I got an email from my nephew Ben; he's been working as a handyman slash preparator for Niels Kantor, and invited me to his "work" to have a look at the art. Niels lives in his father's house, across the street from the infamous George Michael public restroom in Beverly Hills. Niels' father, Paul Kantor, was part of the early (1960's) Los Angeles contemporary art scene. His son has continued in the family business, dealing in contemporary art.Niels Kantor with Mom and Dad
It's quite a different experience looking at art in a private home than on a visit to a gallery or museum. The associations that come to mind flavor the work differently, and as a service to myself and my fellow object makers, I thought I'd post my unedited and random thoughts. The house has a 1950's modern feel to it, made from cast concrete, and reminded me of a Shindler. The walls had narrow slit windows between the concrete, reminiscent of Shindler's home on King's Road. No one who worked there knew who the original architect was.
Since there are no wall labels in a private collection, it becomes sort of a guessing game. At one point we were looking at a hard edge abstract painting that looked to be from the 1960's. I asked Ben, and he didn't know who the artist was, so we pulled it off the wall to read the signature on the back. Often the work triggered the name of the gallery that represents the artist, so I'd be walking around thinking, a Rosamund Felsen, a Margo Leavin, a Gagosian, a Blum and Poe. When I was having my MMPI work fabricated, I was using the same silk screening company where Allen Ruppersberg's projection screens were being made. My nephew talked about the difficulty of hanging Allan McCollum's Surrogates in a straight line, since the hanging wires were randomly stuck in the back of the wet Hydrocal. I remembered McCollum showing slides (yes, slides) of his fabrication process when he visited CalArts in the 80's, so I was familiar with how they looked from the back.
A psychologist colleague of mine, Bob Chernoff, used to ride to school with Kenny Scharf in grade school, so I can't look at a Kenny Scharf without thinking nice middle class Jewish boy from the San Fernando Valley.A Kenny Scharf
I liked the placement of Dave Muller's album edge drawing next to the bookcase. The placement created a nice symmetry between my memories of Three-Day Weekend, with art hanging next to Muller's record collection and books. This piece held its conceptual ground better than anything else I saw in the house.A Dave Muller
I couldn't help but think of Hirst's direct-to-auction sales just as the economy started to crumble. Hirst's practice has always been overshadowed by money, so I wondered if this was picked up at auction. One of the economic pillars for many galleries is the buying and selling of art through the secondary market. Auction houses help create liquidity, and all things being equal, the sales price of a work at auction can be half or less of a similar work's retail price. Size-wise, the Hirst was probably the biggest thing on display, and it stood out for it's incongruity. Since Kantor functions as both a dealer and collector, it made me wonder about the varying levels of emotional attachment he had for different works hanging on his walls. Were some more available than others? The Hirst seemed cold; those dots could have easily been dollar signs.A Damian Hirst
Moving from the more public to the private parts of the house, the collection seemed to grow more personal. The original images for the Warhol pictured above were taken in a photo booth, an example of which is in the Getty's photo collection. There were quite a few Warhols in the house, and there seemed to be a preference for Pop-influenced work (or as some have called it, Capitalist Realism). In this kind of context, the preponderance of Pop works to round off some the the hard conceptual edges of other work in the collection.Andy Warhol
My favorite wall in the home was a hallway that connected to the bedrooms. Hung salon-style, floor-to-ceiling, it was covered mostly with small drawings--from the early Warhol pictured above to one of Dave Muller's hand-drawn gallery invitations. The work here seemed to have more personal resonance, and perhaps due to the small scale or the visibility of the hand of the artist, the noise of the art market didn't intrude as severely on the work.An Early Warhol Drawing