When the owners of Los Angeles‘ Gallery 1988 decided to expand by opening a second location in the Venice Beach area, it wasn’t simply a sound corporate venture. Another space was, more or less, becoming a necessity. When the original Melrose location opened back in 2004, the idea of an art gallery that focused heavily of themes that were deeply rooted in popular culture might have seemed like a lofty and unrealistic business model for most people. Even for those of us who couldn’t help but be instantly drawn to support and embrace such a concept, the longevity of an endeavor as untested and daring as that could still sound questionable. How many different themes can really be pulled off month after month? How many dead clydesdales were gonna get their ribs cracked under the force of a Vibram sole or have their skulls shattered with a blackjack? It should have only been a matter of time before powdered milk dust and air were the only thing left to be squeezed from that pop-art udder, right? Well, 8 years later, founders, Katie Cromwell and Jensen Karp are not only proving any doubters wrong by going stronger than ever, while staying continuously innovative and forward thinking, they’ve also helped to inspire endless other galleries to follow suit by showcasing similar works/artist.
The gallery’s breakout group exhibit Crazy 4 Cult -cohosted annually by director, Kevin Smith- has already run through 5 different installments, with the first 4 being documented with it’s own hardcover book. While G1988 is equally as passionate about showcasing select highly-level talent, by hosting solo exhibits, and curating incredible one-off exhibits (see our Wet Hot American Summer tribute show coverage HERE), some specific themed group exhibits have been so popular and effective that they demand revisiting. With each calendar year limited to only 12 months and so many great concepts vying for focus, the new gallery -running separate exhibits simultaneously- helps to sustains that balance between hosting solos art shows and new experimental group exhibits, while more and more shows claim their spot as annual events. Whether it is because enough artists want to take a swing at an exhibit that they missed out on, due to reception being so overwhelming, or simply that there is just simply more that could be said, one thing is for sure, the general consensus is that shows like the video game-themed “Multiplayer” exhibit just weren’t over yet and needed to come back for another year. One such show titled, “Is This Thing On? 2” features 100 different artists depicting some of their favorite comedians and, while the previous show may have been undeniably impressive, this year looks as if it will actually outdo the festivities of last year’s debut. Read the rest of this entry →