Culver City Art Day

I hadn't realized that Kehinde Wiley is something of an art star with studios in three cities (New York, Beijing, and Dakar). His work is not only sumptuous but funny in a don't-laugh-out-loud way. This work is titled After Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres' The Virgin with the Host. It's a large photograph from 2009. His show at Roberts & Tilton was similar, but the subjects (still handsome men of color) were all from Israel and all the portraits were painted oil on canvas.

Chad, Christian, my friend Ellen, and I spent Saturday cruising through the art scene in Culver City. It was quiet and on the hot sunny side. We made it through over a dozen shows (George Billis, Blum&Poe, Cherry and Martin, Honor Fraser, Francois Ghebaly, Emma Gray, Paul Kopeikin, David Kordansky, Walter Maciel, Malony, Mihai Nicodim, Roberts & Tilton, and Taylor De Cordoba), but in the end I only wanted to write about three artists: Florian Maier-Aichen, Tillman Kaiser, and Kehinde Wiley.

I only got the capsule on Kaiser written and submitted before other writers beat me to the Maier-Aichen and Wiley.

That’s okay. We had a lovely day, and Ellen treated us to a delicious lunch at a newly-discovered spot. It was a hole-in-the wall place that had taken over the sidewalk in front with a garage-size shade cover, wooden fencing for walls, and painted plexi-glass windows. It was an ingenious makeshift restaurant space that turned this take-out joint into a sit-down restaurant! It was called, simply, Oaxacan Restaurant, and I hope to eat there every time I visit Culver City. I had the chile relleno stuffed with chicken – think I’ll have it next time too.

In any case, I had already written and submitted a longer preview piece AND pitched a feature to another magazine based on a previous art day this week.

We needed the practice finding Kordansky (Blackwelder, Blackwelder, the entrance is on Blackwelder) and we enjoyed the clever use of space by the galleries Francois Ghebaly and Emma Gray.

Tillman Kaiser's Facher (2010)

My capsule:

Don’t worry if the works in Tillman Kaiser’s show Für Kinder and Kenner seem esoteric and hard to understand – Kaiser himself using phrases like “brain digestion” and “laboratory for psychoanalysis” to describe his practice – but as the title suggests (translation: For Children and Experts), his works operate on many levels. Although the works range from painting to sculpture and wallpaper (and a combination of those in four canvases hooked together to form a large paravent),  Kaiser’s meditative and slow process with layers of egg tempura and silkscreen, his restrained palette, and elegant geometric repetitions create a cohesive show full of hinted meaning. Oftentimes there is a layer of handwritten text underneath the paint, but even if words cannot be discerned, these futuristic mandalas are a sublime exercise in form and composition.

(Honor Fraser, Culver City)

P.S. Yes, Chad biked up. Yes, he’s still doing these crazy 70+ mile rides on his mountain bike.

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