There are no limits to the unusual ways artists dream up to turn a box into art. Evidence is on view at Space Gallery in "Boxes," where 34 Los Angeles artists have created more than 100 art boxes of all sizes, shapes and colors, exhibited in the gallery's 6,700 square feet of adjacent space.
Collector Leo K. Michelson curated the show. "I thought it would be an interesting show for this space," he said. "Boxes are confining, exact and mysterious. Some artists like to put people on with them, and make them think."
No type of box is considered unsuitable. A cigar box, a metal toolbox, a jewelry box and vinyl carrying cases have all been used here to present diverse narratives.
Doug Sutherland has laid out a "body" resembling himself on top of a coffin in "Mr. Mickey Finds Himself in a State." There is no need to open this casket, marked with a Florida license plate, because it comes with a viewing window. Through it one can see an array of fun-in-the-sun kitsch. Various Florida icons, including palm trees, fish and flamingos, share the space with cacti, cows, peppers, a cross, a bottle of Mickey's malt liquor and more.
On the other end of the scale, Melinda Altshuler filled a small, round, hand-painted box with sand, placed a pearl in the center and surrounded it with metal nails with tips pointed upward. In "Four Band-Aid Boxes on a Shelf," she attached black-and-white photographs of small Southern California dwellings to Band-Aid boxes. One can't help but notice the resemblance between the buildings and the boxes.
Beth Bachenheimer took an old, wooden Coca-Cola crate that once carried 24 Coke bottles and filled the spaces with bottle shards. She calls the work "Shattered Dreams." A bird cage serves as the box in Dale Weiss' "In Flight," where airplanes hang and bird feathers lie at the bottom. A cutlery box holds piano keys in "Blue Roses for Bud Powell," by Michael Laurence. Christel Dillbohner neatly presents such textured elements as wool, a sponge, a brush, metal and a ceramic piece in a drawer box.
Kim Abeles has put her "Smog Mirror," which had collected 30 days worth of smog, behind glass. Also behind glass are Jeffrey Vallance's collections of Richard Nixon campaign buttons, golf tees and other memorabilia and Lamonte Westmoreland's mixed-media collages that address such issues as race in media images and art-world celebrity.
Also in the show are boxes by Dan Abramson, Grant Alkin, Mary Allan, Stuart Allingham, Rick Araluce, Faye Augustine, Kevin Beer, Annette Bird, Giuseppe De Piero, Jacqueline Dreager, Barbara Drucker, Jeff Gambill, Diane Jasperson, Cyndi Kahn, Susana Lago, Gavin Lee, Michael Madzo, Susan Meyers, Echiko Ohira, Ann Page, Sarah Perry, Norman Schwab, John Stewart, Simon Toparovsky and Betty Zucker.
\o7 "Boxes," at Space Gallery, 6015 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood\f7 ,\o7 through July 25. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday\f7 s\o7 through Saturdays. Call (213) 461-8166.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: The continuing education office of Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design this month will offer two guided tours of summer photography exhibitions. Tour guide Joan Gallant Dooley, a photographer and curatorial assistant in the Getty Museum's department of photographs, said the groups will survey photography exhibits around La Brea Avenue in West Hollywood and in the Santa Monica and Malibu areas. They will take an in-depth look at the work, considering its historical and biographical context.
Dooley added that at each stop she will give an introductory talk about the life and work of the photographers shown, followed by a brief tour of the exhibit. Then participants will be free to explore on their own.
The July 18 tour will begin at 10 a.m. at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with "New Acquisitions, New Work, New Directions: Photography From the Collection," an exhibit of about 100 photographs.
After lunch, the tour will migrate to Fahey/Klein Gallery for the Robert Heinecken show. Next stop will be the Jan Kesner Gallery for a look at three photo essays by Danny Lyon shot between 1965 and '67.
At the Stephen Cohen Gallery, the class will view work by Bob Willoughby, who shoots jazz and movie stars in black and white; and Lindsay Brice, who works in Cibachrome, a color print medium. Brice will be present to talk about his work.
The last stop of the day will be the Paul Kopeikin Gallery to see Marion Post Wolcott's Farm Security Administration work from 1938 to 1941.
\o7 Cost of the tour is $35. Lunch and LACMA admission are not included in the fee.
\f7 July 25 at 10 a.m., Dooley will start the tour in Santa Monica at the G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, where Herman Leonard's photographs of jazz celebrities will be on display. Next stop will be the Gallery of Contemporary Photography to see Kurt Marcus' series on cowboys, and Erin Flynn's study of workers building the Los Angeles Metro Rail system. Flynn will be in the gallery.
The tour will stop for lunch at the Getty Museum Tea Room before a visit to the museum's exhibit "Two Lives: O'Keeffe by Stieglitz, 1917-1924." In the final planning stages for this tour is a showing of work from a private collection.
\o7 Cost for the tour is $35. Lunch not included in the fee. For more information on both tours, including registration, call (213) 251-0551. \f7