So how was your Turkey? Mine was very good. But still, the inevitable question remains -- what is the best way to fight Post-Turkey Depression? A shot of vodka? No... How about art? Yes. Three shots of art, and all in one day.
First, I stopped at Ernie Wolfe Gallery on Sawtelle Blvd, where the renowned 88-years-young Los Angeles painter Ed Moses threw a spectacular artistic tantrum by suspending a few dozen exotic wooden chairs in the air -- thus, literally turning things upside down in Ernie Wolfe Gallery, which specializes in African tribal and contemporary art.
The artist chose to cover the gallery walls with large mirror-like panels, which, because of their imperfection, distort and twist the space into a joyful, dancing cacophony of reflections, including your own giggling self. This artistic misbehavior by Ed Moses is a pure delight.
My second shot of art was taken at the Architecture and Design Museum, which organized a retrospective of yet another well-known Los Angeles artist, Peter Shire, who came into prominence 30 years ago, thanks to a number of high-profile public artworks commissioned to him during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
A relatively small museum space literally explodes with bright color and phantasmagorical shapes of ceramic sculptures and architectural models. All the above, plus numerous drawings and paintings, allows us, according to the museum's statement, "to see the inner workings of the artist's process... The end result is a site-specific installation that is singularly Shire: bold, dynamic, colorful, and visually seductive."
It's impossible not to be amused, when confronted by a few dozen of Peter Shire's Angels, flying every which way. All of them are made of metal -- some have a silver surface, others are painted in bright colors. And, all of them have personalities, in spite of the fact that each of them is constructed from a few, basic geometric forms -- mostly cylinders and half-circles.
I can hear you, my friends, breathing heavily, waiting to hear about the third shot of Art that helped me to recuperate from Post-Turkey Depression. Here it is: at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, I discovered the exhibition by acclaimed Los Angeles craft artist Clare Graham. This is his first solo museum exhibition. Truth be told, despite his long career as Disneyland's Senior Art Director, I had never heard of him before. This exhibition, which covers 40 years of his art making, made me wonder why it took so long for the museum and yours truly to discover his unique talent.
The materials that Graham obsessively collects and uses for his art are decidedly common, if not totally mundane: children's toys, tin cans, buttons, bottle caps... you name it, it's there - and in huge numbers. And then, a miracle happens. Thanks to his impeccable, meticulous craftsmanship, these banal materials are transformed into functional chairs, tables, mirrors, chandeliers, and even cabinets of curiosities, which visitors are invited to open, to explore the treasures hidden inside.
According to the artist, he has recycled close the 4 million buttons into his sculptures. Talk about obsession... and a glorious obsession, at that. Now, I have to find my way to his large, 7,000 square foot studio, which is also used as a performance space, gallery, and gathering point for other artists.
Our City of Angels is never short of surprises.
Edward Goldman is an art critic and the host of Art Talk, a program on art and culture for NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM. To listen to the complete show and hear Edward's charming Russian accent, click here.