in a dream where you know you’re not dead, and this isn’t eternity, but somehow you feel lighter and more at ease. There’s a cubby station next to the door with a cushion that you can sit on where we eventually held the interview. She explains that we spend so much time wearing shoes and clothes that we lose our grounding; that removing that barrier between our feet and the ground is an essential part of rooting ourselves with the Earth. Click here to read more.
photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper and Summer Bowie
In the following interview, we have a long chat with Mel Shimkovitz about Trans vampires, her Zelig-like position in the music, art and Hollywood worlds, and the media’s sudden shift in focus toward the lives and rights of the LGBTQ community. Click here to read the full convo.