Bloody Liposuctioned Fat!

And other lip-smacking delights!

Photo by Jack GouldHey, Tyler Stallings! Your sculptural reliefs look like placentas and big clots of bloody liposuctioned fat!

Hey, Skeith DeWine! Stallings is doing the same glitter thang you're doing, except his are flat discs impastoed with what look like placentas and big clots of bloody liposuctioned fat instead of portraits of big cowboy cocks!

Hey, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA)! How'd you get 8 million people into your gallery at the last Santora opening? Were you giving away money? Were you giving away head?

The Santora and its environs are finally beginning to live up to their 6-year-old promise, and I'm in the mood to use exclamation points!

Don't get me wrong: it's not that the folks working and showing in the Santora Arts Complex and the rest of the Santa Ana Artists Village are necessarily fabulous artists. Many, if not most, are derivative, lazy hacks. The rest are high school students. But seriously, folks!

At the Santora, there is movement not seen since bad girl Connye Sasso—she whose rosaries wrapped Serrano-like around jars of what looked like urine but really wasn't caused since-indicted Councilman Ted Moreno to wage a crusade the likes of which hadn't been seen since Tipper took on Alice Cooper—packed up her easel and skipped out. Oh, how I miss those crazy kids! They should put together a road show, like G. Gordon Liddy and Timothy Leary did, all those lonesome years ago.

But I'm pretty sure that is not the point! I'm pretty sure the point is that the Artists Village is starting to become a fun place to be—and that hasn't been the case in eons. With stripe-painter Max Presneill and Cal State Fullerton art honcho Mike McGee putting on big events like this weekend's Spurgeon Experience II(see Commie Girl), the Artists Village is boasting more chic eyeglass frames and $200 haircuts on hot bodies than you'll find this side of Popular. An unsexy art scene is a lonely art scene.

In fact, the last Santora opening offered all manner of good, bouncy fun. From Tyler Stallings' body goop to James Gleason's white papers stained so they look like water-damaged ceiling tiles (like Stallings' works, they're showing at the Giardina Annex) and decorated with hanging, drooping black lines with all the soggy, saggy flaccidity of a used condom, there was much to celebrate, though it probably wasn't intentional.

Over in Giardina proper, Yoshi Hayashi's big solid canvases, in shades of primary green and Juicy Fruit yellow, are flat, with no brush strokes showing. They're kind of like the poured-resin planks of California hero John McCracken, except I don't hate them. Hayashi's works are emblazoned with phrases, repeated endlessly, like "Absence of here, absence of there," in a script that is beautifully precise and even—and absolutely illegible (he had to tell me what they said). They're deliciously obsessive-compulsive.

DeWine's "Crystal Ball" series at the Pece-Kent Gallery shows his compulsive obsession with gay sex. Working exclusively in glitter to recall the pre-AIDS Studio 54 heyday, DeWine presents dozens of portraits of gnarly butt-fucking, as well as a skewering of the "circuit party" scene, where people do too many drugs. His silhouettes are reminiscent of Official Genius (thanks to the MacArthur Foundation) Kara Walker's, though without the plantation nightmares.

New people are pouring into the galleries and studios once again. OC Weekly fave Ellen Rose is subletting the old Leonard Maldonato space for her fat, sexy dancers (more knowing than those of fatty lover Emil Kazaz) and slobbery dogs. And Misfit #9, down in the basement, is the love labor of two women who are passionate art democrats; they cull their artists from insomniac high schoolers they discover drawing cartoons in Denny's at 3 in the morning.

OCCCA was so packed that we almost didn't get in, but they know how to put on a buffet (mmmm, doughnuts!), and we managed to see big, cool, yucky pillars; a TV as aquarium; and a church pew spiked with penises carved from the same wood. Oh, how tired I get of artists and standup comics getting all self-righteous about priests and altar boys. Yes, it is a shame. No, it is not funny. Yes, it has been done to death. I liked the penises, though.

Meanwhile, over at Grand Central Art Gallery (home of the Cal State Fullerton art-department annex), paintings were divided into "The Men," starring a whole bunch of blobs of unarresting color, and "Eye Candy," which, fittingly, got the bigger gallery. "Eye Candy," works by women from across the country, may have been saddled with a sexpot name (like how women comics are always lumped together on shows with handles like "Women of the Night"), but it's a rainbow of glimmery, shiny color melds. Not only is it pleasingly millennial, but it also mirrors the new trends in eye shadow!

I bet those women have really great hair and very chic eyeglass frames. Hey! It's important!

Open House at the santora building, 207 N. Broadway, Santa Ana. first Saturday of every month. See the Calendar's Art listings for individual gallery hours and info; spurgeon experience ii continues sat.-sun., noon-5 p.m.

 
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