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On a recent episode of Corridor Cast, Stephen Seemayer discusses his career as an artist and landlord in downtown L.A., as well as his feature documentaries — “Young Turks” and “Tales of the American” — about the genesis of the Los Angeles Arts District.
Seemayer moved downtown from the San Fernando Valley in 1976, turning an abandoned brothel on the second floor of a building at 9th & Central into a 16-room artist compound, complete with darkroom and a screening room.
As a performance artist, filmmaker, painter and photographer, his often controversial work has been exhibited all over the United States.
His late mother, Lynne Westmore Bloom, was the notorious creator of the Pink Lady of Malibu — a monumental feat of guerrilla art in 1966 — and on Corridor Cast, he recounts growing up with the eccentric and rule-breaking artist.
The Hi-Desert Cultural Center in Yucca Valley will present the world premiere of The Pearly Gates Collection at its new Yucca Valley Visual & Performing Arts Center (YVArts) on Nov. 3, 2018, with a celebratory public gala from 6-9 p.m. The Pearly Gates Collection pays tribute to the late art curator Walter Hopps — at one time the youngest museum director in the United States — whose pioneering curatorial approach garnered him much acclaim. The exhibition will unveil 50 original artworks from renowned artists, curated by YVArts Executive Curator Michael McCall, who was a close friend of Hopps.
McCall says the Pearly Gates project, started four years ago, was the culmination of a 3-decade mentorship under Walter Hopps, who died in 2005. Hopps’ obituary in The Washington Post described him as a “sort of a gonzo museum director — elusive, unpredictable, outlandish in his range, jagged in his vision, heedless of rules.” In that spirit, McCall began in November 2014 a “curatorial performance event,” trading banknotes Hopps had collected on his many world travels to artists McCall knew in exchange for artworks. Using what he labeled “Hopps Money,” McCall amassed a collection Hopps could appreciate from beyond the pearly gates.
The Pearly Gates Collection features artworks and writings by Richard Amend, Anthony Ausgang, Larry Bell, Gary Brewer, Matthew Couper, Woods Davy, Doug Edge, Joe Fay, Jim Finnegan, Ed Flynn, Clark Fox, Megan Frances, Peter Frank, Nick Fyhrie, Mat Gleason, Ed Glendinning, Brian Goings, Peter Goode, Emily Halpern, George Herms, Charles Christopher Hill, Brad Howe, Paula Izydorek, Terry Karpowitz, Ed and Nancy Keinholz, Rockne Krebs, Tom Lieber, Laurie Le Clair, Gary Lloyd, Aline Mare, Darwin Estacio Martinez, Michael McCall, Todd Monagham, Jim Morphesis, Andy Moses, Lindsey Nobel, Al Nodal, Loren Philip, Pierre Picot, Ave Pildas, Robin Rose, Catherine Ruane, Rafael Serrano, Stephen Seemayer, Alan Sonneman, The Art Guys, The Dark Bob, Jeffrey Vallance, Bob Wade and Norton Wisdom.
The Pearly Gates Collection runs Nov. 3, 2018, through Jan. 20, 2019, with an opening gala free to the public on Sat., Nov. 3, 2018, from 6-9 p.m.
Yucca Valley Visual & Performing Arts Center
58325 California 62
Yucca Valley, CA 92284
Video shot by Chris Clausing.
Stephen Seemayer continues his performance/installation “Between Hell & Heaven” at the Hidden Rooms event tonight (June 2) at Art at the Rendon.
In Room 19 on the second floor of the old Rendon Hotel (2055 E. 7th St. in Downtown L.A.), Seemayer manipulates a meat-colored surrogate in the painting of classical images of Greek mythology. Visitors are voyeurs watching the creative process through a porthole in the locked door.
Seemayer, in his artist statement, says he is presenting “a classic struggle between the Apollonian and the Dionysian. The key to living ‘Between Hell & Heaven’ is to strike a balance of opposing forces: freedom and abandon, good and evil, black and white.
“While the artist retains control of his environment, he must allow his work to be chaotic and spontaneous in order to explore ideas without preconception or restraint.”
The three-day event opened last night (June 1), and continues tonight with an artists reception. Tomorrow (June 3) is the public’s chance to experience this unique exhibit.
“None of this artwork is for sale,” says organizer Cindy Schwarzstein of Cartwheel Art. “This is all just an installation. Each artist is doing a site-specific installation that’s here in the moment and then goes away right afterward.”
Schwarzstein told the L.A. Weekly, “For me, it’s not even so much about the individual artists as about that they’re all co-existing, creating and collaborating together.”
Artists Jaime Colindres and Greg Jezewski provided assistance with Seemayer’s project.
Hidden Rooms – Art at the Rendon – June 1-3, 2018
My piece in Room 19 presents a classic struggle between the Apollonian and the Dionysian. The key to living “Between Hell and Heaven” is to strike a balance of opposing forces: freedom and abandon, good and evil, black and white. While the artist retains control of his environment, he must allow his work to be chaotic and spontaneous in order to explore ideas without preconception or restraint.
Art at the Rendon
2055 E. 7th St.
Starting with an activation of the entire building, Art at the Rendon will begin with the multi-sensory event “Hidden Rooms” taking place on the first weekend of June 2018.
Utilizing all three levels of the building,”Hidden Rooms” will feature more than 50 artists, muralists, musicians and performers, transforming every corner of The Rendon Hotel (2055 E. 7th St., Downtown L.A.) into an interactive community-centric installation.
“Hidden Rooms” will be the first of what will be an ongoing presentation of cultural programs hosted at The Rendon.
Artist Stephen Seemayer has used his own image and the element of fire in his works since beginning his career as a teenager in the 1970s. This painting was created in January 2016 at a studio in Downtown Los Angeles in virtual reality, using oil paint and fire brushstrokes.
Before he moved to Downtown Los Angeles, artist and filmmaker Stephen Seemayer worked out of an abandoned ice skating rink on Ventura Boulevard. Seemayer, who was raised in the San Fernando Valley, is one of several artists featured in a new exhibit at Cal State Northridge’s Art & Design Center.
“Valley Vista: Art in the San Fernando Valley ca. 1970-1990” is curated by Damon Willick and opens Mon., Aug. 25, 2014, with a public reception on Sat., Sept. 6, from 4-7 p.m. Highlighted by seminal works in painting, sculpture, photography and performance art, “Valley Vista” examines the unique contribution of the Valley to L.A.’s cultural history, and features work by many artists whose careers and lives took root in the Valley, including Hans Burkhardt, Karen Carson, Scott Grieger, Channa Horwitz, Gary Lloyd, Mike Mandel, Barry Markowitz, Michael C. McMillen, Stuart Rapeport, Jeffrey Vallance and Robert Williams, among others.