September 9th Bergamot Station Opening

September 13, 2017

With a blizzard of art in the twilight of summer, the Bergamot Station demonstratively fulfilled its ambitions as an outpost on the edge of Western Civilization for High Art. There was a cornucopia of splendor with at least a dozen art galleries simultaneously holding openings. And the materials and subject matter were various, though there was a constant theme of Latin American art appreciation.


Most heartening was that the art was overall uplifting. Even in the most tendentiously political, and that which I consistently revile for dirtying the sacredness of artistic aims, the venom was muted by colorfulness and pop whimsy, albeit derivatively so. Linda Vallejo most notably decided to appropriate Western Art and make it quote Latino. Instead of concentrating her sights on the profound, her ugly insecurities are revealed with an ensemble of works which do nothing innovative other than express her dismal psychological state.


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But this was just how one artist internalized her American experience. Other Latinos with more prowess exercised themselves in contemporary abstract manners such as Carlos Menida vividly did with his Untitled. An interesting turn in the abstract is the figurative hand which provides an anthropic rendering rather than a geometrical and colorful study. This artwork can represent an emotional state – which one is up to the subject to decide. This work proves that a piece which is untitled is not necessarily an abandonment of artistic obligation.


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There also was a recrudescence of Pre-Columbian figurine derivatives, perhaps as an effort to re-conquer some long-lost heritage by the artist. But the effort was thwarted by an actual exhibition of clay statuettes from the time of Christ (see above). It’s an interesting, controversial, conundrum: to see first-hand how advanced the Old World was when comparing the cultural achievements chronologically contemporaneously with Mesoamerica. No doubt there is a place and a needed perspective in presenting Latin American artwork, but to relish the past is literally backwards-looking. Genuine visual artistic expression is Promethean; the re-introduction of the statuettes in novel arrangements can be argued to be as such, but not in an absolute sense. Art ought to be birthed with an effort at immortality, which consequently means working toward evolving the human consciousness’ dictionary of symbolic expressions for being. Such as what Rufino Tamayo accomplishes with his Pareja (The Couple).



(image removed)


No, this is not immortal per se, but it is such a roguish effort at originality with surrealistic figures which must possess masculinity and femininity. The contemplation of which is which is an active exercise of analytical dream-weaving. With the colors used, bright and sun-kissed, and the exaggeration of the figures, we cannot but help to take this whimsically. This is an odd couple to be certain, and while the landscape with its stony texture invokes something extra-terrestrial, the warmth of the folly is inviting to explore an inconceivable idea of the strange. Plausibly, this is a work that relaxes enmity toward the unknown. It is a pacifying artwork, and thus a triumph of creation, for it is a genuine cultural contribution with its unwritten edification.


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As far as photography, notable depictions of a pobrecito motif, of a very candidly Christian portrayal of Mexican poverty was not unctuous with its moral appellation. The photographer was able to capture a beautiful honesty in the ways of the poor, who live simply and thus in some sense elegantly.

We also had a cheeky series called Nyet that Type of Girl which was some sort of meditation on Russian stereotypes by the acculturated American, that is, those whose only source to the outside world is through a Hollywood sign.


Bergamot Station. #art #artwork #artopening #artopeningla #bergamotstation

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These self-photographs are commendable in their outright variety which plays with the microscopic awareness of Russian culture, while also educating the subject on the rest; what 90% lays below the surface. Perhaps more provocative would have been to somehow tie in the Russian collusion narrative from the 2016 Presidential Election, but that would have been irksome and inconsistent with the general felicity of the artwork.


Alex Schomburg at Schomburg Gallery. #alexschomburg #comicbookart #graphicnovel

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Last to comment upon, though certainly not a complete scope of the artwork presented, was an exhibition of the late comic book artist Alex Schomburg and his playful visions of the future Space Age. Looking back to see how an artist imagined humanity moving forward is eye-opening, most notably with how concerned or expected the torrent of conquered worlds involves encountering querulous aliens. It seems the expected mentality when gazing into the starry future is the perennial need for combat. It seems bizarre, does it not? That a species can become so technologically advanced yet still possess the necessary evil of violence? Is compromise and peace, conducted through the language of commerce and agreement, non-existent in the imagined future? Of course, the sense of adventurer and intrepidness-romance of drama-is lost with such a banal alternative. There is no fun in dreaming of how galactic ledgers are balanced, or how tycoons will emerge from discovering the cheapest means of exporting Earth ground beef to feed the close encounters of the third kind.


All in all, this was a terrific outing and well-orchestrated, further proving the unsung prestige of the Bergamot Station as a centre for the arts.


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