La Luz de Jesus Gallery was opened in 1986 by collector Billy Shire, known as the Peggy Guggenheim of lowbrow art. It brought to prominence the key artists of what is arguably the most important art movement to come out of California in the past few decades. Naturally, it has what is arguably the city’s most important gift shop. Attached to the gallery like a freaky Siamese twin, the Soap Plant/Wacko store sells Tiki cookie jars, La Virgen de Guadalupe beaded curtains, AC/DC lunchboxes, pregnant woman keychains (with removable fetus), Futurama bendy dolls, inflatable palm trees, lucky gold cat figurines, wind-up teeth, books about serial killers, alligator heads, rubber duckies, toy skulls, real skulls … and that’s just for starters. Offered here is the detritus of the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, the incredibly rich fertilizer from which sprouted the current lowbrow scene. This is the scene that need not ask which is more relevant to an art appreciator’s needs, the $1,000 paintings hanging in the gallery or the $2 postcards of the paintings for sale in the gift shop? It already is the answer. 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Silver Lake. (323) 666-7667,
—Gendy Alimurung

LA Weekly