Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lari's Night

14 September 2007

Where was I? Allison Miller? Okay – but it’s Friday night and I have to add a note about the show I just came from – Lari Pittman at Regen Projects’ second space on Santa Monica Blvd. – apparently the event of the evening. It almost goes without saying that it’s a must-see (please don’t EVER confuse awol with that sometimes ridiculously off-the-mark column). Who knew the opening was also going to be a must-attend? EVERYONE was there – even one of my docs. (I knew he was interested in art; but had NO idea he was collecting at this level until I saw him and his wife zoom in on Yasmine (one of the associate directors) for details on a piece. Well.) No, I’m not on life-support yet; but chances are by the end of the season (or if I have one more crisis at the Flynt Bldg.), I will be. The work on view seems to have evolved fairly coherently from the most recent work included in the Hammer’s Eden’s Edge show this spring/summer; although the palette seems to veer towards a slightly more autumnal, vegetal range. The compositional architecture evolves as well, not necessarily less complex – and certainly with as much transparency as ever – but more plainly subordinate to a dominant overall structure or motif or figure(s) (whether that be a body or bodies, organic or vegetal forms – e.g., apples, pumpkins (jack-o-lanterns?), cacti); also a sweeping fluidity to some of these forms. It’s a little freer – but no less controlled. There were a number of cacti – an opening for Pittman to visually pun on the spines. There were other novel motifs within the quintessentially Pittman-esque transparencies – roundels and foils that had an oriental quality, later echoed in some of the smaller gouache (I think) panels on the west wall of the gallery. These were some of the most interesting pieces here. But I can’t get into them just yet.

At one point in the evening, I came into proximity with Paul Schimmel. He was chatting volubly with Ann Philbin and Russell Ferguson. I was of course dying to know what they were talking about. But that’s one threesome I knew would not be thrilled to have me eavesdropping so I gave them a wide berth. It was impossible to pull away completely, though, simply because of the crowd. And so I found myself almost face to face with Paul Schimmel. There was no point in avoiding it. I HAD to ask him a couple of questions about the whole Murakami, Vuitton business. The revelations in the Times and Mitchell Mulholland’s artillery column begged for a response – and, well, there I was notebook (and artillerys) in hand. (By the way, just to set the record straight – I am NOT Mitchell Mulholland – though I sure wish I had his sources.) I decided to open on my home – and slightly friendlier – turf, and asked him about MOCA’s bidding posture with respect to the Shaw Donner Party installation that Pierre Huber sold at Christie’s last February. But I’ll have to leave you there for a few minutes. The two grand duchesses (my cats) are driving me crazy and I think I have to read them a bedtime story to get them in the mood for their 9x40 winks. (They’re not the same since late night television disappeared from their lives.) I might need a few myself.

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