Gallery 1988 on Melrose Avenue has been serving Los Angeles' quirkier pop culture artist fare for over six years now. Its shows have been proud to feature many up and coming artists before they become huge, which allows collectors of all price ranges the opportunity to purchase affordable artwork before it enters an upper end clientele price range. Saturday evening, fans were treated to the highly anticipated debut of Gallery 1988's second and newest location in Venice.
The debut show was titled “Multiplayer” and was a tribute to the gaming industry, its history and the artists love of the games they grew up with. Limited edition screenprints and more were shown to a massive line of gaming enthusiasts. Pop culture references from retro gaming and even gaming movie King of Kong were accounted for.
Artist Kevin Tong, who did the Tetris inspired piece “My Tetris Heart Longs for Your Push,” has been with the gallery for three years now. He has done various pieces of work for them in previous shows, including a Conan O'Brien piece in the Crazy for Cult show, as well as Lost and Star Wars pieces. He was excited about the newest location because of its proximity to others of its nature within the city, as the area doesn't currently offer a whole lot of competition for it.
Tong said that he “never owned a gaming console. Tetris was the only game [he] played religiously.” He believed that using Tetris offered a “challenge as opposed to other games with easy visual elements. I wanted to make it romantic and erotic.”
Artist Mike Mitchell contributed a Katamari Damacy inspired piece entitled “Prince of Darkness” which gave a new twist to the otherwise lighthearted and eccentric game title by Namco. Mitchell has been with the gallery since early last year. He says the gallery appeals to him because it is “accessible to everyone by its style and direction.”
Mitchell's first encounters with gaming were attributed to his father, who was not in attendance of the opening last night.
“My father worked in air conditioning. I would come home from school and find him playing SNES games after work.”
Artists and viewers of pieces last night ranged from the old to young, avid gamer to casual. All were inspired by an adoration of a new light to some of their most revered game titles throughout the ages.
Gallery 1988's Venice location at 214 Pier Avenue and will continue its Multiplayer show through February 4th, 2011 and is open Wednesday through Sunday 11-6pm. For more information about this show and the one currently ongoing at its Melrose location, check out their website .