“‘You know hounds like us…could use a club…’ Mycroft said.
‘I’d rather you hit me with one,’ Diogenes replied.”
—excerpt from Inaugural Symposium by Mario Tofano
Ensconced in the depths of Elysian Valley thrives LA’s newest hub of old—Zio Ziegler’s Diogenes Club.
A humble blacklight adorns the exterior of the space and beckons viewers from afar, drawing them to the site like bugs to the zip-zap. The sculptural signpost comes into view, immediately recognizable as the work of local darling Jackie Friedberg.
The project space opened Saturday night to a bustling and excited crowd of artists, friends, and enthusiasts the like, evoking thoughtful exchange with its inaugural group show, Blurring the Bull, curated by ArtBlitz’s own MP Knowlton. As curator, Knowlton aptly guides the viewer through the show, intended to coax viewers out of preconceived notions like composition or space and into simple experience—without pretense or illusion.
Detail of Kutay Alkin’s manipulated photograph, “ascend/descent”
Works by Friedberg, Kutay Alkin, Joshua Miller, Jonny Elder, and—in addition to the anchoring presence of his sculptural work in the space—a performance by Daniel T. Gaitor-Lomack, which dominated the affair. In addition to the visual delights of the evening, a lively and transformative poetry reading by Spencer M. de Gauthier-Saint Germain (formerly of Egyptian Arts & Antiques) elevated the space beyond conventional art forum.
Poetry Reading By Spencer M de Gauthier
Entering the familiar blanche boîte, one is immediately confronted by an assemblage of found objects. An upright daybed, chairs, painted mops, tiger-print velveteen, and sheer chiffon panels: the items all functioning to form Tiger Balboa were later activated by Gaitor-Lomack. His performance, which for lack of words to better convey the range of emotions and scenarios triggered in the imagination, was utterly hypnotic. Echoes of “power” erupted from his chest following churns of torment and flailing grasps into space for a helping hand; the piece crescendoed from the artist calmly reading to chopping off a dick to beatings with batteries and a very physical display of torment, hunger, anger, and eruption.
Performance by Daniel T. Gaitor-Lomack
One is drawn further into the void by the candid, raw emotion of two more pieces by Friedberg that assist in containing Tiger Balboa. Emerging from the more industrial aspects of her work is a subtle beauty that casts out the darkness enshrouding the pieces. Thought of and no mans land work in conjunction with illuminated break myself open to engage in a deeper message the artist wishes to convey—bringing forth light.
“though of” by Jackie Friedberg
Light serves as a crux for the show, both literally and allegorically employed to generate gateways from our conditioned temporal and material modes.
Joshua Miller cajoles in Love and Boredom, lending soothing notes as painted light dances across the wall. Depth of hue and luscious, lacquered stroke lick canvas in waves that disrupt clear sense of vision and make way for a wash and release from reality. Alkin’s work, most notably in ascend/descent plays at a balance of lens and brush, lends itself to a further blur and delve beyond the edges of reality. Each piece an exercise in optics moves in and out of focus as one attempts to define object, time, and space, without context or direction.
Painting and Paper Towel Dispensers from Jonny Elder
A final display of sensual movement through pigment is Jonny Elder’s sinuous oil stick painting and towel dispensers. The piece is accompanied by drawings on paper towels at the entrance to the space, a combination that acts as a dramatic doorway into nothing and everything simultaneously. Dozens of renderings give party favor-sized information to visitors. Engagement in the in-between of canvas, dispensers, line, and towel melts into discovery as figures emerge from the display. A limb, a nipple, head, nose, eye, mouth…the work engages every sense, focusing on touch and sight.
In short, Diogenes did not disappoint with his abyss of sight, smell, sound, and feeling. Rather, he slammed into us with a display lathered and bubbling in cerebral soup.
Hand-made paper towel art from Jonny Elder
Blurring The Bull will have a closing reception Sunday October 29th from 12-5 pm.
BY: Milena Grgas
MP Knowlton curated Blurring The Bull and is also the editor-in-chief of ArtBlitz Los Angeles. This article was submitted unsolicited.