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Rachel Lachowicz's New Role: She's 'Just Looking at Life'

December 16, 1990|SHAUNA SNOW

FACES

"I'm done trying to convince people of something," says artist Rachel Lachowicz, whose new work is on view at Santa Monica's Krygier/Landau Contemporary Art through Jan. 15. "Things aren't really going to change that much in my lifetime, so now I'm just looking at life rather than trying to change it."

The object of Lachowicz's ire is the male classification of women, which she believes leads to the "ridiculous role playing" that comes with putting on makeup. Lachowicz, a conceptual-based sculptor, called her new pieces reflecting women's use of cosmetics "transitional work."

"Before, I did very strong, macho work, and I was told over and over, 'I like your work; it looks like a man made it,' " she says.

The show does not only address women's use of makeup, it even uses cosmetics for materials, such as several pieces sculpted solely of solid lipstick. Lachowicz, 26, said she felt the lipstick was "a material that I could really make a mark with, and it also allowed me to enter into a more feministic dialogue."

But not all of the pieces were made with cosmetics. In "Beauty Mark," for instance, a burned wooden circle is hung on a wall then pushed sideways to leave a sooty trail, which is "like smeared makeup." The piece, Lachowicz says, shows that "art on the wall is very similar to makeup on your face. A lot of people say they can't make art, but every day, they put on this makeup. They spend a lot of time building these elaborate facades, just for men."

Although she considers herself a feminist ("but not a screaming and stomping one"), Lachowicz admits that she, too, plays the role.

"I like to be treated like the classical woman, and I put on makeup," she says. "A lot of times I wake up and find myself role playing and think, 'Why am I doing this?' But I've realized that there's nowhere to exist without being classified by men. And the harder you fight against it, the more difficult it becomes. For instance, when I had short hair and wore no makeup, everyone thought I was gay, because I wasn't playing the role."

Lachowicz says, however, that she tried not to show her feelings too overtly in her work.

"I'm leaving it open enough that you have to think about it for yourself," said the 1988 CalArts graduate who had her first Los Angeles solo show in 1989 with the now-defunct Dennis Anderson Gallery. "You don't know what my position is or what I think about it. It's just a sort of ridiculous view of something that gives me a lot of grief."

THE SCENE

Billboards by Ilene Segalove, Anne Bray and William Roper went up at three Los Angeles-area locations this week as part of the 1990 ArtBulletin Program jointly sponsored by Patrick Media Group and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.

As part of the annual program, each artist produced a 14 x 48-foot hand-painted billboard. All three billboards will hang for one month each at four different locations.

Segalove's billboard, called "This Is No Time for Eyelids," combines Picasso-like and contemporary images. It is on view through mid-January at Van Nuys Boulevard and the Ventura Freeway.

Roper's image, called "A Flight of Angels Cherubin Reclamation Assoc.," addresses Los Angeles in the 1990s and is up through the same time at Lakewood Boulevard and the Artesia Freeway.

Bray's billboard, which reads, "It's Dizzying How Many Roles Women Can Play," is at the corner of Melrose and Fairfax.

Each artist received a $750 honorarium for the project, which was juried by artists Laurel Beckman, Robert Walker and May Sun; Roberto Bedoya, LACE executive director, and Jessica Cusick, arts administrator for the L.A. County Transportation Commission.

For information on future locations, call Patrick Media at (213) 730-4213.

Art Catalogues, the one-of-a-kind bookstore devoted to international art museum catalogues, is closing down its West Hollywood store on Saturday, but it will continue to operate as a mail-order service.

"This way, I'll be able to work more closely with our established customers--the dealers, auction houses, libraries and collectors," said owner and art collector Dagny Corcoran.

Corcoran noted that her business, which also has a European office in London, already conducts 80% of its sales by catalogue. She said the change will allow her to give customers more individually tailored services, such as printouts of all materials available on particular subjects or artists. She has more than 10,000 titles in stock.

Corcoran plans to re-open Art Catalogues on Jan. 15 as a mail-order service based in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The new phone number will be (800) 457-1095.

CURRENTS

American artist Bryan Hunt has won the $100,000 first prize at the 1990 Seoul Art Festival, which is being held in the Korean capital through Feb. 20. Hunt, based in New York, has shown previously in Los Angeles and is represented locally by Santa Monica's BlumHelman.

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