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Diary: A Jaded New Yorker in LA… Searching for Artistic Integrity in Hollywood and Bev Hills

February 26, 2011
Diving into the art at the Black Swan Exhibit, Regen Projects, LA
(All text and photos by Susan M. Kirschbaum)
Sun up in Lala. Thank G-d. Rained cats and dogs last night. Did not stop James Franco and Gus Van Sant from opening an exhibit of Gus’ painting and a montage of Gus’ unused film clips (“Idaho” starring River Phoenix) by Franco at Gagosian.  (They already took down the ten Ed Ruscha paintings from the previous night. Perhaps LA is fickle.) The artful Velvets descended: Moma curator Klaus Biesenbach, musician Michael Stipe, author Bret Easton Ellis and others…. A little girl named Sophie approached Van Sant with a cardboard flyer. Asked him to sign, then was ready for her dad to take her to ice cream.
“The paintings are all young boys who are sticking their tongues out a bit.” My date said. Large and inviting and open, like LA. That’s how I saw them, as if they asked, “Come meet me. I’ve got something to offer you.”
Drawn past Beverly Hills into Hollywood, we stopped at Regen Projects. “Black Swan” the exhibit, featuring works by twenty artists used in the film including Matthew Barney, Anish Kapoor, and Christopher Wool. Curated by Dominc Sidhu, also an NYC transplant, the press release read:
A meditation on apparition versus reality, the exhibition explores the psychological broken mirror between the white swan and the black swan through a primarily black, white, and silver palette. Inflected with themes of redemption, abjection, and alterity, the philosophical underpinnings of the exhibition explore the uncomfortable space between presumed opposites. In the spirit of the Ballet Russes, the exhibition deconstructs the conceptual implications of the fable in a contemporary exegesis.
I’ll draw it down to this. The cracked mirror floor really set the stage for works of black and white paintings on canvas, some other  hanging abstracts, a silver chandelier and another sculpture that resembled a silver plate, both on the glass floor.  Gazing down was a helluva lot of fun. Wacky fantastic optical illusion. Again, kinda like LA.
Natty Casey Spooner poses in front of one of Gus’ boys
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