Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Santa Monica Artists

Santa Monica College's Pete and Susan Barrett Gallery presents Emphasis Santa Monica, an ecletic exhibit of works by 49 Santa Monica-based artists celebrating the "inspiring" city: Don Bachardy, John Baldessari, Frank Gehry, Barbara Drucker, show curator Bruria Finkel, and many more (selection here.)

Each artist has one work on display, with a quote about their personal relationship with Santa Monica. "I moved when Harry Truman was President. I think I'll stay," writes Michael McMillen. "Santa Monica is the inspiration behind my work," says Elena Allen, "the arc of its sun drenched sands, its bay's kaleidoscopic colors and the dramatic exchanges of its roofs and highways." For Tony Berlant, "Life is always highlighted on the edge of a continent."

"They say if you turn America on its end, everything lose slides into L.A. (and ends up in Santa Monica)," adds Elena Siff. "Like the Pacific Ocean, this collection of humans piled decades high upon the magnificent California landscape has produced something distinctive - a rich cultural life tinged with a touch of evil. The pounding surf - the hint of chaos - the poisonous flower - home sweet home!"

Baldessari throws a curveball at the City, referring to the emerging Poodletown and his upcoming eviction: "I may be the last artist on Main Street. Gentrification triumphs as usual. Since 1970 I have brought a lot of national and international attention to Santa Monica when I say it is where where my studio is located. No longer. My address will be where condos are located. Thanks Santa Monica for your support."

A nice show, well put together and worth a visit. "Taken as a whole and mirroring many of the written statements of the 49 artists, we Santa Monicans live somewhere very special," concludes the SM Mirror. Artists' Reception on September 13.
photo LA Frog: Don Bachardy's "Malcolm Boyd and Mark Thompson"