Let It Rain: LACMA’s Rain Room

rain room 1

What’s hot and wet? That would be tickets to Random International’s exhibit at LACMA, Rain Room. This immersive environment is currently sold out, but new blocks of tickets to this timed event pop up every few weeks, and member tickets may be available. Just why is a museum exhibit so popular? Well, some of it is just how cool an experience it is to literally walk in the rain without getting wet, some of it is the fact that it’s a visually and physically stunning experience, and some of it is that it’s just plain fun.

However you count the raindrops, it’s definitely NOT all wet that an art exhibit is maybe just as popular as that first home game for the Rams will be when they show up in town.

rain room 2

So what does the exhibit actually entail? Continual indoor rain in a dark room shimmering with bright light. The water pauses whenever a human body is detected, but watch out – if you’re wearing dark clothing it may not detect you all that well. This isn’t the place for your favorite goth look.  What happens when you walk across the black floor? All in all it’s akin to stepping beneath a waterfall that magically stops whenever you move. The result: an illusion that participants control their environment. Beyond the fascination of stopping and starting little deluges, the falling water itself is lit to suggest an otherworldly experience, the water becoming at certain angles small pin points of light, as if each stream was the tail of a shooting star.

Rain room 3

In short, visitors will feel as if they are entering uncharted territory when they step into the dark, wet room. A dimension in which nature itself is under our control, or at least the art that springs from that nature.

The exhibit runs through March 6th. Check LACMA’s website or box office for tickets.

Rain Room
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Genie Davis and LACMA


Big Art: BIG BOX/Little Box – Dwora Fried at LAAA


Above: Artist Dwora Fried – inside one of her boxes – Photo: Jack Burke

Dwora Fried had created an amazing body of work – wonderfully detailed collages and miniature tableaux that create entire worlds peopled with tiny figures and photographs inside glass-topped wood boxes.

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At her solo show at the Los Angeles Art Association Gallery 825, Fried offers viewers a look at an entirely different kind of box as well as her miniatures – this show isn’t called BIG BOX/Little Box without reason. Yes, there is a box big enough for visitors to sit down inside, and experience an Alice-in-Wonderland-like sensation of being a part of Fried’s art.  “People kept saying ‘I want to be in your world, so I decided to create something large enough in which they could literally be in it,” Fried says.


Fried’s “Little Box” works continue to rivet and engage. “With the exception of one piece, they were all made in 2015,” she notes. “I was very inspired.”



Stunningly intricate, each box not only evokes a story but a visceral response in the viewer, who is drawn into the small, intricate world that each box contains. 
Traditional Family Values

“When I decided to do the big box piece, I didn’t want to start buying large objects, so I only used what I had around. I had large Legos, an easel, the photos – those were the elements I decided to use. I started with the small box, and matched the big box to it,” Fried says.

3 Sisters – Version 2


The most wonderful thing about Fried’s boxes is the feeling that one is looking not just inside a box or an artwork, but into an alternate universe. Mini worlds, mini planets. F23C8122

And below, the writer has a seat inside the Big Box. And yes, it’s delightful. The illusion is perfect – the viewer becomes the viewed, fits in the box, and enters a different world.


The Los Angeles Art Association Gallery 825 is located at 825 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069; the show runs through February 19th.

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  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke and (little boxes) Dwora Fried

Jump for Joy: Jill Joy’s in Town


There’s a new gallery in Los Angeles, the Jill Joy Gallery, located at 6124 Wilshire Blvd., just down the street from LACMA. The gallery owner is also the gallery’s resident artist:  Jill Joy creates vast abstract minimalist oil paintings redolent with light and color.

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Her inaugural exhibition, “Consciousness – New Paintings,”  sings of sea, sky, air and space, a surreal and vibrant world which the artist creates while in a meditative state, and which she hopes will serve as a meditative focal point for viewers.


Self-taught, Joy has a successful following in what she calls secondary markets, such as Texas and Florida. To create the proper home for her work in LA, the artist felt compelled to open her own space, which she plans to share with other artists within the next year, artists whose works also support her own commitment to spiritual evolution.


Joy describes her current exhibition, Consciousness,  as one of three main bodies of work each dealing with the spiritual.  “The next two shows will be titled Emotion and Illumination.  Each series concerns the evolution of our emotions.”


While creating her art is a spiritual process for Joy, opening her own gallery was a practical consideration. “I started looking first in the South Santa Fe area south of downtown, but so many of the spaces were so large. Next I looked in the historic core, near Skid Row, but the space there honestly did not have the right feel. So my vision expanded west, and this just seemed ideal. I wanted to present my work in a beautiful environment.” Joy felt it was her mission to open a gallery space, and that it is the best way to present her work to viewers.


Enlightenment, karma, yoga, reincarnation – these are all elements in Joy’s work, which swirls with a kind of visual music filled with color and light; an orchestrated series of emotional crescendos.  Experience her opening exhibition through February 13th.

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A Saturday Night in Chinatown

Joyous celebration, paper lanterns swinging overhead, crowds pushing into and out of galleries all along Chung King Road in the heart of Chinatown. That was the scene for Saturday openings all along Chung King Road’s walk-street gallery row on January 9th.

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Images and experiences flow together with the crowd – and just because this was a don’t-miss-night, Los Angeles art lovers need not despair. Thursday January 28, the scene will be repeated from 7-10 p.m., part of an LA Art Show sponsored celebration honoring Pop Surrealist artist Robert Williams with a lifetime achievement award. And most of the exhibitions run through February 20th.

Here’s a look at the great art flowing through these DTLA galleries.


Brian Mains’ “The Intersection of Light and Darkness,” at the Gregorio Escalante Gallery is a visually and emotionally stimulating mythological world. The artist says “The kind of space, type of composition, use of light, and method of articulating forms all work together to create an other-worldly reality and to infuse the pictures with magical, theatrical and spiritual qualities.”


At Chungking Studios, Painting by Scott Trimble and Photography by Osceola Refetoff, co-curated by Refetoff and Shana Nys Dambrot, enrichingly combines photographic and painted images that share the same sensibility of space, light, line, or emotion.


Coagula Curatorial featured “Ten Top Artists,” a group show juried by Tulsa Kinney, editor of Artillery Magazine, and featuring artists including Jill Emery, Same Source, Vanessa Madrid, Annette Hassell, Jennifer Lugris,
Reagan Lake, Daggi Wallace, Michele Vavonese, and Kate Oltmann.


Very different art and artists – commonality: a vision that makes you look twice.


The Charlie James Gallery gave us artist Sadie Barnette’s meditative and haunting take on life at the racetrack, Superfecta, and Rosette, a group show curated by artist Mary Anna Pomonis, featuring the work of Suzanne Adelman, Lili Bernard, Mattia Biagi, Annie Buckley, Kristin Calabrese, Angel Chen, Sarah Cromarty, Cherie Benner Davis, Mark Dutcher, Christine Dianne Guiyangco, Sabina Ott,  Pomonis, Cindy Rehm, Allison Stewart and Vincent Ramos.



Artist Lili Bernard, above, discusses her autobiographical tribute to the souls of her ancestors and three generations of rape survivors. The powerful piece, titled “Elvis Slept Here: Help Me, Abuelitas,” grabs you by the heart and the gut and won’t let go until you really see the details.







Below, The Project Gallery premiered Wyatt Mills’ Normal, whose images belie the title. The Los Angeles artist’s mixed media paintings are a bold mix of the real and surreal.



At The Good Luck Gallery, below, Art Moura’s stunning installations are a fine example of this gallery’s commitment to visionary and outsider art.


Like walking into a dreamscape…F23C7995

A treasure trove of art washed up on a wild shore…


Not sure how anyone couldn’t love this. It’s folk art, it’s surreal, it’s a tapestry of life, it’s the rhythm of existence, dream, and distance.


The details are as compelling as the large designs.


So you want some art? Some exciting art? Chung King Road is the place to be. But then, it almost always is.

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