L.A. witnessed some excellent museum and gallery shows this year, but meeting and talking to artists made 2007 memorable for me. British sensation Tracey Emin, for one, told me about how she likes to strip down to her "bra and knickers" and paint through the night. "It's really a sexy experience," she said.
I also learned that Mike Kelley has a slightly unhealthy obsession with the movie "Orgy of the Dead," Dutch video artist Erik van Lieshout can't get enough of Paris Hilton and master sculptor Ellsworth Kelly longs to make a sculpture as perfect as the monolith in "2001."
Better still were the stories. John Baldessari told me how, in the late 1930s, a big-time gangster showed up at his parents' house in a black limousine. "He had a telephone in his car," Baldessari said. "Which I thought was amazing, but he also had a midget who followed him around, playing with a yo-yo and lighting his cigarettes."
Yet it was the Rev. Ethan Acres, who currently has a show up at Patricia Faure Gallery in Santa Monica, who had the best tale. Apparently he took a side trip to Phoenix on his way to L.A., where he met with a woman who sincerely believed that her 10-year-old son was -- get this -- a chupacabra. "I told her he wasn't any weirder than my own kids," he said.