On Saturday night we scampered downtown to the “@ Murakami” exhibition at MOCA to see UnBeige favorites Gary Baseman, Tim Biskup and Simone Legno in a special evening program. “Pervasive Persuasion” promised a discussion about “how and why artists in Los Angeles are blurring the lines of media,” but the scene was typical of previous Baseman-Biskup events we’d covered: lots of mostly Asian kids waiting in line to get as close as possible to the artists.
Added to this mix was an army of women wearing the uniform of supershort sweater dresses, tights and low-slung belts, toting more Toki Doki Le Sportsac bags than we even knew existed (which Legno patiently signed with Sharpies). Baseman and Legno painted in the middle of the room and posed for pics while Biskup DJed nearby (we appreciated the Rob Base).
Okay, so maybe we should have waited in line with the kids to get a better seat. We’re sure the panel moderated by Giant Robot’s Eric Nakamura was fascinating and informative. But from where we were sitting, only about halfway through the seating, the whole thing sounded more like the grown ups in “Peanuts”: Wawa wah wawa wah wah waaaah. To be fair, the panelists realized the problem and tried holding their clip-on mics in their hands, but it didn’t really help. We did hear the Italian-born Legno say something cute about loving Japanese culture more than the Japanese. We think.
But afterwards, even those who couldn’t hear the artists got some great one-on-one interaction as Biskup, Baseman and Legno–all incredible sports when it came to posing for pics–created art with attendees on a giant mural, which was divided up and handed out at the end of the night. And then Baseman painted on Japanese Butoh dancer Oguri. Yep. More on that at Nakamura’s blog.
The Murakami show, of course, did not disappoint. We saw the new kaikai & kiki film (cute, but we preferred the Kayne West video that preceded it). While we’re whining, however, might we mention another incredibly perplexing decision made by MOCA, on this night specifically focused on how artists have parlayed their work into products (and specifically, purses)? The embedded Louis Vuitton store selling Murakami goods was not open, nor was the gift shop. It was enough to make us want to steal some plates.
More goodness (and lots of toys) by the artists…