Even in the art world, where breaking the rules is the golden rule, some things still follow an equation. Take, for example, the gallery opening. It's one part boxed wine, one part background jazz, add some painting/sculpture/etc. and — presto! — it's an insta-art show.
That is, unless the show is “Come In! 2: Surf.Skate.Bike,” a group exhibit of work by emerging Los Angeles-based artists, on view at the Architecture and Design Museum through July 24. Last week's opening not only broke the rules with live punk rock and Derby Dolls on roller-skates but also fell smack-dab in the middle of the show's run.
The idea, said co-creator Ashkahn Shahparnia, is that the show is a work-in-progress. “We called it 'Come In!' because we wanted these younger, up-and-coming artists to come in and change the space, alter it, do whatever they wanted. We would assign the space to a certain person and they would go crazy,” said Shahparnia. “People can come in and hang out with the artists and watch the construction happen. It's a beautiful time-lapse into the final piece.”
The show sprawls into every nook of the museum, including administrative offices, storage closets and bathrooms, with plenty of low-rider bikes, skate ramps and graffiti. Located in the center of the white-walled gallery, Shahparnia's obelisk-like sculpture Anything is a totem to old-school surf/skate culture complete with lyrics by pop punk group Dramarama penned in candy-colored pink paint pen.
In the back of the museum (or what he dubbed “the boiler room”), photographer Patrick O'Dell hung images of skateboarders — doing a rail slide, buying a bottle of Jack Daniels, showing off an open wound — from his days working for Thrasher Magazine. But even a guy like O'Dell, who is no stranger to breaking the rules, said the open-door policy of “Come In!” threw him for a loop.
“It kinda made me nervous when someone would come in and I would try to pretend that they weren't my photos and then start hanging again when they left,” he admitted.
Artist and Derby Doll Shannon O'Connor (aka Vulvarine) stayed true to the impromptu nature of the show by adding some last-minute artwork to the arm of fellow skater Aggro Vader in bright green Sharpie.
“I draw little topless skater girls, who I call 'skatery ladies,'” she said. “They rep the freedom to be who you are and do what you want — plus I like to draw boobies.”
Sounds like a new art opening equation in the making: Mix equal parts punk rock and boobies — and don't forget the pint-sized skater boys doing kick-flips in the parking lot.