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Day: April 5, 2009

bad art

bad art

Friday night Sam and I went to the benign Culver City Art Walk.  This Art Walk consisted of five or six galleries in a row on one street.  Ordinarily this would be great except for two things. 1) no parking 2) most of the art was complete crap.

At one of the galleries we found the ultimate example of bad art (passing for good).  As we walked in another patron was leaving and exclaimed “this kinda shit pisses me off!” 

What kinda shit was she talking about?  well… see for yourself:

We found a CV for the artist – Joe Bradley – in the back of the gallery.  The show was/is called “Like a Turkey Thru Corn.”  If the above photos aren’t enough, you really have to see the “walkthrough” video here.

This exemplifies all that can be bad about modern art.  These “paintings” consist of raw canvas and grease pencil.  Some write-ups about other shows are unintentionally obvious about his horrible work.  The first quote is actually for the show you see above:

The paintings presented here, however, continue the artist’s beloved and maligned new Schmagoo series, first presented in New York last fall. A somewhat ridiculous word, “Schmagoo” originates from the Beat-era street slang for heroin. It is this wry semiotic pairing that compels the artist to take a primitive approach

Executed on cheap pre-fab canvases, and painted with intentional mediocrity, Bradley’s paintings are immediately sympathetic in their impoverished aesthetic. Towering with a commanding primitivism

Bradley has said his work is “intentionally shoddy” and “pathetic”

This is why I didn’t enjoy art school, because I had to attend with no-talent hacks like this, who were praised for their brilliance by the class (and professors) while my work was dismissed because “her arm is too long” or “his skin tone is too red.”

I should note that Joe Bradley doesn’t have an MFA, and there is only one reason he can get away with all of this – his Bachelors is from the Rhode Island School.  To anyone unfamiliar with the art world – having a degree from the Rhode Island school is like having an MBA from Harvard, nobody questions you.  Even when you start a war on the premise of “preemptive strike.”

Facebook status IM FAIL

Facebook status IM FAIL

Sometimes the fact that Facebook truncates your status on the IM preview can be disastrous.  The full message here was “has a mouth full of hot curry from the Sangkran Thai New Year’s Festival”…..

Byron Day VII

Byron Day VII

On Saturday Byron and I headed down Topanga Canyon to Santa Monica since the 101 south and 405 south were completely backed up.  It also gave us the opportunity to stop at one of the “quaint” little restaurants at the bottom of Topanga Canyon approaching the beach.  

We were on our way to Santa Monica to check out Bergamot Station.  At Bergamot we skipped through a lot of galleries rather quickly as they had.. well.. crap.  One gallery had a lot of great stuff in a show called “fructose” (or something similar).  The shameful thing was that a lot of the pieces had extremely low prices, i.e. in the hundreds instead of thousands.

Another animal on fire piece by Josh Keyes.

Robot stuff by KMNDZ.

This piece was not labelled…

Another Chris Scarborough “big eyes” drawing.

In another gallery I noticed several paintings were the same as over a year ago when I’d visited.  A sad thing since this were excellent pieces:

There were several unsold Vincent Calenzo pieces.

There were several variations on the theme of “woman on rope,” which I thought were great, and remind me somewhat of my own work (although obviously this was much better).  The owner of the gallery was sitting there behind his desk and was very curious about what Byron and I did for a living and how much we got paid.  He related that the art world has hit hard times, worse than any other recession he has seen and he was “and old man now.”  He said twenty years ago he had a 5,000 square foot gallery in New York City, and now he’s been reduced to a small room at Bergamot and many of the artists he represents are not doing so well either.

One small gallery had several palm tree pieces by Robert Charles Dunahay.

And of course, here is an example of the required crap that always shows up…

Outside of the Santa Monica Museum of Art (which was apparently displaying votive figures made in Africa out of…well… literally shit) we took this photo:

Against a nearby wall was an old Mercedes turned into a planter:

After Bergamot we drove down to Venice and walked the canals before walking almost all the way up the beach to Santa Monica and back.

We encountered a large drum circle:

At the end of the Venice Pier we held a gun to a woman’s head and made her take our picture.  Byron may get some freelance web work from her out of the deal.

She asked us if we were “friends, brothers, partners?”   We chuckled for a minute deciding which one to run with.  

After walking almost all the way to Santa Monica we watched the sunset and walked down at the edge of the water back to Marina Del Rey (where I’d parked).