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Arts and Entertainment

July Downtown Art Walk

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The Downtown Art Walk has been growing by leaps and bounds since its inception last year, expanding from only 3 galleries to around 20 plus two museums taking part in the monthly urban art hike. We jumped in the shower (yes all of us together from LAist... we're crazy like that) and headed out to pound the pavement, asphalt and crack residue; take some photos and type some words into our communal publishing device.

The first gallery we hit, Leandra Hinrichs' and Steven Phen Kramer's Art Murmur, on the ground floor of the Santa Fe Lofts at 129 E. 6th St., is having its grand opening show this Saturday from 7-10pm, with a theme of contemporary self portraiture called self•ish, features some very cool pieces including "untitled" by Polish artist Sywlia Narbutt and this sculpture of baby dolls painted matte black, linked with wires and inscribed with mathematical equations titled "Self Portrait" by Pamela Grau Twena.

We then made our way down Main Street to check out Bank, which was closed, so we continued down Main to M.J. Higgins, a gallery with a huge collection of art and artistic furnishings. We especially enjoyed the mixed media in resin "Axes" by Richard Ankron which were filled with a mixture holiday candy and pharmaceuticals and a steel sculpture of dollar signs made of old Pepsi signs by David Buckingham called "Choice of A New Generation." The M.J. Higgins gallery is having an opening starting at 7pm on August 20th with a theme of landscapes and of course they will be taking place in the next art walk.

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We moseyed on down to the L.A. Center for Digital Art, which contained two of our favorite installments of the evening, the first being a series of prints, created with a hand-coded algorithm that created particle clouds that reminded us of electron microscope images, called Aggregation by Andy Lomas, and a second project by Benjamin Pezzillo which juxtaposed photos of suburban life with homeless people and created a thought provoking look at the disparity between the poor and the middle class. One of our favorite photos of the evening was a homeless man, who recognized some of his friends in the photos, deep in thought as he took in the message of the piece.

Next ran across the street over to Bert Green Fine Art and perused the collection of art and sculptures of which we particularly enjoyed the lenticular print of a calm office in the world trade center... calm until we shifted to the right a few feet where we could see the calm shattered by an airplane coming through the window, called "Fuselage" by artist Wayne Coe. "Trust No Bitch" by Louie Metz seemed tame at first until you got close enough to see the swastika and "Trust No Bitch" tattoos on the subjects hands and forehead. Artist David Meanix created a visually haunting collage of photos that form a torn and tattered mesh-covered chicken wire sculpture, which he photographed with various subjects around LA.

We then headed over to the Spring Arts Tower to check out 2 galleries that reside in the building, but as we were about to get on the elevator, we noticed a sign from our friends at Create:Fixate, who do a semi-monthly art show / party replete with music and libations, directing us to a preview of the not-to-be missed Create:Fixate Photography show this Saturday from 7pm to 2am.

We then waited for the elevator for a few minutes and it didn't come so we climbed up 4 flights of stairs to check out unofficial Mayor, and official founder of Gallery Row, Nic Cha Kim and Jason Waters' Niche.LA, which featured a collection of photography and video shot solely on cell phones called "Cell-Outs & Phonies." We took the photo above of artist Gina Clyne and her cell phone prints, drank a bottle of water (what we were thinking not imbibing the free booze, remains unanswered), and headed to the 7th floor, this time on the elevator.

We entered the Kirsti Engle Gallery and took in Meg Madison's "Surface Streets" series of digitized and printed Polaroid shots of streets in LA. We took a portrait of Meg and her work and discussed the merits and drawbacks of digital photography, RAW files and batch processing in Photoshop.

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Our next stop, Modern Art Downtown in the basement of 621 S. Spring St., is also having their opening this Saturday and we took a minute to photograph painter Art Van Campen beside his "What Would Jesus Do" piece, part of a series of sexy cheerleader and religious figure amalgamations.

Finally we headed to our last stop of the evening, 626 Gallery, which was packed full with people who were intensely focused on the spoken word poetry of Chris Hines. After the poet finished his bit and the crowd responded with thunderous applause we took a photo of this piece, a portrait painted on business cards of movie production people entitled "Where's Abe" by painter Kuger Peterson. We walked over to the adjoining room of the 626 Gallery and were overwhelmed by scent of chocolate, thick and heavy in the air, emanating from a flowing fountain of dark chocolate, not an art piece per se, but nonetheless delicious.

Although we would have liked to visit all 20 locations on the Art Walk, we were happy to see so many galleries in the burgeoning Downtown Gallery Row and we look forward to next months Downtown Art Walk.

[Here is the complete group of photos]