The last several weeks turned out to be - for me - not only the hottest but the busiest weeks of the year. Good friends of mine sweet-talked me into organizing an exhibition in a small but ballsy art museum in El Segundo. "Yes," I said, "Let's do it!" Little did I know how much time it would take to put it all together…The best part so far is visiting artists in their studios, from downtown LA all the way to the ocean.
Studio of Peter Shelton, Downtown Los Angeles
I've followed the career of prominent LA sculptor Peter Shelton for a long time, but never had the chance to visit him in his studio – and what a treat it was! Take a look at my photos on the Art Talk website. His large, factory-like studio was crowded with voluminous, gigantic sculptures. Seeing these sculptures formally exhibited in an art gallery or museum is a pleasure, but experiencing them as part of the crowded and inspiringly messy studio environment is a much more personal and intimate experience. It's like being invited by a five-star chef to experience his or her cooking – and not by sitting in a formal dining room but by watching the delicious chaos of a restaurant kitchen. That's exactly what makes visiting an artist's studio so exciting for me.
Studio of Galia Linn, Culver City
In Culver City I went to see the studio of Galia Linn, another well-known LA artist, whose ceramic sculptures range in scale from small to huge, some of them weighing many hundreds of pounds. She recently expanded her studio to incorporate a new supersized kiln where clay can be fired at thousands of degrees and then take a day or two to slowly cool down. What's particularly interesting and intriguing is that no matter how much thought and preparation goes into working with the raw clay the artist can never fully predict what will come out of the fire.
Studio of Enrique Martínez Celaya, Culver City
After more than a decade in Florida, Enrique Martínez Celaya returned to LA and established a sprawling studio in Culver City. His sculptures and paintings, with their melancholic air and frequent literary references, intrigue and appeal to me. Once again, perfection is not the goal here. The feeling is that you're invited to join the artist on his journey and it's up to you to finish it for yourself.
Studio of Rachel Lachowicz, Santa Monica Airport
Photo Courtesy of the artist
I wonder how many of you have ever been to Santa Monica Airport? A lot of planes, some good food and – hidden in plain sight – artists working in their studios. One of them, Rachel Lachowicz, is famous for using in her paintings and sculptures such untraditional materials as lipstick and eye shadow. With such specific female beauty products Rachel makes strong artistic and even political statements about female empowerment. While using women's beauty products she delivers artistic punches as strong as any of her male counterparts.
El Segundo Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of ESMoA
In spite of its relatively small size, El Segundo Museum of Art, also known as ESMoA, has a rather ambitious public program. On Saturday evening I went there to watch a couple of documentaries about Joseph Beuys, a most influential post WWII German artist and teacher. I'd never seen live footage of him – what a charismatic performer and pure shaman I found him to be…
Old Town Music Hall, El Segundo
On the way back to my car after the screening, I stumbled upon a group of people standing in line for the ticket office in front of a small building with a marquee reading Old Town Music Hall. The screening of the 1936 Swing Time starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was about to start in a few minutes. The timing was perfect and seeing these Hollywood legends immediately after being challenged by the conceptual art of Joseph Beuys was like having a sweet dessert after a serious dinner. Exactly what the doctor ordered!
All photos by Edward Goldman unless otherwise noted.