Arts The Artists Speak: No. 31 and No. 2
posted by August 23 at 9:30 AMon
OK, these two podcasts aren’t with artists, but I’m keeping this title anyway as my weekly recommendation to listen to other people’s words instead of mine.
If you’re new to this, I do a weekly podcast called In/Visible. (You simply click, and you can listen. I’ve done 31 of them now.)
New this week is a conversation with Ken Allan, an art historian relatively new to Seattle (and to Seattle University) from LA. Old this week—and recommended as accompaniment—is a conversation with Scott Lawrimore, Seattle’s newest art dealer, from last November. These are the people you won’t ever get to hear at an artist lecture or a curators’ talk.
Allan’s area of specialty is postwar Los Angeles—the birth of the city as an art destination, really. (He’s my latest find in the LA-comes-to-Seattle category, including curator Michael Darling of Seattle Art Museum [formerly of the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA] and Olga Koumoundouros [the artist inaugurating Open Satellite in Bellevue].)
How was LA built? Was LA then like Seattle now? Allan is a thoughtful guy (and a fan of Wallace Berman, seen below in a self-portrait).
Here is some of what he had to say:
(Walter) Hopps was about exposing people to the fact that great abstract painting was going on in San Fransisco, and some there in LA. So he created this—he was trying to find a venue for this show and ended up renting a merry-go-round space on the old Santa Monica pier. He installed the work in this merry-go-round building with jazz playing.
What’s so great about Scott Lawrimore and the Lawrimore Project is that he seems to be forging a path to both cultivate a community here, and to try to get in dialogue both nationally and internationally.
That last bit makes a nice segue into a rainy November morning with Lawrimore. If it is possibly that anyone hasn’t heard already, Lawrimore Project opened last summer and since then has done much to deserve attention. The gallery has hosted shows, talks, performances, and brunches.
What Allan says impresses him almost the most about Lawrimore’s project is the thinking and talking that goes on slightly under the radar with Lawrimore, and I’d have to agree. When Allan and I got together earlier this week, Allan had just come from a weekly Art Klatch hosted by Lawrimore at Cafe Presse (Tuesday mornings at 7 am, open to anyone). Topics range, baguettes are chewy.
Here is some of what Lawrimore says:
Me: Why do you mistrust the eye? Lawrimore: I don’t mistrust the eye. Me: You completely do! Lawrimore: Oh, well, I need an example of what it is I have shown at the gallery that does not have eye appeal. … I admit that, unfortunately, the visual arts are still quite visual … In reference to the Jupiter Art Fair (in Portland), 90 percent of the art there was visually driven and it ended there and there wasn’t much going on behind it.
The moment of a sale in a gallery, when you’re with a client and they’re looking at an object, that’s one thing. But I think beyond that the strength of placing work and building collections is in the dialogue that happens between those times where we’re sitting in the office chatting about what what we just saw somewhere else at another gallery or in a magazine or at auction, and I start to get an idea about what it is they’re collecting and why it is they’re collecting this and not that.