Thinkspace before you speak | art by Brian Mashburn & Casey Weldon

What world do you live in? Does it feel like this?

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That’s the world of artist Brian Mashburn whose work, according to his website, “is drawn from everyday observations as well as an interest in history, natural science, and philosophy. The heavy mists of Appalachia and smog of southeastern China and Hong Kong further inform his foggy aesthetic.” He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

I found this world when I visited Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City on April 29 this year. So if this is your world, I love it. Just please take some Vitamin D supplements. I returned to Thinkspace on June 3 and found another world. Maybe this is yours. Take a look:

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If this is your world, it’s a curious one, which can only explain why so many feline species are in it. Casey Weldon created this world. He graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and opened a studio in Las Vegas. Now he’s in Brooklyn, New York.

Maybe neither is your world. And hey, that’s fine by us. You can create your own or you can find one. We happened to have made one of magic and mystery. Maybe you’re a character in one of the five stories. They haven’t revealed their names yet.

— E.K. from Silver Lake, Los Angeles

Ξ

Art and magic are no different. But we are.

tamil_om

We wrote the 5 mysteries.

Help bring us to life here.

Thoughtful Thursday | the quest in question

You can think of a small question as a small quest — a big question as a big quest. The words “quest” and “question” are from the Latin word “quaerere” (ask or seek). But what makes a quest or question small or big? That’s not up to one person to answer. That’s up to you, me, all of us. You’re all invited to share your Thursday thoughts in the comments below to these three questions:

  1. Painter Lucian Freud said, “What do I ask of a painting? I ask it to astonish, disturb, seduce, convince.” Your turn: What do you ask of music, literature, performance, visual art, any creative expression?

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  1. Photographer William Eggleston said, “I am at war with the obvious.” What are you at war with at this time in your life?

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  1. Anne Wilkes Tucker, a curator of photographic art, once wrote of the photographer Brassaï: “He sought neither to judge nor to change, but to fathom the living arrangements of the world.” With what you do in your life, how do you fathom the living arrangements of the world?

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Why these questions? They invite possibilities, which is why writer Tommy Tung asked nearly identical ones as part of his interview with photographer Alex Prager for Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine, eight years ago. Share your answers to the three questions in the comments below. Happy Thursday.

— Q.D. from Culver City

Ξ

Art and magic are no different. But we are.

tamil_om

 

Facing the light in the Rain Room art installation at LACMA

Second life for the Rain Room | LACMA

You didn’t get to go to the Rain Room because it was sold out. Or you were able to go but want to go again. The Rain Room may have closed on January 22, 2017 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), but the prospect of experiencing it has not dried up. It’s reincarnating. Staying for good. Raining for good.

Thank Restoration Hardware — who had commissioned the work — for donating it to the permanent collection at LACMA. Ephemerality and availability had governed its supply and demand until now. Permanent residence granted, the Rain Room’s reopening date is the only thing between you and this interactive art installation that RH Chairman & CEO, Gary Friedman, says reflects “creative courage, trust, and a belief that all of us have the ability to affect any environment we choose to step into.” Move and the rain moves too, because precipitation parts wherever you are in the room. It’s why phones and cameras survive there and why over 54,000 photos on Instagram have the #rainroom hashtag and a liquid light shower.

Ten to fifteen minutes is all you’ll have in this room with black walls, spotlights, and 528 gallons of downpour. You may want to stay longer but the brief window of time is like any weather condition — a passing phenomenon. What we know about the design of the Rain Room is that the founders of Random International (Florian Ortkrass, Hannes Koch, and Stuart Wood) “were curious to see how it would feel to be immersed in a rainstorm that wouldn’t physically affect you,” according to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). And what we know about Random International is that “it is a collaborative studio for experimental practice within contemporary art,” with work “questioning aspects of identity and autonomy in the post-digital age…[and inviting] active participation.”

Whenever the Rain Room does reopen, we recommend reservations. F.A. and I went a few weeks before it closed, and as someone with Dual Membership at LACMA with paid privileges, I still couldn’t get a reservation for two in the Rain Room without making an advance payment on renewing my membership.

Demand is that high for rain in Los Angeles.

— Q.D. from Culver City

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F.A. who lived through the mystery, You have until Friday

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Ξ

Art and magic are no different. But we are.

tamil_om

We wrote the 5 mysteries.

Help bring us to life here.

A man wearing a loincloth with magical energy centers glowing along his body; the four classical elements of alchemy are diagrammed on the right

The Art of Alchemy disappears in 3 days

We’re artists. We’re alchemists. We’re magicians. Playing drinking games with the elixir of life. Designing slingshots for the philosopher’s stone. Maybe you saw us walking through downtown LA on Saturday, January 21 for the Women’s March, or peering at medieval manuscripts at The Art of Alchemy, now on view at the Getty Center until February 12. The mind of separation says these two events are different — marching for equality and human rights vs. strolling through a museum exhibition. Mysticism says that they are not, that even you and the multiverse are the same.

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Does this mean in essence you are only doing one thing your entire life? We would say yes. You are living. But that is not for us to say — for you. You can answer that yourself. The questions keep us going, as they did for the alchemists of Europe, Egypt, and Asia who the Getty Research Institute says were driven “to transform and bend nature to the will of an industrious human imagination. For scientists, philosophers, and artists alike, alchemy seemed to hold the key to unlocking the secrets of creation.”

You have three days to see their written and illustrated works at the Getty Research Institute, if not for these philosophical concerns then simply for their art. You don’t need a background in art history, alchemy, anything. You just need to keep asking questions.

That’s the only thing we ask of you.

For now.

— Q.D. from Culver City

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Ξ

Art and magic are no different. But we are.

tamil_om
We wrote the 5 mysteries.

Help bring us to life here.

not her art gallery, not anymore

“That’s her favorite art gallery—I’m not going there anymore,” I’d tell myself despite Corey Helford Gallery exhibiting artists I enjoy like Billy Norrby, Camille Rose Garcia, Herakut, Silvia Ji, and Martin Wittfooth.

I said that for a long time. I wouldn’t even drive within half a mile of her West L.A. apartment after our breakup. And she lived on Venice Blvd. Magnetic repulsion made Washington Blvd my best friend for a while.

Two weeks ago, I told myself, “that was her favorite gallery—and it still could be—but I want to go again,” because Martin Wittfooth was presenting his new series The Archaic Revival and I’d never seen his paintings in person. I’d seen scanned images online, shrunken to display on my computer and my phone. I wanted to view his oil paintings in four dimensions, in real time, in an environment I could inhabit. And I wanted to be free of the mythology that Corey Helford Gallery was hers somehow, when it was for anyone curious about pop surrealist, low brow, street and contemporary art.

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I brought F.A. who lived through the mystery, You have until Friday

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“Herald,” my favorite piece

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— Q.D. from Culver City, CA

Ξ

Art and magic are no different. But we are.

tamil_om

We wrote the 5 mysteries.

Help bring us to life here.

a clean confession about Tarfest

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Saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and mammoths did not go to Tarfest 40,000 years ago even though they were in the neighborhood. Tarfest only had its 14th annual celebration of music and art this past Saturday.

Accompanied by F.A. who wrote the first-person account, you have until Friday, I attended to support the galleries LAUNCH LA and KP Projects.

Support did not mean we bought art, because as artists, writers, musicians, photographers we can also support the aforementioned galleries by simply being there. “My presence is my contribution,” a mindfulness instructor once shared with me. And I have found it to be true in any situation. In the context of art and art institutions, that has been my continuing contribution—to show up and view the art in person, and also to show up to the opening reception and meet the artists.

Over the years, my contribution took other forms such as arts journalism or blogging about art (as I am doing now) and also sharing art I love on social media, so that others can glimpse why I might be drawn to a piece—”glimpse” being a deliberate word choice as no one can really “see” art online and feel the full power, texture, and scope of the creation. There are ridges of paint that get flattened when digitized. There are colors that wake up only when bathed in daylight or the lighting in a gallery. There are pieces of art that can dwarf an iPhone or a computer screen. No, online only a JPEG can be seen, not the art itself—which was all the more reason we visited the tents with curated art by KP Projects, formerly Merry Karnowsky Gallery.

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I’ve been visiting and writing about Merry’s gallery for years so I recognized art by Tara McPherson, Shepard Fairey, Victor Castillo, Mark Whalen, Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins. What I wasn’t familiar with was another Tarfest sponsor, NOMAD: “a printmaking studio and art compound located north of Echo Park in Frogtown. Its vision is to serve the community as a catalyst for creative collaboration and offers space for filming, photo shoots, workshops and special events that does screen printing.”

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The music stage featured guests chosen by Kevin Bronson of Buzz Bands LA: Dear Boy (headliner), Durand Jones & The Indications, Brit Manor, BRAEVES. Dublab also provided DJ sets from Ale, Mitchell Brown, T- Kay, Slayron, Seano.

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Dance performances by Clairobscur Dance Company, Move The World Dance Activism, and the DIAVOLO Institute happened before F.A. and I arrived, but we had witnessed the kinetic storytelling of DIAVOLO before at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights and the Mimoda Dance Studio.

I also missed James Panozzo of LAUNCH LA that organizes Tarfest every year and “believes exposure to the arts enhances quality of life and strengthens community through the shared appreciation of creative expression in all its forms and hybrids.” After talking to him at many events, I can tell you he is just as inviting as the celebrations of art that he ignites in Los Angeles.

— Q.D. from Culver City, CA

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F.A. about to peek into the atrium of the George C. Page Museum

Ξ

Art and magic are no different. But we are.

tamil_om

We wrote the 5 mysteries.

Help bring us to life here.

I Thinkspace Therefore I Am

We love many art galleries in Los Angeles. And Thinkspace is one of them. I can say that for all of us. If you want to get all post office on me, Thinkspace Gallery is in Culver City—yes—and the art scene is quite alive here. Years ago, I discovered that truth at Scion Space during an exhibition by James Jean. That was my gateway gallery, and I’ve since been a heroin addict of contemporary art.

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Will you start snorting Banksy? You’ll only know if you start going. Although I can’t deliver your first hit of art gallery, I can share these videos—that are less than a minute—during the opening night of Bruxism by Allison Sommers and 彷徨 / Wander by Ozabu at Thinkspace.

You see now. Not all galleries are about art dealers and monocles. And not all artists understand that magic and art are synonymous. But we do.

— Q.D. from Culver City, CA

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Art and magic are no different. But we are.

tamil_om

We wrote the 5 mysteries.

Help bring us to life here.