10 reasons why you should skip work tomorrow to go see Corey Helford Gallery’s 10 Year Anniversary Group Exhibition
by Julie Faith
This was my first visit to the new Corey Helford Gallery space on the outskirts of the DTLA Arts District. I’d been trying to get here for weeks but for this reason or that I just couldn’t make it happen. I knew the lineup of artists and I’d seen pictures of opening night so when I rolled up to the gallery on a recent late summer Friday afternoon to tour the 10 Year Anniversary Group Exhibition I was anticipating great things. After spending nearly two hours in the joint I have to say, it was totally worth the wait. In fact, I’d suggest y’all skip work tomorrow and go spend some serious time there yourself.
1. About CHG: Established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband television producer Bruce Helford, the Corey Helford Gallery has been a champion of the Los Angeles New Contemporary Art Scene for the past decade. Showcasing both established and emerging local and international artists, CHG represents an impressive rock-star roster including Alex Gross, Camille Rose Garcia, D*Face, Eine, Herakut, Hush, Logan Hicks, Risk, Ron English, The London Police, Shag, Van Arno, and so many more. In their new home they are currently the largest gallery in the world to present this particular genre which includes New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti and Street Art, and Post-Graffiti.
2. Their New Home: Located in Boyle Heights, just over the LA River from the Arts District, the place is huge, like 12,000 square feet, 3 separate yet connected gallery spaces, huge. It is a beautiful, expansive, urban gallery that will allow artists and art lovers plenty of space to express and discover new work. Despite it’s size, the gallery feels relaxed and friendly. Staff are welcoming and knowledgeable, ceilings are high, lighting is perfect, parking (on a Friday afternoon, mind you) was plentiful. I never felt rushed and I really took my time perusing the massive space. New exhibitions are presented every four weeks.
3. The Exhibition: Corey Helford Gallery celebrates a decade in the contemporary art community. In an era where many art galleries struggle just to stay afloat, this in and of itself, is exceptional. The show features all new work from 100 of today’s hottest national and international artists and encompasses a variety of media, styles, and genres. There is a significant amount of art as you would imagine there would be in a 10 year collection and every piece represents a unique chapter in the story of the gallery.
4. D*Face: As I walked up the front steps and through the heavy glass doors of the gallery, I peripherally noticed the reception desk but I was immediately drawn, firefly to flame style, to the fantastic stop-motion of the D*Face installation opposite the gallery entry. Half a classic car literally crashes, lights blazing, through a wall in the physical manifestation of the actual artwork used for Blink182’s new album “California”. It’s pretty impressive. In the space created by the wreck, D*Face has six other pieces that are not to be missed.
5. “Nola” by Scott Musgrove: “Nola” depicts a Northern White Rhino, a species headed for imminent extinction. It has a motion sensor embedded in the frame. As you approach, the sensor is triggered cutting power to the “smart glass” in the frame and turning the previously clear glass a milky white and obscuring the painting. The idea is for the viewer to feel the immediate effect humans have on endangered species. Message delivered loud and clear.
6. Cell Tower and Pillow Fight: These mixed media installations by Glazed Paradise are at the same time hilarious and creepy. I had the gallery to myself for the better part of two hours and I can’t tell you how many times I excused myself for obscuring Pillow Fight’s view of the art. Or waiting for “that guy” to get out of my shot. No, really.
7. Look Up: “The Sky’s Gone Out, Part 1” and “AIA Alien Observer” by Adam Wallacavage. Made of unicorn and narwhal tusks, these magical glittering chandeliers kept me busy for ages. I was transfixed by the reflections of the gallery (and, not gonna lie, myself) in the light fixtures.
8. The Far Corner of Gallery 3: Don’t miss it. There is some amazing CHG history there. Hush, in particular, took my breath away.
9. The Little Things: No doubt about it, there are a lot of high-profile show stoppers in this exhibition; Risk’s neon “Cans on Cans”, Ron English’s “Camo Deer”, “Ma Bum Bruise” by Riikka Hyvönen, and of course, the aforementioned D*Face are outstanding, must-see works of art. But my gift is that I find joy and beauty in the little things. I was particularly enthralled by the intricate details of Handiedan’s “Atrium”, for example. The delicate baby’s breath of “Hollow Pollen No 2” by Soey Milk, the light reflecting sparkle of Camille Rose Garcia’s “Panthercabre”, finding the perfect angle to view all the layers of Haroshi’s “Floating Like a Memory”, the exquisite paper “Valkyrie” from Joey Bates, and so on, and so on. These are the things I come to CHG to experience.
10. Hurry!: Corey Helford Gallery’s 10th Anniversary Exhibition opened on August 27 and will run through September 24, 2016. This means there is almost no time left to see it. So call in sick tomorrow and do it! I’ll write your excuse note.