We went to Las Vegas last week. It was for a family birthday and I have never been to the city: it was going to be an experience. We packed up the car, drove for five-ish hours into the desert, and stayed in Sin City for less than forty eight hours in the middle of the week: it was a fun break from your normal work week. The city is a very self-aware, hand-sanitized, man made wonderland of escapism that only exists because there aren’t enough places for tourists to visit. Vegas only survives because you–or your friends from high school–need a place to go and let it all hang out. There is a big black cloud of uncool looming above the identity of the city and Vegas is one of the rare cities that people warn you will hate. But, like my grandfather always told me, everything has a redeeming value–so what is Vegas’ redeeming value? There actually seemed to be quite a few positive things about the city that we noticed, wrote down, and wanted to share to perhaps rub off on the Los Angeles psyche.
To those outside of the design world, the name Stefan Sagmeister sounds like some exotic European men’s name. To those up on design? It is the name of one of the most influential graphic designers currently in the field. Sagmeister is known for his award winning work on album covers and his unique work practice which includes taking a year off from clients every seven years. He’s the kind of person who has defined his life in such a clear, different way that you can’t help but notice and be intrigued by it. People in Los Angeles have come to notice the work of Sagmeister a little more because his work is on display at MOCA’s Pacific Design Center. The resulting exhibit is The Happy Show and it is an explosion of information, interactivity, and happiness. It’s one of those shows that you don’t see but you participate in and leave knowing more about yourself.
We don’t often place contemporary art and contemporary craft outside of the context of current time: what we make now isn’t viewed as the cultural and intellectual relics we will leave behind. These ways that we express ourselves are markers of history and forms that may outlive us for centuries. Ceramicist and artist Ben Medansky is very aware of this: his work–from slumping planters to arching bowls–are very aware of the baggage the past, present, and future have on them. They are made with an eye at history and a gaze toward what has yet to happen: Ben’s creations are meant to represent his surrounding and point of view in a sophisticated, simple, and tactile way.
“Ceramics lasts forever,” he says, sitting at a table in his studio. “I feel like if I am going to be in charge of the aesthetic history of our society that I might as well make things good and that I am proud of. They’re not going to dig up the Internet, unfortunately.”
Is there something going on this weekend? Anything musical? Out in the desert? Anything? We’re unsure but we know that LA will be super chill this weekend–and there’s a lot going on, too. Take advantage that! How? CHECK THE RECAP!!
You don’t often hear from the art manufacturer. There are many, many artists whose work is actually to service other artists and to help them make their bigger, crazier pieces that often are without the touch of the human hand. These artists are by people like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, these big artists who are thinking so (annoyingly) gigantic that their work lacks any personal touch and is instead the result of graceful outsourcing. Elliot Jackson is a local sculptor who has worked as a professional fabricator for artists, helping them complete their work. Jackson has his own practice which is a melting of people and figures into each other: they are studies of the human body broken down to the elements that create them.