Salt Fish Surf Co is a surfy boutique in Venice, in Los Angeles, run by the effusive and friendly French surfer Romaine Goudinoux, who designs and sells branded t-shirts, caps, accessories, and leather-and-fabric surfboard bags hand-crafted in Mexico. But, to be clear, his small second-floor store is not a surf shop. In fact, Salt Fish hardly feels like retail space at all, but rather a beautiful shabby-chic, hipster-surfer living room (dubbed “La Casa Saltfish“). It’s fillwd with Mexican blankets and rugs and a few surfboards propped up amid a tiny selection of merch for sale. The space and vibe is so cozy and chill that you don’t ever want to leave.
The unthinkable has happened. Yes, savvy reader, bona fide post-modern rockstar artist and art-world darling Jeff Koons has collaborated with major, global luxury brand Louis Vuitton, installing his iconic stainless-steel inflatable-bunny “sculptural object” titled “Rabbit” in the brand’s boutique display windows alongside special-made stainless-steel balloon versions of the LV logo. Pictured here is his studio’s handiwork as it currently appears in the display window of a store in Newport Beach, California.
Ahh … And with that we say “Good-bye 2017! Hello, 2018! Happy New Year!”
Question: Have you ever had a dream where you were in your favorite fast-food dining establishment and suddenly it starts flooding?
Have you ever entertained the thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if Burger King got flooded?”
Is it — or has it ever been — your burning desire to see a KFC deluged to the rafters?
Have you wondered aloud (or in private, for that matter) what it would be like if McDonalds was overrun with a rushing torrent of H20?
You have? (Uh, really, you have?). Ok.
Well, guess what, kids, the short film “Flooded McDonalds” is for YOU!
Created by artist collective Superflex, “Flooded McDonalds” documents the flooding of what appears to be an actual, operational McDonalds restaurant.
At first the restaurant is shown as totally ghosted, dry and in its ordinary state but devoid of customers and staff, as if everyone who was there suddenly rushed off in a panic. There are still trays of food on tables and just-prepared burgers in wrappers in the kitchen.
Then slowly we see a little bit of water seeping through under a door. Over the next ten minutes or so the water rises, as we anticipate and bear witness to the various affects of the water on the restaurant’s interior.
Chairs get moved around, a ubiquitous Ronald McDonald statue is lifted by the tide and eventually gets toppled and ends up floating aimlessly. Some things sink, some things float. A pot of coffee still filled to the brim moves like a bouncy submarine through the flood waters. Cash registers and backlit signs short circuit.
The film is mesmerizing, strangely compelling, and positively droll. At times, it is laugh-out-loud funny, though there there are no jokes.
In fact, the film has no dramatic music, no dialogue, no explanation, nothing but the arrival of more water into what is actually a faithful and convincing reproduction of a working McDonalds restaurant.
“Flooded McDonalds” is entertaining with a nod and a wink. And it is absolutely and truly, to use a favored expression of critics everywhere, “thought-provoking.”
It forces the viewer to ask questions, and not just the kinds of “They call that ‘art’?”- or “What the hell is that?”-type questions that the non-art-appreciating rubes from the sticks would ask.
No, no, you, savvy reader, are pondering thoughtful questions like What the fuck does this say about globalization or the impacts of massive corporations on the environment? Or something like that.
The film draws viewers in with the familiar. The “golden arches” of the McDonalds logo are among the few graphic symbols easily grasped by almost every living human on the planet.
This locks in your attention and forces you the viewer to consider the impending disaster. You know what’s coming, but how exactly it’s going to unfold is the burning question on everybody’s mind.
Eventually, the McDonalds is submerged and destroyed by the deluge, which has now become a filthy stew of flotsam and half-sunken debris. The film captures the event from various camera angles, including from under the water.
This may be art and as such a fiction, but we can only imagine that what we see in the film is how it recently must have played out in real-life in places like Houston, Texas, which experienced massive flooding as a result of Hurricane Harvey and where no doubt there are many McDonalds.
“Flooded McDonalds” was first exhibited in London in 2010, but the film is now showing on a loop at the Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles and you can watch an edited behind-the-scenes version online below. GO SEE IT!
This decorative installation artwork at the Converse concept store in Santa Monica, in Los Angeles, is a spooky and clever visual conceit. At a distance and without the context of the store, the viewer would likely be unable to perceive that the artwork is comprised of hundreds of Converse sneakers in various monochromatic shades. Up close, the viewer might fail to perceive that the composition of the sneakers forms a creepy human skull-like image. It’s briliant, if a little dark, but edgy and totally “on brand” for the fashion shoe company.
The clothing brand Monrow will soon be opening a retail concept store in this tiny, old California-style bungalow near Venice Beach in Los Angeles. As standard retail practice, the windows of the house-turned-shop are covered with paper to provide privacy while the final interior build-out is being completed. The Monrow signage is up and the lights are on, so the brand has announced itself in the neighborhood. It will be interesting to see what the company does with the space.
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Among our favorite places in Los Angeles is the Arcana bookstore in Culver City. It’s specialized in “books on the arts,” and its collection of books on art, design, photography, architecture and anything aesthetically significant is vast, comprehensive, and well-organized. They seem to have everything. Though Arcana is a business, its ambiance, interior design and space give it a feel that’s more like a library, albeit a handsome, spare, minimalist, post-modern library in a former industrial space. There are long communal tables upon which customers can lay heavy tomes of art and page through these books at a leisurely pace. It’s one of the best bookstores in the world. If GlobalGraphica was an actual place, Arcana would be our preferred physical manifestation of it, though with a kick-ass espresso machine and a rack full of surfboards included.
The flagship store of cosmetics brand Hourglass is a testament of exemplary, beautiful retail design. The shop is located on trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard near Venice Beach in Los Angeles, and the space is so “on brand” that the experience of the space feels like part of the product itself in ways similar to that the aesthetic minimalism of an Apple store and iPhone.
Lately we’ve started popping into the recently opened Happy Bones Coffee a lot. (See pix below.) Happy Bones is a
n Aussie Kiwi-staffed espresso cafe in downtown New York City. It’s a tiny place with three tables on an short, less-remarkable stretch of Broome Street in the ill-defined, mashed-up border area where Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo and Nolita all converge at the Lower East Side’s western edge.
Happy Bones serves up a solid menu of third-wave coffee brews and espresso drinks, including an honest “flat white.” Their coffee is roasted and supplied by Counter Culture (its barista training center is a couple of blocks away). But what really strikes us about the cafe is its decor, the clever design and clean style of the small space, which is drenched in a white minimalist color scheme that’s warm and inviting rather than cold and stark. A skylight and floor-to-ceiling glass frontage draw light into the place and give it some comfortable airiness.
The cafe has a legit downtown-culture and art vibe. A playlist of mostly 1980s and ’90s British music invariably is playing over the sound system (tunes by the likes of the Clash, Specials, Blur, etc.) and a collection of coffee-table art and photography books are on sale next to bags of coffee beans.
BTW … what’s with all the Australian expat baristas and bartenders in NYC these days? Seems like an invasion, and we <3 it. (The Kiwi invasion, too.) 😉