Interior Void: a room for collaborative contemplation

image (2)Exploring the tension between surface and substance through a multidisciplinary practice, David Lucien Matheke combines painting, kinetic sculptures, and participatory environments to create silent spaces for collective introspection.

image (9)Invoking ideas of sterility and preservation through works on paper, mixed media sculpture, sound, and performance, Matheke culls inspiration from thinking about ‘the confrontation of mortality’ that haunts and guides a process informed from within.  Whether it be through utilizing the body as source material and subject in his blood paintings or ritualistic installations, Matheke uses the idea of art as a platform for liberating, medium-mixing, and participatory play.

image (4)Contemplating mortality is a subject all too familiar— diagnosed with a rare blood disorder requiring monthly infusions and frequent hospital trips, Matheke sublimates materials like blood and fire as primary mediums to forge an active ‘energy exchange’ with the viewer and as a tool for immortalizing natural ephemera.  Highly influenced from ‘the external: decay; collecting dead insects; feeling other people’s energy; walking around and observing things changing, growing, and ultimately dying,’ Matheke creates ‘surrogate bodies’ through his art, with ghosts frequenting his manifestations.

Opening today, Matheke debuts new works in sculpture, painting and a performance at CSUN Art & Design Center.  On view through 10.18, Interior Void is a thoughtful survey on experiential fields of the elemental, somatic, and subjective— an exhibition translating fascination, fear, abjection, and anxiety into an expressive occasion for interpretation and sovereignty.

 

image (5)image (7)image (1)

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David Lucien Matheke: Interior Void 
at CSUN Shed Gallery
opening reception 6-8pm, Tuesday | 10.13 – 10.18.14


—Read more on David and his works in issue no. 7 of The Work Magazine, available December 2014.  All images courtesy the artist.

ISSUE6LOGO

Expanding Cities via New Media

10.3 performance at Sediment Arts | image: Nicki L BA

10.3 performance at Sediment Arts | image: Nicki L BA

A temporary series triangulating multiple cities simultaneously, Expanded Cities hosted telematic events at Sediment Arts in Richmond, Virginia, Mexicali Rose in Mexico, and Curio Studio in Venice, California.

10.4 Suzy Poling x Ian Miyawki at Curio Studio | image: Aaron Farley

10.4 Suzy Poling x Ian Miyawki at Curio Studio | image: Aaron Farley

Commencing for the week on Friday 10.3, Expanded Cities featured a roster of visual and sound artists spanning geographies through a showcase of new media projects.  The LA incantation included performances from local luminaries Devin Sarno, Suzy Poling, and Elle Mehrmand.

10.10 performance at Mexicali Rose | image: Aaron Farley

10.10 performance at Mexicali Rose | image: Aaron Farley

For the closing program on Friday 10.10, visual residues from Virginia-based musician Karacell’s performance were live broadcast from Sediment Arts at 10:30pm EST, syndicated with Randy Randall’s performance at Mexicali Rose, while multidisciplinary artist Elle Mehrmand performed within the saturated lights of Curio’s Venice storefront at 7:30pm PST.

10.10 Elle Mehrmand at Curio Studio | image: Elle Mehrmand

10.10 Elle Mehrmand at Curio Studio | image: Elle Mehrmand

A collaboration between London-based video, performance and light installation artist, Ela Boyd, and LA-based abstract light photographer Aaron Farley, Expanded Cities is an ephemeral light x space x time installation excavating new landscapes through explorations in new media.

>Expanded Cities website

>more photos via WOAH’s Tumblr

there is something happening above us.

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On view through Saturday at DTLA’s 10,000 sq ft. arts complex Wərkärtz is a two-man exhibition provoking questions of time, space, semantics, and the authorship of the viewing experience.  Curated by head artist liaison and Wərkärtz studio resident, Shelley Holcomb, there is nothing happening above us features new site-specific works by LA based artists Jason Burgess and Páll Haukur.  At a cross-section of semiotics, the works of these artists attain an intuitive child-like playfulness through unexpected variations in scale, material, and color, while the substance of their representations exists far beyond.

werkartz15On a horizontal plane suspended just below eye level, lies Jason Burgess’ installation The Grove, a weightless sea of multicolored foam orbs stretching across the interior space.   In slow rotation, The Grove quietly animates the adjacent backdrop of Burgess’ paintings, like extraterrestrial clouds in a hanging garden.  The usual staticity of the typical gallery setting—with work level among four white walls, framing the boxed-in viewer to encounter each work like a mirror— is cleverly eradicated throughout the exhibition.  Like Burgess’ work, Haukur’s freestanding ‘clusters’ incorporating drawing, video, sculpture, and found objects, invite discovery— drawing us up-close and to the floor.  Weaving through the subconscious maze of Haukur’s compositions, lie traces of Aristotle, Baudrillard, and a hand contemplating ‘meening.’

werkartz001Haukur’s constructs are less inert objects than material situations produced from the accumulation of codes activated through an interplay of the personal and the political; the subjective and the objective; the signifier and the signified.  Shifting through perspectives and narrative, I sift through vestiges of references to texts, images, and abjection as I move about the algorithms of Haukur’s mad scientist schematics and Burgess’ floating landscapes.  Here, in the sewage of my own private simulacrum— littered with art school academia, Clement Greenberg, and Hegel— I hear Lacan…”what is repeated, in fact, is always something that occurs…as if by chance.”  Press Release.

there is nothing happening above us
works from Jason Burgess and Páll Haukur | curated by Shelley Holcomb
on view through Saturday, June 21st

werkartz16werkartz11werkartz13

Wərkärtz / Studio / Los Angeles
767 S Alameda, Building 2 #100 | Los Angeles, CA 90021
Map | located in DTLA’s Arts District next to the American Apparel factory

2013: a ⅃ook ᗺack + whoa recap

2014
Numerology.
2+0+1+4=7
The Future.

WOAH bids adieu to MMXIII with a chronological recap of our most whoa-provoking audiovisual moments.  In light of resolutions to cross more trajectories and open more art houses– with 2014 set as a ‘7 Universal Year,’ with the number 7 alluding to greater intellectual and spiritual awakening – there’s hope for much more whoa to come in the new year.  Here’s to the 7 experiences likely to linger with us well beyond MMXIII …

LABookFair13>>LA ART BOOK FAIR presented by Printed Matter at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.  Printed Matter presented the first-ever LA ART BOOK FAIR in February, housing over 200 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers for the three-day archival symposium.   Free to the public, the annual LA ART BOOK FAIR features artists’ books, catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines from around the globe and is companion to the NY ART BOOK FAIR, held every Fall in NYC.  Attendance all-day, every day is recommended for the LA ART BOOK FAIR 2014 just around the corner: January 31- February 2, 2014 // laartbookfair.net

>>HAPTIC & HOLISTIC STRATA by Hiroaki Umeda at Redcat.  The sold-out  HAPTIC & HOLISTIC STRATA at Redcat in February marked Tokyo-based multi-disciplinary artist Hiroaki Umeda‘s US debut.   A compelling vision of dance as multi-sensory visual installation, Umeda’s tight choreography moved synchronously to strobic projections and sonic glitches.  Within flashing patterns, scrolling videos, and explosive light particles, Umeda’s enveloping world of sound, light and movement somehow sublimated looping vertigo into transcendental equilibrium.

Luciana>>PURO DESEO by Luciana Achugar and Michael Mahalchick at Showbox L.A. Brooklyn-based choreographer Luciana Achugar performed alongside frequent collaborator Michael Mahalchick for the LA premiere of the Bessie Award-winning PURO DESEO at Showbox L.A. in March.  Evoking the occult and supernatural through sound, movement, and a moody eye for the preternatural, Achugar and Mahalchick seamlessly webbed the cavernous black-boxed theatre into an eerie, infinite– and at times nightmarish– vortex of apparitions.  For the first minutes of the performance, the viewer sat blinded in darkness (unexpected, this roughly five minutes felt like eternity), with nothing but faint sounds of bells shifting footless through space… casting the spell for the visceral and durational experience that followed.

>>WASH presented by Machine Projects As part of the Field Guide to LA Architecture series running contingent to The Getty’s PST Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., Machine Project presented WASH, a site-specific, interactive sound installation in an indoor swimming pool.  Speakers installed above and above water channeled live and recorded sounds from Ing (John Wood and Max Markowitz), with frequencies and harmonies changing based on the viewer’s vantage point. Layers of feedback were continually added to the composition as the installation evolved throughout the afternoon.  Inviting the audience to swim through the aquatic soundscape or observe from an underground ‘viewing room’ the piece offered room for both collective and personal mediation.  Weightlessly floating and diving through underwater arpeggios, WASH, was almost as ‘immersive’ as possible.

>>THE GREY ONES by WIFE at the Downtown Independent.  WIFE is the performance trio born of LA artists Jasmine Albuquerque, Kristen Leahy, and Nina McNeely.  Premiering at TEDxSoCal, and later airing on The Creator’s Project, THE GREY ONES, juxtaposes live projection mapping with synchronized choreography to create a narrative on the evolution of time.  With an original score by Amon Tobin, THE GREY ONES evokes myth, matter, and decay; employing alternate medias to illuminate mystical phenomena and uncover collective truths.  Amazing to be apart of the team responsible for bringing this to the Downtown Independent  in August.  Presented by Phyllis NavidadINSTALL:WeHo, MKL GalleryFruitFlyLife, and WOAH.

>>Goblin: Giallo Live at the Egyptian Theatre. 40 years in the making, Halloween 2013 marked the Italian legends LA debut at the inaugural Beyond Fest.  Goblin’s live set drew from the foreboding, whispering melodies of their acclaimed horror and giallo soundtracks.  With founding members, Massimo Morante and Claudio Simonetti center stage; Suspiria 35mm on the–big–screen; and hosted at the landmark Egyptian Theatre– notorious as the site of Hollywood’s first movie premiere– this was an appropriately hyped event honoring the Maserati of film composers.  Presented by American Cinematheque and Amity, the month-long fest featured screenings, premieres, and music events especially suited to bate and satisfy the tastes of horror, fantasy, and sci-fi fans and nerds everywhere.

>>NUIT NOIRE V presented by Mount Analog A quarterly soiree presented by Highland Park record haven Mount Analog, NUIT NOIRE V welcomed Minimal Wave Founder Veronica Vasicka, duo Beau Wanzer (Mutant Beat Dance) and Elon Katz (White Car) as Streetwalker, Karl O’Connor (Regis) and Juan Mendez (Silent Servant)’s first-last-and-always performance as Sandra Plays Electronics, and the US debut of In Aeternam Vale.  At the risk of sounding like a groupie (because for IAV, I proudly am), I stuttered out ‘thank you’s’ and seized the opportunity for a hug-in-passing from the humbled, single-braided, Laurent Prot.  The magician behind a truly insane labyrinth of sounds, Prot first appeared as IAV in 1983 France.  NUIT NOIRE VI hits the LA underground February 14, make it your valentine and reserve tickets at climbmountanalog.com.

vision | MARCELLA DVSI

Making her US debut at our Double Vision this past Saturday, WOAH profiles Italian-born London-based designer MARCELLA DVSI.

Featured in Double Vision‘s Galerie De L’Absurde/Anti-Fashion Show, a hat from MARCELLA DVSI strolled the catwalk alongside a unique selection of sculptural headpieces by Daniel Brent Nieto and Sarah B. Lund, with model silhouettes complete in looks from Kittinhawk, Omega Collektiv, and Bo Matthew Metz.  The common thread among these varied designers may be the unusual ways they depart from the organic lines of the body to create a heightened form of fantasy.  As in the unusual twisted compositions of MARCELLA DVSI, each of these designers utilizes the physical form as a springboard for abstraction––as a canvas for building volume, evoking eroticism and envisioning the surreal, and as a vehicle in which individual style can be accentuated, refined, and reborn.

MARCELLA DVSI at Galerie De L'Absurde/Anti-Fashion Show // Dress & Photo: Bo Matthew Metz // Model: Michelene Cha

MARCELLA DVSI at Galerie De L’Absurde/Anti-Fashion Show // Dress & Photo: Bo Matthew Metz // Model: Michelene Cha

I first met Marcella in Berlin somewhere in the haze of 2009.  From there, we braved the grays of winter desolation, the nonchalant freedom of life as a foreigner in a foreign land, and quickly solidified an aesthetic love affair through shared tastes in Commes des Garçons, Dark Disco, esoteric objects, and Luis Buñuel.  Thanks to the virtual elasticity of internet-time travel, we have kept watch over each other’s creative evolutions after departing and beginning in new territories many years later.  From the start, I have forever been enthralled with Marcella’s captivating charisma––the intricate artistry and concentration she applies to a dexterous process––holed up in her flat with hands busily perfecting the art of braiding for sometimes weeks on end.  As time has continually matured, I have never ceased to be truly blown away by the latest in her architectural and sophisticated collection for MARCELLA DVSI.

Here in an interview, Marcella sheds light on the artist behind the process and the creator behind those intricately braided masks and delicate armors. One thing you won’t learn below though… is underneath the delicate cloaks and woven headpieces, lies a voice akin to the dark deep tones of Nico.  Back in the Berlin black hole we met in, Marcella was the singer for a band called Motherland––opening for the likes of !!! (Chk Chk Chk).  But only after the band, did MARCELLA DVSI take form.  Multifaceted, Marcella’s talents lie in many hats…

MARCELLA DVSI // Photo: Alberto Rugolotto // Model: Debora Omassi

MARCELLA DVSI // Photo: Alberto Rugolotto

///

What shapes your inspiration? I feel inspired by many things such as a dying leaf on the floor, a William Morris print, film noir, or a church’s spire but nothing is more inspiring to me than the sound of a melancholic piano song… I work best when I am at the extreme ends of my emotions––be they positive or negative––I have no intermediate mood.

MARCELLA DVSI // Photo: Susu Laroche

MARCELLA DVSI // Photo: Susu Laroche

Are there any symbolic words or images you connect with your designs?  Serpents, religion, death, veil, pagan …

What is your preferred environment and method for working?  I work at home because all I need is a small table and some space to cut the fabric before I create the braid. I don’t follow drawings as I prefer to let the pieces shape instinctively. 

Are each of your designs single copies or do you do varied editions for each? Roughly how much time do you need to complete one hat? Each piece is unique. Some pieces can be similar but no two are identical as I do not follow a pattern.   It takes me between 8 and 20 hours to make one hat depending on the size and the complexity of the design.

MARCELLA DVSI // Photo: Susu Laroche

MARCELLA DVSI // Photo: Susu Laroche

Your photos seem to be completely in-tune stylistically with your designs.  How do do you choose your collaborators?  Is there an idea behind your photos and videos or what kind of mood do you hope to inspire with the pieces and images you produce? I first began working with [London-based] photographer Susu Laroche because I always thought her aesthetic was very well suited to my work …  I am interested in new collaborations and seeing how others interpret my garments.  I want other people to feel a spiritual union through interacting with my pieces and from the photos and films I make with them.

\\\

To coincide with the launch of her new collection, Marcella premeires the first in an ongoing video series with new collaborator, T.R.  Watch the atmospheric promotional film III for MARCELLA DVSI below.  Fragile in form and meticulously crafted, Marcella’s headpieces and accessories are available for purchase or commission.  Contact MARCELLA DVSI.

vision | NU SPEED

As part of Double Vision, WOAH presents NU SPEED.

Forevermin // NU SPEED

Forevermin // NU SPEED

Delving into various media, Nu Speed‘s projects conjure transcendent sonic spaces and dark reveries.  With an interest in anagrams, puns, fractals, and nominative determinism, Nu Speed employs literary devices and a taste for the uncanny to expose hidden synchronicities in supernatural patterns and wearable novelties.  The delicate, obsessive contours of her prints and videos render a fractured atlas where the alien, natural, and phenomenal collide into one infinite plane.

69 Pins // NU SPEED

’69’ Pins from NU SPEED for sale at SPACE Mall.

While Nu Speed‘s digital studies reveal the holograms of lenticular photographs––leaving traces of transdimensional ghosts in their path––the ingenuity of her handcrafted ’69’ baby pins lies in their perfect artistry of absurdity.  The eerie drone of her soundtracks evoke hypnotic chase scenes, while her literary pieces under Vitus Hearn offer readers clever sexual advisement, lending word-foreplay so well-played puns morph into rhythmic haiku.

A conundrum of creativity and talent extremity, Nu Speed continues to search for the perfect synthesis to unite her extrasolar media projects.  Pick-up Nu Speed‘s nu-est novel items alongside Rossana Diaz at the SPACE Mall booth in the daylight, and keep watch as her latest video manifestations light up the dark this Saturday 7/27 1PM-12AM at Double Vision.

∞ + time – travel = the future

Recently, I was teleported to a place outside of measurable time and space . . .  a vision of what I can hope the future to be –  where prisms bleed into sharpened infinity and space unfolds into a spectroscopic sea of kaleidoscopic forms – a place comparable only to the illusive visions encountered in dreams, delusions, and maybe LSD.

Nana Ghana defies space and time in her performance as seen through a pair of Future Eyes. Photo: Future Eyes

Nana Ghana defies space and time in her performance as seen through a pair of Future Eyes.
Photo: Future Eyes

But this was a perfect image not conceived through REM, mind-control, or psychedelics.  Instead, what I experienced was optical teleportation everyone can have with a pair of Future Eyes.  The fruition of LA based artist, writer, and inventor Brent Pearson – “Future Eyes” himself – Future Eyes are a line of handcrafted laser-cut crystal glasses that are “eyewear for the soul.”  Upon closer inspection, and confirmation from their maker, the tree of life is delicately visible and replicated on each faceted crystal lens.  These kaleidoscopic frames have acquired a following of believers, users, and future purveyors throughout LA and perhaps even worldwide (since they are made to order online).  In preparation for an upcoming book surveying the various visual manifestations and employments beheld through their vision, Future Eyes hosted a group Fotoshow at one of downtown LA’s newest artist-run, Do-It-Together complexes, The LA Fort.

nstallation by Alec Singer + Alec Rose of Indigo Orangutan. Photo: Sharsten

View of installation by Ariel Rose of Indigo Orangutan. Photo: Sharsten

For the first incarnation of the Fotoshow series, an open call for photos was conducted with each invitation complete with a complimentary pair of Future Eyes.  The result accumulated in the group Fotoshow #1  exhibition, tracing optical excursions and experimentation with Future Eyes vision.   I myself am an avid crystal and diffracted lens junkie, but this crystal is like magic . . . and the obsessive quantity of photos that ensued is evidence of how entranced I was in the ephemeral, prismatic, patterned landscapes they led me through.  Documenting the space and time travel of each participant, a selection of photos taken through Future Eyes hung the walls throughout the event’s ballad of live performances, meditations, and audiovisual stimulations.  The evening’s highlights included a guided solstice meditation led by Maria Calderon, a hypnotic performance by Nana Ghana, visuals by MYSTERR + Torie Zalben, Alec Singer, and a live act from Miss M.E (Meghan Edwards).  In addition to all of that, luminescent textiles lined the pyramidal installation pictured by Ariel Rose of Indigo Orangutan.  Part of an ongoing “creation station” project, Indigo Orangutan‘s Gospel of Genesis is “a communal offering of paints and instruments in order to stimulate imagination and creation,” inviting guests to cozy-up and paint among a sea of saturated fabric and cosmic-clad, stationed artists.

Space-rave clad artist as part of Alec Singer + Alec Rose of Indigo Orangutan's installation. Photo: Kelsey Hart for DUMDUM zine

Artist as part of Ariel Rose of Indigo Orangutan’s installation.
Photo: Kelsey Hart for DUM DUM zine

Each element of the evening seemed to be an invocation inspiring heightened sensory awareness, with the collective congregation around the multi-faceted crystalline Future Eyes itself spatial evidence of how easy it can be to step-into a realm of acute, limitless, and unified perception.  One of the many significant mythological and religious connotations referenced through the tree of life is how the divine manifests creation.  Through Future Eyes and immersive investigations demanding us to isolate and experience one of our senses in a new way, we can cross-over to a higher state of being and traverse an altered plane of perception – one where the dream-world and the real-world are rendered visible in one indistinguishable, perfect frame.

"11-11" inkjet print on mylar by Sharsten.   Photo: Sharsten

“11-11” inkjet print on mylar by Sharsten.
Photo: Sharsten

As the Future Eyes Foto Book Project is compiled, and as I anticipate the next installment of Fotoshows, I will continue to favor my own kaleidoscopic lenses.  To submit photos for the forthcoming Future Eyes Foto Book Project and tune into what’s on the future’s horizon visit futureeyes.org.  Our lovely friends at DUM DUM zine, an LA-based collective publishing experimental literature and art, were also in attendance and documented the evening’s extrasolar journey through this photo narrative. 

Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1
Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1Future Eyes Fotoshow #1

a Tale of II Pop-Ups | the Library + the Party

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of visiting two alternative fashion spaces: The Library: Fashion Athenaeum and Pop tART Gallery‘s latest venture, Dope Shit.  The taste makers and pattern painters behind these different spaces share a common gift–the ability to filter the past to reintegrate the present.  Meet style shamans of Los Angeles, Shaye McKenney, the inspirational woman behind The Library, and Sebastian Hull, founder of second-hand boutique, Dope Shit.  To me, Shaye and Sebastian divine the hidden beauty of fashion.  They share the magic of style by appropriating dated or discarded fashions and channel their glamour through creating communal retail experiences dependent on collaborative participation.

The Library's mission is to provide an "alternative to capitalism" and "ideas of ownership," shifting focus "from personal possession and placing it instead on community sharing."

The Library’s mission is to provide an “alternative to capitalism” and “ideas of ownership,” shifting focus “from personal possession and placing it instead on community sharing.”  A pop-up initiative housed in donated spaces, The Library’s LA branch occupied the site of a former library off of Fairfax Ave. in West Hollywood. Photo: Sharsten.

Opening LA’s first edition of The Library last year, Shaye is an Oakland transplant whose global travels emanate her all-encompassing personal style and infiltrate the eclectic atmosphere that make the library so charming and inviting.  Housed in an actual former library in West Hollywood, The Library is a floating archive of vintage treasures.  Like a private book library, The Library provides a selection of inventory–with access to thousands of coveted collectibles–in exchange for membership.  Divided into three tiers–Bronze, Silver, and Gold Lamé– each determines the amount of merchandise to be checked out at one time.  The least expensive option is just $25 per month and awards a $180 credit, while the premium tier of $150 per month provides a $2,500 allowance.  Shaye also offers the ability to avoid trading monetary currency all together, awarding credit equal to the value of traded goods.

The Library transcends an exclusivity to only showcasing wearable items--vintage books and vinyls are also available for check-out.

The Library transcends an exclusivity to only showcasing wearable items–vintage books and vinyls are also available for check-out. Photo: Sharsten.

The Library is innovation in the industry of fashion, the phenomenon of pop-ups, and evidence of a cultural movement valuing collaborative consumption over individual ownership.  Not to mention this is an all-around genius idea in a place like LA brimming with stylists, photographers, and die-hard fashion aficionados who surely would welcome access to an amazing (and nearly unlimited) closet at the cost of “owning” an item only temporarily.  A native Angeleno myself, I can’t count the infinite number of times I’ve had to listen to a stylist friend burst into tears over the tireless task of unloading beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces to places offering a meager percentage on sales out of a desperate need to diversify options for an upcoming shoot or cash-in on their own personal wardrobes.  The Library offers an alternative to those wasted, Wasteland tears.

A mobile pop-up space since it’s initial LA inception–as well as those Shaye has helped to open in Sweden, Mexico, and San Francisco–the West Hollywood incarnation is unfortunately a vintage memory (for now at least).  Closing it’s doors last Sunday–but not without a super sale slashing 20-50% off selective merchandise–The Library is set for a temporary hiatus in Oakland with the hopes of securing a new LA location in the interim. What I did not know until reading this touching LA Weekly article profiling Shaye and the labor of love The Library has been–is the need for creative partners to help keep this space afloat and running.  A young ethereal beauty, Shaye masks an 18-year old battle with stage three lyme disease under a stoic welcoming presence, soft-spoken warmth, and refined taste for designer threads.  Ultimately, she would like to “plant the seed” she has worked tirelessly to nurture and currently seeks collaborators interested in sustaining The Library‘s LA branch in the future.  I have already pledged to help keep this place around–and one of those ways is by forging connections among a new generation of creatives dedicated to sharing style with the masses.

Sebastian started Dope Shit as a pop-up in 2012 after he had "amassed so much dope clothing [he] had to start selling it...There was no room left!"

Sebastian on display in the window at Dope Shit’s new home at Pop tART Gallery.  Photo: Sharsten.

Meet 20-year-old Sebastian Hull, self-professed “thrift addict,” native of Fargo, North Dakota, and founder of second-hand boutique Dope Shit.  Inaugurating its first semi-permanent location in Koreatown Saturday evening, Dope Shit is a repository of discarded and resurrected dope duds.  Enthralled by the “thrill of the hunt,” Sebastian has an eye “hopelessly addicted to patterns” and an uncanny ability to anticipate what his diversified clientele may be after.  Setting-up at various off-the-grid locations since early 2012, Dope Shit was initially realized as a pop-up shop appearing at flea markets and late-night dance parties all over underground and overground LA.

Scouring LA and beyond, Sebastian hand-selects the original, unique, one-of a kind pieces dangling the Dope Shit racks.  Amassing "so much dope clothing," he says he was left with no choice but to "start selling it...There was no room left!"

Scouring LA and beyond, Sebastian hand-selects the original, unique, one-of a kind pieces dangling the Dope Shit racks. Amassing “so much dope clothing,” he says he was left with no choice but to “start selling it…There was no room left!” Photo: Dope Shit.

Like Shaye, Sebastian has created a platform for sharing fashion in a communal and fun way.  If Shaye has created a fashion library, Sebastian has created a fashion party.  Dope Shit‘s current flagship is set within (and currently encompasses all) of Pop tART Gallery.  Gallery owner and founder is none other than the face of LA’s infamous Club Rhonda, the multifaceted and talented creative persona, Phyllis Navidad.  Once matte, white gallery walls are now a glossy black, paralleled by metallic silver floors throughout.  Sebastian’s sea of second-hand silhouettes are accentuated by unique accessories: oversized crystal necklaces, extravagant headpieces, and personal touches from a creative posse of designers and friends.  At the opening on Saturday, guests danced to live-dj sets and shopped while sipping cocktails from the open bar.

Both The Library and Dope Shit are pop-up spaces where personal style is found as a result of carefully curated and redirected shared resources.  These unique temporary venues pose evidence of a new cultural movement–one valuing collaboration and a sense of communal infrastructure.  There will always be a niche and market for overpriced, specialized, or run-of-the-mill designer boutiques, but these style makers spread a love of fashion beyond the superfluous guises of their counterparts.  Instead, they offer what any shopper in the post-internet age desperately needs: a feeling of authenticity and community in an age of consumer monotony and limitless selection.  Like the best intermediaries or messengers, the makers of these spaces present solutions to problems permeating the fashion industry and afflicting the greater world economy in favor of a new system favoring borrowing over buying and attainability over inhibition.

It's not too late to save The Library!
Contact The Library // 
Website: library-fashion.com // 
Email: contact.athenaeum@gmail.com // 
Like on Facebook // Follow on Instagram


Shop Dope Shit at Pop tART Gallery // 
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 11AM-7PM; Saturday 1PM-7PM //
3023 W 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90010 //
Email: dopeshitklothing@gmail.com //
Like on Facebook // Follow on Instagram // Follow on Twitter

Day for Night at the New Night Gallery

A few weeks ago, after navigating clones of cubicles and browsing gallery brands at the Art Los Angeles Contemporary fair at the Barker Hangar, Arely and I ventured down the dark southern exposure of downtown to the opening of a highly anticipated after-hours….behold the new home of Night Gallery: a 6,200 square foot warehouse remastered by art space visionaire, and of Matthew Marks notoriety, architect Peter Zellner.  Acrylic window treatments by artist Yunhee Min colorize the subtle grays of the building’s unmarked, square façade.  An eclectic crowd and a few swarms of loafer-clad Bergamot gallery-goers indicate we have arrived to toast the face that is the new Night Gallery.

A giant shadow of it’s former self, previously a three-room black-walled former party-store in a Lincoln Heights strip mall, the new Night Gallery opens into a giant fortress of accented beige.  High beamed ceilings flocked with skylights allude this is a space designed for daytime viewing.  In fact, Night Gallery will no longer model their opening hours to draw the creatures of the night.  Formerly only opened Tuesdays through Saturdays 10PM-2AM, the gallery has adopted a more generic 12-7PM schedule with their relocation.  This news and a stellar article by Carol Cheh leave me fearing the same: has Night Gallery grown up?

Opening reception of the inaugural exhibition "The Mocking Hand" at the new Night Gallery.Photo: Sharsten.

Opening reception of the inaugural exhibition “The Mocking Hand” at the new Night Gallery.
Photo: Sharsten.

Night Gallery’s opt to abandon their namesake nocturnal schedule in favor or a more pedestrian friendly day operation is disappointing.  But I am hopeful.  Maybe this will inspire other venues to experiment in the social scheduling sphere–extending occasions for creative types to cultivate in the dark wee hours of the night, convening for art and not just booze or underground electro beats (though I am a fan of both alternatives).

What is most promising about the new Night Gallery is the women behind the space, Davida Nemeroff and Mieke Marple.  Nemeroff founded the original space shortly after arriving to Los Angeles in 2010, Marple joining her in 2011, with the duo announcing their decision to turn the gallery into a commercial venture thereafter.  Together, they share an ambitious vision for Night Gallery’s future programming and spatial expansion:  a four-phase plan literally moves the gallery outside-of-the-box template into a series of buildings-within-a-building structures.  Phase two, to follow, will erect a spatial replica of the former Lincoln Heights space within the new gallery; while phase three and four foretell construction of a chapel out of felt and perhaps even amass to creating social theatrical amenities like bleachers for hosting lectures, screenings, and symposiums.

Building spaces and creating new experiences within an architectural and institutional space.  That is what captivates me in hearing the future plans for Night Gallery and inspire questioning how the art gallery setting can hope to model itself in the future.  How do art spaces construct the visibilities of our individual and collective experience with art?  How do they address us physically?  How do we encounter the temporal as a condition of the spatial?

On view now in phase one is a minimal selection of work by LA artist Sean Townley.  The inaugural exhibition “The Mocking Hand” is [un]fortunately dwarfed and secondary to the architectural sublimity of the new gallery itself.  The behemoth of space in the main exhibition area alone presents the flexibility to experiment with scale, media, and relationships.  “The Mocking Hand” does little to activate the scene.  Instead, I dream of audio-visual landscapes and immersive pieces, works inviting me to the clean concrete floor, demanding me to stay and wait.  After a day at the art fair and catching an enlightening performance by Scott Benzel, I crave something a little less 2-dimensional–a total sensory experience or experiment rather than a heightened awareness of my place as viewer among these assorted, familiar, and similar forms.

Scott Benzel's performative environment "W.W.A.R./ Die Dritte Generation" (left), Photo: Sharsten; Sean Townley "Untitled" at "The Mocking Hand" (right), Photo: Night Gallery.

Scott Benzel’s performative environment “W.W.A.R./ Die Dritte Generation” (left), Photo: Sharsten; Sean Townley “Untitled” at “The Mocking Hand” (right), Photo: Night Gallery.

Perhaps the most interesting sculpture on display is in the smaller gallery adjacent to the main exhibition area.  A heavy stone mass with a brain-like protrusion is cut-out to reveal a hollow abyss beneath–I feel like I am peeking into an expensive drain or gutter as I examine what’s beneath.  Majestically lit from above, the rectangular block appears monumental and central to the subtle asymmetry of this smaller gallery.

Wandering out back into the airy space, closed doors and bare desks indicate storage and office spaces along the perimeter–the latter forming walls to enclose another space-within-a-space deemed the “private lounge area.”  Drenched in saturated blue and red lighting,  the Dario Argento-esque aesthetic coupled with the [full] bottles of booze, plush sofa, and aroma of Palo Santo draw me to wallow in this refreshingly dark, windowless cave.  It’s actually the only room reminiscent of the former Night Gallery–almost a homage to the original, compact and dimly lit lounge.  Nostalgia for the past subsides quickly, however, as I am aware there is something brewing here in this pristine new space that is much, much, bigger.  With some carefully curated finesse, and some risk-taking programs honoring it’s past as “an artist run space, for artists, by artists,” Night Gallery has the capacity to serve as a catalyst for a new generation of unorthodox art spaces and sites for institutional critique.

The private lounge at the former Night Gallery in Lincoln Heights (left), Photo: KCRW; and the current private lounge at Night Gallery's new digs (right), Photo: Sharsten.

The private lounge at the former Night Gallery in Lincoln Heights (left), Photo: KCRW; and the current private lounge at Night Gallery’s new digs (right), Photo: Sharsten.