Frieze Los Angeles weekend, I hosted “Crash with Alexandra Metcalf ,” a solo exhibition located in the interior of my blue Toyota Prius. “Crash” is the newest iteration of my curatorial project From the Desk of Lucy Bull, which started solely as a table-top exhibition space but has since expanded to more transitory venues—this time with a new set of wheels.
Over the course of Friday and Saturday, I mapped out a total of eight stops around Los Angeles, highlighting certain favorites of the art scene: spaces that could easily be missed amidst the overblown opulence that comes to town with the art fair. For the occasion, New York-based artist Alexandra Metcalf created an elegant chandelier composed of stained-glass miniatures, skeletal lost wax carvings, lead-fired portraits and a table’s worth of illuminated teacups and saucers. Take the road trip below.
With the chandelier hanging from the center of my car, it felt like I was rolling up with my living room. Photography courtesy of River Callaway/BFA.com. The confined space of the car prompted an intimate viewing of the chandelier. It was fun to spot the various Queen Elizabeth stamps collaged amidst other pieces of ephemera, including Maria Callas silkscreens, family photos, vintage fabrics and magazine clippings. The body of Metcalf’s chandelier was stripped down to its skeleton and then rewired for custom light fixtures made of antique demitasse cups and saucers. The wing forms were first made in bronze using lost-wax casting, patinated with various coats of antique black and traditional blue and then finished with polishing wax. Photography by Lucy Bull. To cap every hanging charm is a hand-blown glass droplet. Photography by Lucy Bull. Photo by Jackson Hallberg Our first stop was Soshiro Matsubara’s solo show, “Study for a Labyrinth,” at Bel Ami in Chinatown. While I hung back with the car, Alex and her boyfriend David ran up to peek. She and Soshiro both made ornaments for From the Xmas Tree of Lucy Bull back in 2020. One of the co-founders of Bel Ami, Naoki Sutter-Shudo, had organized the show with me. Photography courtesy of Alexandra Metcalf. From there, we went on to Nonaka-Hill in Hollywood to see the group show, “not titled (not Untitled).” We were quickly greeted by Rodney and Taka Nonaka-Hill who had saved me a spot in the parking lot they share with Yum-Yum Donuts and Petit Trois. As a gallery, they focus on Japan and every time I visit, I’m introduced to somebody new. Photography by Lucy Bull. My friend (and fellow painter) Zoe Barcza was spinning our sign outside and managed to get the attention of a couple of Petit Trois diners. Photography by Lucy Bull. Next up was Larder in Silverlake, a new apartment gallery where Erin Calla Watson’s show “KYLE” was on display. Watson sourced images from the subreddit /r/malelivingspace for a series of aluminum prints. The gallery is normally only open by appointment, but its two directors Tabitha and Natalie held open hours so that “Crash” could, well, crash. Photography courtesy of the artist and Larder. At the chaotically festive opening reception for Jan Gatewood’s show “Tiptoe Hassle” in Echo Park, there was a steady swarm of people spilling into the street outside the newly renovated (and gorgeous) Smart Objects. Director Chadwick Gibson and gallerist Matthew Brown took refuge in the car to admire Metcalf’s chandelier. Two veterans of the Desk, Raphael Cohen and Ryan Bush of Ficus Interfaith, also popped in. They were in town for their Frieze booth with In Lieu. It was special to have them in the car, as they were the first to ever show on the Desk. Photography courtesy of the artist and SMART OBJECTS. We ended off Friday night on Sunset at the newest hot spot, Horses, for a party celebrating the Feminist Center for Creative Work. As soon as we stepped out of the car, the event’s host Maritza Yoes shouted, “Somebody get the artists a drink.” Photography courtesy of River Callaway/BFA.com. “The arrival of the Prius brought even the most buttoned up of partygoers outside, into the gritty parking lot ‘smoking section’ for some communal loitering and gossip,” recalled Yoes. “With the chandelier, the parking lot became the after party…quintessentially LA.” Photography courtesy of River Callaway/BFA.com At midnight, the artist herself posed with matching balloons, moments before we parked the car for the night. Photography by Lucy Bull. The next day, we ventured back to Hollywood to stop at Tyler Murphy’s apartment gallery Commercial Street, just in time for Golden Hour. Photography by Lucy Bull. There, Cecilia Gerson’s short film She & Her was playing on a loop. Photography courtesy of Commercial Street. Tyler’s close friend and neighbor Skye Chamberlain waved hello from his kitchen window. He came down to see the show before we headed to our final destination. Photography by Lucy Bull. Our grand finale was at the Hollywood Roosevelt, home of the Felix Art Fair. I’m a huge fan of this fair as I much prefer browsing cabana booths circling the iconic David Hockney pool to the typical tent context any day. Photography by Lucy Bull. The Nonaka-Hill presentation at Felix fully embraced the booth as hotel room. Amidst paper flower works by Shinozaki Megumi, a collection of vintage Staffordshire pottery was scattered across the bed, mirroring the Ulala Imai painting hanging above. Photography by Alexandra Melcalf. I was grateful to have Felix co-founder Mills Moran connect me with the hotel’s valet staff. We were given an idyllic spot in the parking lot (albeit adjacent to garbage cans). As the Felix Art Fair goers and World Series of Art Poker losers poured out of the Roosevelt, we also dimmed our lights, already plotting the next “Crash.” Photography by Lucy Bull. Photography by Lucy Bull.