Buttnekkid Bares It All at MuzeuMM

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Opening tonight at MuzeuMM, Buttnekkid is two artists’ take on nude painting. It is also a phenomenal show, as graceful as it is non-judgmental, lush and visceral.

As the show’s description notes “We are all born naked – and artists either reveal or obfuscate this fact when creating figurative work.” This show is all about the reveal.

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Above, show curation in progress

A reveal which oddly enough still makes some people uncomfortable. When Facebook frowns at posting something that even resembles a nipple,  it’s only too obvious that the puritanical purveyors of “morality” are still very much with us.

So it is worth noting that as well as being beautiful work, the two solo shows that comprise Buttnekkid, curated by Mat Gleason, are also making a bold statement as to the beauty of the body and our views toward it.

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Lena Moross pairs same-sex couples in intimate yet unsentimental poses, some clothed, some bare. Anna Stump critiques the ways in which our society seems to fear flesh as much as it is obsessed by it. 

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Both artists have a uniquely lovely way of expressing intimacy,  of revealing the body even as they portray this form as exactly what it is – completely natural.

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Stump, left; Moross, right

Moross says “I was working on my new series on figures and Anna saw it. She said she had figure paintings too, and proposed we do a double show at MuzeuMM.”

Because the two artists create entirely different works, they knew that their figure paintings would not mesh, and should stand as two separate, thematically twinned exhibitions at the gallery. 

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“I worked my usual way: staging and taking photos from real people and then painting from them. Anna did her take on the 1970s era pornography industry.  Basically we did our own thing in our studios,” Moross explains.

Stump reveals “About a year ago, Lena saw an older figurative painting I’d done with a heavy grid structure of drips. She really liked it and asked if I’d do an exhibition with her of nudes. I said, of course!”

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According to Stump, “Lena and I are similar in the way we approach art making. We are both extremely confident with our technical skills and understanding of the body represented in 2D, which frees us to make work that is actually less concerned about beauty and more about monstrousness.”

For Stump, the inspiration for her subject matter came from a stack of Playboy magazines she borrowed from her studio mate. “I grew up in the 1970s, exposed to nudes from Playboy, courtesy of an uncle. I’m charmed by the awkward, pre-Photoshop poses, the tans, the naiveté, the non-surgically enhanced bodies. The porn is almost wholesome. The male sketches—earnest, goofy—are also referenced from the magazine ads and editorials,” she relates.

Gleason notes that the show is about the “female gaze and agency…of disrobing.” He says that nudity in art received a bad reputation when the models were all women and the painters men. But with two women creating this work, the tables have turned.

Lena Moross uses nudity as a semiotic device within a psychological drama while Anna Stump pushes the boundaries and politics of professional eroticism…curating them has been a dream.”

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Experience that dream for yourself Saturday, 8-11 p.m. at MuzeuMM, 4817 W. Adams in mid-city. The show runs through
– Genie Davis; photos provided by artists and curator

Gimme 5 Closes at MuzeuMM

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Closing this Sunday, October 15th at MuzeuMM in mid-city,  don’t miss Gimme 5, juried by gallery director Mishelle Moross, and Juri Koll, director of ViCA, the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art which partnered with MuzeuMM on this project.  The international juried show is an exciting mix of mediums and artists, from the photographic to the sculptural, from paintings to drawings.

The extremely well curated, tight show features a wide range of incredible, museum quality pieces – so in short, go to the closing, this Sunday at 3, and prepare to be dazzled.

The longer version? See work such as a stunning slide triptych by Tracey Weiss;  archival pigment prints such as Sacred Steel by Diane Cockerill, and Boy on Trike – Niland, CA by Osceola Refetoff. While Weiss is working in sculptural form, all three artists are using photographic materials to create works that are astonishingly fresh, vivid, and meaningful.

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Catherine Ruane’s astonishing graphite and charcoal work depicting the flora and fauna of the natural world as always amazes with detail and passion, here with Gargoyle. Working in mixed media, Steve Seleska’s Landescapism #2,  above, makes viewers want to literally and figuratively dive into his work.  Frederika Roeder’s mixed media  Power of Sun, dazzles with depth and color, below.

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On the wall, above, Hung Viet Nguyen’s Sacred Landscape #8, is an oil on canvas work, one in a series of spiritually nuanced, brilliantly textured works that evoke something otherwordly as well as a state of grace. Here, the rich aqua of the water contrasts with a dark sky and dark trees. Randi Matushevitz’ Dive In, is a mixed media work that also evokes both darkness and light, with floating faces a potent metaphor for life itself.

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We continue to be impressed with Scott A. Trimble, above, here with a somewhat ghostly, almost ethereal figure in The wants of true #empathy. Glenn Waggner’s oil on panel Pigs in Bumper Cars, charms with a surreal edge; while Steven Fujimoto’s mixed media Scratch Built is an impressive large sculptural work that defies easy categorization. Bryan Ida’s vibrant acrylic enamel and urethane abstract, China Basin (below) and Campbell Laird’s shimmery Rain dream gray no.1, 016, a resin film print are also stand outs. The large scale cast aluminum of Thaddeus Gesek’s Hello & El Jefe, is a terrific piece, full of motion, instantly iconic images, figures that look ready to spring into life.

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With so many other fine pieces too numerous to mention, an encompassing layout throughout the gallery and onto the patio space, and a mix of mediums as varied as the subjects portrayed, this is an exhibit that will resonate long after viewing.

Go on, get out, go see. Gimme 5 will get you at least a million’s worth of artistic pleasure and passion.

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Muzeumm is located at 4811 W Adams Blvd., Los Angeles

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Genie Davis

Two from West Adams at MuzeuMM: Two Fine Artists, One Neighborhood

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Above, the dimensional art of Rufus Snoddy; below the unique, relief-style works of Lucinda Luvaass.

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Two from West Adams, now at MuzeuMM through the end of this month offers the works of two of the community’s own artists: local Lucinda Luvaas and Northern Michigan based sculptor Rufus Snoddy, who grew up in the neighborhood. It’s fitting that Muzeumm, a part of the West Adams community, is hosting these two geographically linked artists.

Curated by Mishelle Moross, the exhibition reveals two strong bodies of work, each infused with a sense of abundant curiosity and exploration, each rich and nuanced, entirely different in approach and style.

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Lucinda Luvaass produced a film from which the exhibition’s title is taken, Two from West Adams. “I’ve only been here three years, whereas Rufus grew up here. The film is about us and the neighborhood block party where Rufus grew up,” she explains.

The film screened at the opening on October 1st and will appear on PBS in December.  Luvaass first met Snoddy when she was curating a college art gallery in Mt. San Jacinto. “I showed a lot of local artists and he was a stand out there.”

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Luvaass’ own work here represents pieces she’s been creating since 2007. “The color scheme is really important in these relief paintings, some of which have photographic images in them. The relief is made of wax, oil, and gel. Some people feel the technique involved is like print making crossed with painting. I started out in sculpture but I was bad at it. I’ve pretty much invented this, no one has anything quite like it.”

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Her pieces have a three-dimensional quality that is also reminiscent of a musical composition in the balance, sculpture, and patterns.

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Snoddy uses all mixed media construction. “I use wood, plastics, metal. I am a sculptor, so anything I do I try to turn into the three dimensional. I work surfaces because I am crazy about texture. That’s what I see around me, the texture, which kind of started with me living in Los Angeles.”

His first studio was a half block away from MuzeuMM.

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“I am mainly concerned about perception and how we understand things. I am interested in what we need to have a happy life in a psychological way versus consumerism, and trying to buy happiness.”

 

Both artists offer compelling, fresh technique and pieces that evoke memory and illusion, transition and stasis. They are the epitome of Los Angeles: melding form and function, fusing a variety of artistic means to create an entirely new end.  Wherever either artist moves, they will always carry at their core the fact that they were or are a part of a diverse community constantly in motion.

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Above: reasons not to miss an opening at MuzeuMM again besides the stellar art: outdoor patio plus drinks; garlic-rich potatoes as the ultimate art snack.

MuzeuMM is located at 4817 West Adams Blvd.

  • story and photos: Genie Davis

For the Love of Carmine – Lena Moross at MuzeuMM

Artist Lena Moross, subject Carmine, artist's friend Natasha Pushkin

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Above, opening night at MuzeuMM – For the Love of Carmine

We’ve written about Lena Moross’  before, the passionate artist originally from St. Petersberg who has brought classical training and an impressionistic style to her now very-LA work. Running through July 11 at MuzeuMM, Moross’ large scale watercolor portraits in “For the Love of Carmine,” details Carmine, a transgender man that the artist met 5 years ago on a Hollywood street.

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Roses, wine, the delicate grace of an intensely female subject inside a bulky male body – these are the images Moross has captured with a magical bent. her paintings are sensuous, voluptuous, depicting a man/cocoon housing his female/butterfly.

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Moross says “Old European cities have areas where children play in the dirt and sometimes discover things like a rhinestone, or piece of foil, a remanent of something years or maybe even centuries past. They were treasures I would gather that I discovered. Even though they were found in dirt, after cleaning and loving these things, bringing them to light, each would reveal beauty and stories again and again. So for me, Carmine initially was one of these precious beautiful found rhinestones.”

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Carmine himself, above, in red.

She found her subject beautiful, and has created beautiful works about him. “Ultimately, it’s my decision what is beautiful or not.”

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Trust us – she made a profoundly lovely choice, here.

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Above, musicians Ketchup Soup, entertained the opening night crowd.

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Above and below, center, MuzeuMM founder Mishelle Moross; with below left artist Francisco Alvarado.

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MuzeuMM is located at 4817 West Adams Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90016

  • Genie Davis; all photos by Jack Burke