Kathy Leonardo

Kathy Leonardo  Photo:Gregory Dahl

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LA Art Party Newsletter

LAArtParty is an arts and entertainment website. Established in 2010, it is an online go-to guide for what's happening in and beyond the LA area - this includes dining, travel and more.

Founded by journalist, and "Blues Mama" Kathy Leonardo (a longtime performer), the campy site has an unusual slant which will keep you entertained. Leonardo has been writing for the past 15 years about various subjects for the Huffington Post, THRIVE GLOBAL, LA Weekly, etc.

Each month the LAArtParty staff, led by Kathy Leonardo decides which events will be featured. Posted at noon on the Thursday prior to the last week of the month, LAArtParty.com features the Top Ten Art Parties, plus other fun events each month. VIP subscribers find out ONE week prior to the public and receive discounts and invites to VIP parties throughout the year.

See Contact Page to find out how to become a VIP subscriber so you don't miss any more great ART Parties!! See Contact/Rates Page to find out how submit and promote your own events!

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Former Mayor Villaraigosa, Levitated Mass LACMA

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Mayor Garcetti

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Pulitzer Prize Winning Food Critic, Jonathan Gold

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Shepard Fairey

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Bernie Taupin

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Actor, Martin Mull

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Herb Alpert

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Graham Nash

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Billy Al Bengston

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Nate Berkus

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John Van Hamersveld

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Andy Moses

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David Trulli

Ellwood T. Risk

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Stuart Kusher

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Brooke Harker

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Sona Mirzaei

Jules Muck

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LA Art Show



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LA Art Party Takes on New York City!

LA Art Party took a trip to New York City at the end of June 2015.

Having been born and raised in NYC, June2015-NYC-outsideJamesCohanit was like slipping on a comfortable old shoe. As always, the energy of the city was bustling, and the New York art vibe had grown even stronger. I spent an entire day exploring the new location of the Whitney Museum.

See image: Outside James Cohan Gallery

As far as art parties...I found some fun ones. I did most of my art-hopping in Chelsea, home to the popular tourist attraction - the High-line. When I lived there, the High-line was an abandoned El train (as we called it), and Chelsea was a wasteland overrun with prostitutes and drug dealers. Covert operations occurred amidst the looming storage rental warehouses where many of us diehard New Yorkers (living in studio apartments) dared to stash our precious crap while others fled to Long Island and Jersey. Flash forward...Chelsea is one big hoppin' art party, complete with an artsy swag. It took me three hours to get through the many art openings from 24th Street to 26th Street - whew - lots of new galleries.

June2015-NYC-metroPicturesAt Metro Pictures, artist Olaf Breuning offered his bigger than life oval and round steel collage. These were quite impressive - some standing at 9 feet tall. A humorist, the artist pokes fun of the multi-faceted inundation of new technologies and everyday demands of our modern life. Through his art, he accesses the power of what we are all forced to deal with in today's world. Definitely worth a view...be sure to pop in before August 6, 2015. Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street.

I stopped at various others such as Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, 505 West 24th Street, and Berry Campbell, 530 West 24th Street.

One of the earlier art parties that I attended was probably my favorite exhibition. "Efflorescence" debuted new works from Zhuang Hong Yi, Ellen de Meijer, Gavin Rain, and Alexi Torres at UNIX Gallery...and no, my enthusiasm for the exhibit had nothing to do with the fabulous wine they were serving (though it didn't hurt).

I was completely blown away by Zhuang HongJune-2105-NYC-UnixGallery Yi's work: Intricate petals made of what appeared to be paper...each delicately wrapped as one flowed gracefully into the next. A striking view from afar which became even more extraordinary up close.

See image: Zhuang Hong Yi

The same can be said about the work of Gavin Rain. Viewing his art while standing in different parts of the gallery unveiled engaging nuances that had not been previously revealed. Rain brings traditional pointillism into the digital age while inviting his audience to participate in the metamorphosis of the work. "Efflorescence" runs through August 22, 2015. UNIX Gallery, 532 West 24th Street.

Continuing my art party hop, I continued to 11th Avenue, where I followed a crowd into a building and then up an elevator. What happened to my New Yorker instincts - I'll never know! Luckily, the elevator opened up and there before me were many friendly faces and a bustling reception for Gallery Artists XII at Walter Wickiser Gallery, Inc. You can catch the group exhibition through August 19. Walter Wickiser Gallery, Inc., 210 11th Ave #303.

Next, heading east on 25th Street, I found a hip edgy crowd at Marlborough Chelsea, 545 West 25th Street. Then continued down the street to Clamp Art, who specializes in photography. The group exhibition "Six Degrees" showcased the work of the 2015 RISD MFA Photography Program graduates. I enjoyed the young energy here...great to see a new crop of artists coming onto the scene. Clamp Art, 531 West 25 Street.

June-2015-WinstonWachterWinston Wächter Fine Art New York hosted a vibrant art party to celebrate Scott Patt's second solo exhibition titled "Bigger. Smaller. Funnier."

See image: Winston Wächter Fine Art New York

The pop artist created a painting every day and reached out to his social media audience for daily feedback. Perhaps one would say that the exhibition was co-curated by the followers of Patt, since they ultimately helped to decide which artworks would be exhibited.

The artist makes use of simple images and cliché sayings to comment on the striking state of consumerism. "Bigger. Smaller. Funnier." runs through August. Winston Wächter Fine Art, 530 West 25 Street.

The June2015 -NYC-FergusMcCaffreygalleries were all quite different...offering a broad range of eclectic shows. Some of the venues were just as spectacular as the art. Several had upstairs and downstairs galleries, such as Fergus McCaffrey located at 514 West 26 Street (see image) I just loved the art here.

On the other end of the spectrum, I came across Rodi Gallery, a mobile gallery founded in 2013 by artists Elise Graham and Aaron Graham. Apparently a performance of some sort had just occurred...I was on a tight schedule however, so I quickly moved on (but I loved the idea).

Another incredible gallery space that I stopped into earlier in the day was located just off 10th Avenue. Jim Kemper Fine Art welcomed art patrons into its gallery with a luxurious entryway displaying glorious steel sculptures from artist Ewerdt Hilgemann. Once inside, the art of Jasper John caught my eye along with work from William Kentridge, Stanley Casselman, and more. Upstairs, a glass wall opened up the space and gave the feeling that one could just fall out onto 10th Ave. This is an architecturally disarming gallery featuring an illustrious list of renowned artists. Jim Kemper Fine Art, 501 West 23 Street.

June2015 -NYC-GeorgeBillisWrapping up the art party hop, I headed to the George Billis Gallery. Upon entry, one could see the entire exhibition laid out below. The work of Julian Cardinal was on view along with several other gallery artists. I finally had the chance to meet George Billis. As many of you know, I often list openings for the Los Angeles location of this gallery. Having dealt with Tressa Williams (director of George Billis Gallery, LA) for many years, it was great to finally meet George, an extremely affable man. George Billis Gallery New York, 525 West 26 Steet.

Finally, I briefly popped into James Cohan Gallery to catch an eclectic group exhibition curated by Tina Kukielski titled "All Watched Over," on view through August 7, 2015. James Cohan Gallery, 533 W 26th St.There is a photo of this gallery at the top of this article.

Stay tuned for more out of state adventures...Yeah, Mama's got a lot planned for you.

Mirza Davitaia Finds His Way Back to Art!

Mirza Davitaia has always shared an unwavering connection with his art. At just thirty-nine years old, he has held prominent positions in diverse fields, yet his art has remained a constant throughout his life. Raised in Georgia (situated at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe), Davitaia served as a member of Parliament, Chairman of Parliamentary Committee, Deputy Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, as well as the State Minister of Diaspora Issues.

-1-550-Huff-Mirza-ningbomuseumSee image: Photo courtesy of Mirza Davitaia, artist at group show, Ningbo Museum of Modern Art-China

From 1994 through 2013, Davitaia was also a busy TV/film producer traveling between Germany, Georgia, and the United States (NY and LA). Starting with music videos and commercials, he went on to produce a documentary Misha vs Moscow with NY based director John Philp. He is best known for producing 5 Days of War, directed by Renny Harlin and starring Val Kilmer and Andy Garcia. He was also the executive producer of Jacky in the Kingdom of Women. All the while, he yearned to get back to creating art. Today, he devotes all his time to art. He owns an art gallery located in Hollywood (M.D. Art Studio Gallery, 7952 West 3rd Street, L.A., 90048), which offers art instruction in addition to hosting gallery exhibitions. http://www.mdartstudio.com/

The son of an established artist, he was raised surrounded by creativity. Davitaia spent countless hours tooling around his father's art studio...watching, learning, and creating his own art with help from several studio assistants. At ten years of age, his parents sent him to an art school for a classical art education. He went on to apprentice with various well known artists and attended Tbilisi State Academy of Art. Sculpture was the first type of media to catch his eye. Later, painting became his main focus. He continues to work in oil, acrylic, watercolor, ink, and collage.

Davitaia said he creates on a daily basis. Sometimes it's painting; other times it's sketching, taking photos, or working on new ideas. "I have periods when I work in one or two mediums simultaneously," explained Davitaia. "After a while...when I exhaust one particular idea, I move to another series or medium." He went on to say that he does not wait for inspiration, but often it occurs unintentionally.

-2-550-Huff-Spirit-Rain-2014-Mixedmedia-on-canves30x40inchSee image: Photo courtesy of Mirza Davitaia, Snakes in Rain, oil on canvas, 2014, 30 x 40 inches 

His recent Rain series was unconsciously inspired by his childhood memories of summer weekends at his grandmother's house in a small village in the western part of Georgia. Davitaia recounts the story beautifully in his blog.

"In the room where I slept next to the bed on the wall - hung an old rug. It was beautiful. It had some strange shapes and colors of the ornaments that kidnaps a child's imagination and, takes him somewhere far away, to some fairy worlds." He continues (per his blog), "Years passed and one day my grandmother sat me to her side and told me the story of how she had purchased the rug. It turns out that, in fact, it was in Tbilisi during the Second World War period. She said that it was very expensive, but she liked it so much that she had to spend all the savings she had to acquire it. Anyway she did it. 'I want to gift this rug to you, and if you need money for some good purpose, only in this case you can sell it and use the money,' she said." (end of blog)

Later, he found out the true value of this seemingly ordinary Shirvan rug, which was much more than anticipated. It afforded him the opportunity to attend the prestigious Academy of Fine Art in Nuremberg,Germany. He said he knew his grandmother would have approved. It was years later that he would realize his grandmother gave him a two-fold gift...one of her most prized possessions and also the inspiration to create his Rain series. To read more about the rug story, see Davitaia's blog. http://mirzadavitaia.blogspot.com/2015/04/eternal-east.html

-4-550-Huff-Mirza-Davitaia-Sotial-NetismSee image: Photo courtesy of Mirza Davitaia, SN2, collage and acrylic on wooden panel, 2015, 20 x 24 inches

The artist is currently working on a new series, which he has dubbed Social Netism. He explained..."Once post modernism has ended, social netism should begin. As we all know, social media is penetrating all aspects of human life: from private and business to politics...it enables each of us to be more actively involved in the processes and influence them. We spend multiple hours of our everyday life in social media." Davitaia had the chance to witness first hand the power of social media during his time serving with the Georgian government. "I have closely observed and studied the phenomena of Arab Spring and Kiev's Maidan and the decisive role of social media on those events and many others. Thus, I have decided to make social media a main topic of my new art series." Social Netism is an interactive series, allowing the viewers and their comments (via social media) to become an integral part of the artistic process.

Become an interactive part of Davitaia's new series by posting on his FB page here - https://www.facebook.com/mirzadavitaia.art

-3-550-Huff-Mirza-Snakes-in-RainSee image: Photo courtesy of Mirza Davitaia, Spirit Rain, oil on canvas, 2014, 30 x 40 inches, (currently in the permanent collection of Ningbo Museum of Modern Art-China)

His art has been exhibited at the National Museum of Georgia, the Museum of Visual Art in Russia, as well as a solo show in Nuremberg Germany. His most recent museum exhibition was a group show in 2014 at the Ningbo Museum of Art in China. The museum acquired one of his paintings (the only work chosen from the group show), titled Spirit Rain, for its permanent collection.

Davitaia continues to create and be inspired by the world around him. When asked if he misses his political career, he answered, "No, I don't. I think it is not necessary to be in politics in order to deliver political statement. I still am and will in the future deliver my political ideas through my art and movies."

To find out more about the art of Mirza Davitaia or to read his blog, visit www.mirza-art.com

Make Your Mutt Famous with "Danger Dogs"

REDODangerDogI'm excited to tell you about a wonderful company called "Danger Dogs." Your pet can be immortalized in a personalized painting. Founder Michelle Page heads to Kathmandu three to four times a year and hires three Nepali artists to paint portraits of your beloved pet. Then you get to choose which painting you love the best. The artists are grateful for the work and in return, she brings a one of a kind portrait to a happy pet owner from across the world.

See image: by Palden LhasaApso Indra

It's a perfect gift for an animal lover. It's also easy to surprise a loved one, since all you need to do is send a photo of his or her favorite pet. Then you or your loved one will have the chance to choose the favorite. Each painting is about one square foot and is on metal with synthetic enamel paint. These can be hung indoors or out. Portraits for all types of animals can be created!

BlackBunnyRabbit byMeghRajSee image: Black Bunny Rabbit by Megh Raj

I have ordered two for myself of my kitties and just love them. Michelle is a friend and a wonderful woman, so I can personally vouch for her integrity.

Here is some more info about Michelle Page from her site "Danger Dogs."

"DANGER DOGS – Folk Art from the Himalayas" is the creation of Michelle Page of Santa Monica, who became intrigued by hand-painted metal "Beware of Dog" signs adorning gates in Nepal. She decided to promote a fair trade art project featuring these charming paintings and save a dying art form.

See image: Dachshund by SufrajDangerDog DachshundbySufraj

After 25 years in the film business as an assistant film editor on such movies as Sam Ramie's Spider-Man trilogy and Bob Altman's 'The Player,' Michelle opened her business in 2007 after noticing inexpensive digitized computer-generated graphics were beginning to replace hand-painted signs. She feared the art and expertise the artists employ would soon be lost to modern technology.

Through her efforts, Michelle is effectively saving their livelihoods, one "Danger Dog" at a time to the delight of pet-lovers everywhere.

The signs are also available for purchase in art galleries in Los Angeles, the Craft and Folk Art Museum shop in Los Angeles, and at the Santa Monica Museum of Art at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. They are also available at shops in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Texas, Cambridge and Manhattan. See the Dogs Live!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. See image: Tuxedo Cat by Sagar

This hand-painted art form is fast disappearing in Kathmandu, as it already has in most parts of the world. I pay fair trade wages, the artists get to paint again, pet lovers get a choice of three paintings for each commission, and I get to help Nepali artists make a living. Everybody is happy. Rescue dogs from America get to rescue artists from Nepal!  http://nepaldog.com/

Contact Michelle for more info at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Message from Artist Ellwood Risk

This is an incredibly important cause...I wanted you to hear it verbatim from artist Ellwood Risk.

WoodyRiskStudio2013You may have heard from me this time last year about a fund raising event I was participating in for Wounded Wear. (see http://www.woundedwear.org)

By chance, I got connected with retired SEAL Dave Hall by my brother. Dave was working on a project to honor his fallen team mates by firing on a target at 911 yards, with one shot for each of the 79 SEAL Team folks who had lost their lives on the job since 9/11. Having seen my work Dave asked me if I'd be interested in making a piece of art using the target he was going to fire on that would then be auctioned off to raise funds benefiting Wounded Wear which had been started by another SEAL and friend of Daves, Jay Redmond.

Below here....A shot of Dave on the range last year with the target.

WoodyRisksBrother-DaveHall-UIH-project3And so, the three of us began to collaborate on this project. In the end we became fast friends and I had the most intense art making experience of my career. Working day in and day out with the names of these young men who had given everything affected me profoundly.

I was unable to attend the fund raising event but my folks went and met with Dave and Jay. My Mom spent a lot of the evening standing by the work and speaking with the family members of the men whose names appeared in the body of the art. She said it was the most emotionally charged experience of her life, and I could understand, and was grateful that she had been the one standing there, speaking with the Mothers of those fallen men.

We had a great deal of positive feed back from those family members and they went out of their way to let my folks know how much they appreciated the gesture of tribute made by Dave and myself. Wounded Wear continues to offer prints of the finished work in several size and price ranges with all proceeds going to the foundation.

Todd and Stephanie Grubbs made the winning bid on the artwork that evening and have been working on a docu-pic about the making of the piece and the affect it has on those who have struggled with the loss of friends and loved ones since 9/11. The link to their Indiegogo page is below along with part of a letter Todd had sent out shortly after hanging the piece in his home.

Any help you can give by way of donations and or, sharing this with your mailing list,
and other forms of social media would be greatly appreciated.

Hope this finds you all doing well in the early part of the new year. Best as always, Woody

Below here, some still shots from my studio footage of the process once Dave had
sent me his tribute target.

WoodyRisk-ProcessPlate-UIHDocBelow here, Todds Indie announcement and an excerpt from last years letter

Dear Friends, I wanted to let you know that I'm working on a Docupic about the making of Until It Hurts and the people it has affected since it was auctioned off at Wounded Wears Toast to the Heroes last Feb.

If you could help by pledging a donation at the Indiegogo link below that would be great. Either way, I'd be most grateful if you could pass this letter along to friends and family and help spread the word.

http://igg.me/at/untilithurtsfilm/x/5586394

Attached is a picture of the finger prints of the family members that couldn't help but touch their loved ones bullet hole or name on UIH while it was on view during the Wounded Wear fund raiser. When I uncrated the piece it had not yet been cleaned from that night. I left the prints until Sunday when I hung the art. I can not put into words what has occurred in me since I bought Until it Hurts.

WoodyRisk-UIH-project3I recently received a message from a guy named Pasquale Sementelli. He lost two friends in 9/11 Joe and John Vigiano, one was a police officer and the other a fireman. Pasquale at the age of 35 quit his job and joined the police force. He served for eight years before he was injured and had to leave the force. His message simply put. I am still angry. Your facebook page of UNTIL it HURTS and your kind words have deeply helped me, thank you.

Thanks for any help you can give in getting this project off the ground, Todd

Jules Muck

Jules Muck moved from New York City to Venice where she has been making a name for herself.

Her style is highly recognizable and her work is become consistently sought after. She started showing her work at the Venice Art Crawl. Jules is the artist who painted the old gas pumps (across from the Erwin) at the Venice Art Crawl, Gas Station Event. Now you can catch her work all over Venice and Los Angeles.

Jules Muck started as a graffiti artist in the subways of New York City.

Street art has become the new rage. Look what happened to Shepard Fairey!!

Don’t miss out on an up and coming artist. Remember, Art is an investment and it’s doing a heck of a lot better than the stock market is these days.


See image: LA, is 30x40 spray paint and oil paint on canvas

Feel free to contact me, Kathy Leonardo to find out how to get the best deal on your very own Jules Muck....email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Venice Lights - Dianne Neuman


Another fabulous piece of art for sale is Venice Lights, which was painted by Dianne Neuman. Not only is Dianne Neuman an internationally acclaimed artist, she also owned and curated a gallery in Venice called VOCA Art Gallery. She helped so many artists and offered them a place to show. Dianne was incredibly inspired by Sponto, a local Venice Hero. By the time Dianne became a part of the Venice community, Sponto had already passed away. There was a gaping hole left from our loss of Sponto and the artistic haven he provided for many local Venice artists and performers. Dianne told me, that she was really inspired by the stories she had heard about Sponto. She also revealed to me that when she was painting Venice Lights, it was as if Sponto was leading her while she painted this work of art. The painting, Venice Lights never did get sold and has been stored and shown in local Venice establishments such as Figtree's Cafe. Venice Lights is soon leaving Venice. She is 5 1/2 feet by 6 1/2 feet. Dianne's asking price is $5000.00.

As Dianne has always said ..." I would love to sell her to a Venice person. That's where she belongs." Dianne also owns and operates a gallery in Mexico and spends most of her time there as well as in Northern CA, continuing to paint and teach classes. Feel free to contact me, Kathy Leonardo to discuss. This is negotiable, if you know of anyone interested, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Review: "L.A. NOIR: A City Reimagined" at Couturier Gallery

"L.A. NOIR: A City Reimagined," featuring the photography of Kenneth Locker, opened at Couturier Gallery on August 5, 2017. Offering a magniloquent overview of Hollywood and its environs, the solo exhibition focuses on the architecture of this modern city which often goes unnoticed in today's world. Millennials, glued to their iPhones, are transfixed to social media deities such as the Kardashians, completely unaware of the history around them.
Aug5-2017-KenLocker-LosAngelesTheater-Broadway
Kenneth Locker, Los Angeles Theater Broadway

Locker relishes the mystery of our everyday cityscape. He pays tribute to another era, celebrating the grandeur of Hollywood with its bombastic designed buildings and attractions. These Los Angeles sites become stars in their own right. While the architecture plays a central role in the exhibition, Locker's photography adds an elusive, yet sensual dimension...offering multiple layers of an ominous and foreboding essence. Locker is a skilled photographer, and his choice to expose the underbelly of a city while spotlighting its unrequited magnificence at the same time, is stirring.

I had the chance to speak with both the gallery director Darrel Couturier and the photographer Ken Locker. This is Locker's first exhibition with the gallery. The photographer commented that Couturier Gallery is a great space to exhibit. "It is intimate, but doesn't feel small or cramped. I love the very high ceilings...it feels like a New York City loft."Aug2017-Review-Couturier-KenLocker-w-work
Kenneth Locker with work at Couturier Gallery; Photo by Kathy Leonardo

Couturier was impressed with the work. "I very much liked what I saw and thought it a fascinating interpretation of L.A. landmarks merged with the idea of film noir," said the gallerist. "I thought it was visually fascinating, emotional, and timeless in the sense that though the photos were taken recently, Ken's editing and printing process placed these images in another time."

Locker added that Couturier is easy to work with. "He respects artists and has great insights in how to present and promote the work." Having a father that loved photography (with an in-house darkroom) inspired the artist to start taking photos at very young age. "I was probably seven or eight when I took my first 'serious' photograph that I developed and printed myself (under my father's supervision, of course)." Locker explained that he always loved architecture. "In college, I was debating whether to pursue architecture or photography. Photography won out." He was also a fan of Noir literature and cited authors such as Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Dashiell Hammet. that have made an impact on him.
Aug2017-Review-Couturier-KenLocker
Photo by Kathy Leonardo;

I asked Couturier what he looks for in the work of an artist. His response was, "Work that has brilliant craft, challenges the mind and eye, and has an aesthetic independent of its conceptual content." He went on to say that Locker's exhibition challenges the mind and evokes thought. "People who see the work always seem to have an emotional reaction as well as many questions as to where and when."

As a viewer, I can say for sure it had an extraordinary effect on me. I highly recommend this exhibition....so be sure to stop in soon to Couturier Gallery. "L.A. NOIR: A City Reimagined" will remain on view through August 19, 2017.  http://www.couturiergallery.com/