WAYNE WHITE: Art Is Supposed to Hypnotize You or Something - Art and Culture Center, Hollywood, Florida

Who is Broward County named for and what would he look like if three-time Emmy Award-winning artist Wayne White made a giant puppet of him?

Find out this summer when White creates a supersized puppet of Napoleon Bonaparte Broward during a 10-day residency at the Art and Culture Center. For his first exhibition in Florida, the Los Angeles-based artist will create a gallery fun house that also features his witty “Word” paintings, new drawings from recent artist residencies in Key West and Captiva, and a collection of whimsical puppets made from found objects.

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Cool, As a Ticking Bomb

by Tucker Neel · 

May 5, 2015 · in FeaturesMay 2015

For 11 years, Cliff Benjamin and Erin Kermanikian have co-owned Western Project in Culver City. Together they exhibit work that’s consistently challenging and boundary-breaking, representing artists like Tom of Finland (before he was MOCA-acceptable), Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose (whose work is the best kind of shocking), and Ron Athey (who Benjamin accurately describes as “Promethean”). Kermanikian’s unflappable youthful insight compliments Benjamin’s experience, and their dedication to the art and artists they love is palpable every time they talk shop.

Benjamin isn’t like most gallery owners. His arms are covered in tattoos and his attire is often more leather bar than Moet VIP lounge. He’s as queer as can be, a walking assault on normalcy, and that’s just part of what makes him so compelling. He’s also been an artist, professor, art dealer, gallery director and gallery owner. For nearly half a century he's been part of LA’s cultural identity, making him a kind of griot, always ready with a story about something people forgot, don’t know, or refuse to talk about. That’s why I’m waiting for him in a Silver Lake cafe to ask for a story or two.

Cliff Benjamin at gallery with artwork, photo by Joe Schmelzer

Cliff Benjamin at gallery with artwork, photo by Joe Schmelzer

Artillery: Tell me how LA has changed in your lifetime and what do you think about the art world today? 
Cliff Benjamin: I never think of this as a competitive business. I didn’t when I was an artist, and I don’t now as a gallerist. Most gallery owners don’t come from a teaching or a working artist background. I taught off-and-on for six or seven years, and I always liked teaching. I think teaching is more about giving people permission. So I think my background lets me go into a studio, and if an artist is stuck, I know. I get it, and we can talk. I also like that I get to help artists be self-sufficient. I personally know how hard it is; being an artist is the hardest job in the world.

What do you think has been the biggest change in the LA art world?
The biggest change is the illusion there’s a big collector base here. All these galleries move here, and they think they’re going to do this and that. But they can’t make it. Unless you’re from here, you just don’t get it.

Why is that?
LA is so much about lifestyle and unless you understand that endemically, you won’t understand this climate, this culture. If Pace Gallery couldn’t make it—well… .

What do you think people fail to remember about LA’s art world? Who gets left out?
LA has zero memory. So, for instance, the Getty’s PST show had ad nauseam talk about the Ferus Gallery. You would think there would have been an equally huge chapter on Nick Wilder. He was barely mentioned! He was enormously influential. He showed Nauman, Twombly, Alberto Burri, John McLaughlin, David Hockney and so many more. And Nick had these famous openings and crazy lifestyle.

Carole Caroompas, Before and After Frankenstein: The Woman Who Knew Too Much: The Couple Who Had No Umbilicus, 1994, Private Collection, Los Angeles, California, courtesy Western Project

Carole Caroompas, Before and After Frankenstein: The Woman Who Knew Too Much: The Couple Who Had No Umbilicus, 1994, Private Collection, Los Angeles, California, courtesy Western Project

So why do you think he was so absent from PST?
Because it just didn’t have the same buzz as Ferus. Ferus was a press machine.

In terms of artists, who do you think deserves more historical attention?
I will say that PST did a great service to the artists from the late ’60s and ’70s who haven’t been part of the general dialog. But I’m going to be biased. It infuriates me that Carole Caroompas is not in the same dialog as Mike Kelley. Her work is just as crusty, incisive, beautiful and crazy as it ever was. She’s never flinched. She’s taught at Otis for almost 30 years now, and she’s been as influential a teacher as John Baldessari. But because she’s a woman—there have been so many women and people of color who haven’t been put in that hopper. It’s tragic.

Carole Caroompas, Uncle Lenny: Right as Wrong/Wrong as Right: Straight Men, 2010, courtesy Western Project

Carole Caroompas, Uncle Lenny: Right as Wrong/Wrong as Right: Straight Men, 2010, courtesy Western Project

In so many ways, there’s so little honesty and kindness in the art world. That’s what we need to cultivate. To do otherwise just seems like too much work to me. I mean, if you’re interested in power then maybe, but not me.
That drive for power, for being cool, is just a cover-up, a hungry ego. The whole notion of being cool is a ticking time bomb. Being cool is the booby prize. It really is.

DION JOHNSON: Chromatic Momentum - January 8 - February 14, 2015

De Buck Gallery / 545 W 23rd Street / New York, NY 10011See on De Buck Gallery Website


De Buck Gallery is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition by Los Angeles-based painter Dion Johnson, entitled Chromatic Momentum. The exhibition will be on view at the gallery from January 8 – February 14, 2015. An opening reception in the presence of the artist will be held on January 15 from 6-8 PM.

Dion Johnson does stuff with color that other artists don’t even dream of, much less deliver. The L.A. painter makes color fat, like the belly of the Buddha, at least as it appears in many sculptures of the half-naked sage, whose beaming smile and twinkling eyes suggest a kind of enlightenment that is whole-bodied, pleasurable and an end in itself. Johnson also keeps color taut, like a sail in a gale, stretched to its physical limits in gracefully bulging curves that are elegant, functional and forceful. There’s a sharpness to Johnson’s tangy slice of the spectrum, whose astringent kick gets echoed in the crisp edges of the snuggly abutted shapes his colors take. Their sizzling intensity is similarly keyed up by the lovely weirdness Johnson generates with their out-of-whack juxtapositions, which should be queasy, even garish, almost vulgar, but somehow come off as even more gorgeous for their oddball precision.

Despite the evocative heat that radiates from Johnson’s radically saturated paintings, there’s an implacable cool to their bands and swoops of color: a type of synthetic iciness that avoids the sting of nature’s coldness, the harshness of psychological withdrawal and the anaesthetized deadness of emotional detachment in favor of the ravishing extravagance of an unnaturally enhanced palette—a range of tints, tones and temperature that all seem to be on especially friendly terms with neon and plastic and all manner of artifice, the sexier the better. The razor-sharp lines pin-stripers apply to customized low-riders also lie behind Johnson’s compositions, in which the thinnest sliver of some strange tertiary expands gradually to become a kind of slender penmanship that then morphs into an aerodynamic shape with so much muscularity that it seems to be three dimensional:  an idiosyncratic building block locked together with others in ways that make them feel as if they’re adrift—freely flowing left and right, up and down, forth and back, as if they were not merely breathing but abuzz and ahum and apulse with a rhythm no less palpable for its silence.

- David Pagel

pink box : Aaron Sheppard Performance with Sylva Hattington - July 26, 2014 - 7:00-9:00 PM PERFORM CHINATOWN 2014 : CHAOS REIGNS

pink box, Aaron Sheppard performance with Sylva Hattington July 26, 2014, 7:00-9:30pm – at L.A.’s 6th Annual PERFORM CHINATOWN 2014 : CHAOS REIGNS

Curators / Doug Harvey, Lee Lynch, Paige Wery

For 2 1/2 hours, Sheppard and Hattington were closed inside a transparent and metal box measuring 48” x 48” x 13” and attached 10-feet above the ground on the facade of The Arcade building at 936 1/2 Mei Ling Way (across from New Dragon Restaurant and down from Hop Louie’s Bar). The two performers repeatedly changed restricting positions within the box while caressing one another’s bodies in a public display of affection. A water hose was attached to the box which kept the couple’s entangled bodies wet, and transformed the box itself into a steamy sauna dripping with a constant pitter-patter of rain.

The light box was pre-existing signage that had at one time been used as advertising, left to sit vacant for years. For pink box Sheppard and Hattington stripped the box of its electrical, replaced brittle and aged plexiglas with new vibrant fluorescent panes, and painted the structure pink. The performance within then became something video-esque and surreal to the eye, contrasting with the environment and landscape.

pink box was video-taped from two different angles: from close-up inside, and; from street-level outside the box (videography by Jaime Scholnick and Sally Coates).





The sixth edition of L.A.’s premier performance art gathering will present over 40 performers, distributed across a host of Chinatown galleries and public spaces on the 26th of July between 12 Noon and 10 PM.

This year’s rendition pools the complementary curatorial talents of Doug Harvey (Chain Letter, LA Weekly Annual Biennials), Lee Lynch (The Murder of Hi Good, headmaster of Teenage Wasteland of the Arts), and Paige Wery (The Good Luck Gallery, Artillery magazine).

Perform Chinatown 2014 : CHAOS REIGNS! stretches the boundaries of Performance Art to include live experimental music, historical reenactments, survivalist workshops, guided meditation rituals, chess tournaments, poetry, dance, video, and food – as well as the cutting edge New Genre happenings that define the field.

Some of the noteworthy happenings scheduled include: - a rare appearance by legendary media prankster Joey Skaggs; - a ritual invocation of Eris, Goddess of Chaos, by Skylaire Alfvegren and the Southern California Discordian Society - the premiere of Hipponymous -- a righteous new performance work by the Reverend Ethan Acres; - a live video feed of performances in Tehran, Iran organized by Maryan Vayghan - Brad Spence providing “Free Airbrush Body Paintings” to the public - DJ sets by Don Bolles, steve roden, and KCHUNG Radio; - Everything is Terrible – the Ride by eponymous psychedelic found footage comedy website mavens - former Los Angeles Cacophony Society “leader” Al Ridenour bringing Krampus in July - the first live performance by F (Marnie Weber, Dani Tull, Doug Harvey, & Daniel Hawkins), since the Mike Kelley LAFMS memorial at The Box; - a Human 4-Leaf Clover of Positive Energy led by China Adams


Angeleno Magazine - Art And Culture Spotlight - "Walk The Line" - Joe Lloyd : New Paintings

Angeleno_July 2014_2Marrying left and right brain sensibilities, abstract painter Joe Lloyd seamlessly melds beautiful imperfections and errant geometries. An impressive emerging talent and 2012 MFA grad of Claremont Graduate University, Lloyd creates complex, architectonic works. Inspired by the limitations of mathematical geometry to capture the variance of organic forms, the artist uses geometric motifs in his paintings loosely, rather than formulaically, to invoke the observed discrepancies found in landscape, objects and architecture. Delineating space intuitively with line, texture, color and edge, Lloyd explores pattern as an aggregate of imperfect symmetries. His deceptively concise work conveys an energetic painterliness rarely associated with geometric abstraction. Joe Lloyd: New Paintings, on view July 26-Aug.29 at Western Project, is the artist’s first major solo exhibition in Los Angeles, and a must-see debut. Gallery director Cliff Benjamin says of the highly anticipated project, “[Joe Lloyd’s] work reflects the dynamic qualities of L.A. It is razor-sharp, unexpected and unapologetically beautiful.” Who knew that math could be so interesting? Western Project, 2762 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.,310. 838.0609, western-project.com

–Marieke Treilhard Modern Luxury / Angeleno Magazine / July 2014





The Conversation is a contemporary art-centric podcast, which includes both the Conversation 3-Way, in which artist Michael Shaw and two guests/co-hosts discuss temporal as well as evergreen topics, and the original format, featuring one-on-one exchanges between Michael and artists, collectors, curators and dealers.

ALEC EGAN: Luminous Opera - New Paintings

JUNE 14 - JULY 19, 2014 Opening Reception:  Saturday, June 14, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition of Los Angeles artist, Alec Egan. An MFA graduate of Otis College of Art and Design, the artist spent the last year on a new body of work, Luminous Opera. Egan’s language is aggressive and visceral, based in questions of authenticity and art historical myths and clichés. Reframing Van Gogh’s pictorial language, moreover, using it as a trope with his own subject matter, Egan creates a muscular vocabulary with dense, excessive surfaces akin to Anselm Keifer and Leon Kossoff. His application of oil paint is a constructive process; images built into large scale, tactile landscapes and portraits. They are a fecund and material totality. Egan’s subjects are both personal and historic; familial portraiture to Van Gogh’s fields and trees. His depiction of Van Gogh’s green parrot is transformed into a double edged allegory; now a diving acrobat, or a descending Icarus figure? Using commercial poster art or Star Trek references, Egan rides a confluence of humor, tragedy, nature, and Pop influences to investigate ideas of masculinity, beauty and culture. His works are a deliberate statement on the ecstatic wisdom of making pictures; a belief in the power of the artist, and a declarative howl.

Egan graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in 2013, Kenyon College in 2007 with a BA in creative writing and is a published poet. He has shown at Sebrof International Gallery, New York, ROOM, in Hartford, Studio 2507, Portland, Box Eight Gallery and Poor Dog Studio, in Los Angeles, among many others. Additionally, he has participated in multiple residencies nationally.