You Better Art, Bitch
BY GENNA RIVIECCIO
Feeling a little uncultured lately? A bit like your frontal lobe has been sawed off by Netflix forcing you to binge watch? Look no further than the upcoming art exhibits right in your own backyard. Like the exhibition and screening of Colin Campbell and Lisa Steele’s work at the ONE Gallery in West Hollywood (626 N. Robertson Boulevard). Or the solo exhibition from Philadelphia-based artist Jonathan Lyndon Chase at Kohn Gallery (1227 N. Highland Avenue).
or those unfamiliar with the ahead-of-its time work of Canadian Colin Campbell and Canadian by proxy Lisa Steele, it’s time to start getting familiar. Before people were just calling themselves “video artists” because of their Instagram, Campbell and Steele were actually creating progressive work by culling personas and material from their engagement with the strange landscape that is (or rather, was) Los Angeles. Viewing themselves as “anthropologists studying a very strange culture through its everyday media and manifestations,” the duo would take on roles that flirted freely with queer stylings and attitudes of a subculture – best evidenced in “The Woman from Malibu” series and “The Scientist Tapes.” Blurring the line between persona and self long before Paris Hilton ever did, the exhibition, curated by Jon Davies, reveals a shockingly prophetic view of life through a medium that Campbell and Steele helped to normalize. For the performer in us all (the one that comes out even in unexpected moments like when you feign not knowing you stole the necklace from that boutique in Venice,) do not miss “I Almost Ran Over Liza Minnelli Today: Colin Campbell and Lisa Steele in L.A., 1976–77.”
But if you do miss it, at least give Jonathan Lyndon Chase a chance. Entitled Sheets, the show (up from July 4 -14) is the artist’s first solo foray in the realm of L.A galleries. With work that highlights the sort of distortions and abstractions of form that Francis Bacon would approve of, Chase’s emphasis is on the day-to-day existence of queer black men, and the obvious complications that come with declaring oneself to be in the forever oppressed and unforgiving mores of yesterday, today and tomorrow.