We wanted to see the galleries that have taken over Culver City. I did some research on the web, and came up with a plan. There are about 20 plus galleries in the area mostly on Washington Blvd. and La Cienega.
What is interesting is trying to find the galleries. Although there are literally next door to each other, finding them is just not that easy. Maybe because the area is still going through a change but the fronts of the Galleries are mostly dark so you can’t see what is inside. Only a few galleries actually post their names big and bold. Otherwise, you aren’t sure if you are in the right place or are they even open. You’d think most of them would greet you with open arms but it wasn’t always the case.
There were some highlights worth checking out. George Billis Gallery on S. La Cienega was showing two artists, one was Jorge Santos. Really excellent painter of people in strange locations. Very clever and each painting made you wonder. This one on the left I really liked, it is called the Breakup. You can barely see the car in the distance. The other gallery on that street is Lizabeth Oliveria. The artist she was representing, Manuel Ocampo, had just been written up in the Los Angeles Times the week before. A bit dark for my taste. Paintings with German pogrom reference. LA Contemporary was showing an artist
Kharlene Boxenbaum in an installation called War. I was not that impressed with the depth of the work but there was one painting of a pair of eyes surrounded in a birka which was is such a representation of our times which stuck with me. Blum & Poe is also on S. La Cienega which had a fantastic exhibit. Tatzu Nishi whose work has to be installed in your home. Large time clocks that actually work and area put on top of paintings painted right on the wall. One was all about Los Angeles, the
other was just black. He also had a few photos in the back. One in particular I liked was a guy walking down the street in Japan with a variety of every day things piled sky head above his head. Clever. Obviously a prolific artist. He is from Nagoya Japan.
We headed down Washington Blvd. Most of the Galleries worth checking out are heading towards the center of Culver City. A few worth noting. Cardwell Jimmerson which was installing a very interesting exhibit of a husband and wife team. The husband is white and the wife is African American. They had taken stock footage from the civil rights movement and put the photos which they redid in a box and then layered the photo again on a sheer fabric creating a three dimensional feel. It was there way of representing the two of them together. The walls were covered in a DNA type design which also represented their union Pretty cool. The artist was there hanging his work so we got a really good inside scoop.
The best gallery, hands down, Lab 101. The woman who owns the place could not have been nicer. She
represents emerging artists, generally first time shows. Next year they are changing modes and sticking with 12 artists that they hope to foster their careers. Two of us bought something there. The artists Mel Kadel and Mike Aho were our favorites. Boyfriend and girlfriend. The pieces I bought are on the left hand side which were Aho’s.
After leaving the Galleries, we headed back down to Third Street and checked it out. The best store is Satine. Actually, after seeing many stores, I thought Satine did it best. Cutting edge boutique, young and happening designers that can we worn by all ages. Designers from Japan, Australia and the US. Reminded me a bit of Opening Ceremony but not as out there.
That night we went to in Brentwood and ate at Katsuya. A total scene with really good Asian food. We could barely hear each other speak but we really had a blast checking out the people and eating the food. Some of the highlights were the spicy tuna chopped really fine served over a deep fried sushi rice ball. The combination of the fish with the crunchy rice was top. Part of their menu comes from the grill area which is centered in the middle of the restaurant. The Japanese mushrooms, asparagus and shrimp topanyaki was excellent. Triple this and serve it over rice and you have a meal in to itself. The now classic, Rock Shrimp Tempura was really well done here. The difference is the shrimps are large vs. popcorn and the taste shows. We also split a miso cod which is one of the best I have ever had. Light and not too heavy on the miso. I had some sushi too, toro yellowtail and uni were delicious.
Our time in Los Angeles was great. I always feel at home there. Maybe because I was born there. Maybe because my family has ties there and someone has always lived there. My Grandmother lived in Laguna Beach for years. My sister spent four years there. I lived there for a semester in college and now my brother and his family lives in Venice. The good news, I can and will keep coming back. The better news is that hopefully my friends and I will make this an annual event. Thinking of Portland next year. Will keep you posted…