Maxfield: design design design

I was very politely (no snark at all, they were so kind) asked to not take pictures.

8825 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles

I suppose I am in fact, a leopard.

Maxfield is avant-garde in the best possible way. It is full of things I would love on my shelf, my wall, or worn by other people on the street.

But only because I present better as Andy Warhol than as one dressed by him (no snark at all, I would love Andy as a stylist).

Just One Eye: to look at

Pardon the worst comparison ever, but Just One Eye feels to me like someone with taste, and money, opened a flea market.

915 N Sycamore Ave, Los Angeles

This speaks more to my class than anything else, but there are booths, or stalls, each with what appear to be a different vendor, all under one industrial roof.

But in between, or in front, or above, there is art. At flea markets I look for large scale images to paint over (cheaper than buying raw canvas) while at Just One Eye there is art to which I would only aspire.

I’m Down with this Donald

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I see his work as a sort of loose, maybe even sloppy, Matisse. Not that he would ever say that about himself, at least not that I have heard, but then again, how would I have heard?

But what I have seen, is pared down lines, patterns, and brush strokes that despite lack of detail and apparent precision, form fashionable women and style. Like Matisse.

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Having survived the heyday of art directing at Conde’ Nast and Vogue, Donald Robertson has left the hustle of New York and opened up shop in LA, and when I say “opened” I mean his door is open (not right now though) and you can go say hello.

I went and said hello.

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With his new work hanging, or laying, around and his young kids doing the same, Donald and I didn’t hatch a new collaboration or become best friends (I am open to both) but he did answer my question easily and helped me feel relaxed and welcomed.

Then he drew me a picture in my sketch book thereby increasing its value by approximately 2000%.

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His studio is where Evett’s Model Shop once was (1636 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica) and he will let any fool off the street just walk right in and talk to him.

Matisse never did that.

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the Getty

To get to the Getty you take a tram from the parking lot. No, that isn’t completely true. I took a tram, you can walk up the hill, but it was hot outside and it is UP the hill. Don’t worry the line moves fast.IMG_8181

While walking into the modernistic rotunda looking for our tour guide, I wondered aloud why this place was so busy. “I don’t think I’ve seen an art museum this crowded since the Louvre.” My wife gave me the side eye and asked, “When is the last time you saw a Rembrandt and Van Gogh for free?”

Good point.IMG_8222

They also had Gauguin. And they had, I mean have, Monet, Manet, Goya, and my favorite- tourists taking pictures.pic1

As a painter, I have always appreciated other’s work in that same medium, but as an appreciator of history, I have learned to love sculptures.

For example, while the tour guide was talking about the technique used to craft marble or get stone to look like silk, I was learning that long before plumbing, before electricity, even before we understood the human circulatory system, men were taking the time to groom super cool mustaches (their opinion not mine) and dress with a little swagger. There is art in the subject not just the medium.IMG_8060

Or maybe there was this woman, Mary Seacole, a Jamaican who treated wounded soldiers in the Crimean War- which I should note was before America’s Civil War- who taught me not only about an artist’s skill with chisel, but that the look a black woman gives when someone says “confederate statues are history” rather than a celebratory memorial to racism, has been the same for more than 100 years.

I can hear this statue better than I can see it. I had several seats after viewing it.IMG_8217

I also learned that even before digital media, there were pixels. Poor resolution and revivalist mosaic are pretty much the same thing.IMG_8046

What struck me about the Getty, even more than the sculpture, and crowds, was the space. I am too lazy to investigate the planning process or theory in its creation, but it functions as a location first, and houses art second. There are gardens surrounded by architecture placed on a hilltop overlooking LA.

It is a place. A space. To be in. To be surrounded by and lounged in and enjoyed. It is an environment.

And I like that.IMG_8232

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the USC in California

The University of Southern California is not in South Carolina. You would think this goes without saying but some people need to hear it. They are known as the Trojans, they have almost 40,000 students, and every year the school receives more donations than almost any other university. They need those donations because while New York is the old world of inherited position, Los Angeles is the new world where nobodies just buy their way in, and USC is not just IN LA but in many ways IS LA.IMG_4586

I have been to more than 200 hundred American college campuses and nowhere have I been surrounded by so many kids who look like well-manicured super athletes. Remember that one sociology class you had sophomore year with all the football players? They would show up in sweat pants, unshaven, with bed head. At USC they arrive in crisp ironed t-shirts with tweezed eyebrows. These polished Adonises appear in white brown and black, male and female, with the only requirements being that they appear chiseled and leave behind first place trophies. There are so many trophies.IMG_4573

Winning is a big deal at USC.

At Harvard you can find a statue of John Harvard. At Penn you find a bronze Ben Franklin. At USC you find statues of a dog wearing a cap playing with a football, the 1969 defensive line nicknamed the Wild Bunch, a white horse named Traveler, several bronze Trojan warriors, actor Douglass Fairbanks, and six, count them six, Heisman trophies. There would be seven but Reggie Bush lost his due to NCAA violations. O.J. Simpson’s is still on display in the Hall of Champions.IMG_4683

Commissary: food and table tennis

Dining inside a greenhouse situated next to a pool on the balcony of a hotel is one of the most L.A. things I have ever done. Add to that the fact that we ordered a shrimp po’ boy and a curry for brunch and the L.A. meter just explodes.commissary

the Commissary is a Roy Choi project located on the pool deck of the Line hotel in Los Angeles’s Koreatown. It fancies itself as a bridge between different socio-economic strata. I fancy it as delicious.foodatcommissary

I would say the po’ boy was run of the mill. The green curry with lemongrass was worth the drive.kayatCommissaryThe company was unmatched, but unless you call me I cannot vouch for your ability to replicate my standards. And by “match my standard” I mean a woman who insists you use the ping pong table on the balcony and when the ball goes flying over the edge she just sets down the paddle and walks away without a word.IMG_3404

Two Story Balloon Animals: the Broad

It is pronounced “the Broed”. Rhymes with road. Or perhaps an active Bro as a past tense verb. “You totally broed it”. But no matter how you say it, you need to see it.IMG_3414

It is free but you need to reserve a ticket in advance. Otherwise you wait outside in a stand by line for as little as 45  minutes. I dropped the Missus off to stand in line while I spent nearly that much time trying to find parking. There is of course a conveniently located lot right across the street but I thought I could win by finding something cheaper.

Just park in the lot across the street. You cannot win.IMG_3401

Save the winning for once you are inside because in there you will find Andy Warhol, Lichtenstein, Basquiat, Jeff Koon’s giant balloon animals, and his ceramic sculpture of Michael Jackson and Bubbles.IMG_3329You should not need to “understand” art to be entertained, or to simply know what you like. That being said, for a museum of modern art, there is more than enough for anyone to like at the Broad. I more than liked it. I loved it.IMG_3328And if Art isn’t really your bag, you can simply sit back and watch the people watching the art. That show is just as good.IMG_3406

It is located in downtown LA, right across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and just up the hill from the Grand Central Market. You will see a bright white honeycombed building standing next to a chromed out wavy building and you will not find street parking near either. Again. Just park in the lot. The Broad is the honeycombed one with the line of people out front.IMG_3409Keith Haring

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SK Donuts & Croissant

A cronut is a doughnut made from croissant dough. It is deep fried, sugared, filled, glazed, and it is heaven in your mouth. The Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York invented the thing and trademarked it in 2013. I do not live in New York, and consequentially, I am in full endorsement of trademark infringement for the greater good.SKdonut

The cronut, and the bakery that spawned it, are rather high end, unlike my budget. S.K. Donuts is decidedly NOT high end and open 24 hours. Forget which end is in play here and just know that no matter what these things are legally named, you should eat one. Or seven.SKCronuts

I had one topped with Nutella and peanut butter, filled with cream. Topping anything with Nutella feels a little bit like cheating, but to stick with my extralegal theme here, I don’t care. It was great.SKdonutinside

The menu is always in flux but the quality is as reliable as the hours. It is worth a drive.

The Food is So Much Better Than the Name: Eggslut

Los Angeles is not a shy city, nor am I a shy guy, but something about this place makes me pause just a little when people ask for good places to eat in town. Especially when my 12 year old daughter asks where we are headed for lunch.

While I may pause, not only do I still go, but I encourage you to do the same.

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These folks have been featured everywhere. In Flight Magazine, every style or travel magazine in existence, and every food blogger alive has recommended Eggslut. So trendiness aside, because it is that, they have picked one singular food item, the egg, and just slapped it on everything worth eating, and it works.IMG_2544