Los Angeles.

I spent a few days in Los Angeles, one of the world’s unique centers of light.

There are many incredible traits of Los Angeles that I have experienced, and I think for the most part, many others experience those same marvelous moments each day there, too. However, this trip was not as exciting as I wanted it to be. It was my fault, really, with haphazard and delayed planning and too much delayed rushing up until departure.

The light of Los Angeles was incredible. It was exceptionally bright, almost blinding, after arriving from the vivid grey skies of San Francisco. It was so bright, in fact, that the smog was also exceptionally vivid.

Though the weather forecast predicted cooler temperatures and rain, the day always felt just a touch warmer than was comfortable. I kept thinking to myself that my underwear was too sweaty, a remark I rarely conjure.

Ace Gallery was remarkable, astounding, overwhelming, and wholly satisfying. John Millei was pretty much hanging in the whole span of the gallery, save for a few areas where other artists working with Ace were hanging for private viewing.

Millei is an incredible genius. His works of the Woman in a Chair series defy explanation; his simultaneous use of color and texture is so deft it silences you into emotion. The Maritime series is touching and well-thought, and leads the viewer to an amazing finish into the following chronological series.

At this point, having just been visually assaulted, my lovely host for the day and I trucked over to MOCA’s 30th Anniversary Exhibition. And, you know, if you ever feel like getting visually assaulted twice in one day, this exhibition makes the perfect choice for a follow-up.

Edit October 30, 2020: A previous version of this post insensitively used terms related to sexual assault in describing my experience of an exhibition. I was wrong to use these words in such a manner. I sincerely regret having described my experience with this comparison and apologize to those who felt grief, harm, or an echo of trauma as a result. I am sorry.

By the time you’re in the second room of the exhibition, you’re already in pain. (The chronological first half of the exhibition starts with a Mondrian.) Then there are the six powerhouse Rothkos, only to precede the two rooms of Rauschenberg, and then the Johns’… thank god they had Pop Art after all that because I needed to come up for air. My brain went comatose somewhere halfway through the remainder, and I pretty much drooled on the rest of it, taking it all in because I came to town for it.

I found myself listless and drained the next morning. I didn’t get out of bed until 1pm and then only out of hunger. I had regretted not figuring out a way to bring materials with me to work on art. There was no way I would be having any sort of experience with TSA disposing of my $84/gallon archival glue, even if it were accidentally more than three ounces of it. Since my head was still sore from the day before, I scrapped my museum plans while in bed because, frankly, I couldn’t absorb anymore ideas into me. Even the simple appreciation of viewing was absent myself. I suddenly wanted to be home working.

Of all the stimulation I went through, I must say that Rauschenberg was what really twisted the knife. Johns then poured salt into the wound; those two men were so brilliant in their youth, and my love and understanding of Jasper’s work just continues to grow… to think I once disliked and spoke unkindly of their works… I can be an asshole sometimes.

Mr. Rauschenberg was just an over-the-top artist. I feel very fortunate every time I view and understand his work, to understand the beauty he created for all of us, and see the arrows-of-direction he left for future artists.

Now, I am home. It has been raining intermittently since last night, in various volumes and weights. Drizzle, downpour, foggy blusters buffeting the window. It is beautiful. Here is beautiful.

I went to Los Angeles full of reservation. Admittedly, I pondered canceling last minute. I spent most of my time there thinking about San Francisco, my studio, my work, my direction. My recent personal triumphs and epiphanies, my newer pieces awaiting completion, the next works.

I’m glad I went to Los Angeles. It made me realize how much San Francisco is my home.

¶ 2010·01·17