A Small Beginning

So my first art writing gig goes like this: The art publication emails the writers a list of gallery and museum shows near the first of the month. I take a look at the list, which is divided into categories by area, and establish which shows I want to see. Since the next publication comes out for June, the shows have to be showing from now until then, and has to not have been already written about. Also, the blurbs (or “capsules”) are for the “Continuing and Recommended” section, so it has to be a show I’d recommend, which narrows the list considerably. Also, about half the shows on the list opened this weekend, and the deadline is Tuesday – leaving, really, only attendance at the Saturday night art openings and Tuesday day for art-viewing, since most galleries are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

I chewed on my options and decided to take what appeared to be reasonably-sized chuck of galleries for my first time. I picked seven galleries in the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area, since I’m already familiar with most of the galleries there, plus one in Culver City, and plotted a course for the day. I choose Sandroni.Rey, Marc Selwyn, Solway Jones, Couturier, Stephen Cohen, DF2 Gallery, Louis Stern and Gagosian Gallery, in that order.

Now eight galleries may not seem like very many – or at least, it didn’t to me – but then again I didn’t factor in that once I was in the neighborhood, I wouldn’t be able to resist popping into other galleries, and neither did I think about the sheer exhaustion factor of finding parking in LA eight times in one day. I plotted the location of each of the galleries at my own Google map here, so you can see the kind of ground I covered.

For what? Well, for the pleasure of seeing all that art in one day, I guess, although, it was a different experience to see art by somebody else’s list.

And to write a 50-100 word capsule, for which I would paid $30 IF I was the first person to turn it in, $20 if mine is combined with somebody else’s, and $5 kill fee if it’s not used at all. And did I mention – no byline?

Of all of what I saw – I felt comfortable recommending only two of them: Gregory Crewdson at Gagosian and Lee Mullican at Marc Selwyn.

So this is the first written product of my free-lance art writing career; let’s see how it goes.

Forget the photograph and think high-def plasma screen – Gregory Crewdson explodes the idea of even large-scale photography by pouring movie-style resources (think 30-men crews, fog machines, make-up artists, location scouts) into his lavish, nearly five by seven foot photographs. All the unsettling photographs are part of a series called Beneath the Roses; although the coffee table book is comprehensive and enormous (for a book), it cannot convey the Lynch-ian mood of a girl holding her wet panties, standing ankle-deep in the water just above a concrete dam, behind two neighborhood houses, with the same impact as a photograph as tall as you are (Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills).

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