L.A.'s Must-See Art Shows: Schwarzenegger as God and Hollywood Trophy Wives

Marco Brambilla
Marco Brambilla's Civilization (Megaplex), 2008, single-channel video, Courtesy of Santa Monica Museum of Art

Video artist and Kanye West collaborator Marco Brambilla opens a show at Santa Monica Museum of Art, while Ryan McGinness takes over L.A. with an astonishing five shows at once

Of interest to both serious collectors and pop-art fans, two artists have just opened can't-miss shows in Los Angeles worth visiting this weekend. One's a former film director turned video artist; the other's a neo-Warholian who's become a New York art sensation


In 1993, Italian-born Canadian artist and filmmaker Marco Brambilla directed the sci-fi film Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock. But making more action films wasn’t for him. "It was a great learning experience, but for me, the pressure of staying with the ‘formula’ was daunting throughout the process," says Brambilla.

In the late 90s, he turned his focus to art, becoming known for his many-layered, tapestry-like video works. Now, there are seven of his video installations on display at his new show, Marco Brambilla: The Dark Lining, which opened May 21 at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Newly timely is his 2008 work Civilization (Megaplex), a sort of scrolling video murals which presents images of heaven and hell composed of hundreds of layered video clips. The video is capped by a silhouetted image of Arnold Schwarzenegger from Pumping Iron reigning over everything as God.

In his latest video piece, Evolution (Megaplex), he uses 500 movie moments to create a representation of the history of civilization. Both works are in 3D.

"Marco Brambilla is pushing film and art into this new convergence and with the two 3D works, he's pushed it to a point that no one else has arrived at yet," said Jeffrey Deitch, director of L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art, at the opening party, which also drew actors Alice Eve and Adrian Grenier.

Brambilla also collaborated last year on a minute-long video teaser for Kanye West’s fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Titled Power, after the first single from the album, it shows the singer in slow-motion moving through a neo-classical tableau in which a sword of Damocles hangs over his head.

Santa Monica Museum of Art, Through August 20, 2011, Bergamot Station, G1, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica


A one-time skate punk from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Ryan McGinness has been hailed by The New York Times as an art star for his "Warholian mix of pop iconography and silk-screening." His bold, graphic works range from works on paper and sculptures to head-spinning circular paintings with concentric patterning and works that deploy his signature mix of graphic icons taken from pop culture and the corporate landscape. "Lately I've been calling them 'units of meaning.' They are these saturated picture planes that are layers and layers of silkscreen drawings," says the artist.

This month, he makes a full-on assault on the L.A. a world with exhibits at six locations.

Four shows are already open. The Michael Kohn Gallery (8071 Beverly Boulevard) is showing an exhibit of McGinness's paintings, including some displayed in a blacklight room, while his works on paper are on view at Country Club gallery (7561 Sunset Boulevard). He currently is also showing female figure drawings in the large-scale vitrine display in the lobby of the Standard, Hollywood hotel (8300 Sunset Boulevard), which will be followed by three nights, June 1-3, during which he'll appear in the window box drawing a nude model.

Yet another show opened May 26 at the Prism Gallery in West Hollywood (8746 W. Sunset Boulevard): a new sculpture series called Trophies. The works are derived from drawings of women that are deconstructed and recombined into gold-painted aluminum pieces. "They are painted in sparkly car paint and hopefully take on the different connotations and meanings that trophies implies in the context of women, especially in Los Angeles," he says. "They just look Hollywood fantastic."

On Saturday, May 28, at the Standard's Purple Lounge, he opens Women: The Blacklight Paintings, a series of works featuring go-go dancers, and June 11, Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects gallery (1331 W. Sunset Boulevard) will show an updated version of the artist's 2003 work, Sponsorship, in which the only artwork is sponsor logos, including Scion. "The logos are sized according to the level of contribution,": says McGinness. Wonder if The Greatest Movie Ever Sold's Morgan Spurlock ever saw the original show?

            For those who don't have the budget to buy an original piece, McGinness is also selling his new nudie playing cards (see video below). "They are all in fluorescent ink so they glow under black light," he says. They are being sold exclusively through the Standard Hotel at $35 a deck until the end of August.



BlackLight NudieCards (2011) from Ryan McGinness Studios, Inc. on Vimeo.