Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nuit Blanche In Santa Monica

That was the demo.
Last night's much promoted and anticipated Santa Monica Glow festival turned out like a missed soufflé: deflated. Thousands of visitors, little art. Inspired by the Nuits Blanches -- all-night cultural events that originated in Paris and have since branched out to many cities around the world -- Glow claimed to boast over 100 light and sound art pieces from dusk to dawn. Yet apart from a few live performances and a dozen art projects, there was not much to see. The art itself was trite, amateurish, disappointing. Where was the edginess, the innovation, the vision one would expect in such an art lab as L.A.? Where was the breakthrough use of light and space, in a State which based an entire movement on its artistic exploration?

The main show, circus really, was the gazillion people who stormed the beach late at night. The oceanside was packed stadium-style. Streets were choking with traffic and drivers ready to pull the trigger for a parking space. We felt blessed to only have to jump into our flip flops and walk to the beach. In the end, it was all just a grand raout.

Above: 1/2. Works by Shih Chieh Huang + Kalim Chan & Dmitry Kmelnitsky - never found despite criss-crossing the beach and streets. 3. Usman Haque's misty cloud of light. 4. Shih Chieh Huang's tunnel of sea creatures under the Pier. 5. The best art may have been on the ravers' heads. Glow program here. Media coverage in LAWeekly and Santa Monica Mirror. More comments via LAist.
UPDATE 07/21/08: LAT sees Positively a Glow - with photos
UPDATE 07/22/09: Elise Thompson/LAist captured the night & the aftermath
UPDATE07/27/08: Glow organizers congratulate themselves via SMDP & City website
photos: 1/2 via LAWeekly - others LA Frog