Actually, the French are here, at least their art is here, at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park in Hollywood. "Lost (in LA)," on view through January 27, 2013, is very loosely based on the unresolved narrative of the American television series of the same name. Curator Marc-Olivier Wahler has brought together work by artists from France and Los Angeles in what is commonly referred to the art world as a "dialogue."
While accepting that some meaning may be lost in translation, at least a few of the artists responded to the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture of the Barnsdall complex. Vincent Ganivet built giant wheels of cinder blocks, a material similar to that used by Wright while Vincent Lamouroux composed a fiberboard structure hung from the gallery ceiling that emulates the shapes in Wright's architecture. One gallery mixes drawings by contemporary French artists with a photograph of Dorothea Tanning by Man Ray and a letter from Rene Magritte to Andre Breton.
Two Los Angeles artists who have developed friendships and associations in Paris are Jim Shaw and Marnie Weber. One gallery is devoted to biblical ephemera, posters, drawings, records and more, from Shaw's personal collection and quite clearly an influence on the style of his own extraordinary drawings. His work is presently on view at LACMA as part of the "Drawing Surrealism" exhibition. Weber is represented by four of her charmingly weird scarecrow sculptures.
This exhibition, produced by France Los Angeles Exchange, (FLAX) in partnership with Palais de Tokyo, Paris and the Department of Cultural Affairs, L.A. is the first of many under the umbrella title of Ceci N'est Pas…Art Between France and Los Angeles. If you feel lost in Lost, there will be many future opportunities for Franco-Angelo artistic dialogue in the next few months. Go to lamag.org.