Los Angeles

Black Dahlia Murder: the Crime, the Cosmetics, and the Folksinger

  So I’m at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood to scope this 1933 Stanwyck flick about broads behind bars, but before it starts this dame gets up in front, name Joan Renner. Says her passion is historic crime and vintage cosmetics: sounds to me like a lethal combination. Then she gives the whole audience...

Pop Art, Politics, and Critiques of Contemporary Culture

  Popular culture, capitalist critique, and female empowerment are among the topics of this, the last of a three-part feature on “Pop and Politics,” one of the programs at the 100th annual College Art Association conference in Los Angeles. Part one, my interview with Anthony E. Grudin about Andy Warhol and comic books, is...

Finally "Seeing" Street Art

Although my eyes first began digesting what I now know to be “street art” in the mid-1990s in San Francisco, it wasn’t until a trip to Paris in the Fall of 2009 and a move to Los Angeles a couple months later that I began tuning into the endless and ever-changing gallery of inspired...

The Pleasures, Politics, and Proto-Feminisms of Pop Art

In 1963, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique drew attention to the stifling state of American womanhood, and Roy Lichtenstein painted what might be considered a visual analogue: “Drowning Girl”, who’d rather be engulfed by tidal waves than call Brad for help. It was also the year Andy Warhol began his grungy, frightening Race Riot...

Politics of Pop: Warhol’s Working Class SuperHero

  Anthony E. Grudin cares about the working class. He also cares – a lot – about Andy Warhol. Not the later Warhol, who pandered to high society celebs, but the younger man, with one foot headed for the galleries and the other still hustling for commercial illustration gigs. Anthony, an assistant professor of...

6:01 PST. Gidra vs. the American War Machine

Remember those radical underground rags of the late 1960s? The East Village Other. The Berkeley Barb. The L.A. Free Press. Gidra. Wait… Gidra? Wasn’t that a monster in those dumb Godzilla movies? Yes, but just because he tried to lay waste to Japan and the rest of civilization, Gidra wasn’t all bad. Which is...

Fun Times at Bauhaus Dessau

Those wild and crazy Bauhaus boys and girls, with their improv jazz band and beach antics and clownish poses. They weren’t just dedicated students at what was probably the most influential design school in the 20th century. They were also partying hearty in 1920s Germany… before Fascism put a brutal end to this hotbed...

Newly Exposed: a Bauhaus Master's Dark, Private Photos

Hitler declared his paintings degenerate. Of course, Lyonel Feininger was actually one of the 20th century’s most important American avant-garde artists: at various times a Cubist, Expressionist, and Secessionist. He’s also well known as one of the Bauhaus’s original faculty, and was even a distinguished newspaper comic strip artist. But a photographer? Really? Truth...

5:01 PST. Printing Processes and Designer Difficulties

David Mayes is proud to be a CMYK guy in an RGB world. He’s in sales – and community outreach – at Typecraft Wood & Jones. This Pasadena, CA company has roots dating back to 1907 and a reputation for handling the most demanding designers. Clients range from universities and non-profits to museums and...

Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California

If you’re not familiar with the Norton Simon Museum of Art by name, then perhaps you’ve seen its iconic chocolate bar Heath tile exterior as the backdrop to the floats of the Rose Parade as they round the corner from Orange Grove to Colorado Boulevard. The Norton Simon is currently hosting Proof: The Rise...