Is it Sunday already? Well, I attended the Photo LA opening reception last week. It was hosted by Diane Keaton but I didn't see "Miss-I'm-Gonna-Milk-This Annie Hall-Look-Til-I-Die" anywhere. I'm sort of grateful. The Santa Monica Civic Center was turned into the Beverly Center for art, maybe worse, it may have even been Costco (if super-rich people shopped at Costco) this weekend for a gallery extravaganza, art houses from all over the world came to hawk their goods. The commerce outweighed the art at every turn. If you listened close you could hear cash registers cha-chinging to a measured beat, like that Pink Floyd song. As I slid into gallery nook after gallery nook, I was acosted each time by pushy workers, who like Rodeo Drive shopgirls working on commission, tried to strike up banal conversations about the photographs. The sad thing was, I saw a few galleries even sold prints of the same photos (see the Kim Zwarts print above) and it reminded me of the Gap, or shopping on Melrose. There were a handful of safe bets, like the boring little black cocktail dress, can you go wrong with a Dorothea Lange or Walker Evans? But it wasn't all bad. I actually saw some images I liked. This one below is by a woman named Lalla Essaydi, it captures a preparation ceremony for a Muslim wedding.
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The women have writen all over their gowns and burquas in sepia ink, at their feet lay eggs covered in arabic letters, some are cracked open. Something about the women standing before the broken shells caught my eye, these women will walk on eggshells for the rest of their lives. The eggshells also mirror the women themselves, their eyes peer out from their burquas, their new shells. So though it was sad to see some great art reduced to such a dirty commodity, it could be a good chance for an emerging talent to have their work seen. Photo LA was like picking through any sale rack, you can find some gems if you know where to look.