I wanted to check out the temporary "pop-up" art event Transmission:AV Club at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo mainly for the involvement of Koji truckmaster Roy Choi (as I BLOGGED PREVIOUSLY). I mean, sure I like art, and having previously worked with Mike D, I knew he'd put together something interesting, but Choi being involved as a fellow "artist" was what intrigued me. But when I got there earlier this evening and saw the typically annoying caste system of admission--yes, it was FREE, but the regular public had to wait until literally HUNDREDS of invitees (of the artists, the museum, sponsors Mercedes-Benz and probably everyone Mike D ever shook hands with) got in first. Which meant a whole lot more were left behind barricades.
I was about to bolt when I saw Choi at the head of the human corral making sure anyone he knew could get in--and that people would stay to get his food. I snapped this pic and then said hello and I guess he remembered I was one of the first to blog about the Kogi truck WAY BACK WHEN, and he slipped me a "VIP" wristband. Since I was honestly just there to see his part of things, I didn't feel bad about "pulling weight." But once I got in, and saw more "food people" than I expected (Caryll Chin, Picca Chef Ricardo Zarate) I ended up checking out the whole thing, and I have to say, it's very cool. Unfortunately, at least at the moment, the food aspect is a bit disappointing. There are two Kogi trucks, putting out a very limited menu of tacos (one per person) – one by line, one by passing servers – and a completely unimpressive, ordinary event bar. Maybe that will change as the installation progresses. I hope so. Choi also contributed some art, and will be DJing.
I'm not an art critic (well, not certified or anything), but in general I would say the majority of the art was very 'pop' and more about visual effect and aesthetic than message or craft. I can hear Mike's voice echoing from our Grand Royal magazine days "It's all about the highbrow lowbrow." But the music was great, the installations, haphazardly collected inside the warehouse-like space, are fun, and I have to say, it's odd how many incredibly tall women are interested in art!
The Mercedes sponsorship aspect was handled in somewhat clever ways, to varying levels of artistic merit. Hanging over the 'restaurant' communal tables was a huge rapper-style Mercedes logo on a chain. In the rear-most gallery was a darkened room with a new Mercedes model in it, atmospheric lighting, surrounded by headphones playing some dubstep by AdRock. The installation was credited to Mike. When you think of the cleverness and artistry of a lot of European advertising at its best...I think this aspect could have been more successful achieved.
I'm not sure, but I think Mike's management associate Shelby Meade might also have been part of the endorsement deal, being that she was oddly wearing a large Mercedes crest around her neck over a goldie sort of baggy dress. Perhaps that was a compromise for her not getting the logo tattooed on her forehead. I really wish that folks had stormed the barricades. That would've made the event far more interesting. Alas, this is SoCal, not France.
- Eric Gladstone @ 'Now I'm Hungry'
Transmission LA: AV Club
April 20th – May 6th
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
125 N. Central Avenue, LA
P.S. In case you're curious about my Grand Royal involvement, here's an interview about that on fansite Beastiemania.com.