Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Art Experience, Consumerism, and Place

On Sunday Kate and I went with the friend with whom we are staying to The Brewery an artist colony downtown LA in what I guess at some point was an old brewery but which looks like its most recent iteration was a manufacturing complex. In Fact according the information part of the complex was an old brewery, and part was also part of an Edison plant, and it seems other things as well. Apparently, in some capacity artist have been living and working in the old Brewery since the early 80's. However, it does look still very industrial, and the portion of the colony that we had time and energy to look at (there are over 300 artist loft/studios according to the web site.) looks like old machine shops. The Brewery has an "open house" twice a year, in the fall and the spring.

What we saw was of mixed quality and interest. Though the spaces were often quite invigorating and there was a quasi rustic feel, and many of the artists had fixed up their lofts and studio space in very beautiful and inspiring ways. Kate was very energized by the experience, and I wasn't sure what to make of it all. The first space we visited was an artist who has post-apocalyptic Steampunk themed work and his studio and loft space was Steampunk craziness. Quite cool, but his work didn't seem to mean much, each piece was an experience, and there were techniques he had invented and perfected. Technically it was all very well executed beyond the experience of the space and his pieces I didn't see much more meaning beyond .

What we saw was mostly similar to this, interesting techniques, and a certain beauty but largely meaningless beyond the techniques and the experience of the art. Saw a photographer that did some very interesting things with cityscapes and landscapes in black adn white and sepia tones. Also, an abstract painter that worked only in industrial enamels, that I find quite captivating and had the work I liked the best but again left me seeking meaning in the pieces, but only finding the experience of various types of spaces. But not mental spaces or places in the world but only the experience of this particular canvas as a space I could inhabit for a time. Interesting but quite meaningless.

The artist Miripolski has a loft there and Kate and he hit it off and traded some of her horns for a print of one of his works. he is working on a humongous stained glass piece for the L.A. Cultural center that is the artists representation of the History of LA, with some aspect of also projecting its future. Hi work is very vibrant and colorful, and I feel very much something that would emerge out of the culture of L.A.

Overall though I had the experience of Art as manufacturing in most of the spaces. Each loft studio felt a little like a space for the manufacture and production of art objects to be experienced and consumed. If I was to be confronted or challenged or brought beyond myself it was in quite singular experiences that meant nothing beyond a singular encounter. Very little of what I saw in my small sampling of artists their studio's and work left me with any meaning beyond those encounters. I think the space of former industrial complex and manufacturing for quite literal consumption (beer) had some effect both on my experience of the art but also the artists. I also wonder if this is where art is at the moment, to produce experiences and the meaning is in the experience and nothing more.