Dollhouses in the Age of Social Networks

Dreamhouse Vs. Punk House (plus Cat house); Photo credit Ruben Diaz

Dreamhouse Vs. Punk House (plus Cat house)

Hours are M-F, 2-6 by appointment only through September 29, 2019.


By Lorraine Heitzman
If you tremble at the thought of traipsing all over Los Angeles to attend gallery openings, there is one show worth the commute with enough art to satisfy the most avid art enthusiast. Dreamhouse Vs. Punk House (plus Cat house), the brainchild of Kristin Calabrese, Joshua Aster, and Torie Zalben, is a massively inclusive show that incorporates the Lilliputian work of almost two hundred artists arranged in three separately themed dollhouses. The conceit places the work in a whimsical context that is part funhouse and part conceptual art installation. More than anything else it is a reflection of an art community, and like all mirrors it shows us who we are, at least on the surface.

Dollhouses, like other forms of miniaturization, are usually reserved for child’s play or fetishizing an idealized domestic life, but these dollhouses defy categorization. Instead they are a partial accounting of Los Angeles’ exhibiting artists, framed in a way to remind us this is all tongue in cheek. Any meaning gleaned from the show is from the installation as a whole, a folly of great proportions, rather than from any individual artwork. If it feels a little daunting with so many artists of different sensibilities, perhaps that is because it is an accurate representation of the current status of the art world. Despite the diminutive size of the art, the exhibit as a whole reflects the contemporary culture of galleries, art fairs and MFA programs. In both the real world and this show the sheer amount of art threatens to overwhelm the viewer. It is somewhat dizzying, yet the small scale allows us to benefit from our perspective and to observe it in its entirety for what it represents before we scrutinize the details.

Much of the enjoyment of the installation is in searching for work by familiar artists, a Where’s Waldo? endeavor, if ever there was one. The curators invited many friends, colleagues and new acquaintances to participate, mostly from Los Angeles, but also some from Chicago and elsewhere. With so many artworks divided up between three separate dollhouses, it is a bit of a puzzle, but there are diagrams available to assist in identification. A few artists were tasked with creating a gallery/room, though the organizers themselves made the majority of spaces and predetermined the themes of the individual dollhouses.

It seems silly and besides the point to critique the art but there are many that are worth mentioning, even if you have to crouch to see them. Some art looks very strong, in part due to their fortunate placement, and also because of their ability to hold their own amid more subtle work. Forrest Kirk’s Kiki, Darius Airo’s Bask Country, and Kelly McLane and Jared Pankin’s Room, Paradise Lost Again stand out unusually well in the crowded field. Others are successful as miniature artworks in their own right, such as Keith Walsh’s Some Los Angeles Socialists Scenes, 1960’s-Now, Phyllis Green’s Phyllis as Shiva, Camilla Taylor’s Seated Figure, Richard Hull’s P-House, and Joshua Miller’s Escher’s Soap Dish. There are so many more, but part of the fun is picking favorites.

Whose dollhouses are these, you might ask? They belong to the encyclopedic social network of artists, dealers and collectors who drive culture in Los Angeles, from the famous to the lesser known. Go and enjoy, but keep in mind that Dreamhouse Vs. Punk House (plus Cat house) is a time capsule of a small fraction of the Los Angeles art scene and like time capsules, it may reveal more about us in the years to come than we can see or understand at this moment.

1207 N. La Brea Ave., Inglewood, 90302
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Participating Artists:
Aaron Axelrod, Abdul Mazid, Adam Miller, Adrienne Adar, Alice Könitz, Alison Blickle, Amada Claire Miller, Amanda Joy Calobrisi, Amy Adler, Amy Sarkissian, Andrew Falkowski, Andy Moses, Annabel Osberg, Anne Harris, Annie Lapin, Ariana Papademetropolis, Ave Pildas, Becky Kolsrud, Ben Jackel, Ben White, Bettina Hubby, Brad Eberhard, Brenna Youngblood, Brian Bowensmith, Brian Cooper, Caitlin Lonegan, Camilla Taylor, Carl Baratta, Carmen Argote, Carolyn Castaño, Charles Karubian, Charlotta Westergren, Chris Finley, Christian Haub, Christine Frerichs, Chung Park, Claire Chambless, Cole Case, Conrad Ruiz, Cyril Kuhn, Daniel Cummings, Dana Weiser, Danny First, Danny Shapiro, Darius Airo, Dave Muller, David Bronstein, Delia Brown, Denny Tentindo, Don Suggs, Doug Crocco, Dustin Metz, Eamon Ore-Giron, Elizabeth Tremante, Emily Joyce, Emma Gray, Eric Lebofsky, Eric Wesley, Faris McReynolds, Forrest Kirk, Fran Siegel, Frank Ryan, Frank Stockton, Georganne Deen, Heather Brown, Helen Rebekah Garber, Henry Taylor, Heriberto Luna, Hilary Baker, Holly Topping, Ian Trout, Iva Gueorguieva, Jane Goren, Jasmine Little, Jay Erker, Jayme Odgers, Jeni Spota C., Jennifer Rochlin, Jennifer Sullivan, Jesse Pace, Joe O’Neill, Joel Holmberg, John Mills, Jonathan Apgar, Josh Atlas, Joshua Aster, Joshua Miller, JP Munro, Julia Schwartz, Julia Sinelnikova, Juliana Romano, Kara Joslyn, Karin Gulbran, Karl Haendel, Karl Petrunak, Katie Grinnan, Katie Herzog, Keith Mayerson, Keith Tolch, Keith Walsh, Kelly Berg, Kelly McLane and Jared Pankin, Kelly Neibert, Kenny Scharf, Kristin Calabrese, Krysten Cunningham, Kyla Hansen, Laura Krifka, Laurie Nye, Linda Daniels, Linda Stark, Lisa Adams, Logan Madsen, Lucas Reiner, Ludovico De Luigi, Margie Schnibbe, Mari Eastman, Marion Lane, Maripol, Mary Addison Hackett, Mary Anna Pomonis, Mary Weatherford, Matthew Fisher, Matthew Haywood, Max Jansons, Max Maslansky, Michal Kamran, Michelle Fierro, Michelle Grabner, Michiko Itatani, Mike Reesé, Mitchell Wright, Naotaka Hiro, Nathan Meier, Nasim Hantehzadeh, Ned Low, Nicholas Frank, Nicholas Shake, Nick Aguayo, Nik Irzyk, Nikko Mueller, Nikkolos Mohammed, Nina Bovasso, Opera Povera, Oscar Moreno, Patrick Woody, Paul Gillis, Paul Rusconi, Paz de la Huerta, Phyllis Green, Raffi Kalenderian, Rebecca Campbell, Rebecca Morris, Reed Anderson, Rema Ghuloum, Richard Hull, Rob Hill, Robert Fontenot, Robert Gunderman, Robert Russell, Rory Devine, Ross Rudel, Ryan Sluggett, Salomon Huerta, Samantha Fields, Sarah Awad, Scott Marvel Cassidy, Seffa Klein, Semra Sevin, Shana Lutker, Shiri Mordechay, Spencer Lewis, Stan Edmondson, Stephen Westfall, Stephanie Pryor, Steve Hurd, Steve Locke, Susan Logoreci, Susanna Coffey, Sydney Croskery, Tanya Batura, Tim Stark, Tom Allen, Tomory Dodge, Torie Zalben, Tyler Vlahovich, Vanessa Conte, Vera Milijkovic, Violet Hopkins, Zak Smith

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