Before Abbot Kinney was littered with decadent shops and gourmet cafes, it once belonged to the bohemians, green space, and the eccentrics. The boulevard’s galleries showcased the neighborhood talent, and praised itself for being an artist’s refuge from materialistic L.A.

Lucky for us, the hyper-gentrification didn’t sell all the soul from Abbot-Kinney. In some unexpected nooks and crannies, there is some art lurking in the open. I almost missed The Chaplin Zoetrope, if my lovely friend had not pointed out to me as I was walking into traffic.

 

While I was searching for the name of the person responsible for saving my inattentive heinie, my eyes landed on the stack of informative cards perched under the exhibit. The card’s map specified all the public art in the area, along with a web address of other projects that all art-appreciating Angelenos should be aware of.

 

A map to several pots of gold

 

On the reverse, the numbers explain each installation, with their whereabouts included. Thanks to Robin Murez, who commenced the Venice public art project in 2005,  she hoped to inspire a sense of community amongst all the various citizens dwelling in the Venice area. Along with unifying the residents, Robin wanted bring about a sense of wonderment and delight with each piece.

A list...of visual treasures.

 

They are always open to suggestions, and needing assistance with: locating sites, creating, inviting, organizing, installing, landscaping, CAD drawings, permits, funding, photographing, and media.

While I’m crafting my thank you card, I recommend investigating these visual treasure troves before they’re bulldozed for a new Prada store.

Website: www.venicepublicart.com

Most of my excursions to Westwood take place at an indecent hour, due to Diddy Riese’s completely accessible hours. Fortunately for my waistline, this adventure had nothing to do with cheap and delicious ice cream sandwiches.

Small, but a well rounded collection

The Armand Hammer Collection also includes sculpture and drawings.

The Hammer museum, a public arts unit of UCLA, was founded by Armand Hammer, CEO of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation. Originally, his personal collection was going to be housed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. After a disagreement of how it was going to be displayed, he purchased a site to construct his own museum. Armand passed away less than a month after his namesake opened, in November of 1990. Today, the Hammer is not only known for his personal collection, it’s one of the most groundbreaking and contemporary museums in the Los Angeles area. It has hosted a rotating selection of programs throughout the year, from lectures, symposia, and readings to concerts and film screenings. Their mission statement is simple:

The Hammer Museum at UCLA
believes in the promise of art and ideas
to illuminate our lives and
build a more just world.

Happy dogs need not apply.

Henri Jr.?

With this in mind, I headed over to see the newest exhibit that is on display is one by the Mexican artist, Pedro Reyes. His project, pUN: the People’s United Nations, is a combined event and exhibition that places the diplomatic and global problem-solving missions that the United Nations face, onto non-political participants from all over the globe.  The representatives are instructed to use social psychology, theater, and art to solve the world’s most unyielding problems: from the current violence in his home country of Mexico, to food shortages, pay equality for women, and even the downward spiral of bees.

Dove Drone

Drone Dove wants peace and unity. And possibly your Cheetos in your back pocket.

One of the sculptures in particular, Disarm/Clock, is comprised of weapons that the Mexican police collected, then broke down and melted. Reyes then took these instruments of hate, and re-constructed them into actual instruments. He thought that they could help provide life and music, rather than take it away. For “Disarm,” Reyes, with his team assisting, used programs like Ableton Live, MIDI, and Max MSP to transform guns into pianola-esque musical instruments. For the “Clock” portion, every half hour or quarter of the hour, the mechanical clock utters a sound.

Gun Day

Up-cycling the best way you can.

Another exhibit I stumbled on, rather literally, was choreographer Maria Hassabi’s, Plastic. Her live installation includes sloth-like performers, that slither throughout the museum. The enlisted dancers consistently enact a form of live installation in the gallery and the museum’s outdoor spaces.

Slow motion dancing.

Mind the tap.

If you’re full on performance art, but running low on caloric intake, there’s a cafe in the courtyard that caters to your metabolism. There, you can let each exhibit mull in your mind, as you sip a cold pressed juice, and realize you mistakenly ordered a gluten-free muffin.

This is how I will spend all my Sundays.

This is how I will spend all my Sundays.

Once you’ve tossed your juice bottle in the recycling bin, collect your belongings, and go upstairs to the top floor. There’s a ping-pong table that is also part of a project. The sound of visitors attempting to “Forrest Gump” it up is the exhibit. The two paddles, and cluster of bouncy balls invite any curious folk to lob a few over, as they attempt a fancy back-handed serve. I left my Roger Federer impersonation at home, so I ended up doing fairly decent.

She thinks you should visit more often.

She thinks you should visit more often.

The Hammer Museum is free, and always will be, so you don’t need to run down to a Coinstar to cover your admission costs. The gift shop is worth a gander, as I thought it was one of the best museum shops I’ve encountered. I almost added “dancer/performance artist” to my resume, as I was blinded by the bounty, and had a very close encounter with the artists of Plastic. The first item that nabbed my heart, was a shaggy reproduction of Touc, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, on a slab of carpet.

Need I say more?

The Hammer Museum

Monday: Closed

Tuesday – Friday: 11AM—8PM

Saturday – Sunday: 11AM—5PM

10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Phone: (310) 443-7000

 

 

 

 

 

Your gentleman suitor has duped you into another LAX pickup. At 6pm. On a Friday.

Do you:

A. Get your best sweatpants and plane pillow ready for a comfortable 2 hours in park on the 405?

B. Download as many new apps, music, and podcasts as your phone allows?

C. Plan ahead by checking out the area around the airport, so you can drive down a few hours before hand and do some much-needed exploring?

Instead of downloading Tinder, google “El Segundo museum of art”.

Yeah, that’s right. It’s not all volleyball, beer pong, and surfers in the South Bay. There’s a thriving art scene that’s been wondering why you haven’t visited.

The El Segundo Museum of Art is the creation of Eva and Brian Sweeney. They were looking for more space to house their expansive art collection, and it was suggested to them by the Mayor that they build a community gallery. The flip-flopped denizens of the beach cities have profited from their generosity. Not only is it free admission, the gallery also plays host to an ongoing artist in residence program. The intent of the museum is to encourage exchanges of culture and art dialogue within the community. The hope is, if we keep our hearts open to art, we can embrace change positively.

 

Your mom isn't here, you can draw all you want.

Your mom isn’t here, you can draw all you want.

 

During my first adventure here, the exhibition on view was “Home”. The exhibit features the rooms of a house, each with various items. From abstract paintings, to a well loved motorcycle. The installation explores how we perceive comfort in our dwellings. Whether we design our homes to be aligned with what is currently on the pages of Dwell, or, if our tastes dictate dominatrix dungeon, it is our sanctuary.

 

tt

Just the bare essentials.

 

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No, he isn’t part of the exhibit.

 

This art shack is also in the forefront of museum innovation: instead of placards next to each work, there are number cards. When you discover one that you become fond of, there is an iPad with numbers that correspond to each piece. If you wanted to research certain works intensively, you can even download the museum’s dossier onto your mobile device.

 

Are we playing four corners, or diagonals?

Are we playing four corners, or diagonals?

 

After indulging in art education, you realize there’s at least another hour to burn before you show off your best fist shake. You decide to head down to the beach. The thought of sipping on a warm, caffeinated beverage while sand castle construction seems appropriate. There’s quite a few bean slingers to choose from, but if you don’t mind driving a few more miles, you can stop by “Two Guns Espresso”, in Manhattan Beach. Opened up by New Zealanders Andrew “Stan” Stanisich and Craig Oram, they introduced much of the South Bay to the Flat White. If you’re not familiar, people often mistake it for a cappuccino or a latte. Hard to distinguish the differences, the foam is actually micro instead of dry, and the milk has a velvety, creamier texture that allows the sweetly, bitter espresso to shine. Totally different, right?

 

Clint gets testy when she takes too long.

Clint doesn’t like when they use soy milk by mistake.

 

Kiwis are also notorious for having high standards for their bean juice, don’t be surprised if this cup of joe is not the burnt, bitter brew you’re used to. Merchandise-wise, they sell “Keep Cup” containers, Two Guns T-shirts, and Cafe Vita beans. The “Keep Cup” is a barista standard cup made by an Australian duo. Initially sold only “Down Under”, they’ve been keeping the South Bay in the reusable cup loop.

If you’re feeling peckish, they have a breakfast/lunch menu available until 2pm. My favorite? The Stan-wich, lovingly named after one of the owners, Stan. A fried egg, arugala, pesto, tomato, asiago cheese, on a pretzel bun?

Oh my.

Besides breakfast, they offer salads and sandwiches for lunch, along with baked items that are made in-house.

 

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Caffeine and vitamin D found here.

 

Your adventure south of the airport has come to an end. Headed to LAX sand-laden, and grinning unabashedly by your cultural find, you don’t even mind that hotel shuttle cutting you off as you try to scoot into the innermost lanes. Instead of shaking your over-caffeinated fist at Terminal 2, you shrug it off, sneaking one more peek at the description of that painting you really liked. When your frustrated companion slides into the passenger seat MacGyver-style, they’ll be unconsciously happy that you didn’t download Tinder.

 

El Segundo Museum Of Art

208 Main Street, El Segundo, CA 90245

(424) 277-102

Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10 am – 5pm

Monday – Thursday by appointment only

 

 

Two Guns Espresso

350 N Sepulveda Blvd. Ste 7

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Hours: Monday – Friday, 6am – 5pm, Saturday – Sunday, 7am – 5pm

 
 

 

 

“Shop local. Support small businesses. Small business Saturdays.”

All these slogans have become a part of our day, along with our cup of Starbucks sludge. We hear them, see a banner or two in our Facebook feeds, but rarely do we abide. It’s not due to our contempt of small businesses, or our love of brick and mortar. Our money flows to familiarity, and what route is methodically memorized. My heart has many cracks from the constant heartbreak of my favorite indie shop closing due to a bordering book shop.

Don't forget to come up for air.

Don’t forget to come up for air.

Fortunately for my heart, Hennessey + Ingalls has two locations, and shows no signs of being uprooted. Around since 1963, Southern California denizens have counted on the largest independent bookstore for all their creative and gift giving needs. Screen printing, fine art, graphic design, or architecture? Check. FIDM student, or obsessive fashionista? There’s an entire section devoted to  the biographies and designs of Jeremy Scott, Tory Burch, and Karl Lagerfeld.  Hennessey + Ingalls have an incredibly in-depth collection of every visual art in book form. Even the esoteric magazines they carry: from Australia to France, if there is a visual art involved, you can guarantee that it’s living here. The locals that swarm this imagination emporium range from the 6-year-old plopped down in the corner, pouring over a big, glossy nature photography album, to the frazzled boardwalk artist, frantic for inspiration and marketing know-how.

Hennessey + Ingalls

Screen printing is huge among canines.

After a few visits, your reclaimed wood coffee table will be sweating with the warmth of books you never knew you needed.

 

Hennessey + Ingalls 

Hollywood Location: 1520 North Cahuenga Boulevard #8, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Phone: (323) 466.1256

Hours:

Monday thru Friday: 11:00am – 8:00pm

Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am – 8:00pm

Santa Monica Location: 214 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Phone: (310) 458.9074

Hours:

Everyday: 10:00am – 8:00pm