Leave it to old chucklehead over here to tell you about something cool with only days left to go experience it for yourself. For well over a month, the Huntington Beach Art Center has played host to "Kustom Kulture II," a collection of paintings, sculpture, photography, poster art, automobiles, and artifacts that documents Southern California's Kustom Kulture scene - but we hadn't had the chance to go until yesterday.
|Nick, Mary, Ben, Erika, Mr. Tiny, and Fabian|
Tell the truth, if you saw this group headed towards your gallery/museum,
you'd quickly flip the sign to closed and lock the door, wouldn't you?
It wouldn't be much of a Kustom Kulture exhibit without the big names - Robert Williams, Ed Hardy, Von Dutch, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, George Barris, et al. Many more artists were included and if my reporting skills weren't so abysmal, then I might have remembered a few of their names and credited them accordingly.
|I liked this piece less for the masterfully-executed, mixed-media renderings and more for|
the story of the artist who in a few short sentences described his Jayne Mansfield
encounters from supper club floor show, to shoe shopping, to decapitation.
|I loved seeing Dali stuck inside of a surrealist landscape.|
More than anything I love that frame; I'm a sucker for a gaudy, gilt frame!
|Now that's a lucky cat!|
In photograph, these almost look like two-dimensional paintings,
but they are incredibly-detailed, sculpted figures - even the slobber!
|Look at these cornballs pretending to be art connoisseurs.|
|George Barris was here.|
|Mary and one of the Munster Koaches.|
I know that it is a showpiece, but if I have one complaint it's that it is way too shiny. I want tarnish and cobwebs!
Erika puts on a very special, Munsters-themed performance.
When it comes to lowbrow art, I only like it one way - lowbrow. Lowbrow with overly-thoughtful, highbrow tendencies is a big turn off to me. I think that is why so many people connect with Ed Roth's art; there was no pretentious message behind Rat Fink. Even if Rat Fink was symbolic of something, it was of abandoning pretension and enjoying the many pleasures of life - real wacky tacky. As much as I appreciate their work, I think some artists can take themselves way too seriously.
|Venus on the half shell in giant work boots with 5 o'clock shadow and a stogie.|
This is but a small extraction from a much larger work of art
by Robert Williams...I think he's trying to tell us something.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
|They're from Boyle Heights...|
|Scabbo! Revolting and awesome all at the same time!|
Of course, the star of any Kustom Kulture show is the work of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. It sounds bizarre, but I think there is something so wholesome and innocent about his imagery; it is like being a child, taking all of the grossest, coolest, craziest things one can think of and putting them all together. There is no fancy training, no respect for tradition, no overt political agenda - just a reckless abandon, speed, and fun!
Lucky to have been brought up around this (k)ulture, I was particularly excited to visit again with one of Roth's most celebrated works.
|Famous on screen and off, the Surfite can be spotted in the|
background of this still from Beach Blanket Bingo.
|Annette & Big Daddy|
When my favorite worlds collide!
|Shag's homage to 60's hot rod/surf culture and Big Daddy Roth.|
|The Surfite model kit|
|The installation was a recreation of the Revell model kit cover - |
tiki shack, ukulele, and beach bum included.
|Speaking of beach bums...I can't take these goons anywhere!|
If you're in or around Orange County, CA, I suggest a little trip over to the Huntington Beach Art Center for a dose of "Kustom Kulture II." It was the perfect way to cap off our kulturally-rich summer after going to The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood for a screening of the Robert Williams documentary, Mr. Bitchin'.
Trailer for Robert Williams Mr. Bitchin'
The "Kustom Kulture II" exhibit officially ends on August 31 but Saturday, August 24, is the closing reception and panel discussion with the curator of the exhibit and some of the featured artists. It's never too late to get some Kulture!
Kustom Kulture II
Huntington Beach Art Center
538 Main Street
Huntington Beach, CA