The Lamps of Chinatown

LA Freewaves: TV or NOT TV


Three or four things impress you greatly here, and lead to an overwhelming discovery.


First, the art galleries sprouting up on or around Chung King Road are caches of nonentity. Pet rocks were a flash of social commentary by comparison, they vie with each other in this regard.


“I’m nothing.”


“I never was anything.”


“I never could have been anything.”


“Not even in your dreamless sleep.”


Mind you, some pretty big names promoted this as a happening thing. Shit happens, too. It’s a happening thing. And speaking of big names, one of the contenders in this display of video art is one in her own right, a CalArts professor with a distinguished résumé.


But, as always in a group show or a literary magazine, one artist slips in unbeknownst to the management. Actually three artists (and in this sprawling exhibition, only part of a citywide “celebration,” something might have been overlooked—but let’s not encourage anyone, as they say in the universities), who put together a bit of fun projected on to the wall of the Chung King Road fountain. Angel Nevarez admires The Omega Man and toys with it awhile. Daniel Martinico & Jesse Arnold take TV action sequences and loop them as patterns. People talk, things move, you have some sense of the possibilities in video.


Toxic Titties was a sort of Lesbian street art performance, I gather, on the half-shell, in the form of wiggy cop costumes being videotaped for posterity.


A lot of people visit Chinatown for these openings. Interesting people who do things and go places. As they sauntered past the galleries it slowly dawned on them how pitiful the art, and “what a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!”