The Militant isn't an art scenester, but he does appreciate a good exhibit when he sees one. When one of his operatives told him to check out this weekend's exhibition at Barnsdall (don't pronounce it "Barnsdale") Art Park's Municipal Gallery, a multi-gallery show entitled East of Eden, he decided to do some Militant research. So off to the website he went.
And there went the description:
"East of Eden will focus on contributions of Los Angeles galleries, the cultures from which they draw inspiration and the eastside of L.A. as an important source for contemporary art."
Uh-oh. The "E" word.
Then he did further research on the galleries represented: places like La Luz de Jesus in Los Feliz, Black Maria in Atwater Village, Ghetto Gloss in Silver Lake, Bert Green Fine Art (now why does that name sound awfully familiar? Hmmmm.... ) in Downtown...
Oh you know where this is heading!
But the Militant thought that raising a ruckus at this event over "The 'E' Word" would be self-defeating. Especially since ir would be that much easier to unmask the Militant. Bleah...
But the Militant went anyway, trying to apprehend the situation with an open mind...
...Disregarding the incessantly-annoying "'E' Word," the bigger question was...does this art represent contemporary Angeleno art? Or is it just a smattering of ironic hispter fodder?
The Militant is no art critic, nor does he claim to possess an art critic's vocabulary, but in short, the art was very representative of contemporary Los Angeles art. There were pieces that had obvious iconography or images like palm trees, coastal Malibu seascapes, or a painting of a trio of cholas hanging out, but even outside of that, on a more visceral level, there was an attitude that the Militant didn't have to find a challenge to identify with.
The biggest complaint was the duration of the exhibit. It opened on Friday and by the time most of you read this, it had already closed. Which is unusually for Barnsdall exhibits, which usually last a good three months.
The Militant hopes they do this again. He understands their intention is to promote the (cough, gag, ack) Not-Really-The-Eastside art scene as a reaction to the Westside arts "establishment." But Westsidecentrism is soooo late 20th century. Why not drop the "Eastside" thing, these artists can basically stake claim on the whole City now, Westsiders be damned.
Oh yeah, one more thing before this post closes. One of the pieces gave the Militant a "giant" smile: