Los Angeles – Black Maria Gallery announced the opening of a new exhibition, entitled “Black Market at Black Maria.” The exhibition will be featuring new and recent works by Los Angeles-area artists, including Jeff McMillan, Andrea Offerman, Zachary Sofia, Scot Nobles, Rafael Delgado, Ubaldo Miranda Villa, Karyn Raz, Chantal Menard, Jack Howe, Jason Houchen, Mari Araki, Thomas Lee Bakofsky, Dave Leamon, Plain Jane, Gretchen Ryan and others. The exhibition will open on November 19.
According to Black Maria owner Zara Zeitountsian, the idea is to “both poke gentle fun at the cosmopolitan shopping experience and, on a serious note, remind ourselves of the spiritual rewards of appreciating and owning great art.”
Zeitountsian explains that the American way of shopping, especially at malls and department stores, more and more assumes a numbing function, serving as a fix for a host of psychological or emotional issues. “The stuff that we shop for and end up buying,” she says, “fulfill their promise as objects of desire by becoming tools for unmediated happiness -- instantaneous alternatives to all the intangibles we can’t seem to achieve outside of the mall. The esthetic and tactile aspects of the thing bought supplant, often with vengeance, the beauty we believe we sorely lack in our inner lives. So you might go shopping not only to get yourself an emotional boost, but also to forget.”
The “Black Market at Black Maria” exhibition will carry a bazaar theme, complete with some of the accoutrements of the shopping experience: paintings suspended on clothing hangers, display stands holding a variety of artworks.In keeping with the shopping mall theme, patrons will also be able to take with them whatever they purchase, just as they would in a store.
Sam Saghatelian (Saga), curator of Black Maria Gallery, adds: “Insofar as the acquired item can enrich our lives, by its sheer power to inspire awe or reflection, the inherent value of a work of art is established enough. But with the advent of hyper consumerism and its ubiquitous iconography, art keeps being relegated to the realm of the incomprehensible, something that supposedly only an intellectual elite can engage in. I’ll be the first to admit that some of the blame should rest squarely on the art world itself, which has a tendency to thrive on being willfully obscure and elitist.
With our upcoming exhibition, we’re saying we’d like to tear down that wall, so to speak. To our way of thinking, a painting can be as satisfying as wearing a sexy dress or owning a feature-laden barbecue, except there is an actual, sometimes life-changing meaning waiting to be derived from a work of art. Hence the subtitle of the exhibition: Skip the Mall.”