Tag Archives: Hammer Museum

Tom Marioni, Ed Ruscha and Beer

Last night we attended Tom Marioni’s on-going installation at the Hammer Museum, Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art (1970).  Rather than focusing on Object as art, Marioni probes Action (and its evidence) as art by bringing together specific music, furniture, lighting, people and general ambiance to create an environment he feels is appropriate for an art experience.  This was not just another art reception, we were actually the art participating in a planned space acting as we pleased.

As we walked into the installation we were greeted by two wall drawings, a bar, shelves of beer, and of course Ed Ruscha (who was tending bar). We approached the bar and Ed Ruscha asked us what we would like to drink. I guess that was a silly question and hilarious in the fact that he opened a refrigerator full of only Pacifico beer. The bar-back happened to mention that Ruscha use to only drink Anchor Steam, but made a switch to Pacifico because it’s lighter in taste and he loves the label.

At first I will say, we felt a little awkward. We were at the Hammer Museum, so we naturally were expecting to look at something and read about it, but there were only two wall drawings and a TV with a static depiction of a gurgling beer, and of course Ed Ruscha hamming it up at the bar.  Talking with our friends and strangers quickly felt ironic. Cameras and video cameras were documenting our every move. But the ice broke quickly when Tom Marioni stood upon a soapbox and played a pre-recorded trumpet announcement into the microphone. Laughter. A series of  jokes and quotes then followed:

“Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy” – Benjamin Franklin

“Why is abbreviation such a long word?”

“Amateurs borrow, professionals steal” – Pablo Picasso

After ten minutes of jokes (he did ask us to tell him when his ten minutes were up), everyone seemed to have forgotten where we were and began to really let loose. I finally sat down, talked to new people and forgot about the cameras. As I talked to friends while Frank Sinatra played in the background with a Pacifico in my hand, I could not help but to be at ease.

The installation runs from August 28 – October 3, 2010. For more information please visit the Hammer Museum website.

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Gaetano Pesce Lecture and Exhibit Opening

“The future is the time of originals.” – Gaetano Pesce

Last night marked the official debut of Gaetano Pesce: Pieces from a Larger Puzzle. Pesce himself flew over from Italy to lecture at the Hammer Museum, commenting on his previous works and noting his own perspectives on the future and humanity.

Pesce began by blatantly stating that his lecture will be short for two reasons: one, he knows his own work, and two, his work is of the past. What is interesting is Pesce’s take on time, his outlook on the future. As the lecture proceeded he intertwined the concept of time and moving forward and using design as a catalyst to do so.

As Pesce flipped through numerous images on a projector, he briefly commented on each piece giving an explanation of material and concept. The first object he noted was the “Up5” and “Up6”, also known as the “Donna” Chair. Pesce designed this chair when he was 28-years-old with the thought that women have been historically and presently mistreated, and through this chair he interpreted the life of woman as a prisoner, a “ball and chain”.  This chair is his political statement, “I believe the future is feminine,” Pesce clearly stated, advocating that we help elevate women to administrative status.

Flipping through more photos of chairs, Pesce discussed another concept, “If people are different, than objects have to be different.”  Each chair was similar, but the distinct differences are what make each chair unique;  it is good to be unified, but important to maintain differences.

Material and medium are also important in Pesce’s designs. The morphed, dripping vases made of resin are his solutions to the tragedy of a traditional material: glass. These vases, if dropped from a tall building will jump and bounce, not crack and break. This, Pesce said, is the progress of material, an intelligent material.

Pesce’s latest endeavor is his collaboration with the eco-shoe brand Melissa to design a new line of shoes. The Fontessa Shoes are made of resin and are customizable to the liking of the consumer. Instead of creating passive buyers, Pesce wants to stir creativity and expression, again staying true to his mantra of maintaining uniqueness amongst rooted similarity.

Following the inspiring lecture, we made our way over to the Italian Cultural Institute for the exhibit opening. Francesca Valente, the Institute’s director, presented Pesce with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication and outstanding achievements in design. Vittorio Sgarbi, noted Italian art critic, who also flew from Rome to comment on this momentous occasion.

Over 200 people packed the Institute and experienced the show with prosciutto and limoncello in hand. The intimate exhibit, thoughtfully curated by Peter Loughrey and John Geresi, showcased a survey of chairs, couches, vases, jewelry, plates, bowls, tables, and even audio and video.

For more information on exhibit times and location please visit the exhibit website.

Art Los Angeles Contemporary at the Pacific Design Center

Last night we attended the highly anticipated opening of Art Los Angeles Contemporary at the Pacific Design Center.  Over 50 galleries were represented in individual booths, each showcasing their hottest works. The space was packed with all sorts of people from artists and dealers to decorators and collectors. The amount of art was a bit overwhelming, however a few works really stuck out at me. The Shane Campbell Gallery from Chicago caught my eye, particularly a larger painting of a plant by Jonas Wood. The bold colors, flatness, and graphic composition created a very pleasing and refreshing painting that stood out from the crowd. I did a little research and found that Jonas Wood has an exhibit at the Hammer Museum, which is a part of the Hammer Projects series. For more information on the Jonas Wood exhibit at the Hammer click here.

Jonas Wood painting from the Shane Campbell Gallery Chicago

I also enjoyed the works in the Thomas Solomon Gallery from Los Angeles. The gallery featured works by Analia Saban, who overlapped 14-inch lines printed on tape to create compositions on canvas. The overlapping tape gave the canvas a sort of depth, which was intriguing from a distance and allowed the pieces to have a magnetic quality.

Analia Saban, Modular Drawing from the Thomas Solomon Gallery Los Angeles

Overall the event was fantastic and it was great to see the hot, upcoming artists. Also, I must say I particularly loved the design work for the art fair itself, which was created by Fair Grounds Associates. Nice work!