City

Guadalupe Project 29: Por Nosotros

East Los Angeles: foto LC

East Los Angeles: foto LC

Guadalupe Project 27: Nostra Signora de la Mercede

Foto LC

Thai Town: Foto LC

Guadalupe Project 26: Violet Virgin

Violet Virgin

GUADALUPE PROJECT 25: Madonna with dog

East Los Angeles

East Los Angeles

Our Lady of the Lahmajune

ElMAcx

OK so I’m driving down Normandie yesterday, and as I cross Santa Monica I do a double take. The wall round the corner from Little Armenia’s best lahmajune joint has a glorious new mural by street artist El Mac. Now, this dude is one of my favorite street artists; I love the amazing technique of his photorealist portraits that appear seemingly overnight around LA, especially on the Eastside, but also WeHo, Hollywood, Downtown and South LA.  But really Mac has worked all over, including Europe and Miami for the Basel show, often in collaboration with neo-calligrapher Retna’s enigmatic hyeroglyphs. His soulful faces and urban Madonnas mark the city as they peer out of  the walls and gaze upon boulevards or tiny side streets where they invariably hit me as a revelation.  I consider the guy a local treasure, and I’ve always wanted to come upon him as he works, shake his hand if nothing else. Needless to day he’s always a step ahead of me and everybody else, so as I admired his last opus in red on that Nornandie wall I also kicked myself  for missing the artist once again – I mean, I drive that damn block like every week, how fast is he? Then, after hanging a u-turn to take another look I noticed something else: up in the corner,  the telltale logo for the new FX series The Bridge. Yes the Mac man did this one on commission, I don’t know if this is his first foray into commercial work  but it’s the first one I’ve seen (meantime his buddy Retna has practically come to own the stretch of restaurants, billboards and fancy galleries on West Bevelry bl.). So initially I was kind of taken aback, not in a Jeffrey Deitch disneyfied street-art show way  but still, I did feel slightly duped by a painting by a street artist I really admire that upon closer inspection turned out to be advertising. Although.. why not? Not like the guy hasn’t earned it. Especially since the subject is more than worthy: Bridge is one of the best new series of the year on cable and one whose  theme of border noir and bi-national ad bi-ethnic  conflagration seems pretty naturally attuned to Mac’s sensibilities. Also the work really stands on its own and if it weren’t for the small corner lettering, it would simply pass as another striking piece of Mac art. So I’m  inclined to forgive the slight concession on street cred.  The second obligatory consideration  is that someone down at FX central is thinking straight. Placing the Mac mural on this unobtrusive,  high traffic (but definitely non-powerplayer traffic), barrio wall is a small stroke of genius for the guys at the network. It subsumes hipside ethos and urban aesthetics and  connects them to the series’ storyline of gueros slumming in the bad part of town. Its deep-cover advertising I decided I can live with, not last ‘cause it looks damn good.

Guadalupe Project 24: Double Madonna

Sunset boulevard

Sunset boulevard

Archi – tetti

St. Louis Archway. Progetto Eero Saarinen, 1963.

St. Louis Archway. Progetto Eero Saarinen, 1963.

 

 

Arco fascista. progetto Adalberto Libera, 1942.

Arco fascista. progetto Adalberto Libera, 1942.

 

Ex- Urbia

Foto: Bill Owens

Foto: Bill Owens

Suburbia – il paseaggio topico delle foto di Bill Owens (sopra) e dei film di Spielberg in cui si sincretizza con  l’infanzia e l’innoncenza originaria americana, si sta sgretolando.  Le periferie da sitcom che circondano le citta’ americane hanno poriettato generazioni di ceti medi bianchi verso  un  benessere mitologico -  60 anni di white flight dalle citta’ multietniche e fatsicenti verso un Arcadia di compensato, villini monofamigliari e fazzoletti d’erba recintati di paletti bianchi. Oggi  con la stessa  middle class stritolata dalla globalizzaione e dal  nuovo spread sociale,  il topos geografico dei desideri della classe media  ha subito una epocale inversione di tendenza come rileva un’analisi della  Brookings Institution.   La nuova  macrotendenza urbanistica  d’America e’ la density  , una ricolonizzazione dei centri  cittadini da parte delle classi creative e benestanti, la famosa gentrification per cui a Brooklyn come  a Echo Park, i quartieri “storici” diventati ambiti vengono “riqualificati” a scapito degli abitanti originari che assieme alle orde cresenti di nuovi poveri migrano nelle exurbie sempre piu’ distanti e a loro volta convertite in  fatiscenti dimenticatoi ai bordi delle tangenziali esterne, grotteschi simulacri di un ex-sogno diventato incubo di new poverty. Uno dei miei posti preferiti. Sotto alcune foto ricordo delle mie escursioni exurbane.

 

Suburbia, Texas.

Suburbia, Texas.

 

Margini di exurbia. Calfiornia.

Margini di exurbia. Calfiornia.

 

 

Ai tempi del boom.

Ai tempi del boom.

 

 

Suburban archeology. California.

Suburban archeology. California.

 

New Town. Mojave.

New Town. Mojave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Rolling Stones – Echo Park

IMG_0046

 

 

Ieir sera ad Echo Park. Gli Stones suonano un concerto “a sorpesa” per 700 persone  all’ Echoplex, il locale nello storico quartiere di LA.

Little Armenia – Los Angeles

Oggi Chiuso

Oggi Chiuso