March 28, 2004

Hello to the Old Neighborhood

As our schedule is easing with exhausted checklists, I was able to borrow a car and drop into ChinaTown to say hello to the guys in the 'hood.

Here's a photo album for y'all.

After crawling in the congested traffic of noontime ChinaTown, I make my way for Joel Mesler's new hangout on Bernard Street, a new triad of DianePruess, Chicago Project Room and Golinko-Kordansky galleries.

We hung out in the courtyard out back.

Dan Hug, owner of the Chicago Project Room kicks back with us too. He shows me the work from the last five shows, lots of German, Berliner connections.

The talk is about real estate. There's a mania going on here in LA, it resembles the dot-com era. Thoughts veer towards an imagined immanent crash as those who have engineered a variable interest rate will be raked over the coals when the interest rates soar. People are building everywhere, buying buildings. Since we left last year, ChinaTown alone had grown five, nearly six galleries.

The artworld has surpassed human scale.

After that, I cruise over to Bart's studio where he's wrangling with a few paintings.

Bart's from Texas, Amarillo... and since we were recently driving thru that city, I was able to put an image to his description of it. He spoke of this wealthy collector there who helped Smithson create his Amarillo ramp (the project that led to his fatal helicopter crash), and Ant Farm's Cadillac Ranch.

Next door was Phil Wagner's studio. This pic is a little blurry, but it's a good one of Phil and the paintings in the background give a good feel for his work. Phil has moved recently from a non-objective approach (abstract, for you civillians out there) to a representational, photo-based, cinema narrative type of painting that has a lot of noir-ish coordinates to it.

Black, White, a single brush painting alla prima and an image that is inflected towards a larger story that surrounds it (think of a still life that might have an ashtray that has just spilled with a crumpled paper with telephone numbers written on it... that's the kind of image he might conjure).

We sat in the cafe in the midst of the thronging tourists with cups of coffee and noodles and talked about painting until the sun went down.

A good day.

"And as the lights on the lanterns flicker on in ChinaTown, I've got to make my way back home to the hills as the family are flying in from all parts of the country." Yes, I actually used this line to exit.

It seemed natural at the time.

Posted by Dennis at March 28, 2004 2:55 AM

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