Ticket to LA: Urs Fischer

Day 3: The Enigmatic Swiss Artist Enlists the Community for His Grand MOCA Retrospective

Elementary school students, professional ceramists and artists came together to fashion shark heads, shoes and staircases out of clay as part of the first major retrospective of Swiss artist Urs Fischer at MOCA Los Angeles, documented here in collaboration with MOCAtv. Featuring a selection of Fischer’s works from the last decade—including the massive wax sculpture “Untitled” (2011), a replica of Giambologna's “Rape of the Sabine Women” (1579-83), a lifesize cabin made of old baguettes “Untitled (Bread House),” and “Big Clay,” installed by crane in MOCA’s garden—the exhibit presents a strangely poetic universe reflecting the Zurich-born, New York-based artist’s interest in the simultaneous creation of beauty and destruction. Through his use of collage and the surreal transformation of materials and images, Fischer deals with the collapse of different registers of perception in 21st-century life,” explains Tate Modern curator Jessica Morgan, who helmed this LA exhibition. “His work is often incomplete or in the process of dematerialization or transformation, a liminal state that is suggestive of a ruin.” Some 1,500 volunteers were left free to create their own clay sculptures as part of the exhibit and explicitly instructed not to clean up the rubble. By bringing together amateurs and professionals within the walls of the museum, Fischer undermines the art world’s guarded exclusivity, blurring the age-old question: what is art? In this case, as Morgan says, “It is a creative outpouring of the imaginative interiority in each of us.”

Urs Fischer is on view at MOCA Los Angeles through August 19.

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    Ticket to LA: Iñaki Aizpitarte

    Day 1: The Paris-based Chef du Jour Imports Some Cali Flavor Into His Kitchen

    Grilled avocado and fresh citrus take center plate as culinary hotshot Iñaki Aizpitarte of must-visit Paris restaurant Le Chateaubriand preps for his first-ever trip to the Golden State by conjuring his own vision of Californian food culture. Ahead of his visit to Le Grand Fooding—a two-day gormandizer’s paradise organized by Alexandre Cammas, founder of chic French dining guide, Le Fooding, which starts tomorrow in LA and aims to connect the Parisian and Los Angeleno gastronomic scenes—Aizpitarte welcomed filmmaker Gautier Billotte into his 11th arrondissement eatery. “The atmosphere in Le Chateaubriand is a mix of serenity and effervescence,” says Billotte. “You could smell fresh, raw products and the food cooked for the team lunch in the small kitchen, where they listen to loud electro music.” Currently ranked 15th in the world by Restaurant magazine, the bistro is known for its exciting, untraditional take on French fare and a nonchalant atmosphere. A testament to Aizpitarte’s role as one of today’s leading young chefs, he also runs another of the city’s top destinations, the more relaxed tapas bar Le Dauphin, designed by Rem Koolhaas. For Le Grand Fooding, Aizpitarte is joined by fellow Paris-based chefs including Frenchies’ Gregory Marchand and Jean-François Piège of the eponymous Left Bank establishment, and such LA culinary stalwarts as Mozza’s Nancy Silverton, and he will be cooking up a specially prepared dish of fresh beans, herbs and brown butter.

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    José Parlá: Broken Language

    The Cuban-American Artist Takes Us Out of the Gallery and on to London’s Concrete Streets

    Concrete sculptures and large-format expressionistic paintings that combine collected ephemera with layered oils and graffiti-style brushstrokes bring the streets into the gallery for José Parlá’s exhibition Broken Language, opening today at Haunch of Venison in London. In this documentary short, the New York-based, Miami-born artist mines inspiration from the pavements of Hackney for this latest solo show, giving us a peak into his signature practice of recording the urban environments he visits in his multimedia works. “London spirals and circles,” observes the artist of the crazy, unplanned structure of the UK capital that is reflected in the dynamic wall-sized pieces currently on display there. “There are veins of alleyways and streets that go in different directions, and you have to know the routes to get around.” Parlá has been visiting the city since the late 90s, and notes how both the natural and built environments have a distinct impact on its inhabitants in comparison to his adopted home. “The infrastructure is different, the colors are different, the vegetation is different, the grey skies are different—and when you have light, it’s very special,” says Parlá, who makes multiple trips to a locale when studying it for his creations. “There is a lot of psychology that goes with how a city is built.”

    Broken Language runs at Haunch of Venison, London through March 28.

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