Eye candy. Lots of eye candy and designer logos, not just on the walls at KM Fine Arts where Desire Obtain Cherish displayed his mind blowing, giant designer logo embossed pills and over-sized Blow-Pops in mouth watering hues, but chattering and bouncing inside the gallery’s walls, overflowing onto the street at the preview and opening nights for #undertheinfluence: Flocks of girls and grown-ups toting Louis Vuitton bags, teetering in Leboutin heels, pursing Chanel red lips, curved into Prada and Gucci; handsome men in sharp edgy street wear and Armani; all posing, flirting, snapping, texting, tweeting, instagramming. And then there was the eye candy in the gallery’s window: A life-sized sculpture of a girl curved into a candy wrapper, red swirls casting multi levels of meaning over her naked body, detailed down to the white-tipped French manicure.
Named one of the 50 greatest hits at Art Basel 2012 by Art Info, Desire Obtain Cherish strips bare obsessions, obsessions with celebrity and fame, with objects, with love (or what passes for it): These are all drugs, often for people who won’t admit to doing to “real” drugs, and/or who justify their altered states behind the altar of society-sanctioned prescriptions. Adding to the Rx mix, DOC crushes Prozac, Adderall, Viagra for his paintings (a technique dating back in antiquity when gemstones were used as paint pigments; jewels of a different sort appear in his Gucci-aspected sculpture, Family Jewels), while creating intricate mosaics with pixilated pill capsules.
#undertheinfluence, Desire Obtain Cherish’s only LA solo show of 2013 (he has a second in New York later in the year), debuted a number of new works–including the above mentioned candy-wrapped girl, new Marilyn Monroe and Jim Morrison pill portraits, and a giant tube of lipstick extruding smashed hot pink maquillage, plus more deliciously blasphemous Heresy’s crosses in milk, mint, and dark chocolate resin; and the show’s centerpiece which played on three of Hollywood’s most globally influential images: The red carpet, the yellow-brick road, Disney.
The serpentine red carpet flows along the gallery floor gradually widening to three brooms, grasped by six gloved hands straight out of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”–the Fantasia version of Goethe’s cautionary poem “Der Zauberlehrling”–sweeping back the carpet to reveal 18-karat gold plated bricks stamped with DOC’s logo and the show’s date. Layers. Levels. The magic gone awry, whimsey infused with the tang of sharp, acute, astute observation. On the wall behind the gold bricks:
I met this girl one time in a club. Her first question to me was, “What do you do for a living, and what kind of car do you drive?” Then she walked away.
I live in Lala-Land, the magical place that sells pictures to the world of superstars superstars and glossy glamour. Millions flock to LA, praying for the day they get to sit high up in the makeup chair to see themselves in the mirror. The cracks are so big, the earth is splitting right though the city.
Celebrity status doesn’t guarantee a dinner reservation, or a star on the walk of fame. Unless you’re dead that is.
Further observations pepper the walls, elucidating the works. These are also including the show’s limited edition catalog, which was a hot selling item at both the preview and the opening. A portion of the sales of both the art work and catalog, which features “Art is Not Safe” an essay by Jim Daichendt, author of Stay Up! Los Angeles Street Art, benefits Friendly House, the country’s oldest drug and alcohol recovery program for women. Founded over 60 years ago, Friendly House has helped over 6,500 women live free of substance abuse. (Former First Lady Betty Ford founded the Betty Ford Center on the Friendly House model). Friendly House executive director, the vibrant Peggy Albrecht, was on hand for both the preview and opening, along with many of the organization’s staff and friends.
Cameras and iPhones snapped shots, people posing with the art, the artist, and each other, with lots exclamations of
Wow! How did he do that?!
How cool–pills! Designer drugs!
as their couture logos gleamed, underlining DOC’s comment:
People smile at my work because it makes them laugh at themselves.
There was a lot of laughter at #undertheinfluence. With both his name and his art, Desire Obtain Cherish evokes and exposes the triune stages of consumerism, simultaneously eliciting and critiquing those three active verbs, setting up internal conflicts, furthering cognitive dissonance, and shattering pre-conceptions of self and society–all necessary, though at time involuntary and unwelcome, side effects of art. And the laughter of self-awareness is the great panacea.
Desire Obtain Cherish #undertheinfluence
March 15 – May11, 2013
KM Fine Arts
814 N. La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Open Tuesday-Saturday, noon-7pm
The attention to detail throughout: Tomato consomée puns on consume, as well as clicking on Warhol. Cookies with designer logos, laid over pearls, continue the consumer theme. Each shrimp came with a pipette of cocktail sauce which was injected into your mouth. The protein was a lifesaver, but my art references are all messed up, because I kept thinking of Dali’s lobsters. Note the aprons reading “Desire” and “Cherish.” (Based on the busy gallery staff, “Obtain” was verb of the night.)
Jim Morrison and catalog photos: Desire Obtain Cherish; all others Lisa Derrick/CARTWHEEL