DADS & GRADS DESERVE THESE THOUGHTFUL GIFTS:
Fathers hold us in a special headlock whether or not they are in our lives much. What’s better? A vacant photo on the shelf or the stinging memory of a heavy backhand? There are of course fathers who are dear for their guidance and support. I for one thankfully fall into the offspring of the latter category. Oh, he was human, but in ways I didn’t understand until I too had the responsibility of reconciling personal wants with a “do the right thing” Pater Noster.
An art book would be a welcome twist for the guy used to getting ties, barbecue implements, power tools, car gadgets, beard grooming accouterments, or at least the promise of being left to his own devices for one day.
The beauty of the following suggestions for three types of dad is that they also work perfectly for the grad in your life too! Let me explain:
Type 1: The Surfer
Your arrival interrupted his beach party in the 80’s and while he was glad to have you in his life, there is nothing like the surf for him. Alone, awash in a roiling sea from whence he primordially emerged; then weightless, he swallows his heart and drops into a thundering cascade where the razors of a reef await the slightest misstep. But you in swaddling clothes represented the beginning of a great adventure and it’s this point that you share with the ocean: you are that great expanse with unlimited potential to which he is inextricably linked.
Give him Jeff Divine’s Surf 80’s. In addition to your debut in his life, the 80’s were a tumultuous time in surf history. Fragmented into pros, punks and rebels, the feel good vibrations of the 70’s crashed on the rocks of a giant neon wetsuit. Divine captures the era in vivid color. Dad will look back with a fond memory of the day he had to skip the surf session at the river-mouth so he could watch you wash up onto his shore.
This is also the perfect gift for those grads graced with the sections of strand stretching in front of UCSB, UCSD, USD, UCI, CSULB, CSUCI, UCSC, USF, etc. They will be reminded that time catches up to even the world's best surfers and that the days of skipping class when the surf was up were precious days indeed.
Type 2: The God
Your dad has always been there for you. He can do no wrong – well almost; the indiscretions against your mother for example. Still, he has done his best to keep up appearances and weather financial and emotional burdens such that you were minimally compromised. The sun is eclipsed but shines again.
Get him “Geometry of Light” about the “Skyspaces" of James Turrell, undoubtedly the most influential light artist. “Skyspaces” is a group of works that Turrell developed into an art form in its own right and were precursors to the amazing Roden Crater project. The book explains with both insightful essays and sumptuous photography how Turrell’s work revolves around a static, constant and omnipresent core via the controlled use of light.
We also suggest that this is perfect for the Theology, Physics, Engineering, Geology and Archeology majors. (Do not give this to a BFA or MFA. In the wrong hands, such inspiration can be dangerous!)
Type 3: The Dreamer
As an entrepreneur, your dad has had his financial ups and downs measured by your numerous moves around the country and neighborhoods that range from posh to impovershed. Some of his ideas were genius before their time and others were practical but held no allure for him. Nonetheless you were foremost in his mind. Meanwhile, Mom not only supported the experimentation by her own hard work but also seemed to actually enjoy the roller coaster. Her faith that a sudden drop would be followed by a steady chugging up the hill was unshakeable.
Get him Never Built New York. The companion to Never Built Los Angeles. NBNY lays out the startling imagination of some of the world’s top architects for spectacular projects. With commentary from Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell, NBNY documents nearly 200 ambitious projects spanning 200 years that encompasses bridges, skyscrapers, mass transit plans, parks, streets and highways, amusements, airports, schemes to fill in rivers to extend Manhattan and much more! He will appreciate that you recognize that he is not alone in thinking big and that you will once again be the first to contribute to his next Kickstarter campaign…
Obviously, this one is also great for an Architecture, Engineering or Urban Planning grad.
HAPPY FATHERS DAY AND CONGRATS TO THE GRADS!
We're offering 10% off in store purchases for the month of July. Just mention you saw this offer!
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT IDEAS FOR FIVE TYPES OF MOM
FOR THE MASTER OF GUILT
Your Mom still reminds you that you forgot to call her in 1978. You were nine and in a military academy in another state, nursing a black eye delivered by the school bully; but no matter. Show her that the years of therapy have paid off and you hold no grudges. We suggest Bruce Nauman’s “Live or Die”, an excellent survey of the influential artist’s multifaceted oeuvre from the collection of Frederick Christian Flick. Nauman posits that his work comes out of his “frustration with the human condition.” Need we say more?
FOR THE ABSENTEE
Others may try to console you and say you were lucky that your mother was too busy with her career and left you with a much more caring nanny. But you beg to differ. There is a hole in your heart and she doesn’t see it. Give her Burtynsky’s Water. A spectacular photographic treatise that explores humanity’s increasingly stressed relationship with the world’s most precious resource. She won’t see the tragic poetry in your gift but then she will at least have to put it on her coffee table when you visit for your belated birthday party.
FOR THE DOTING
Trophies of even the slightest athletic or scholastic accomplishment still adorn your shrine that is the kitchen fridge. The awkward pictures of you in varied sporty uniforms and graduation robes have faded but the admiration of your unique place in the universe has not. Give her Phaidon’s “Paul McCarthy”; a compendium of the artist’s mock Grand Guignol performances and installations figuring animal/vegetable/human hybrids in a weird evocation of a national subconscious. The psycho-sexual desires and anxieties that inflect contemporary America emerge in collisions of plastic prosthetics and processed foods masquerading as body fluids. Now that you are 40, dare her to finally treat you like an adult.
FOR THE MOTHER GODDESS
You are named Orion Paisley after the constellation on that night and the shirt your father – whoever he was- happened to be wearing. She still calls you “My lil’ Opie”. Get her Sasha Eisenman’s “California Girls”, a photography book project from 2008-2014 from the California native. Eisenman captures the unique personalities, style and beauty of a varied group of girls that embody the “California Dream Girl”. She will appreciate that the free love spirit is alive and well and that you really don’t mind being called “Lil’ Opie”; even though you nearly vomit anytime you see a paisley anything.
FOR THE "FRIEND"
As a teenager, it was hard being the adult in the relationship. Holding back her hair while she deposited a night of too much wine in the toilet or letting you come home at dawn in other people’s clothes because you “didn’t need boundaries like she had” might take its toll. But now that you are a mom too, you understand; even though you have vowed not to have anymore children. Your mom has always wanted to be a friend and not a parent and you really can’t fault that sentiment. We suggest giving her Gusmano Cesaretti’s Fragments of Los Angeles. His striking portraiture of LA street gangs and Lowrider club members will remind her that “family” is not always a straight genetic line and that it might even include spotty upbringings.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
We will be closed on Mother's Day so I can visit my own doting-mother goddess.
HOCKNEY: A.G. Geiger goes to London to review the master's 60 year survey
I’m siting a pub in London called the Swan quaffing a double vodka soda. I had to ask for more ice twice before it resembled my usual west coast cocktail. “You Americans are obsessed with ice!” Pretty sure the American Revolution was really about a lack of ice and not a Tea tax, but I’m still gathering evidence.
This is a block or two away from the Tate Britain where I have just seen the David Hockney exhibition and I’m thinking I may have gotten away without paying and been given the benefit of the doubt too. The Tates are generally free but special shows such as this are 20 pounds. When I got there without planning ahead, I found the show was sold out. The British know their own and were showing up in droves to see David.
A scrappy American always has an idea! I stand at the exit, back to the door and slowly walk backwards into the “exit-through-the-gift-store” door. I call out to those on the other side “ You gotta see this show! Its amazing” Brilliant! It worked! But now I am going suspiciously counter clockwise against the gallery mob.
Somehow going counterclockwise in this exhibition seems appropriate as I start with his breezy iPhone and iPad dalliances. A master whips out clever sketches for the millennial attention span. The digital images are animated with each stroke of his thumb or stylus and he makes quick work of expressive cacti, and other flora and fauna. It’s fun and a bit whimsical. We’ll allow that for now.
Thankfully in the next room are his video pieces “Four Seasons” which are elegant, stately, maybe even wistful. In 2010 Hockney started making video works that fix a number of cameras to a single vehicle that strolls down a canopied country lane in Yorkshire – his home away from LA home. Another reference to cubism (a recurring theme throughout the show) and fragmented aspects of the same scene, the videos are immersive in a way no Picasso painting, even Guenrnica can be. It is also strangely British. The country lane, shattered yet intact seemed to resonate with the region’s war torn history.
Time as a centerpiece in this installation might reflect the elder statesman status of David (whom it must be noted declined a knighthood). Is it a fin de seicle acknowledgment of technology overwhelming the natural order or hope springing eternal for the 21st? ,
In 2006 he returned home to Yorkshire and set up a studio in Bridington that saw him focus on light, space and landscape of the Wolds. His ability to masterfully capture light, evidenced by his well known depictions ofHollwood poolsides is on full display in these large scale works. Hockney’s seemingly casual approach to a brushstroke belies his mastery the medium. The Wolds come alive with colors that vibrate to produce a romantic view of landscape as a literal grounding for one’s soul.
Landscape is accomplished though an illusion of depth and Hockney took on no less a challenge than the Grand Canyon. In one painting of the area, Hockney’s own shoes are depicted as if we are standing at the precipice next to him. Yet the painting is undeniably flat. In the tension between a perceived perspective and the reality of the paint globs , you can feel the desert heat and hear the wind in his large scale interpretations of the perspective bending natural wonder. Again, his mastery of the medium is manifest.
But single point perspective landscapes could not communicate the experience of living in the world. From the visitor pamphlet: “(Hockney) described conventional photography as akin to ‘looking at the world from the point of view of a paralyzed Cyclops – for a split second’. In contrast he sought to create a photography that could accommodate different view points as well as time and movement”
Sound familiar, Picasso? That Hockney was enamored of Picasso is no secret and these jumbled assemblages of Polaroids as well as borderless photographs seem an homage to the modern icon. Hockney however makes the cubist approach his own by appropriating photography instead of rejecting it. The result comes across as clever if not beautiful.
In the 1960’s Hockney began using acrylic paints that dry quickly and therefore require a more meticulous planning process. His double portraiture of such figures as the English novelist Christopher Isherwood and painter Don Bachardy are carefully designed although he painted from life. Subjects taken from a clutch of his friends and family occupy sun drenched spaces and are posed to intimate the complex relationships between the two figures.
His iconic SoCal based paintings were a joy for this Angeleno to see together in one gallery. The Splash, Sunbather, Man in the Shower and other domestic scenes made me feel right at home even though I was halfway across the world in a place with no such sunshine. His earliest works in the show include abstractions and a quotation of artistic styles that would continue throughout his career. In his ability to steal the styles of modern masters such as Matisse and Picasso while making wholly original paintings, Hockney was consciously setting himself in the pantheon of the world’s greatest artists. It’s a bold assertion but one that this comprehensive survey of his enormous talent can back up.
On display at the Tate Britain until May 29th.
SPECIAL EVENT: January 21, 7pm in the A.G. Geiger Main Room
GUSMANO CESARETTI IN CONVERSATION WITH NAHEED SIMJEE AND HENRY HOPPER
On Saturday January 21 at 7pm, international photographer Gusmano Cesaretti and Senior Editor, Naheed Simjee will discuss their unique photography project titled Fotofolio.la in the main room of the A.G. Geiger’s Fine Art Books and Press. It is also the launch of Fotofoli.la Issue #10, A Tribute to the Photography of Dennis Hopper.
You want to be there for several reasons. First is that Cesaretti is a fantastic photographer and makes rare appearances. Second, he’ll be joined by Fotofolio.laEditor and respected art consultant Naheed Simjee to present their vision for Fotofolio.la’s in 2017. They will also be joined by actor Henry Hopper who granted access to some of his father’s previously unpublished work for issue #10. Third, it’s a fundraising party in the very cool A.G. Geiger Book Store and Press with a bar hosted by Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
If you are not familiar with Cesaretti’s photography or his larger-than-5’-6”charisma, he is an internationally recognized photographer and a dynamic storyteller. This is because he has some amazing stories to tell! Part anthropologist – although he would never call himself that- Cesaretti has embedded himself with underworld cultures and consequently gained unparalleled access into the lives and the stories at the roots of their sub-cultures. From notorious Black motorcycle gangs in New York, to Lowriders in East Los Angeles, to the world famous Latin American Shaman, Maria Sabina (She refused to see the Beatles), to Columbian Prostitutes pimped by deadly drug dealers, Cesaretti has made incredibly powerful and beautiful photographs and has lived to tell the tale.
His methodology and interest in street cultures as well as Simjee’s long time expertise in street art (she was artist liason for MOCA’s 2011 Art in the Streets exhibit) compliment one another in their mission to bring photography to the homeless, the imprisoned and underprivileged. Fotofolio.la is an underground publication presenting the work of both well-established and emerging photographers. Printed in a folio format on newsprint, the magazine proves that photography is a universal language. Consequently, the printed photographs do not carry any explanation or narrative, other than a photo credit. The photos speak for themselves. It is distributed throughout Los Angeles to the homeless projects, prisoners and families in low income housing. Now 10 issues in, the event seeks to raise funds for new issues as well as raise awareness for the project.
Cesaretti and Simjee have been able to secure the rights to images from such luminary photographers as Larry Clark and Dennis Hopper but have also showcased the work of emerging talents as well. Cesaretti explains the odd appeal of his proposition to big name artists who otherwise hold their rights closely like this: “ I tell them, look, your pictures will be looked at by people who bring no art historical baggage with them. It may be revelatory, inspirational or they may just use the magazine to wipe their ass. They love that part.”
What does he hope will happen when such art is taken directly to the street like this? “Look. A lot of what we publish is a sort of portraiture of people like them, in tough situations, forgotten. You can see (in the photos) the beauty of a tagged wall in a rough neighborhood, the vulnerability in the eyes of a hardened prostitute. We don’t romanticize their plight and I honestly hope that they will wipe their ass with it if they get absolutely nothing else from it.”
Given that view, Dennis Hopper’s photography which comprises all of issue #10, is a perfect fit. That the discarded – in this case people- can be worthy of high art dovetails neatly into Hopper’s view of himself as an “abstract expressionist and action painter by nature, and a Duchampian finger pointer by choice,” subscribing wholeheartedly to the idea that “the artist of the future will merely point his finger and say it’s art--and it will be art.” Working during the ascendance of Warhol’s cult of celebrity, Hoppers photographs journal a personal ride across the cultural landscape of its time and might bring a particular resonance to an overlooked population.
Please join us in the store at 7pm on Saturday, January 21st. you will be glad you did.
Perfect Gifts for the 10 Ten Most Impossible People:
(certain fees may apply to insure packages arrive before December 25th)
# 10. THE MOTHER-IN-LAW
Whether or not you have a good relationship with her, In-Laws represent a particular challenge. You need to be thoughtful without being sycophantic; generous without seeming like a spendthrift.
We suggest the elegant candle holders (w/ candles and felt containers) by artist Jean Pelle. Made of exotic hardwoods, the beautiful holders demonstrate your contemporary sophistication while at the same time giving a nod to the traditional idea of the Mother In Law as the keeper of the family flame. Whether her idea of home and hearth is a candlelit Christmas dinner or a flamethrower evening of acerbic “zingers”, she’ll appreciate these lovely functional art objects.
Candle Holders by Jean Pelle
7. DAD UNDER $75
You want to show the old man you still care even though you haven’t called recently and you don’t like the new woman he is dating (she makes him dress younger than you.) You could just go with that and pick out some board shorts and flip flops for their upcoming trip to Hawaii, but even Quicksilver on sale will set you back $80 and that’s over your budget.
We suggest the new release of Dennis Stock photographs titled American Cool from Reel Art Press. The first anthology dedicated to one of the greatest American photographers of the 20th century, during his most celebrated period of the 1950s–1970s, American Cool will send your dad on a nostalgic joy ride while subtly reminding him that clothes do in fact make the man.
Dennis Stock: American Cool
4. YOUR 'FRIEND-WITH-BENEFITS" WHOM YOU DON'T WANT TO GET THE WRONG IDEA
You’re perfectly content in the current situation. Its fun, carefree and sometimes oddly comforting but you don’t want to send a “Lets escalate this!” signal. We completely understand, although you may want to review your aversion to commitments.
We suggest: Sasha Eisenman’s California Girls.
For American photographer Sasha Eisenman, California connotes a state of mind and a way of life, but also one particular image: the California Girl. A reminder of the days of free love, California Girls shows us the updated lifestyle in this first bound collection of Eisenman’s photography. You can present it as an affirmation of your commitment to non-commitment.
Sara Eisenman: California Girls
# 9. THE 28yr OLD GOD SON WHO STILL LIVES WITH YOUR BROTHER
The God Son to Father/ Mother relationship has shadowed the decline of religion as a guiding paradigm in which to structure relationships. For 28 years you have been remembering his birthday and the holidays with gifts. From that Playstation your brother forbade in the house to a computer for his 6th year in community college, you have been generous. But lately you’ve been viewing the relationship as a two way street that hasn’t seen any meaningful traffic coming from his direction.
We say he needs some inspiration to finally head out on his own. We suggest two titles that should inspire a vision quest of sorts. (including one by the "Easy Rider" himself!) Even if he is simply moved to wanderlust, he’ll be out of the house and your brother might forgive you for that Playstation in 1998.
The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip
Dennis Hopper: Drugstore Camera (not shown below)
6. THE CLUELESS, SOON TO BE "EX"
You’ve told yourself January will be a new start and that means losing a few pounds –like that 155 on your wispy boyfriend. He was so adorably sensitive at first but you’ve had it with the poetry readings and his fixation with French cinema.
How do you say: “Thanks, friend but here is a clue that I’m moving out next month”?
We suggest Nan Goldin: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. Nan Goldin's The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is a visual diary chronicling the struggles for intimacy and understanding among friends and lovers. Appropriate to your situation, this anniversary issue features all-new image separations produced using state-of-the-art technologies and specially prepared reproduction files, which offer a lush, immersive experience of this monograph/ bittersweet ending to your relationship.
Nan Goldin: Ballad of Sexual Dependency
3. THE BOSS YOU WANT TO IMPRESS WITHOUT APPEARING TO KISS ASS
The workplace is fraught with gift-giving pitfalls. That bouquet of flowers that showed up to a married colleague from a “secret admirer” on Valentines day fueled the rumor machine in ways that are still reverberating as the company Holiday party approaches. You have no such romantic designs on your boss of course – she is an ogre- but you do want to endear yourself without appearing sycophantic. Worst case, your career might hang in the balance of your gift selection. This is why the boss is number 3 on our list of most difficult.
We suggest the hand tooled leather pouch by Animal Handmade. Made with genuine leather, Animal Handmade has developed a special technique of imprinting that results in delicate and subtle imagery. Practical (it fits an iPad) but tasteful, itsthe perfect combination of business and pleasure (and perfect for priming them for that promotion.)
Hand Tooled Genuine Leather Pouch
1. THE SIGNIFICANT OTHER
We don’t know where you are in your current relationship so we will assume you are either 1. swimming in love, 2. treading water or 3. going down for the last time. Hope springing eternal, we will only suggest the perfect gift for the first case.
We suggest the platter made by Stanton Hunter. Hunter, a well known Los Angeles based artist whose work incorporates vessels, as well as autonomous sculptural forms, and site-specific installations.
The earthen platter will look fantastic on your table and be a reminder that love is circular as well as being a vessel, and is a perfect place on which to literally serve up the love!
Stanton Hunter, Earthen Platter
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! - A.G. Geiger
# 8. THE ARCHITECT
We don’t really see ALL architects as insufferable snobs – after all it’s the only profession that can provide a noble way to starve. Artists are expected to be financially challenged and selfish, if not just self-absorbed. Architects however hold the promise of building monuments to mankind and pocketing real change from it. Combining a mastery of engineering as well spatial wizardry, architects not only look how well designed your gift is, they will also comment on the wrapping paper selection and whether or not the bow is tastefully placed to compliment the sleek shape of the box.
We suggest the concrete and resign paperweights created by Los Angeles artist Erin Althea . While software rules the design day, construction documents are still produced for the hardhats and laid out on conference tables for the bankers. As objects in themselves, like a Scott Burton sculpture in miniature, they evoke marble plinths from which to carve an Acropolis.
Concrete & Resin Paperweight by artist Erin Althea (Only one left)
5. THE FRIEND FROM NEW YORK THAT WON'T STOP CONTRASTING ALL THINGS NY TO ALL THINGS"INFERIOR" IN LA
You find yourself in an inner monologue asking “Why did she move HERE then? She often has a point, and you do enjoy her friendship; but you can only hope the constant compare and contrast exercise will either burn itself out or she will return to her East Coast Camelot.
We suggest two titles: Silent Beaches, Untold Stories: New York City’s Forgotten Waterfront or Never Built, New York from Metropolis Books. Untold Stories transports the reader into the extraordinary past and present embedded in New York City’s more than 600 miles of coastline through a stunning selection of rare photographs, history, new fiction and contemporary art. Never Built, New York shows us that city as it might have been: 200 years of visionary architectural plans for unbuilt subways, bridges, parks, airports, stadiums, streets, train stations and, of course, skyscrapers. There is also a Never Built, Los Angeles so you could conveniently have one on your coffee table and move the rivalry to a whole new level of fantasy.
Silent Beaches/ Untold Stories
Never Built New York (not pictured below)
2. THE PERSON WHO HAS EVERYTHING (PWHE)- pronounced “Pee-Wee"
Like the architect (see number 8) PWHEs are discerning, but unlike the architect they are most likely very wealthy. The default gift for a PWHE is of course something related to a passion or hobby they have exhibited over the years. This is precisely the wrong thing to do. It’s why I amassed an unwieldy collection of small bovine nic-nacs from around the world. You start with a few pastoral paintings with cows in them and then friends assume you love cows. You can’t NOT display the gifts and the whole thing snowballs into a self-perpetuating nightmare. But I digress.
No, the PWHE needs a mental ESCAPE from their cushy quarters. They will never let on but they are trapped by their possessions. Give them a chance to wander the path less traveled.
We suggest two titles: Blight at the End of the Funnel or Surf’s Beat Generation.
Blight at the end of the Funnel is a comprehensive collection of Edward Colver’s captivating photographic works. For over 25 years, Colver has been one of the main documentarians of the Southern California punk rock scene. This book is a timeless coffee table album by one of the 20th century’s most important underground photographers.
Surf’s Beat Generation documents the post-World War II influence of Beatnik poetry, jazz and art interpretation around the California Coast that created a revolution in the Orange County surf world.
PWHEs will proudly put such books on their antique coffee tables.
Blight at the End of the Funnel: $29.95
Surf’s Beat Generation (not shown) $24.95
PLEASE CONTINUE SHOPPING!