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Art and commerce make a perfect match at the mall in Culver City

November 12, 2009 |  3:04 pm

Israel Many will deny it, but the art world is ruled by three simple things: money, money and money. At the end of the day, art is a capitalistic enterprise. So what better place is there to make that connection than at the mall?

In Culver City, shoppers may have noticed a few large-scale installations at the newly reopened Westfield Culver City Shopping Center on Sepulveda Boulevard. The works are part of a new $1.3-million project that involves permanent and temporary artwork intended to bridge Culver City's shrine to consumer capitalism with the local gallery scene.

The mall has dedicated about 5,000 square feet of vertical space to a temporary installation of works by L.A. artist Alex Israel. The installation was coordinated by the gallery LAXART, which partnered with Westfield on the project. Israel's pieces include an outdoor billboard-type piece on the south side of the mall's exterior, as well as an indoor wallpaper-esque installation inside the complex.

Westfield said it chose Israel's proposals because they blur the lines between commerce and art to create a hybrid visual experience. "We also wanted to connect with what's going on in the L.A. and Southern California arts scene," said Larry Green, a senior vice president at Westfield.

Both named “Untitled,” Israel's creations bring together high art and commerce in an energetic way. The interior piece (pictured above) uses commercial logos that are brought together traffic-jam style. The exterior work features classic L.A. iconography and is intended as an homage to artists Billy Al Bengston and Larry Bell. Israel's art will be on view through the spring.

A problematic fusion of art and publicity, or a Warholian commentary on said phenomenon? You be the judge.

The Culver City mall has also installed a permanent exhibition of works by artists Chris Doyle, Jeff Kopp and David Trubridge. Situated throughout the mall, these works were organized by Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in Hollywood.

Westfield said it is funding the entire art project and providing some sponsorship to the participating galleries. It is all part of a $180-million renovation of the Culver City mall, which originally opened in the 1970s. The grand reopening took place in October.

The company says it plans to rotate other temporary works in the future.

It probably goes without saying that Westfield management has the final say on what artwork will be hung on its wall and installed on its grounds. (No Mapplethorpe-esque provocations allowed, one can assume.)

"We approved the art, but we gave artists latitude. We were careful to give them freedom to create," said Nicole Imberger, a vice president at Westfield.

-- David Ng

Photo: Alex Israel poses with his artwork at the Culver City mall. Credit: Westfield

Comments () | Archives (7)

Tell Monet, Cezanne, Matisse and countless others that art is all about money. And ignored the market pursuing truth, Cezanne had a small allowance, pitiful by todays trust fund hippies of the art scene in their Prius and polished floored "studios" going for thousands of dollars a month with forced air heating and plates of flavored tofu.

Gauguin, Klee, van gogh of course, though he had better than many, all had meager existences as they pursued truth, not to shock, not for market, but for what they felt in the long run was the world around them, its fundamentals, the blanced intensity of mind, body and soul that true creative art is. Tell Bird, Monk, Coltrane and hundreds of Americas greatest artists, who had road lives that would kill the typical pop or rock mmusician.

No, you are talking about you, what a shock, the Fine and Pop artists, the cowtowers to the wealthy, the conceptualists jesters, the assemblers of childhood fears and desires, never truly approaching responsible adulthood. This is you, not creative artists. Not those who strove and were beaten down, like Miles, poor and driven mad like Bud Powell, ignored to literal death, like Eric Dolphy. No, you who are spoiled, soft, with nothing to say about humanity, dwelling on lifes supposed unfairness, that you arent rich, and someone else, like daddy, is.

No, as Cezanne said, creative artists are priests, we work alone, we focus on the all, not on ourselves, but achieving inner peace through losing ourselves, as did Geroge Braque, and all who follow those who showed the way, while those too lazy to follow bought thier degeres, and proclaime themselves to be all. The age of excess is over. Time to put aside childish things. It is time to get to work.

art collegia delenda est

David Ng, I think you are confusing what drives the art world, with what drives your poor logic.

Money, money and money, your face.

Wow, that's just sad.

For all the haterz out there commenting:
What would u prefer when u go 2 the mall -- bullet holes decorating the walls like the 90s? If the art installation has u worked up About art then mission accomplished. Does something need 2 meet ur personal definition of art in order 2 provoke thought from passerby about the role of art in society? Fools dont get shot up in this mall no more
now the controversy is over other aspects of the mall
I dont go 2 the whitney and complain about the shopping experience

Shut up, no one gets shot. I work near there, never had an issue, and am from the LBC which isnt as bad as its rep either. Stop with the childish texting shorthand, thats for idiots and teenagers. Culver city has practicaly no violent crime never has. What there is is absurdly enough near the pseudo gallery row in La Cienaga now those guys are being ripped off with those rents. Rich brats.

How do you pronounce Ng?

Ng is pronounced "Eng."


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