November 15, 2011

Incubator: Chinatown

Gustavo Herrera Hollenbeck.jpg
Chinatown has been through several high and low tides over the years. Great galleries have established themselves and as they do, they tend to move out to parts of the city that have the cache at the time. China Art Objects have moved to Culver City, taking their iconic sign with them. Perez Projects moved first to Culver City and now they are based in Berlin. Redling Gallery moved to Culver City. Happy Lion went out of business. Black Dragon Society morphed into Parker Jones, Parker subsequently moved to Culver City. He recently went out of business in order to work for Gagosian (wtfbbq?). Probably the biggest impact on Chinatown has been the move of Joel Mesler to New York City, an event which I can best describe as watching an engine fall away from your airplane. The other day, I noticed that Mara McCarthy's The Box has a for lease sign on the window, confirming rumors that they will move on to another location in LA soon.

I don't want to paint such a sad picture here (thus, the point of this blogpost). Chinatown still has the great Tom Solomon Gallery, Human Resources is kicking up a lot of ruckus on Cottage Home Street, Jancar Gallery is going strong on Chung King Road, Pepin Moore moved into China Art Object's old space. Even though Aaron Wrinkle's Dan Graham space has been retired, another gallery has taken it's postage stamp sized place, Jancar Jones Gallery (who is showing San Francisco artist Chris Lux at the moment). Recently, I found two other new galleries in the neighborhood, which validates my theory that Chinatown is best suited for startup galleries, the LA art worlds' exhibition space incubator.

Between Phillipe's Diner near Union Station and the big plaza on Gin Ling Way, Spencer Douglas and Gustavo Herrera (Gustavo is pictured above in character, a frame from his video in the show) collaborated in an installation at Actual Size Gallery that goes by the name Hollenbeck. The video is excellent, entrancing, it has an interesting sound track and the overall installation has a punch despite the pocket sized space that the gallery has to offer. Highly recommended. Here's the blurb from their website:

Actual Size Los Angeles is pleased to present Hollenbeck, by Spencer Douglass and Gustavo Herrera. Hollenbeck is a video installation that features a single-channel projection and a shrine of found artifacts. The video employs live action and stop-motion collage to explore the decomposition of urban, rural, and psychic environments. Loosely based on John Edward Hollenbeck, a wealthy industrialist who played a key role in the development of Los Angeles during the 1880's, Hollenbeck merges the stark reality of the barren landscape with fantastical interpretations of the past. The narrative follows the character as he navigates between life and death, using both symbolic and tangible currency

Located above the remains of what once was the Automat (cafe) on Ching King Road, is a new gallery on the second floor called Favorite Goods. Ryan Fabel and Audrey Moyer are the owners of their clean and well lighted space. They are young, smart, informed, and they already have a great audience. They describe their second exhibition thusly:

Favorite Goods is proud to announce 002, consisting of work by Jake Cruzen, Dashiell Manley, and Matthew Strauss.

Jake Cruzen will share works that challenge consumer participation, consumption, and the focus of current marketing trends. Cruzen will also be exhibiting a collaborative work made with Dan Solberg. Dashiell Manley?s video, made of 10,785 still photographs and 4 minutes of live action, explores the in between space of moving and static imagery through capturing and re-representing actions from his studio practice. Matthew Strauss?s work questions what it means to create in the now by the removal of what is thought to having meaning. This is Jake Cruzen and Matthew Strauss?s first exhibition in Los Angeles.

Posted by Dennis at November 15, 2011 1:10 PM

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