This wasn’t my first visit to the MOCA, but it was my first time seeing this particular exhibit of Andy Warhol’s Shadows series. Warhol has been my inspiration, idol and father art figure for the past 15 years and I’ve been lucky enough to see his works in places like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, etc…. I’m mesmerized with each Warhol piece I’ve ever seen in person because I consider the context of the time when his art was made, his technique and his energy. With as many books, articles and documentaries that have been made concerning Warhol and his Factory and his persona, I still feel like he’s an enigma; not one person knows why he did the things he did but himself. And that’s what keeps me coming back to all things Warhol.
As you walk into the MOCA, you’ll find the Warhol Shadows to your left and they fill two of the larger exhibition rooms. They’re hung side by side and lower, closer to the floor, than usual. I felt transported into a different head space in those rooms; it was great! I took my time and looked at each Shadow up close. Admittedly, looking at the Shadows from afar, you’d think, “Oh, they’re all the same”, but– they’re not. Although the Shadows are each screenprinted, the color is added by hand and Warhol’s continuing use of repetition is highlighting something else we don’t consider on a daily basis: shadows, but unlike the Campbell’s Soup Cans or the Marilyn‘s, the Shadows are moodier and ominous and I think lend themselves to being a metaphor for mortality. I’m so grateful to the MOCA for bringing the exhibit to Los Angeles, considering this is only the second time the series has been shown in it’s entirety since 1979.
Stop two: Velveteria! I can’t remember how I heard about this velvet painting mecca, but it’s been on my to-do list for some time now. Velveteria is curated and owned by Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin. I wasn’t really sure what to expect; except that it would probably be bad, but in a good way, ha! I was not disappointed. The paintings are hung salon style, so every square inch of Velveteria is covered with a painting, or some kinda of kooky knick-knack. There’s walls of celebrities with everyone from Pee-Wee Herman to Liberace. At the back of the museum you’ll find a room dedicated to naked lady velvet paintings- don’t get the wrong idea, you won’t find a room of raunchiness, and directly across from that you’ll find the black light room with paintings of glowing devils and clowns. On my way out I chatted with Caren, the owner, who gave me some awesome tips on food and sightseeing in Chinatown (it was my first time there).
Velveteria is a kitsch fan’s dream and in order to leave an air of mystique, I’ll refrain from posting the photos I was able to snap from inside the museum, but here’s what you’ll find just walking in the front door.
All in all, it was a great day for pop and pulp art! But also, it was just a great day of meeting new people, seeing new sights and feeling inspired all over again. I hope to carry this with me into the new year.
Here’s a couple of last tidbits on the Uno Foto front. If you need to find some last minute Christmas gifts, I’d suggest stopping by Broke Girls Coffee Bar because I’ve got some collages hanging up there. The mermaid piece below recently sold, but there’s some other quirky pieces that might suit your tastes. Also- grab some local coffee while you’re there or some freshly made pies! They’re delicious 🙂
If you happen to be at House of Blues San Diego, make sure you make a pit stop at the gift shop because my Dia de los Muertos skull, entitled “In Memoriam”, is available for purchase. I’m very honored to have it there because the House of Blues is filled with such awesome, original folk art. I’m in very good company!
Finally, my zine, From Hell To Highwater, will be taking a little vacation soon and going on hiatus after the Spring. I’m currently seeking submissions for the double Fall/Winter issue, so feel free to send me an email and I’ll respond with more details. Keep in mind, there’s no theme for this issue 😀