We appreciate art as much as the next guy, but sometimes entering a snooty Westside gallery can be a daunting experience. No, we cant afford to buy anything, and we have no clue about what the obscure postmodern quasi-Cubist stuff on the wall is paying homage to. We just like to look at pretty pictures, and if its bright, whimsical, campy, folky, cartoony, dark, provocative, even a little tacky, well probably eat it up. Were not alone: The continued success of Billy ShiresLa Luz De Jesus Gallery
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) proves that. Back when it was the second level of Shires Melrose store the Soap Plant, its monthly openings (which remain every first Friday of the month) then curated by Robert Lopez a.k.a. El Vez showcased everyone fromJuxtapoz
mag founder Robert Williams to car-culture phenom Coop long before their works were seen on stickers, album covers and countless books. Since moving both his stores (Soap Plant and Wacko) and the gallery to the East Hollywood/Silver Lake area several years ago, Shires space has seen a whole new slew of stars rise, like swingin scheme king Shag, whose groovy pieces filled with gyrating vixens and cool cocktail-sippin dudes are the epitome of retro cool or is that modern cool? Whatever, theyre really fun to look at, especially with the free beer.