PRINT March 2006


Brendan Fowler

Last October Brendan Fowler, known as BARR in his spoken performance project, played at The Kitchen and released an album on 5RC titled Beyond Reinforced Jewel Case, which he is currently promoting on a tour across the United States and Canada. He also edits, with Ed Templeton and Aaron Rose, the art magazine ANPQuarterly, and in July will curate and participate in a group show and performance series at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles. (Photo: Ed Templeton)

  1. LUCKY DRAGONS Under the name Lucky Dragons, Luke Fischbeck creates ecstatic music that completely transcends genres. My attempts to describe what his music actually sounds like always fall short of the magic he is making. I guess you could say it sounds like—ecstatic magic. Challenging stereotypes that electronic music is cold and sterile, Fischbeck’s live show, though conducted via computers, is a truly great celebration of the human spirit, giving real hope for the techno-future our society is racing toward.

  2. LIVE FILMING FOR WYNNE GREENWOOD AND K8 HARDY’S NEW REPORT: MORNING EDITION, 2005, REENA SPAULINGS FINE ART So there we were, a “live studio audience,” watching Greenwood and Hardy film a “live and breaking news broadcast” with cameras strapped to their bodies and aimed at their genitals and breasts. Playing anchors Henry Stein-Acker-Hill and Henry Irigaray, respectively, they spent forty-five minutes stepping over each other’s lines, reiterating and remixing what amounted to about four or five statements. I have been consistently impressed by both artists’ work, but that afternoon I found myself crying actual tears of joy as I watched them redefine the possibilities of language in art by totally tapping into never-enacted patterns of verbiage.

  3. CHRIS JOHANSON Chris Johanson has been showing overtly political, genuinely provocative, and incredibly generous sculptures, installations, and narrative and conceptual paintings for about ten years. It was largely his influence that drew me into the art world, and he is basically my hero to this day.

    *Chris Johanson, _Untitled_, 2001,* ink on paper, 8 x 10". Chris Johanson, Untitled, 2001, ink on paper, 8 x 10".
  4. OOGA BOOGA AND ANYTHING STORES Wendy Yao’s Ooga Booga is the go-to store in Los Angeles’s Chinatown for artists, collectors, and curators looking for the most exciting books, records, clothing, ephemera, and art editions of any given moment. Located in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Aaron Bondaroff’s new shop aNYthing can be considered the East Coast equivalent. The two camps are converging spiritually as we speak and the rainbow connecting them will help guide the disaffected “now generation” in middle America to the coasts.

  5. DREAMLAND ARTIST CLUB What began in 2003 as artist Steve Powers’s personal project to repaint every dilapidated sign in Coney Island became an ongoing and ever-growing group effort called the Dreamland Artist Club when Creative Time joined him the following year. Handpainted signage is a dying art in this country and the decorated surfaces in Coney would have been replaced by new machine-fabricated signs if this crew hadn’t called on a diverse cast of artists, making it possible to toss dimes under the work of Toland Grinnell or gaze at a Rita Ackermann mural while riding the Wonder Wheel. With new artists each summer, the project is continually exciting and invigorating, just like summers should be.

  6. EMILY ROYSDON With Ulrike Müller, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, and K8 Hardy, Emily Roysdon edits the queer, feminist journal LTTR. On her own she is a radical and inspiring conceptual artist. Her most recent project, “Strategic Form,” 2006, is a series of stunning photographs of an endurance-based performance in which her close associates were positioned in shaky pyramid formations that mirrored the hierarchical structures of both traditional patriarchies and revolutionary cells.

    *Emily Roysdon, _Strategic Form (1 of 12)_, 2006,* color photograph, 27 x 27". From the series “Strategic Form,” 2006. Emily Roysdon, Strategic Form (1 of 12), 2006, color photograph, 27 x 27". From the series “Strategic Form,” 2006.
  7. KATHY GRAYSON, DEITCH PROJECTS GALLERY DIRECTOR As convenient as it might seem for an artist to praise a gallery director, I honestly have no ulterior motives in acknowledging the impressive efforts of Kathy Grayson, who has organized many exciting shows and projects with young artists like Dash Snow, Ry Fyan, Jim Drain, Ara Peterson, and Matt Leines—while still in her mid-twenties herself. Grayson has only championed three stinkers to date, and even they are doing incredibly well, much thanks due to her initial pushes.

    *Kathy Grayson, Terrence Koh, and Dash Snow at the opening of “Live Through This,” celebrating the publication of the book _Live Through This: New York in the Year 2005_, Newton Building, Miami, 2005.* Photo: Hikari Yokoyama. Kathy Grayson, Terrence Koh, and Dash Snow at the opening of “Live Through This,” celebrating the publication of the book Live Through This: New York in the Year 2005, Newton Building, Miami, 2005. Photo: Hikari Yokoyama.
  8. OLIVER PAYNE AND NICK RELPH, COMMA, PREGNANT PAUSE, 2004 I finally had the chance to see this extraordinary work, which was commissioned by the 2004–2005 Carnegie International, when it was shown this past summer at China Art Objects Galleries in Los Angeles. Featuring humanoid cell phones, a Jar Jar Binks character, and a range of references from Edvard Munch to Pokémon, this video successfully portrayed the chaos of my generation’s pop-cultural life through a contemporary art lens and affirmed for me that these two are making some of the most engaging art around about growing up in today’s Western world.

    *Oliver Payne and Nick Relph, _Comma, Pregnant Pause_, 2004,* still from a color video, 27 minutes. Oliver Payne and Nick Relph, Comma, Pregnant Pause, 2004, still from a color video, 27 minutes.
  9. KRISTIN BAKER, “FALL OUT,” ACME, LOS ANGELES Long before I began working in text and performance, I considered painting psychologically challenging pictures of deconstructed cars. Baker makes paintings similar to what I had envisioned but, with a brilliant palette and sensibility for texture and composition, hers are much more exciting than I could have ever hoped for my own.

  10. THE SMELL For the past eight years, the Smell—an all-ages alternative venue in downtown Los Angeles—has played home base to the city’s beyond-thriving, young, experimental art and music scenes. It has hosted all the great out of towners as well: Xiu Xiu, Deerhoof, Japanther, Lightning Bolt, Animal Collective (and countless other bands that we can all agree on), have stopped by for a night or four. We are in an amazing cultural moment, and the Smell is LA’s loud affirmation that underground music still saves lives.