The Getup Kids by Dan MonickArt rock comes from art school, which is full of art students who just can't get enough of gobbling down gloppy wads of art, but for some reason, the impulses never cross: when you go to see your art-rock band, there's never much to look at, and when you go to your art-school gallery, there ain't no drum sets or Rhodes pianos anywhere. Welcome to the compartmentalization of independent creative culture—we could blame capitalism here, but that's another thesis—and welcome to everything just-relocated-to-Long-Beach promoter-about-town Mariko Jones wants to dismantle. Like Santa Ana's Ground Flor electronica overload, her “Bridgin' the Gap” exhibit at Pomona's Glass House blows out easy categorization to combine local-and-not art, music, photography, publishing, fashion and more into an overwhelming bazaar of the bizarre.
Last November's debut show, “Gap,” was a cheerfully haphazard collision between a gallery opening and a garage show, juxtaposing media so mixed you could make a case for curatorial schizophrenia, presided over by Rhode Island ex-art-student band Les Savy Fav; this Friday's sequel headlines New York art-school poster kids the Yeah Yeah Yeahs—see the music feature elsewhere in this issue—over San Diego's spooky Beehive and the Barracudas and walls sagging with quirky 2- and 3-D side projects. It's one-stop shopping for under-the-radar cultural credibility, as well as a happy affirmation that creativity doesn't have to cater to one demographic.
Call this show Son of Gap, since it's been arranged by participants in the original on an enthusiastic oh-man-my-friend-would-love-to-do-this-too! basis. The stars this time around are a phalanx of fast-rising Angeleno artists, recently beloved of the Vice magazine set. Unassuming Florencio Zavala's Basquiat-by-way-of-eighth-grade-detention pen-and-marker character sketches transfer as easily to skateboard decks and pillows as they do to glossy art mags; his parents are currently very proud of him. Graffiti artist Buff Monster, just off a full-wall installation at San Pedro's Walled City gallery, dollops out the pinkest pinks since Angelyne, attaching an arsenal of Hello-Kitty-gone-softcore characters (serious—is that a cherry on top or an erect nipple?) to a series of found spray cans among other assemblage “canvases.” That's heavy: meta-tagging? Comic artist Dame Darcy—last seen in OC Weekly's “Holidays From Hell” issue—is Faye Greener doing Bic-pen scrimshaw, skritching out fairy tales for the boho wino set. And Silver Lake photographer Dan Monick—a rock photographer so prolific you've seen his work, even if you haven't seen his work—turns in tense still lifes and lush, deep portraits of rock N rollers lucky to enjoy the substance and personality he pulls out of them.
But those are the careerists. “Gap” also presents the quieter side of several indie-rock musicians, probably much better known for holding a microphone or guitar than a pencil or paintbrush, as part of Jones' efforts to cross-pollinate the indie art and music scenes. The Yeah Yeah Yeah's Nick Zinner publishes moody little photo essays (“I could populate a large party with all the girls I've fallen in love with,” he explains in Slept In Beds on Evil Twin Publications, a small press that will be showing at “Gap”); they'll show alongside work by members of Year Future, Mars Volta, Snake Vs. Wizard and Bluebird (Jones was making emergency midnight trips to LA's Smell to pick up artwork between sets). And then there are the dozens of un- and quasi-knowns, familiar faces at local shows that—who knew?—had all this talent hiding underneath. For Jones, it's this determined iconoclastic polymathism that deserves recognition. “There is no one road,” she says, “to follow in order to become a successful person.”
“BRIDGING THE GAP,” WITH THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS, BEEHIVE AND THE BARRACUDAS, AND ENTRANCE, AT THE GLASS HOUSE, 200 W. SECOND ST., POMONA, (909) 629-0377. FRI., 3-11 P.M. ART GALLERY, FREE; CONCERT, $14. ALL AGES.