Eric Orr Paintings on Exhibit in Phoenix

Eric Orr / © Jim McHugh Photography

In 1981, Venice artist Eric Orr told filmmaker Stephen Seemayer that downtown Los Angeles was a place for “younger artists who necessarily take more risks than more established artists, because they don’t have that much to lose.” Orr labeled those artists as “Young Turks.”

“I believe Young Turks to be the lifeblood of the system,” Orr said.

Orr, who died in 1998 at the age of 58, told Seemayer he would never live downtown because conditions there were too harsh, there was not enough light and “only a modicum of clean air.”

Prime Matter

Prime Matter, Wilshire & Figueroa, downtown Los Angeles

Feeling Venice offered better “quality of life options,” Orr was associated with the Light & Space movement that also included artists such as James Turrell, Robert Irwin and Dewain Valentine. His public sculptures include Prime Matter, twin towers at the corner of Figueroa and Wilshire that combine the opposing forces of fire and water.

One of Orr’s most impressive pieces was Zero Mass, described here by John Seed of the Huffington Post after the installation was part of a Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego exhibit:

“Leah Masterson, a Communications Associate of the museum, walked in with me, and together we found ourselves in total darkness. Zero Mass, which Eric Orr first created in 1969, is an oval space, defined by seamless walls of paper. Your eyes will tell you — at first — that there isn’t a hint of light to be found, and the shock is unsettling.”

Because of the gradual activation of night vision, when another person walks into the piece, he or she appears as “a flat, dark, featureless silhouette, with just the slightest hint of color appearing towards his feet,” Seed writes. “Being joined by another person in this situation — where most of the visual clues to human identity were masked out — was intensely dramatic and rivetingly strange.”

BA-KA Radio Play, 1988, blood, AM/FM radio, skull chips, meteorite, gold leaf on lead

While mostly known for such sculptures and installations, Orr was also a painter, and on Nov. 1, the Bentley Gallery in Phoenix will open an exhibit of Orr’s paintings. The show will run through Dec. 31, 2014.

There will be a reception from 6-8 p.m. on Thurs., Nov. 13, The Bentley Gallery is located at 215 E. Grant St. in Phoenix.


Arts District in the News

L.A.'s downtown Arts District is changing rapidly, possibly to the detriment of the artists for which it is named.

L.A.’s downtown Arts District is changing rapidly, possibly to the detriment of the artists for which it is named.

“Four dollars for a cup of coffee?” gasps Young Turks director Stephen Seemayer in the Los Angeles Times’ July 30, 2014, cover story. “It better have crystal meth in it!”

Seemayer, who is now at work on a new documentary called Tales of the American, remembers living downtown when a cup of joe was a nickel at Philippe’s and a 3,000-sq. ft. studio cost $150 a month.

Times reporter Marisa Gerber and photographer Jabin Botsford take a look at the rapidly changing Arts District.


Action Critic Randy Johnsen Exhibits Work

fmsrNow on exhibit at Outeast Gallery in Montauk, NY: FMSR14, Farrell Brickhouse, Mason Saltarrelli, Sydney Albertini and Eric “Randy” Johnsen, the Action Critic of “Young Turks” fame.

The show runs through July 7, 2014.

Outeast Gallery
65 Tuthill Road
Montauk, NY 11954

Llyn Foulkes Documentary


THROUGH JUNE 6! At the Downtown Independent. “Llyn Foulkes: One Man Band,” a new and fascinating documentary about the brilliant painter and musician who has lived and worked downtown for nearly five decades.

Variety calls “One Man Band” “an illuminating portrait of the artist as a hermetic, self-doubting, obsessive-compulsive perfectionist.” It “resounds with a sense of art making as a profoundly solitary, intensely physical endeavor, and of Foulkes himself as the ultimate work-in-progress.”

Downtown Independent
251 S. Main St.
L.A. 90012

John Rabe on Young Turks and Tales of the American

John Rabe, host of KPCC’s popular radio show Off-Ramp, talks about “Young Turks,” the previous documentary by filmmakers Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson, and the upcoming film “Tales of the American.” Rabe will serve as narrator of “Tales of the American,” now in production.

Woods Davy and Pierre Picot at Craig Krull

WoodsDavy_Pierre Picot2014 CUSculptor Woods Davy — one of the artists profiled in “Young Turks” — and painter Pierre Picot, who has lived off and on in Los Angeles for much of the past four decades, will show their work in an exhibition opening at Craig Krull Gallery at Bergamot Station next Saturday, April 12, 2014.

Davy’s new pieces are organic clusters of rounded sea stones and bleached coral rubble that evoke an underwater landscape, while Picot’s Chinese-influenced paintings and drawings are raw, gestural and gritty.

The show will continue through May 17. The reception is Sat., April 12, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Craig Krull Gallery
Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Ave., Building B3
Santa Monica, CA 90404