Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Considering it...



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Hi Doug,

Marriott International, Inc has an opening for a Funcionario de prevención de pérdidas in their Los Angeles location. We thought you might be interested in this opportunity. To explore this further you'll find more details and the application instructions on the job details page below.

Funcionario de prevención de pérdidas at Marriott International, Inc

Have a great day.

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"Disculpe, señora, voy a tener que buscar en su equipaje... ¡AHA! Las barras de jabón en miniatura gratuitas son para uso en la habitación solo mientras es huésped del Marriott. Me temo que tendrá que ¡ven conmigo!"

Friday, November 10, 2017

Puzzling Evidence: Jim Shaw VS The Illuminati



"Three hundred years ago, on June 24, 1717, four autonomous lodges of the philosophical/political underground that had inexplicably sprung up within the structure of the medieval architectural stone masons guilds met at the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse in the churchyard of London’s St. Paul's Cathedral, merged into what was to become the Grand Lodge of England, effectively launching the movement of modern Freemasonry. Antics ensued.
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While even a cursory history of the Freemason phenomenon and its impact on the culture and politics of modern western civilization is beyond the scope of this essay, it’s important to cover at least some of the high points in order to convey exactly why the installation of Jim Shaw’s The Wig Museum in the repurposed Wilshire Boulevard Scottish Rite Cathedral constitutes one of the most appropriate and fruitful site-specific art installations of all time.

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Since the 1970s, Shaw has been producing work that simultaneously explores the structure of various belief systems and the forms in which they manifest themselves, with a particular emphasis on the legion of vernacular twentieth-century media fallout—fliers, booklets, posters, album covers, knick-knacks, videos, and so on—which insinuate their ideological memes into the collective libidinal appetite. In this exhibition alone, he cites Abstract Expressionist collage cartoonist Ad Reinhardt, technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs, nineteenth-century French painters Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Théodore Gericault, Eugène Delacroix, visionary English book artist William Blake, political cartoonist Thomas Nash, modernist prankster Marcel Duchamp, Dutch proto-surrealist Hieronymus Bosch, beliked actress Sally Fields, Superman comic artist Wayne Boring, animator Walter Lantz, and science fiction author H. G. Wells. Among others.

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One of the most radical aspects of Shaw’s work is that he treats the belief systems and symbolic forms—the ideology and iconography—of capital-A Art with the same political and aesthetic equanimity and skepticism as he would, say, Scientology or the International Monetary Fund, although his scrutiny has most often been drawn to the elaborate cosmologies of fringe religious movements and secret societies like the Masons. Everybody knows that the intrigues of The Art World have more in common with Masonic convolutions than it likes to admit—constantly negotiating accusations of paranoia, defensiveness, and elitism, for example. Plus No Chicks Allowed!


Shaw’s oeuvre can be understood as a ferocious parody that vivisects the conventions of Western civilization’s moral and intellectual traditions in a language that mimics the convoluted and deliberately incoherent institutional mystification by which our imaginations are continually conquered and colonized. But these same strategies of semiotic hypersaturation can be seen in any number of esoteric spiritual and philosophical traditions whose stated purpose is to dislodge the initiate from their habitual understanding of the nature of reality in favor of a direct, unmediated experience—a denial-of-service attack on The Matrix.



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The Wilshire Scottish Rite Masonic Temple was built in 1961 by Millard Sheets —as patriarchal figure in the history of Los Angeles art as can be imagined. Sheets, a regionalist figurative painter, headed the art department at Scripps College as well as Otis Art Institute, oversaw the Los Angeles County Fair’s then-prestigious annual art exhibit, and was in charge of which artists were hired to do murals for the Works Project Administration during the Depression. After the war, he entered the public sphere even more emphatically, setting up an architectural design firm that created idiosyncratic, modernist figurative mosaics for buildings from Washington D.C. to Honolulu, as well as the forty-two Home Savings and Loan Association Buildings for which he’s best remembered.

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Oddly, Sheets was never a Mason, and when Judge Ellsworth Meyer approached him with the commission he asked for an explanation for undertaking such an extravagant project. As Sheets later recalled, they “had some very good thoughts about the new relationship of Masonry to society and why they felt this was an important time to build the temple and why they wanted to truly represent the spirit of Masonry.”


Whatever those “very good thoughts” were, they didn’t quite pan out, as membership in the Lodge—as in fraternal organizations nationwide—rapidly declined over the next several decades. By the early 1990s, the Wilshire temple was being rented out for commercial interests (in violation of its zoning parameters) and, amidst local complaints about parking difficulties and darker allegations, the 110,000-square-foot edifice was shuttered and cordoned off, becoming a notorious real-estate white elephant until the Marcianos came to its rescue..."

Read the rest of Puzzling Evidence: Jim Shaw VS The Illuminati in "Jim Shaw THE WIG MUSEUM" Marciano Art Foundation Project Series Issue no. 1, ISBN 978-0-9992215-0-1

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Under the Radar: Mimi Pond


"Mimi Pond is a legendary figure in LA—part of the generation of independently-minded cartoonists nurtured—then dumped—by the alternative media, she also wrote the first-aired episode of The Simpsons (before being expelled from the bullpen) as well as contributing to Pee Wee’s Playhouse alongside her artist husband Wayne White.

Pond’s public image has recently made a quantum leap via the shadow world of graphic novels, with her acclaimed 2014 fictionalized memoir Over Easy, which detailed her day-to-day social adventures after dropping out of the CCAC and getting a job as a dishwasher—soon waitress—at a nearly post-hippy diner in Oakland in the late ’70s.

Her new volume, The Customer is Always Wrong, picks up exactly where Over Easyleft off—vibrating between laid-back hippy self-mockery and seething punk rage. Although the saga of art-school dropout Madge and the colorful cast of Bay Area lowlifes with whom she consorts were apparently split into two for completely logistical reasons, the bifurcation is fortuitous.

Where the first volume chronicles a relatively idyllic period of compromised innocence—sex, drugs, and rock & roll in other words—the sequel delves into more challenging bardos, depicting beatings, murders, heroin ODs, and abortions with the same light attention as the awkward romances and naughty experimentation in Over Easy.

Pond’s lightness of touch is twofold, evident in both her artwork and narrative gifts. Her relaxed, economical black ink line—augmented by judiciously deployed washes of blue—conveys an archetypal bohemian vibe that immediately sets the tone for Madge’s subterranean journey, and is stylistically supple enough to accommodate anything from lyrical interludes to car-chase sequences..."

Read the rest of Mimi Pond’s Wild Ride, In Two Volumes in Artillery Magazine or ATJ

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

10 Should-Be LA Art Stars


Tamara Fites as Lambi Kins at Dan Bernier Gallery, 1995

"Last year some friends and I made a list of Los Angeles artists who were overdue for local museum acknowledgment—project rooms, mid-career surveys, retrospectives, whatever—and had to quit when we reached 100. It just stopped being fun. For all the talk of L.A. as an international art destination, it still has a doozy of an inferiority complex. East coast and international art stars—and a handful of Angelenos that fit the mold—are afforded the bulk of face time, at the expense of the gazillion graduates pouring out of the dozen local MFA programs every year; the idiosyncratic veterans who didn’t fit into the Ferus Gallery agenda; and the off-the-charts originals who blossomed in the lack of limelight.
Here’s a grab bag of overlooked L.A. artists that should be pulling down the big bucks and gracing biennial pavilions. Peers and enemies will undoubtedly find my selection wanting—but that’s what comments are for...

Tamara Fites
One of the most innovative L.A. artists of the 1990s, Fites assembled elaborate character-driven installations out of carefully curated thrift store detritus, handmade artifacts, and performative leavings. These immersive interactive theaters garnered enormous local buzz, yet are almost entirely forgotten since the artist dropped out of the marketplace, leaving no internet archive behind. Perhaps Fites’s most famous incarnation was as Lambi Kins, a mute, infantile, sexualized sheep-girl occupying a white trash labyrinth, in which she would inappropriately touch unsuspecting gallery-goers. Another persona was as the leader of an anarcho-syndicalist colony of adult babies, who held birthday parties ’round the clock and rescued a litter of baby possums as part of one exhibition..."

Read the rest of 10 L.A. Artists Whose Work You Probably Don’t Know—But Should on Artsy -- this being my first article for this new venue.