Tag Archives: downtown

DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION: THE INCREDIBLE DEPTH OF ELLEN GALLAGHER’S “BLACK” PAINTINGS

These paintings by artist Ellen Gallagher speak to us in deep, immediate, profound ways. The black abstractions of these canvases are beguiling in their darkness and textures. They change hue and tone as the viewer inches closer to the artwork and the reflection of light off the surface of oil paint brightens and reveals previously unseen layers of shape and color. These are on view at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Los Angeles’s Arts District. Another one of her “black” paintings is on display as part of the permanent collection of the Broad Museum a few blocks away in Downtown Los Angeles. The artwork pictured here is titled “Kapsalon Wonder.”

EPIC : MURAL ATTEMPTS CHEERY POSITIVITY AMID GRIM DEPRESSING VIBE OF WINTRY DOWNTOWN NYC

The current mural at the “Bowery Wall” (a.k.a., the “Deitch Wall”) in downtown New York City is an epic, colorful composition of 3D block letters and abstract 2D graphical shapes.

The massive painting is by the artist Lakwena and its message “Lift you higher” could be describing the artwork itself. It’s a bright, aesthetically cheery artwork that has all the right pleasure-centering amounts of visual flavor crystals added to it.

Continue reading

NOSTALGIA: STREET ART HAS NO SHAME FOR MEMORY LANE

The British jazz-pop singer Sade can be counted in the Pantheon of 1980s music icons. Her music videos for songs like the “The Greatest Taboo” and “Smooth Operator” were a staple of MTV (back when MTV entire programming consisted of music videos). 

She is among several influential 1980s pop-cultural icons depicted in street art portraits by Los Angeles artist Alex Ali Gonzalez. This mural of Sade pictured here is in the Arts District near Downtown Los Angeles.

Continue reading

Love Me Anyways

Love is a recurring theme of a lot of street art. And often it’sin its simplest, plainest, most straightforward expressions that resonates with viewers. JGoldcrown’s widely Instagrammed “Lovewall” comes to mind, as does Casey Kulig’s globally-spread “Love Me” meme. “Love Me Anyways” is painted on sidewalks and walls in a handwritten-style of lettering that exposes some personality in the artist. The example pictured above was found in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles. 

Shepard Fairey Does Ronald Reagan

The ever-gentrifying Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles is home to lots of large-scale street art, including this classic Shepard Fairey politically-tinged mural on Alameda Street behind the Angel City Brewery. The artwork depicts the late U.S. president Ronald Reagan holding a sign that says “Legislative influence for sale.” Its message — and politically expressive art in general — strongly resonates in the current American political climate.

The Electrifying Installations of Artist Jason Rhoades

We’re posting a few pix here from the sprawling and electrifying “Jason Rhoades Installations, 1994-2006” exhibition at the massive Hauser & Wirth gallery in the Arts District near downtown Los Angeles. We visited this retrospective of Rhoades work last weekend and were blown away by his darkly beautiful and daring art installations. If you have time and are in L.A., we can’t highly recommend enough that you see this show.

 

Entrance to MOCA / Geffen Contemporary 

We’re not religious. But museums are our cathedrals, our churches and temples, our shrines. MoMA may be the modern art world’s Vatican, but in terms of pure open space, MoCA’s Geffen Contemporary in Los Angeles comes closest to a giant cathedral like Notre Dame with its massive, cavernous structure. We’re not saying that this museum is equivalent to Notre Dame as far as degree of architectural achievement and historical significance. We’re saying that it is a big fucking space and one that invites reflection and a kind of awe.

The Geffen was kind of a happy accident. The building wasn’t purpose built to be a contemporary art museum. The structure is in LIttle Tokyo in Downtown LA and was originally built in the 1940s for the city as a warehouse and LA Police Department garage accommodating hundreds of vehicles. At the time, MoCA’s use of the space was purely practical.

While the main landmark MoCA branch was being built on nearby Grand Avenue in the early 1980s, the warehouse/garage in Little Tokyo was used as a temporary exhibition space dubbed the “Temporary Contemporary.” Its purpose was to host art shows until construction of the new main MoCA would be completed. The acquisition of the building made sense. The Temporary Contemporary was a success.

It was repurposed as a permanent exhibition space and extension of MoCA. Architect Frank Gehry led the effort. The Geffen’s location is walking distance to the main MoCA location in Downtown LA, and the former LAPD garage offers the kind of space that allows for sprawling exhibitions and epic, large-scale sculptural artworks and installations that might be more diffciult or impossible to mount in other museums. 

Street Art by Bunny M. in Nolita … New York City

The wheat-paste street art of artist “Bunny M” depicts a mysterious mythical humanoid that reads at a glance like an artifact of dark, foreboding Japanese manga comic book illustration enshrined on the brick and stone walls of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Pictured here is one in Nolita in downtown New York City.

Street Art at Zinc … Arts District, Los Angeles

Black-and-white photo-realistic portraits on the exterior wall of Zinc Cafe, near Willow and Mateo streets in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District. These artworks are part of a series that run along the entire wall. The area has become a bit of a mecca for street art — and art in general — in recent years amid the rapid gentrification of the area and the growth in the number of entertainment production companies that have set up offices in the neighborhood.

The Royale Building … Los Angeles

On a recent visit to WiSpa, a sprawling Korean day-spa complex in Los Angeles, we spied from the spa’s rooftop lounge the top half of an elegant, old high-rise building in the distance. Atop the building was its name, Royale, in large, dark blue letters.

The building is a New York-style apartment building officially known as the Royale Wilshire. It stands out in the otherwise gritty urban landscape of its neighborhood, a blighted area tucked between the fringes of Downtown LA and Koreatown. Buildings of this style, size and age are rare in Los Angeles and harken to a bygone golden era of Hollywood glamour.

In spite of our many years of frequent visits to L.A. and living in the city part-time or for short spells, we’d never seen the Royale. A renovation of the building is planned as the neighborhood itself is slowly shedding its shabby skin and giving way to the gentrification wave. We imagine the building will become re-discovered landmark as the neighborhood’s profile rises in the years ahead.


Epic Swans Street Art by Faith47 … Lower East Side, New York

Massive mural by the street artist “Faith47” on a building at the corner of Broome and Chrystie streets near the Bowery in New York’s Lower East Side.


Oodles of Noodles … Street Art, Lower East Side, New York City

We love the bold, illustrative quality and humor of this street art piece on a small shop roll-shutter on Orchard Street in New York’s Lower East Side. A girl is up to her neck in a bowl of noodles surrounded by a trio of rabbits. What’s it all mean, you ask? As Chazz said in “Blades of Glory”: “Nobody knows what it means, but it’s provocative … it gets the people going!”

    

In Los Angeles … The New Broad Museum Building

The edgy contemporary architecture of the newly constructed Broad Museum building, a new contemporary art museum in Downtown Los Angeles. The building was designed by the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The museum will open in September 2015.

      

Fashion Street Art by Bradley Theodore at Georgia NYC

Artist Bradley Theodore has painted one of his iconic, colorful fashion-themed skeleton portraits on the store front of influential style boutique Georgia on Orchard Street in New York’s Lower East Side..



Street Art Memorial to Andy Warhol … New York

This mysterious memorial to the late artist Andy Warhol appeared last week on on facing walls along a stretch of Ludlow Street just south of Grand Street (a segment of the block also known unofficially as the “Ludlow Street Art Gallery”). The appearance of these posters is on the anniversary of Warhol’s death on February 22, 1987. Warhol was a seminal pop-art pioneer and lived and worked in New York City up until his passing.

imageimage

image

image

image