All posts by Brieanna Radford

Assemblage, Stop Frame and New Life

I did it, I got into Pharmaka, 101 West 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

I swore to high heaven, last art walk, that I would not step foot near that gallery on the second Thursday of the month. Tonight, standing in front of a locked down Bert Green’s, I felt the pull, the force field that draws practically every hipster to this too tiny gallery.

Tonight, I’m just bowing my head and plunging through the crowd, I thought. I was determined. Turns out, once you elbow past the crowd on the sidewalk and clogging the door, the gallery is actually maneuverable. Once inside I was rewarded with these pretty collage creations in the shapes of dresses, by Georganne Aldrich Heller. They were playful and intricate and completely worth the fight to get in the space. That was my first new experience of the evening. Continue reading

No Place Like It

At a fashionably late 7:30, the downtownster crowd of three left the wine tasting and headed to the Emerald City, recently relocated to FIDM. We sauntered up to the tables with the all important lists, past a half dozen Dorothy’s and dropped our names. The proverbial little green door slammed shut as we realized our names never made it to the press or guest list. My feet started to ache in my impossibly high red heels.

“We are from downtownster.com, here with Judy Yaras,” said Stan.

“Now that’s a horse of a different color, go on in.”

We turned to see just a glimpse of a 70-foot, neon green hot air balloon that tinted the entire entryway emerald. I was dressed to the nines in my heels and slinky black dress feeling 5-years-old smack in the middle of my favorite childhood musical. I wanted to skip down the yellow carpet, try on all the sparkly red shoes and ride off in the balloon. This night was a dream in the making from our first step inside.

We took in the scene for a second, checking out who all the cameras were clicking for, soaking in the giant image of Dorothy and her traveling friends on the balloon, then made our way to the bar where we uncovered another gem of the evening. Continue reading

Who’s-Its and What’s-Its Galore

I spent an entertaining 10 minutes perusing the FIDM gallery gift shop while Judy was in a meeting. Chunky jewelry, coffee cups gone green, and some wonderfully funky little stuffed animals had me so entranced  I barely noticed when Judy arrived. I was engulfed in mismatched fabrics and patched on eyes when she walked towards me and shook my hand. We began our tour of the recent show taken down. She reyed a particularly gripping story about this professor and artist, I snapped a few shots and we headed back to the store, where the interview took on a lighter tone.

We began at the jewelry, discussing L.A. artists that show and sell there, along side the alumni whose pieces were proudly displayed. Judy explained that the store was in constant flux, “relating to exhibitions, relating to disciplines in the college.” The set up we were currently perusing would be replaced by all things Wizard come the first week in June to coincide with FIDM’s show and private opening celebrating the film’s 70th anniversary. She talked excitedly about the 7- story balloon that would be outside with ruby slippers on it. Continue reading

FIDM- Now You Know

It was mid Monday afternoon and I had the perfect window of time. I took a lighthearted stroll down to FIDM, anticipating the show that was hanging in the foyer. I reached the school only to find it locked. Common sense absent for a moment, I strolled around back through the park to see if they were open in back. Everything was closed. The lights were dark, the security station locked down. I went so far as to even rattle the doors. Perplexed, I rang Stan (The Boss).

“Um, FIDM is closed?”

“Yeah babe…it’s Memorial Day.”

I took a long pause, trying to figure out if there was any way to recover, having spent all morning aware of the holiday and completely blanking when I found the school locked. I murmured a lackluster joke and promised to head back on Wednesday. With that bit of embarrassment over, I took a peek inside the gallery, to see what I could from the closed doors. All I could get a really good look at was a breathtaking alter-like piece hanging front and center. It was three paneled, obviously, coming to a point on each panel. The center painting was biblical in style and in content, very traditional. The two side panels were modern realist, the left side a depiction of a car, the right side a modern day businessman. I strained my eyes against the dark for as long as I could and resolved to come back as soon as possible to drink in this monumental piece. If the one that I could see was this good, the whole collection must be profound. Continue reading

Helena Gullstrom and The Loft

and Shannon Logan

Foreword by Stan Lerner: when I received an email from Jennifer, that would be Helena’s publicist, I was impressed by what I saw—a picture of Helena. Being me, I called this Jennifer publicist and arranged to meet her and Helena at Helena’s loft wonderland. Jennifer turned out to be a nice counterpart to Helena and before I knew it there was another attractive publicist, more people / friends and drinks going on at Varnish. Helena was nice enough to drive me home, I was wounded from drinking and having a bad case of the flu, and although I was out of sorts I promised to send one of my best people to do a downtownster story as I had failed to do anything more than drink and jabber. Time whizzed along, but I did not forget about this incredible artist. Finally, I sent not one, but two of my best downtownsters to tell the story that I had promised to bring to our blog. It goes like this:

I am a lover of the natural world. Paradise to me is dozing off in a hammock after picking berries and walking my dog, surrounded by organic lines, fluid light filled spaces, and kinetic sculptures. When Shannon and I walked into Helena Gullstrom’s studio The Loft in the trendy Santa Fe apartment building on Main, it was a stark contrast to the natural paradise I found years ago in my backyard. Helena’s creative space was a strange, manmade world of angular shapes and industrial materials. An urban paradise.

But we were a little too early for a tour of paradise that day. Certainly too early for artists who were peacefully sleeping off Memorial Day Weekend, while waiting for two nosy bloggers to arrive. Our eager knocks on Helena’s door were met with silence. So we grabbed coffee and a slice of pie at Blu Café, and a few minutes later went back up the elevator for a second attack.

Helena answered the door this time. Light from large windows illuminated the dual-purpose space, which functions as both a hair salon and artist’s loft. Flaxen haired mannequins and mirrors on one end, sculpture and paintings on the other. Helena, even on the tail end of a nap, was full of contagious energy. Continue reading

Richard Sera, Now That’s a Way to Go

I finally did it. I swallowed my pride and returned to the LACMA after a falling out that produced this prodigal art viewer. I think too highly of myself and the LACMA and the director, and for that matter, Mr. Broad, continued their work, completely unaware of my absence. I, however, stewed in it, tapping my foot and withholding my money in a futile attempt to protest recent decisions.

It gets a little bit sticky, you see, so we will start at the beginning. The seed was planted at the Dia at Beacon in upstate New York. The trip away from the city was nice, necessary. The scenery was beautiful, the art collection immaculate. It was quiet and peaceful and, though the gallery was full, the experience felt very private. I rather enjoyed it, minus the beautiful, copious space devoted solely to Flavin’s fluorescent lights. His concept is solid, to paint a space with light, but his execution gets under my skin. It reads as tacky no matter how many retrospectives I go to. So, I’m in the Dia, trying every angle to see if I may just take a shine to Flavin after all. This director has put a lot of stock in him, i might give him a fighting chance. When you boil it down, countless light and space artists set after and achieved Flavin’s goal with much more grace, see James Turrell.

Fast forward to the present day scandal, Continue reading

Art Walk- Bridging the Gap

6:22pm I leave my apartment, makeup intact, hair perfectly styled. I glide past my recently retrieved car and walk the length of Los Angeles to the art walk. I’m so excited by the prospect of returning to the scene, having only missed April’s art walk but missing it terribly, that I begin at quite a clip. Why drive if I can walk? By 8th and Grand I have to check my pace for fear of breaking out into more than just a glow.

My first stop is Phantom Galleries, Pacific Electric Lofts, 610 S. Main Street, Los Angeles. The walls are filled with these pop-art meets street art, glow-in-the-dark treasures. The show “Cactus World” by Chamane, is instantly likeable, accessible. The colors and characters of each peace invoke a smile as I make my way from cactus to cactus. Each character is center stage surrounded by heavy-handed icons that poke fun at and play with modern day imagery. Continue reading

Just Like Neon

When I was 10 my 5th grade class piled onto a bus and headed for the Exploratorium in San Francisco. I sat next to Wesley, who let me borrow his jacket and hold his hand. Upon entering the museum our class spread out. Some went to see a cow’s eye being dissected. Others stuck their tongues out in concentration while solving a life size puzzle. Wesley and I went to the electricity display, complete with those balls with live electricity inside; the ones that make you feel like a god as electricity follows your fingers.

I honestly can’t remember if I had experienced these orbs before or it was just an innate instinct to reach out and touch it. “People are still intrigued by the plasma effects, and seem to instinctively know to reach out a hand to touch it” the statement for the Larry Albright show reads. Albright was the man who originally patented those orbs- the “plasma globe”. Though the technology already existed he, “developed, patented and marketed the illuminated globe as a consumer item for the worldwide masses.”

So today, with a slight bounce in my step, I meandered down Lost Souls Alley only to arrive at a locked MONA, 136 W. 4th Street Los Angeles, CA 90013. Continue reading

Wontons and Hipsters

Bummed from missing the last art walk downtown, I was primed and ready to gallery crawl when I caught wind of Chinatown’s art walk. The only two ‘walks’ I have ever frequented have been Downtown L.A.’s and Chelsea’s in Manhattan. While both are versatile, brilliantly energetic, I didn’t mind adding another art walk under my belt.

Off to Chinatown it was!

I arrived much later than fashionably and decided to get a bite to eat. Regretfully, I landed in the Foo Chow Restaurant, 949 N. Hill Street. It was, to put it plainly, awful. I know I’m not a food critic, that I know and write art, but readers should be warned, this food was terrible. Continue reading

Brewing a Richer Scene

Woken early by the boom of my neighbor’s music my mood today was sour. Until, that is, I remembered…today is the Brewery Artwalk. Ever since my years as a young, wide-eyed art student, I have wanted to attend this event. Today the planets aligned and I could finally make it out to this Los Angeles artist Mecca.

The Brewery, located at 2100 north Main Street, Los Angeles, CA, is a renovated Pabst Blue Ribbon factory that has now become the largest artist collective in the United States. There are over 1000 artist residents inhabiting this beehive of creativity.

Every different type of artist is tucked away within the labyrinth of the Brewery. Painters, photographers, and sculptures create next door to architects, and jewelry designers. Dancers map out steps while across the street a musician composes his most recent score. Continue reading