By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
The vignettes, culled from movies ranging from 10,000 BC to The Producers to Kurosawa’s Dreams to Ghostbusters, congeal into a world of roughly symmetrical composition spanning from down low to on high, and are experienced bit by bit as the scenes scroll past your eyes, like an old-master last-judgment scene camped up and set in motion. All of this is appropriately set to a selection from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
Brambilla’s hell is less supernatural and surreal than it is fascist, corporate, consumerist, modernist and postmodernist, and the more you look, the more you realize that whether Hell, purgatory or Heaven, all these zones appear populated by void-headed, pleasure-seeking go-alongs lorded over by flexing masculine enforcers. The biggest differences between Heaven and Hell seem to be the color balance of the atmosphere, the air quality and the degree of perspiration.
In the back gallery at Grimes, Brambilla offers another video work, Cathedral, which deals in a different conflation of fiction, myth and constructed reality. Footage of holiday-rush shoppers at a Toronto mall is edited with kaleidoscopic effects, yielding a banal yet oddly compelling experience that is yet another cocktail of Heaven, Hell, purgatory and the world outside your door.
Christopher Grimes Gallery, 916 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica; Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; through Nov. 22. (310) 587-3373 or www.cgrimes.com.
Patricia Faure, RIP
Gallerist Patricia Faure, a mainstay of the Los Angeles gallery scene for decades, died in her sleep on October 21 at the age of 80. Faure began as art dealer Nicholas Wilder’s assistant in the 1970s. For 15 years, she and friend Betty Asher ran the Asher/Faure Gallery, one of a handful of venues that helped raise the profile of the L.A. gallery scene in the ’80s. In 1994, she opened her own gallery at Bergamot Station, where her corner space was a cornerstone of the complex for 10 years before she began phasing out of the business.
Faure, who was known as Patty, always had a twinkle in her eye, and she had a good eye, not just as a dealer who launched and represented some of the best artists in Los Angeles during her career but also as a photographer. As a 2005 show of her photos at the gallery of her friend Margo Leavin revealed, between her early career as a fashion model and her later vocation as gallerist, and parallel to her life as a young mother, Faure enjoyed a life behind the lens. She worked for Francesco Scavullo, Elle, Jardin de Mode, Marie Claire, Vogue and The New York Times. Her show at Margo Leavin included a shot of Peggy Moffitt and Bill Claxton sailing in the ’50s; a 1958 group portrait of the Ferus Gallery stable recently made familiar in the documentary The Cool School; a 1970 shot for Rudi Gernreich’s UNISEX line; and pictures from her 1971 “Artists Exercise” series featuring Billy Al Bengston doing calisthenics and Ken Price and Ed Moses on the tennis court.
There was a tweediness about Faure but also an elegance and a hint of naughtiness, all of which were captured in a 1965 portrait of her, shot by friend Helmut Newton. In 2003, she printed the Newton photo on the invitation to her 75th-birthday party at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. What Newton captured was always there, and in her older years, Faure had about her the manner of an angel who sometimes listened to a devil sitting on her shoulder. With the pleasure she took in personally touring visitors through shows, and her trademark line, “Isn’t that good?” both revealing her genuine enthusiasm for art and subtly masking her salesmanship (though she maintained that art couldn’t really be sold but rather sold itself), Faure was equal parts an institution, a living treasure and a walking and talking history book.
Some might mark the death of an art dealer with the sense of loss one would attach to the demise of a used-car salesman, but as with most professions, the gallery business has its more and less likable shopkeepers. Faure set the bar for likable, and now sets the bar for being missed.