Art Los Angeles Contemporary: Contemporary Art Mirrors Contemporary Life

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If art is a mirror of the soul, then the eclectic art at Art Los Angeles Contemporary this weekend mirrored a global soul that’s skewed but sound.

Local and international galleries showcased a wide range of mediums and styles, but two consistent themes held true: there were many works that touched on or skewered today’s political and social world, and there were many works that displayed a trenchant wit.

Below, the large-scale sculptural installation of The Holy Land, created of styrofoam and polyurethane by Folkert de Jong. From Lincoln to Snoop Dog, the works subversively and delightfully play with political art from Mount Rushmore to the Lincoln Memorial while touching on our obsession with the worship of cultural figures.

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Nothing overt above, but Pae White’s “Untitled (Popcorn)” riffs on the heaviness of insubstantial things in this 4 foot marble work.

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Above from Chicago’s Shane Campbell Gallery, the work of David Leggett. Several works referenced “Black Heaven,” in an amusing but highly pointed poke at racial politics and perceptions.  Police brutality and toxic masculinity were other topics the artist addressed.

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Above, Kendall Carter’s “Effigy for a New Normalcy VIII, Love for my Father”  is a one of the artist’s series of works offering a look at race, gender, hip hop culture, and both racial and societal history.

Below, from 313 Art Project,  chains that bind.

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Below, at Glendale’s The Pit and The Pit II booths, pop culture gets a scouring. Lively, fun, and scathing – see Lisa Simpson’s tattoos, among a series of works from FriendsWithYou.

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Below, it’s a dark world at Klowden Mann. Debra Scacco’s “Tempus omnia dabit (Time will give everything)“, acrylic, ink and pigment on lasercut paper, background; shards of black glass poke skyward in the foreground.

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Below, poignant doors to nowhere – Sayre Gomez’ farewell to the long-standing, now shuttered, Chinatown icon Hop Louie. Somehow, this closure and its reverent, lovely, large-scale depiction is emblematic of so many things lost and gone.

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Among the most overtly political – and the most whimsical – were the lively works of Federico Solmi at L.A.’s Luis de Jesus booth, above. Animated video on plexiglass with gold leaf, silver leaf, and acrylic, the images were dazzling and delightful, even as they offered a pungent commentary on the 45th president, above,  “The Eminent Manipulator” in his inaugural dance.

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Above, Matthew Brandt’s “Families gather in prayer at Restauracion in South L.A.,” a subtly glittering mosaic created with rhinestuds on canvas. Poignant and reverential, the work was exhibited by Paris-based Gallery Praz-Dellavallade.   

Overall, ALAC’s strong show was made stronger by the undercurrents running through the exhibition. Our inchoate contemporary lives are far less so when illuminated by art.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis