May 30, 2008

Bob Dylan's Documents

If anyone in Los Angeles felt something in the air lately, like the cool factor just went up inexplicably, it's because the "Bob Dylan's American Journey" exhibition has been hanging out at the Skirball. I was lucky enough to be invited to go to a sold-out screening of Eat The Document - an unreleased documentary about Bob Dylan. Rumor has it that Bob Dylan took scissors to the film and cut it himself after being deeply unsatisfied with a previous edit. And after seeing it, I actually believe that. I cannot recommend the film because a) it is unavailable, b) the unmastered sound quality makes it almost incomprehensible, and c) as the host Director Penelope Spheeris herself commented, "you shouldn't watch it alone because it is completely illogical." But, if you are a fan, or just curious, there a moments that make it all worthwhile: the musical performances, jamming with Robbie Robertson on guitar, an impromptu duet with Johnny Cash, and a London cab ride with John Lennon. They say it's an impressionistic film. It's definitely about something, even if no one can really articulate what that is. On the most basic level, it is a film about artists doing their thing.
Seeing the exhibit right before the screening was a perfect way to get ready. There in the Getty Gallery, a map of beatnik New York helped place everything. Folk concert posters and their artwork served as precious relics. Even the letters Bob Dylan wrote to friends and family showed his mastery of writing and made everything come alive. And one of my favorites was the interactive exhibit where you could play an instrument along to a Bob Dylan tune. In this case, the context is culture, an it only heightens the experience of something that isn't just music.

May 9, 2008

Oh, it is definitely ON! Ready for SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT

Life is sweet. Lately my days are filled with the images from my upcoming solo show. They are always with me. I get through each day just fine, but I am living with an extra quality to my life as I prepare. I love it.

Somebody recently asked me what inspired me for SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT. Well, let's see if I can answer that.

You could say that someone's impulse to fabricate a gigantic plastic cow to house a roadside business triggered an impulse within me to stop the car immediately and photograph it. Think about it, imagine you are driving down a remote rural highway when you see a gigantic fabricated plastic cow on the side of the road, and you think to yourself, 'Wait, is that a Jeff Koons installation? Oh, it's not - well, what's that about?' And my point is: exactly. After that experience, I started to see more and appreciate just how pervasive animal symbols are in modern life. I started to chuckle at the thought that a plastic bovine could give street cred to almost any business: barbecue restaurant, rv dealership, honey stand, you name it. And it's like we exist in such a world without noticing how wonderfully strange that is. Well, I noticed, and I started to explore that.

And since I know that absolutely anything could be done in terms of digital art and photo-realistic special effects, I decided that my personal art was to be raw and analog in order for it to have the most meaning for me. Perhaps because of my background, that is the line in the sand between 'work' and 'art'. I have to find ways to experience my freedom, i.e. did the expired film in my overheated holga make the Mississippi River look like a red nuclear pond? Fine. Good. Print it. Yes.

I've been reflecting about my Artist Influences for my show, and here they are:

Gerhard Richter
I am simply awestruck by his work, especially by his photo-based paintings and his abstract paintings. I love that he is such a master of visual representation yet he can also go totally abstract. He is vital to me.

Mona Kuhn
The softness and dreamy intimacy of her work gives me a sense of connection. Her photographs exist in a world all their own.

Jeff Koons
Provocative, bold and playful. I enjoy how the scale of his work instantly forces a confrontation. And I think the world is a definitely a better place because of his balloon dogs.

So, if you find yourself in Los Angeles on June 21st, please come on by to the SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT Artist Reception @ Gallery 825. It is my delight to be able to share my work with you.

:: bogna ::