"Sunset Boulevard is chock full of ghosts of entertainment's past. Artist Dennis Hoekstra realized this when he learned the history of the building now occupied by ltd los angeles. In the 1970s it was the site of the glitter rock club Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco, managed by the eponymous L.A. rock kingmaker and radio DJ dubbed "the mayor of the Sunset Strip." In July, the gallery presented re-creations of the original venue's DJ booth and VIP area, meticulously reconstructed from vintage photos. Hearkening back to the site's former purpose, the installation will act as a venue for musical acts until July 2016.
This week, the Fell-Apart Team (writer Jan Tumlir) and the Bushes (musician Nick Lowe and artist Ry Rocklen) perform."
- Art In America Magazine
"With its mirrored DJ booth, kitschy decor, and single-table VIP room, the tiny boîte at 7561 Sunset Boulevard became the haunt for everyone from Elton John to Led Zeppelin to Iggy Pop, who famously cut himself in the space during a performance with the Stooges. In fact, Joan Jett and Cherie Curie met there for the first time. This week, the iconic space, now home to Shirley Morales’s ltd los angeles gallery, returned to its “Rodney on the ROQ” roots with the opening of an installation by the artist Dennis Hoekstra…"
- Michael Slenske, W Magazine
In January 2010, Rodney Bingenheimer visited ltd los angeles on its opening day and shared the history of the gallery space with ltd los angeles founder, Shirley Morales. Since then, they have discussed the possible re-presentation of his eponymous club. Morales invited Hoekstra to work in close collaboration with the gallery and Bingenheimer to realize a re-presentation of this iconic 1970s glam club. Bingenheimer generously provided unprecedented access to an archive of vintage photos, videos, vinyl records, posters and celebrity memorabilia originally displayed in the club.
Hoekstra’s sculpture, painting and installation practice is informed by the European artisanal traditions of faux-bois and faux-marbre, Hollywood set fabrication techniques, suburban backyard Halloween haunted houses and the vernacular of Disney theme parks especially their “dark rides.” In his formative years, the artist toured Disneyland’s fabrication facilities extensively with his father, “Dutch” Hoekstra, a member of their creative fabrication team from 1964 until 1979.
Inspired by Gordon Matta-Clark’s Bingo (1974), Hoekstra’s installation takes the form of a stand-alone sculpture with the structure of Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco echoing Matta-Clark’s extracted wall segments. The club’s DJ booth, VIP room, and partial brick wall appear to have been extracted from its original location within the space and repositioned in its current site approximately 20 feet away. The VIP room, featuring a cutout window vignette framed by “RODNEY BINGENHEIMER’S” in chunky glitter text, recalls Joseph Cornell’s boxed assemblages. In the tradition of other installations by Los Angeles based artists, such as Ed and Nancy Kienholz and Jason Rhoades’ Black Pussy, Hoekstra’s Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco will be activated by performances and DJ sets throughout the year.
Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco
Gallery: ltd los angeles
Selected guests and performances
The Betty Roberts Room features a vibrating Mylar wall that reflects high-pressure sodium light across the now-defunct gallery space onto stacked-object sculptures, paintings, and prints all realized in grey-scale surface treatments, ensuring a further de-saturated scene. The paintings are reminiscent of famed faux-painter Pierre Finkelstein, a 1986 graduate of the Van Der Kellen Painting Institute in Brussels. The grouping of objects created in traditional film lighting and painting techniques, normally hidden, are now exposed. Inexplicably, the room also includes a guided imagery soundtrack by Belleruth Naparstek, noted psychotherapist, author and producer of the Health Journeys line of guided imagery audio programs.
Gallery: The Hole
The Hole is proud to present a group exhibition Early Man at the gallery opening this Thursday, November 13th. Taking early art making (as in Upper Paleolithic) as a jumping off point, artists in this show use various strategies to create meaning, from the barely rudimentary to the highly sophisticated.
The first artworks made by humans exist in a context-less void, where artistic intention is indeterminate; they are rich for speculation, perplexing and tantalizing. To early art experts, even, interpretation is baffled as many readings all present themselves as equally valid. Cave paintings could have apotropaic religious intent, they could have narrative or storytelling intent, they could be fanciful and decorative. The earliest figurative sculptures—the various Venuses—are interpreted alternately as religious artifacts, early porn, or the first female self-portraits. Perhaps one of the most interesting interpretations of early art is that the significance was in creating the painting or sculpture and the final work was incidental.
Looking at artworks across chasms of millennia negates all our traditional tools for art analysis and we are drawn most to this elusive “why”. It is ubiquitous for young artists to brood over the question of “why put another painting into the world” and such questions lead ultimately to “what is art for anyway”; a question for which people often look to first art making for an answer. The evolutionary birth of the human impulse to make art seems to be a good place to figure out why we are all super into this.
The accepted story is that art went from being functional craft to being capital-A Art around the Renaissance, so it would be impossible for us to look at prehistoric art properly from our historical vantage point. Symbolic practicality seems to be our cultural knee-jerk; but is “art for art’s sake” so impossible to imagine for Early Man? The patterns of petroglyphs and pictograms seem to prove the pleasure of iteration early on. The accomplishment of verisimilitude in 30,000-year-old animal paintings in Chauvet or Lascaux seems to evince the simple enjoyment of rendering accurately.
Other than real-world early art impulses, the stock character of the Cave Man holds a lot of appeal for young artists; the idea that art was urgent, crucial, important enough to make time for during a strenuous day of hunting or running from mammoths or whatever. Maybe artists are interested in the idea of a cultivated ignorance or the appearance of uncivilized behavior; maybe artists also like the fantasy that their work will be something generations will puzzle over in the future, or are just into the idea of being willfully confusing, their intentions unexplained, the way a 23,000 year old Baton de Commandement could be a spear thrower or a midwife calendar or a dress fastener or an arrow straightener.
I think I was originally drawn to making a thematic show around these ideas after seeing a lot of aggressive, raw and rugged painting over the past year, made even with the artist’s hands, really getting in there and seeking what you could call gymnastic authenticity. I saw these paintings as like literally wrestling meaningfulness and cramming it into an artwork.
But since then and as this show came together I have been more drawn to the pre-symbolic and the obtuse, creating a work that can hover outside of time and interpretation, that deflects the exhausted and exhausting pathways of looking at art that bore the shit out of me sometimes. Drawing on the tradition of Modernity and all its offshoots sometimes feels tail-chasey; Primitivism is patronizing; what about just getting down with artworks made by the first humans?
- Kathy Grayson