Given the news in the past 24 hours about U.S. President Donald Trump and his meeting in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin, this funny wheatepaste street art in Los Feliz, Los Angeles is even more resonant and an apt example of clever political humor.
The French street artist known as Invader (a.k.a., “Space Invader”) occupies a distinct place in the street art world. He has worked in a medium that few others have. His artwork is in the form pre-arranged mosaic-tile pieces affixed to walls all over the world. The mosaic tiles give his images a pixelated look consistent with the aesthetic of old-school video game interfaces like 1980s arcade game Space Invader, to which his name alludes. The images in his mosaics have mostly been of the iconic alien invaders from that classic game. For the blockbuster Beyond the Streets exhibition in Los Angeles, Invader created the site specific work pictured here that declares “Invader was here.” The official title of this artwork is “LA 172,” which denotes that this is the 172nd such mosaic artwork he has put up in Los Angeles throughout his career.
One of Los Angeles’s great landmarks is the Griffith Observatory, an architectural gem that mixes art-deco and Mayan aesthetics. It’s perched on a ridge in Hollywood Hills above Los Felix and provides a stunning, wide view the L.A. basin. It naturally is a major tourist draw, with thousands upon thousands of people winding their way up the hills and canyons each day to visit this icon of La La Land. It’s a functioning observatory and as such there are working scientists, astronomers, educators, and space enthusiasts, et. al. — nerds! — congregated and fussing about amid the tourist hordes snapping selfies along the viewing terraces.
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.
The artist ALEC has made a career of street art and massive murals with images of pop-culture icons and celebrities from New York City to far-flung corners like Bali, Indonesia. It’s fitting — and perhaps inevitable — that in the heart of Hollywood he would paint a mural of legendary film actress Marilyn Monroe, a cinematic icons who best represents the spectrum of Hollywood fame, glitz and glamour, and ultimately tragedy.