The New Regen Projects exhibition space opened in late September in an area of Los Angeles that can best be approximated as south Hollywood. At over 10,000 square feet and designed by architect Michael Maltzan, the space meets and exceeds the expectations of ambitious and pretentious (I use this word as a positive) upper echelon Fine Art Gallery. Not that architecturally speaking it’s all that. This is not a ground up design after all, but rather a facile and efficient appropriation of what once must have been a manufacturing or warehouse facility. Clean white walls, ceilings that reach for the sky, polished concrete floors and skylights that bath the interior with the killer Southern Californian sunshine are all archetypes, by now, of the ambitious multinational corporations that influential galleries have become.
I must admit to loving these contemporary churches of secular aesthetic wonder. Part theatrical stage, part house of avant garde worship, these spaces are often wonderful loci for artistic refuge.
Three pieces in the cacophonous group exhibition of gallery artists paid off both in initial viewing and resonant experiential echos.
Anish Kapoor’s parabolic lens-like mirror became that rare instance of art and entertainment fusing. A large concave mirror made from stainless steel triangles of varying shapes and angles dialogued with every motion in the gallery. As you came closer to the piece, your reflection went from upside down to rightside up. The magnification and abstraction of every reflection remained elusive and wholly ephemeral. Kapoor remains one of the world’s great magicians, harnessing technological wizardry to the behest of aesthetic and emotionally resonant ends.
Doug Aitken’s sculptural word wall piece Movie held similar charm. The surfaces of the word Movie with beveled edges were all broken glass mirrors. And not even safety glass, with its structured splinters but shattered glass. The movie industry here in Los Angeles is after all a medium of light and fractured imagination. The marriage of content and media seemed to produce both an affectionate and critical effect simultaneously. No mean feat that.
Lastly Wolfgang Tillmans large scale photograph of a car hood held fetishistic fascination. The allure of surface was equal in the car itself and the quality and precision of the photographic print. Sexy, aspirational and perhaps vacuous. As a dear dealer friend of mine is known for saying “Wanty Wanty!”
Lastly, the allure of such exhibition spaces like the new Regen Projects is undeniable. But the trap is that the space defines the art. Or rather the venue defines the program of the gallery. More intimate work like that of Elizabeth Peyton or Toba Khedoori, both part of the Regen stable, might see their work fare less well in such environs. Time will tell.
6750 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Inaugural Installation of Gallery Artists continues through October 27th, 2012
-Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, October 2012
also by Mario M. Muller
- Incognito at Santa Monica Museum of Art - May 21st, 2013
- Rinko Kawauchi at Rose Gallery - May 18th, 2013
- Que Serra, Serra at Gagosian - May 16th, 2013
- Paris Photo, Los Angeles - April 29th, 2013
- Matt Wedel at LA Louver - April 19th, 2013