The Beacon Arts Building Premieres with 'Ghost Stories: Happenings, Hauntings, and Curiosities'

Last Thursday was the grand opening of Beacon Arts, a new art space in Inglewood. Dubbing itself an "arts laboratory", it will be featuring contemporary innovative and interactive exhibits. Renée Fox "develops and directs" the events and exhibits at the newly christened art space.

Beacon Arts premiered with "Ghost Stories: Happenings, Hauntings, & Curiosities." The exhibit will run through Sunday, November 7, 2010. The show is curated by art writer Shana Nys Dambrot, the first in the space's "Critics-as-Curators" series. As Dambrot explains, "The idea behind Ghost Stories has to do with using art to activate architectural and societal space through shared experience — fortuitously combined with the permission to play and be transgressive that Halloween gives adults." -Shana Nys Dambrot, Curator

The most striking feature of the Beacon Arts Building is its sheer size. The parking lot is big enough to host a carnival, and the enormous loft-sized wall is put to use with Ivo Vergara's enormous 2-dimensional puppets that seem to come to life as they sway in the breeze.

One of the most popular installations of the group show is "Mortal Ebb" by Maggie Simpson. The participant lays in a coffin, surrounded by a gorgeous array of flowers, and once the person holds still, a picture is taken. You can reset and take multiple pictures by getting up and lying down again. The installation is accompanied by a book to mark the "time of death" and cards to mail in if you would like a copy of your photograph. I assume for some people it may be difficult to lie in a coffin, or cause them to consider their own mortality, but we just saw the fun in it.

Also in the spirit of masks, altered appearances and childhood enthusiasm, there is "I Heart my Fine China - Judgement Day (an excerpt 2008-2010)" by McLean Emenegger. The work is partially comprised of two felt figures on the wall with little cut-outs, so you can decorate and re-decorate them any way you want -- Colorforms fun!

In one corner, viewers could watch The Fine Art of Poisoning a short montage with gothic and industrial undertones, reminiscent of the early surrealist films. Directed by Bill Domonkos, with words and music by Jill Tracy, the film uses "2D and 3D animation, still photography and hand-drawn images". One can only hope videos are for sale.

There is also a mixed-media painting by Milo Martin, a series of realistic graphic mixed-media on paper works by Gustavo Venegas, Jessamyn Lynn's yarn and glass bottles, Amy Kaps' study of the human nipple, a three-dimensional triangle comprised of panties, Tarot card readings, and much, much, more, including catering by Literati, the best nibbles ever served at an art opening. You must experience it for yourself, although the cupcakes will probably be gone.

On Friday, October 29 and Saturday, Oct. 30, the space will be hosting special Halloween happenings. Events include "...an interdisciplinary Halloween extravaganza on the evening of Friday, October 29th and a daytime Pagan Arts Camp (for adults) on Saturday October 30th, with a closing reception/panel discussion on Sunday, November 7, 2010."

Gallery hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Tuesday - Saturday) starting October 14, 2010. Most events are free unless otherwise stated.

The Fine Art of Poisoning