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Memorial Tribute to James Doolin
Sunday, November 3 at 2 pm
MTA Gateway Lobby
One Gateway Plaza, LA, CA 90012
for more info, contact Koplin Gallery (310) 657-9843

A few months ago I wrote about James Doolin, the Los Angeles-based painter who passed away in August. This Sunday, there will be a memorial tribute of the artist's wonderful mural at the MTA headquarters downtown. I encourage everyone to check it out.

For the rest of the world, the image of our city of angels is constructed around the visual mythology invented by Hollywood. But for those lucky people who are familiar with the art of James Doolin, his images of Los Angeles reveal an unglamorous, but nevertheless poetic aspect of this city that no other artist has depicted with such conviction- And with such realism, if we are still allowed to use this much maligned word in its most positive definition.

It is sad to learn that this gifted painter recently died at the age of seventy. I had the pleasure of knowing him and liked very much both his art and the man himself, with whom, once, I had the chance to collaborate on a public art commission. James took his assignment to paint a large mural depicting the park along Ocean Blvd. in Santa Monica with uttermost seriousness. He made dozens, if not hundreds, of sketches of the park and strollers. He even knocked on the doors of the people who lived across from the park to ask permission to climb on their roofs or to step onto their balconies so that he could see the park from yet another angle. It took him almost a year to condense all of his sketches and photographs into one beautiful painting which, fifteen years later, continues to grace the lobby of one of the buildings on Wilshire Blvd. If David Hockney, in his art emphasized the hedonistic aspect of life in L.A., James Doolin embraced all of the city, from the oceanside to the less than glamorous intersections and alleys of downtown. With a remarkable eye for realistic detail, the artist fused the minutia of everyday life with a totally original sense of color, the poetic soul of his art. I can truly say that knowledge of James Doolin's art helped me to understand and love this city the way I do. Let's hope that one of our museums will do us a favor by organizing a retrospective of his art.

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