This epic mural adjacent to a couple of rental-car parking lots in Santa Monica, in Los Angeles, is impressive and sweeping. But at a glance, if you squint a bit, it looks like the artist has appropriated the style of almost any painting by the late Austrian artist Gustav Klimt? Is it just us?
This massive hanging canvas by Takashi Murakami is like nothing else the Japanese artist has exhibited before or that we’ve seen from any contemporary artist. It’s a painting on an epic scale and largely characteristic of Murakami’s 2D style except for elements of graffiti art and tags visually woven into the composition. The painting is two-sided. In that sense, it’s like two paintings on a single canvas, each side different in tone from the opposite side. The artwork is hanging in a way that forms a semi-circle and a kind of alcove for the viewer. As Murakami’s artwork goes, this is distinct vision, a nightmare, strangely compelling and stunning, where the artist’s usual visual grammar and symbolism has been put through a filter, as it rendered in a fever dream or a drug-induced state. In any case, it’s a masterpiece. It’s currently on view at the blockbuster Beyond the Streets exhibition in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles-based British painter David Hockney’s “82 Portraits and 1 Still Life” includes one of that very L.A. artist John Baldessari. These portraits are a departure for Hockney’s famed paintings of L.A.’s distinct urban landscape and lifestyle. The painting Baldessari and the other 82 paintings are currently on view at LACMA, Los Angeles.
We’ve been following artist Maya Hayuk’s work throughout her career and seen many of her colorful, cross-hatched abstract murals in New York, Los Angeles and throughout Europe, on the streets, in museums, and in galleries. Her work is evocative. The painting pictured here is on view at the Beyond the Streets exhibition in Los Angeles, and it’s our new all-time favorite. This painting is different from most of Hayuk’s recent solo work insofar as it emerges from abstraction and spells out a word, an often-used four-letter expletive. The lettering harkens back to the artist’s early-career working with a group of artists in the 1990s known as the Barnstormers. Their project involved painting massive graffiti-inspired artworks on the sides of old barns and farm buildings in rural parts of America. The artwork transcended mere graffiti writing with the obvious painting skills and an aesthetic vision of its creators. We’d love to see more like this painting.