10 L.A. Art Spaces That Change Our Idea of What an Art Space Is
|A Fela Kim and Inger Koerselman work from 2007|
How great is it that there are two guys running around L.A. with gallery spaces on their arms?
Open Arms was first inked into existence in 2007 by artists John Burtle and John Barlog (and profiled by L.A. Weekly in October 2011). Since then, the matching 2-by-4-inch spaces have played host to a wild variety of artworks, ranging from felt-pen doodles and arm-hair braids to tanning experiments and Amy Blount's elaborate suspension-bridge installation between the two arms, complete with remote-controlled action figures that viewers could try to maneuver across the gap.
The Johnz, as they are called, have had to turn down proposals to break their arms or bleach their skin; as messy and interactive as they are willing to get with this project, they do have their limits.
Barlog's recent move to the East Coast has put a bit of a damper on the active-collaborative aspect of Open Arms, but the two continue to entertain spontaneous art projects, both individually and as a long-distance duo. yourartonourarms.wordpress.com.
ShoeboxLA: Art on a table
Carol Cheh Jay Erker shows off her work in ShoeboxLA
ShoeboxLA is a specially constructed display table about the size of two shoeboxes laid side by side. This highly portable space -- which, like Open Arms, uses the simple, rectangular structure of a traditional gallery but in a whimsical manner -- roams the streets of L.A. for three-hour pop-up shows in random public locations.
Founders Sophia Allison and Paul W. Evans, artists themselves, wanted to create a mobile art experience that interacted closely with the environments it found itself in. After about a year in operation, the shoebox has appeared in a bookstore, an ice cream parlor, a bowling alley and a shopping mall. Artists are invited to create new work that is specifically geared toward the dimensions of ShoeboxLA (no pre-existing work is accepted).
Back in September, the gallery planted itself in the also tiny Los Feliz Triangle Park to show artist Jay Erker's Cut Both Ways, a handmade book of sliced and layered fashion-magazine images. On a boiling hot day, Erker (who also runs the nearby Weekend Gallery) stood under an umbrella, turning the pages for a steady stream of curious and enthusiastic passersby. shoeboxla.blogspot.com.
Up next: Art in a closet