In his 1435 treatise De pictura, the Renaissance-era philosopher Leon Battista Alberti notably laid out the rules for history painting, or istoria, in which rules of perspective and creating a lifelike esemblance to nature, with a clear emphasis on notions of beauty and visual pleasure, are given top priority. Equally important for Alberti was the idea that the spectator of a painting ought to be able to conceptually enter into that picture.
In the last few years, a number of major Los Angeles art galleries relocated to new, larger and more ambitiously designed spaces. A couple of weeks ago, Michael Kohn Gallery opened the doors of its impressive new space on Highland Avenue. Its large main gallery, with its skylights and 22-foot ceiling, has the gravitas of a museum space. The new space was inaugurated with an exhibition by well known LA artist Mark Ryden, who has a following not only among serious art collectors, but among young, hip crowds as well.
Leonardo DiCaprio is an ardent collector of his macabre paintings. Katy Perry refers to his imagery in Twitter posts, and Amanda Seyfried has practically begged to be his muse. (“I’d love for him to paint a caricature of me with blood trickling down my throat and me holding a dead cat,” she told W magazine.) That gown of raw meat that Lady Gaga donned on MTV a few years ago? Derived from one of his best-known works.