Tuesday, April 29, 2014

From Incognito to Pollock: art scene & seen

Ariane Vielmetter:  Pattern (for Hilma & Mrs. Delany)
In the last while, there's been a flurry of art events - some which I reviewed for ArtPulse Magazine and WhiteHot Magazine of Contemporary Art - others that stood out which I didn't cover. Here's a rundown of art recently seen I'll never forget...

Incognito @ SMMoA

This is the tenth anniversary of Incognito, the annual fundraiser of the Santa Monica Museum of Art - probably one of the most fun art events I've ever attended.  Some 550 artists donated 700 works of art - all 10 X 10 inches in format. The artists are a mix of the established big names sought-after-by-collectors like John Baldessari - to mid-career artists such as my former painting teacher Quinton Bemiller, as well as emerging artists. The price for all the pieces is $350. The hitch - the artist's name is not revealed until you pay! 

The line began forming outside the museum at Bergamot Station early in the day. I was lucky to have a media sneak preview at 6 p.m. An hour later, the doors opened. The art stampede began. It's thrilling to see people scrambling for art! At the end of the evening, I was allowed to select from the remaining artworks. I bought a lovely piece - no. 637 (see above). When I picked it up, I found out the artist's name.

Jackson Pollock's Mural @ The Getty

I was riveted by Jackson Pollock's Mural at The Getty Museum. The painting is stunning - as is the story of its genesis. Commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim in 1943, Pollock painted it before he was well known. In it are tantalizing clues foreshadowing the technique he later developed. The painting had an itinerant existence for decades, then a conservation job in the 70s that saved it from deteriorating, but obscured its true colors behind a milky veil. In the last year, it was restored to its brilliance by the J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). On view until June 1, the Mural is incredible to see.

Preview of Sotheby's Highlights - the upcoming spring auction

It was like peaking inside a priceless art time capsule. Glorious art treasures, among them two Picasso paintings, a Monet, three de Koonings, a Warhol and much more - which have been tucked away in private collections - some for decades. My favorite was a beautiful Milton Avery, March and Sally Outdoors.

Jeff Koons & John Waters - The UnPrivate Collection - Aloud & The Broad Stage

Aloud, the Central Library series, with The Broad Stage, presented a fabulous art conversation with Jeff Koons and John Waters at the Orpheum Theatre. The conversation was racy, revelatory and inspiring. It was fascinating hearing Koons talk about his childhood, his development as an artist - and something of a philosopher. Here are a couple of quotes from Koons that stuck with me:

As soon as you accept yourself, you can start to have transcendence.

What's menacing is not to exercise your freedom.

Here's a link to my review of the riveting F. Scott Hess Retrospective @ LA Municipal Art Gallery Barnsdall Art Park - published in WhiteHot Magazine of Contemporary Art.

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