Culture crash

ScionselfportraitScion, the Toyota automobile brand based in Torrance, aims its vehicles at hipsters and those who fancy themselves as such. During a recession, I don’t know if hipsters have more money to spend than other demographics, but they love an open bar.

This Saturday evening they’ll find one at Scion Space, the car company’s Culver City gallery where Installation Five, an exhibition of artist self-portraits, opens. It’s the last stop in a cross country tour (in its fifth year) that started in Detroit and traveled to Miami, Phoenix, Minneapolis, New York, San Jose, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon before rolling into Los Angeles this weekend.

The roster of artists, most of them drawn from the design and illustration world, includes many who are from or based in Los Angeles. (List after jump.)

The self-portraits will be auctioned, at the gallery as well as online (at,) beginning September 12th to benefit Creative Capitol, a non-profit arts philanthropy started in 1999 that funds  “artists pursuing adventurous and imaginative work in the performing and visual arts, film/video, innovative literature, and emerging fields,” according to its website.

It’s a  worthy cause, considering the hit arts funding has taken from a dire economy, not to mention from federally funded arts programs being rolled back after they were turned into culture war lightening rods by irate conservatives.

Creative Capitol is a heavy hitter in its field, with board and panel members from major arts organizations around the country. In May, they received a $15 million grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

In its efforts to market cars to a particular demographic, Scion has worked with artists before, mimicking BMWs foray into “Art Cars.” But unlike BMW, Scion chose not to work with serious art world heavyweights as BMW did with the likes of Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein.

Instead, the company commissioned street artists, T-shirt designers and illustrators to embellish its cars, in some cases small-scale models of them. Scion knows its market. Still, wouldn’t you like to see a diamond-encrusted xB by Damien Hirst?

Scion Installation 5: Self Portraits; opening night, Sat. Sept. 12th, 7 to 10 PM; Scion Space, 3521 Helms Ave. at National, Culver City 90232

Los Angeles-based artists: Asylm, Codak, David Choe, David O’Brien, Edwin Ushiro, elYem , Estevan Oriol, J. Shea, Kofie, Mark Mothersbaugh, Patrick Martinez, Rob Abeyta Jr., Sage Vaughn, Skypage, Souther Salazar, Todd Tourso, Yoskay Yamamoto, Eye One, RETNA, Rick Rodney, Saber, Too Tall Jahmal.