Los Angeles' art scene continues to burst with high profile museum and gallery exhibitions. But today, I want to share with you a few intriguing and delightful discoveries I made somewhat off the beaten path.
At Manhattan Beach Art Center, which is only a half hour drive from LA, there is an exhibition with a name that stops you in your tracks: Sledgehammer. Bullet. Bomb. With what's happening right now in the world, this exhibition by LA-based artist, James Gilbert, makes a particularly strong statement about "human aggression... [leading to] the loss of art, architecture, and historical sites."
Gilbert creates sculptural artworks that manifest tension between elaborate, precarious wooden structures and what looks like a multitude of sandbags. Some of the structures seem ready to collapse under the weight of the bags. Others lean against each other in a game of push and pull.
Two specially commissioned artworks communicate a sense of destruction and protection. With a sledgehammer, the artist broke through the walls, left the debris on the floor, and then packed the hole with dozens of stuffed canvas bags. For me, all of the above evoke memories of attempts to protect major cultural sites around the world not only in the past, but in current military and political upheavals as well.
The exhibition of paintings of LA-based artist, Kirsten Everberg, at 1301 PE Gallery will slow you down and put you in a quiet, meditative mood. Everberg traveled to Sweden to the remote island of Faro, where famous film director, Ingmar Bergman, lived for most of his life. Inspired by the architecture and interior of his house, she created a series of oil and enamel paintings, abstract and representational at the same time. The pale light of Nordic White Nights fills the rooms. Everything looks realistic, but strangely mysterious. Stepping close to the paintings, one discovers the elaborate texture of individual brushstrokes, as if enamel and oil are still wet and continue to slowly drip down the canvas...
One large painting offers a glimpse of Bergman's library, with hundreds of books cramming the shelves. Each book is created by a single brushstroke... at least that is the impression one gets. And this multitude of books and exquisite brushstrokes makes one dream about Bergman's Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Cries and Whispers, and Fanny and Alexander...
And now about a night to remember. I was invited to see a few dozen Old Master paintings at Sotheby's LA showroom. In January, they will be auctioned off at Sotheby's headquarters in New York. So, I was staring at and salivating over the small, round painting by Raphael -- a portrait of his friend and fellow artist, Valerio Belli. The next thing I knew, Sotheby representatives pulled this portrait out of its display case, and asked me if would like to hold it. Just imagine the feel of a 500-year-old precious painting sitting in your naked hand. I'm still reluctant to wash this right hand of mine...
To learn about Edward's Fine Art of Art Collecting Classes, please visit his website. You can also read The New York Times article about his classes here, or an Artillery Magazine article about Edward and his classes here.
Edward Goldman is an art critic and the host of Art Talk, a program on art and culture for NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM. To listen to the complete show and hear Edward's charming Russian accent, click here.