My chinatown


Chinatown during the day is filled with immigrants carrying umbrellas protecting themselves from the hot sun while old men play chess at the park. At night, its a different story with a good dozen art openings that happen about once every couple months, drawing in art fans and scensters. I hate the crowds but since the art galleries in the 90012 area code don’t seem to be open during the week, its the only time you can catch a lot bad art with a few good ones littered in between.

James Franklin – Plants and animals
Acuna – Hansen Gallery
This was probably the best show of the night. Acrylic canvas that showcased either….well, plants or animals. The trees were his strongest imagery – they had a graphic design feel unlike his people that seem to be influenced by margaret kilgallen or clare rojas. You know that look?

Joseph Puhy – photographs
Futhermore Gallery
Lot of blue tinted and b&w photos with an x-file feel to it. Hey, theres a photo of a sofa in the middle of nowhere. Where’s mulder and scully? I think people stuck around this gallery cuz it had a/c on a hot hot night.

Plastic Fucker
Munky King
Hardly anyone came to this toy store slash art gallery. Why? Because doug murphy has had his shit up here forever. Not really necessary to see pop icon paintings done in the style of lego men over and over. And the toys at this place is expensive too!

Kaoru Mansour – Plants and faces
Man Gallery
Photo’s of cherry blossom branches and older generation japanese (americans?) people on sepia tone canvas. This show is niiiice for asian american parents who want to get their art on.

Japan group show – nonchalant
The best piece was makoto aida’s large 10′ x 10′ marker drawing of a girl with a sushi head taking a poop. Whaaat? Hey, the show’s called nonchalant. There were also poloroids of semi naked girls taken by yasumasa yonehara who help start Smart Girl magazine in japan. Maybe it was the presentation, but the photos seem to lose any kind of impact or urgency against the big white wall it was placed upon. Or maybe I already had my fill of porn for the day.

Eventually leaving chung king road where most of the galleries reside, I passed by the park where kids swung on swings, ballers were balling on the court and parents rested under the tree for some gossip and rest. Unlike the galleries, the park is open 7 days a week from 7 am to 10 pm.

6 thoughts on “My chinatown”

  1. Perhaps the most galling aspect of the Chinatown renaissance is the seeming lack of respect and snide tongue-in-the-cheek pot shots that the new businesses have for the aesthetics of the old Chinatown. The so clever re-paint of the David Louie-listed, $1m building (by Munkey King) is particularly maddening.

  2. Bill, your generalities are disturbing. I get the feeling that you pass over galleries the same way people use a tv remote, flicking from channel to channel, seeing which show entertains the most, with little thought to content.

    Id like to add that you also need to improve your vocabulary of artists and their respective influences. This was especially obvious in regards to your comments on James Franklin’s work. While he may be influenced by MK and CR, I think that maybe you should also take a look at MK and CR’s work and look to the sources of their inspiration- have you ever? These women didn’t invent the imagery they paint entirely on their own – no artist does. Take a look at american folk art, indian art (especially), native american art, mexican sign paintings, and childrens books of the 1920’s to 1940’s and you’ll be able to understand where their influences come from, as well as where Franklins work may also have been influenced.

    But if were going to assign influences to him, I thought more of Alex Katz, MOCA’s Superflat show and David Hockneys LA paintings while observing Franklin’s work. You know that look? ;)

  3. I also thought the comments on Franklin’s work were weak. I know for a fact that they are misinformed. James Franklin has been creating work using that imagery before Killgallen was very well known and long before Clare Rojas was using it. At least do enough homework to get the timeline right.

  4. Camus & Ignatz,

    Regarding “content”. Yes, my approach toward art is surface at best – if I find the subject matter or the technique interesting, I will take the time to research the artist and their previous works. I suppose if I took more time to learn about today’s artist and art history, I could appreciate a larger body of work. Also, I prefer to visit art shows after the opening to avoid crowds and have the luxuary of time and solitude. Unfortunately, chinatown galleries aren’t open every day so yes, the night had to be done. Also, it is a personal editorial decision to write short reveiws because I don’t want to hog up the page.

    Should I stop blogging about art shows here on bloggingLA. I won’t because people who are more informed than I can and should go to art.blogging.LA and probably have a much better exchange of dialogue. I’m not the resident art critic here at bloggingLA and anyone can write anything. I just happen to be a guy who grew up in chinatown and saw an art show in my neighborhood. That is all.

    I actually do appreciate the criticism and correction. And no, I’m not trying to be sarcastic.

  5. Who is this James Franklin guy anyway? and why haven’t we seen more of his work? Is he part of the funky junk culture of young artists? The handeling of his paintings seem to have more to say than “I’m young and I don’t have much money to make art”. There is a sensitivity to them, and a sensitivity towards the people that have to look at them-which is something that I dare say may be lacking in several of the other shows that are up in chinatown right now. What about that Nick Lowe guy? The LA times guy seems to like his work. comments?

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