Considering my nightlife of debotury, I have a requirement for my day life to resemble something close to a healthy persons verve. Be it riding my bike to the gym to work out with all the sexy Jennifer Aniston look-a-like mommies marching on their treadmills, to biking to the WII Spa on Wilshire and detoxing with all my Asian friends. My nightlife is filled with relaxing inebriation; my day life must remain full of culture and multi-vitamins. So yesterday I’m biking around town and a revelation pops into my head “you haven’t seen art in a while.”
I am an art guy. I always have been. There is nothing more rewarding to me than standing under a piece of indescribable beauty and knowing that this canvas was once touched by its creator. Los Angles is a great place to live if you fancy yourself an art person. You have The Getty, MOCA, Craft and Folk Art Museum, The Getty Villa, and of course my personal favorite The LACMA.
The LACMA is an amazing place to go and relax. So many ideas I have had were sparked sitting on benches at museums. Currently running at The LACMA is the awe inspiring first solo museum exhibition of artist Steve Wolfe.
Wolfe has formed objects and drawings of brilliant technique and visual amazement. The exhibit is a compilation of ragged books and scratched vinyl records recreated carefully and meticulously to show the mark of usage from their owners. The exhibit (I believe) is a study to demonstrate the beauty of error, the exquisiteness of flaw. The difference between listening to my ipod and putting on a record is that a record may skip. A record may scratch and sound distorted, but me, being the owner of the record, remembers how that scratch came to be. I remember where I was and whom I was with when we would put on the Elvis Costello’s Spike album and waited for track two to skip. “Wait for it…wait for it…. there it is!” It’s a personal sound that I am hearing now.
Steve Wolfe’s creations will trick you by their amazing perfection. To review art I believe it is important to listen to common folk around you. Listen to the everyday Joe who most likely would never have it in them to create something of this mystique. I find the most interesting thing about Wolfe’s exhibit is the mannerisms it brings out it in viewers. The thrusting heads bobbing as close as possible to examine the oddity of this precision. “It must be real!”
They are pieces that must be closely examined. One ogre of a man is on his cell phone, he wears an Ed Hardy tank top and matching hat. His hat cocked to the left of his chrome dome head as if to say, “Yeah bro! I’m here! How cool is that!!”. He talks as if his brain was removed, put in a toaster oven for 30 minutes, set to high, then returned. “Man this art is bogus!” he vomits out, “What…what…. like whatever! Alls he did’s was frame some records and books and crap’s….I can do that….come here baby,” he addresses his tatted hood rat gal “lets go get some hotdogs to eats” Why they are at the museum is beyond me, maybe some brochure told them to check it out.
If my Ed Hardy friend had stopped to read the fine print he would have understood that though the records look perfectly authentic in fact they are art pieces created by Wolfe. Not a framed record, rather, oil, enamel, lithography and modeling paste on a board. I get a sense of jealousy filling my system, no matter how hard I studied, I will never have what it takes to create a piece of art so outstanding. On a side note, I should add, I do believe Wolfe has a debt to pay to the pop art movement; his works are obviously inspired by them.
I paint as well, actually I don’t know if you can call it painting. It’s more of a drunken way of focusing on something so I don’t feel pathetic.
“Yes I’m loaded” I think, “but at least I am up to something!”
Some people dig my paintings but the majority of people feel sorry for me after viewing them. The pieces are frustrated oil and acrylics on canvas, mostly perverted and struggling to be painted. Wolfe on the other hand, this machine of artwork, churns out pieces of wonder, so amazingly perfect that you need to use a magnifying glass to find a flaw. Holy hell! He is so much more talented a person than me! (Here comes the self-pity).
I digress, the beauty I feel, is when you do take that magnifying glass and try to figure this oddity out, simple flaw is what you find. A perfect recreation of a dog-eared book and on closer inspection you notice the tiniest and most insignificant finger print. Did Wolfe accidentally pick his piece up before the paint dried? Did he do this on purpose as to explore mistake? Blemish seems to be the topic at hand in the exhibit, books once new, now torn by their owners. Did Wolfe not put these imperfections in at all? Perhaps some sloppy gallery attendant didn’t wash his hands after eating his KFC double down. Who knows, but I love the thought it brings out in me.
The long and short:
Steve Wolfe, at first the perfection of your work had me fooled, me like my Ed Hardy friend thought you were just another lazy artist making a tiresome statement. However, me, unlike my Ed Hardy fan, did some research and discovered the truth behind your pieces. Well-played sir! Well-played indeed.
There is no way I can view this exhibit and rate it less than a perfect 10.
Don’t forget, the LACMA is free to enter to LA locals with valid ID after 5pm. Spend some time there, you never know what you will conjure up when you leave.