Honor Fraser presents the continuation of its series of panel discussions hosted at the gallery throughout its 2009/2010 programming. The discussion, entitled Pop Art and Ethics will take place at 2pm on Saturday, December 12.


The dilemma with art that traffics closely in popular culture and uses forms from popular entertainment is the same as ever: often art of this kind walks the precarious line between critiquing or analyzing popular culture and simply adding to its spectacle, existing as virtually indistinguishable from everyday life. The concept of art itself dissolves inside this dilemma, for how can we distinguish between more robust and deep forms of culture (which supposedly is called art) and the thin wash of information that constantly drifts over us? Is art of this kind helpful to culture or part of the problem? What is the problem? In the arts, we want to distinguish art from wider culture (and do so), but shy away from distinctions that have been famously defeated such as high versus low art, the idea that certain forms outweigh others in importance, and instead choose to traffic in a parlor game where things become mixed, categories become aloof and hard to define, and value judgments are destroyed as soon as they are made. This may seem like a tired, out of date topic for discussion, but people still have stories to tell about the influence of pop culture in art and its impact on their lives, and the stories have an ethical weight that is undeniable. Whether it was an encounter in the 1960s when someone experienced pop as liberating in the face of snobbish, hermetic circles of art making or today when a person may long for release from art that seems to follow the virtues and vices of popular culture too closely, instead looking for art that is more critical, engaged, and analytic. Pop as an ethic continues. This panel seeks to tell those stories of encounter for a close look at what makes pop continually vital, perhaps continually hated, and perhaps a state of art practice that will always exist.

The panel will be moderated by Ed Schad and will include Irving Blum, David LaChapelle, Holly Myers, and Catherine Taft. This discussion marks the second in a series of talks at the gallery that brings together artists, curators, writers and critics in an environment where an organic dialogue can stem from a central topic or designated theme.

Ed Schad is the Curatorial Associate at the Broad Art Foundation as well as a freelance writer and critic based in Los Angeles. He runs the L.A. based blog www.icallitORANGES.blogspot.com.

Irving Blum is a celebrated American dealer and collector. He was an owner of Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles and is responsible for launching the careers of many of the great American artists. He is notable for his role in the Pop Art movement, and championed the works of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

David LaChapelle is a prolific photographer and director who has worked in fashion, film, advertising and fine art. His work has been exhibited internationally at number of institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); The National Portrait Gallery, London and The Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin; and at galleries such as Tony Shafrazi and Deitch Projects, NY. LaChapelle’s latest body of work, The Rape of Africa, was recently shown at David Desanctis Gallery in Los Angeles.

Holly Myers is a writer, critic, and freelance curator currently based in Seattle. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Art Review and the New York Times, among other publications and numerous exhibition catalogs, including a forthcoming monograph on Uta Barth. Her recent curatorial projects include Party Favors at the former Bonelli Contemporary and Possible Impossible Dimension: Six Artists on the Brink of Abstraction at the Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock.

Catherine Taft is a Los Angeles-based writer and critic. Her writing on contemporary art and culture has appeared in magazines including Modern Painters, Art Review, Artforum.com, and Metropolis M and in various museum catalogs. Her recent projects include curating a series of video and film screenings throughout LA, and research and curatorial assistance for the Getty Museum’s exhibition, California Video (March 2008).