Must See Art: Tom Wesselmann at Gagosian Beverly Hills

‘Still Life #29,’ 1963, Oil and printed paper collaged on canvas, 9′ x 12′, ©Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

 

This Thursday, Gagosian Beverly Hills will be launching a solo exhibition of rare works by Pop Art notable Tom Wesselmann. Wesselmann: 1963-1983 will feature seven pieces created by the artist, none of which have ever been shown on the West Coast. On view until August, the exhibition will showcase the commercial billboards Wesselmann began painting in 1962.

 

‘Still Life #61,’ 1976, Oil on shaped canvas in 4 parts, 8’8.5″ x 32’7″ x 6’7″, ©Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

 

Born in Cincinnati in 1931, Wesselmann was an influential figure in the Pop Art world, with his massive paintings that recontextualized images from popular culture, like the Volkswagen Beetle seen in ‘Still Life #29.’

“I used what was around me, so my culture was what I used,” he once said about his work.

Part of ‘The Standing Still Lifes’ series, the seven works in Wesselmann: 1963-1983 were a highlight in the artist’s long career. Comprised of multiple canvases shaped like the objects they depict and mounted on both the wall and the ground, the pieces are three-dimensional scenescapes that pull you into their world. Known primarily for his work that showcases the female figure, these paintings incorporate everyday objects in exaggerated sizes, exploring sexuality and surrealism in an emotional and experimental way.

 

‘Still Life with Blue Jar and Smoking Cigarette,’ 1981, Oil on shaped canvas in 4 parts, 9′ x 18’5″ x 5’6″, ©Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

 

“Wesselmann is an artist well known for his forthright and original standpoint on sexuality,” explains Jason Ysenburg, Director at Gagosian, “but that is only a part of his story. In the ‘Still Lifes,’ ‘Standing Still Lifes’ and ‘Bedroom Paintings,’ we are offered a glimpse into an enchanted world where scale, content and the juxtaposition of materials and images is surprising and innovative,” he continues. “What transpires are a group of paintings where sexuality is often implied rather than overtly expressed.”

Since his death in 2004, Wesselmann’s work has become only more sought after, and has been included in multiple exhibitions at The Whitney and MoMA. This latest exhibition follows another recent showcase, Tom Wesselmann: Standing Still Lifes at Gagosian in New York.

 

Wesselmann: 1963-1983 is on view from July 12 to August 24 at Gagosian Beverly Hills.

 

Photos: ‘Still Life #29’ by Jeffrey Sturges; ‘Still Life #61’ & ‘Still Life with Blue Jar and Smoking Cigarette’ by Rob McKeever; all courtesy the Estate of Tom Wesselmann and Gagosian

Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali Launch 2016 EAT (RED) Culinary Tour

Mario Batali, Courtesy EAT (RED)

 

If you could eat well and save lives at once, you could hardly say no, could you?

To that end, this year’s edition of the highly anticipated EAT (RED) kicks off June 2 in New York, with the (RED) Supper at Battery Park City’s Brookfield Place, hosted by those ubiquitous, globe-trotting celeb chefs Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain. Other participating a-list culinary talent for the night will include Dominique Ansel, Frank Falcinelli, Nancy Silverton, Tom Douglas, Vinny Dotolo, Angela Dimayuga, Kristen Kish and Kevin Gillespie.

The overall goal? To raise money for the ongoing (RED) #86AIDS effort, by means of 27 days of edible nirvana. Indeed, the “tour” continues through the 28th, with special dinner, lunch, brunch, happy hour or cocktail events and offerings by many of the world’s hottest epicurean gods and goddesses at their exalted, signature restaurants.

Bourdain_CNN1[1] Eat Red

Anthony Bourdain (Courtesy CNN)

To name but a few: Enrique Olivera at Mexico City’s Eno, Stephanie Izard at Chicago’s Little Goat Diner, Jason Wass at London’s Polpetto, April Bloomfield at NYC’s Spotted Pig, Thomas Keller at the Las Vegas and Beverly Hills Bouchon Bakery locations, Alice Waters at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, Jose Andres at DC’s Jaleo, as well as Batali and Lidia Bastianich’s own B&BHG Vegas restaurants at the Venetian/Palazzo, including B&B, OTTO Enoteca & Pizzeria and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse—with scores of delectable options to choose from in two dozen cities across four continents.

“Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows that the sum of our efforts always far exceeds what we can do individually,” says Batali. “EAT (RED) is an opportunity for all of our restaurants to collectively contribute to a tremendously worthy cause while doing what we do best: making delicious food.”

LeftBank_GnocciGnocchi at Left Bank NYC, Courtesy EAT (RED)

The (RED) charity, of course, was founded by Bono in 2006, with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as its primary recipient. EAT (RED) debuted in 2014, and has become one of its most high-profile annual events. N.B. Plan to reserve in advance. It’s a hot ticket.


This Week’s L.A. Happenings: Nozawa Bar & Rooftop Pool Opens, Taylor Boudreaux Feeds Napa

NOW OPEN: Secret Sushi Nozawa Bar in Beverly Hills
It feels like a speakeasy, only the highlight at the new Nozawa Bar is sushi. Weirdly, it’s a secret sushi restaurant in the back room of an existing sushi restaurant but with its own chef: Osamu Fujita. There are only two seatings at lunch and two seatings at dinner, so reservations are a must. And no need to fuss over a menu—there is none! It’s a true omakase experience, each course served simultaneously to everyone, and dishes like sashimi and hand rolls are based entirely on the day’s fresh market catch. 

Nozawa Bar (212 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills) is now open. Lunch is $130 per person; dinner $150 per person. To make a reservation, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides. 

 

MONDAY: London West Hollywood’s Rooftop Pool Opens to Public

After kicking off its fifth anniversary last week, the London West Hollywood has cooled its pool rules. Now, anyone (not just registered guests) can officially and legally throw on their thongs and lounge on the rooftop pool. Several intimate cabanas, sweeping city views, and a delicious Gordon Ramsey menu await. 

 

The rooftop pool at London West Hollywood (1020 N. San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood) is now open to the public. To book a cabana or a guest room, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides. 

 

WEDNESDAY: Trefethen Family Vineyards at Napa Valley Grille

You may recognize the young executive chef Taylor Boudreaux as one of LA’s Hottest Chefs. Or maybe the fact he won the annual Tavistock Restaurant Group’s first Top Chef of the Year. Either way, he’s prepared an exclusive, four-course rustic menu for at Napa Valley Grille, paired with wines from Trefethen Family Vineyards, Napa region’s leading sustainable winegrower. You can eat well, see a hot chef, and get drunk on great wine. 

 

The four-course rustic menu is $75 per person and only available today at Napa Valley Grille (1100 Glendon Ave, Westwood). To make a reservation, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides. 

Live Jazz, Pig’s Face, & Umami Take-Out Debuts in Los Angeles

Home is where the heart is supposed to be, but now in Beverly Hills, a place called H.O.M.E. (House of Music & Entertainment) is where the caviar-chive salmon, the sous vide berkshire pork chop with a pear brandy reduction, the live jazz, and your new favorite wine list is. This premiere live jazz/supper club spot just opened last week, giving those in the industry a new place to rub shoulders, sign on the dotted line, and lean back with some top-shelf scotch to enjoy the smooth stylings of musicians like Bill Cunliffe and Pet Escovedo.

Bestia, a charcuterie haven serving pig’s face and beef heart tartare, opens this Friday in the Art District, and just when you thought the Umami brand was spent and done, here comes U Mini, a tiny take-out version of everyone’s favorite burger joint.

Los Angeles Openings: Coffee + Food, The Phoenix, PizzaRev

One doesn’t normally boast about Australian food; it’s usually a boring blend of ‘80s American and British dishes that include a lot of ‘chips,’ and other overpriced menu items. But here’s one thing about Oz: their coffee is twice as good as that organic swill you’re French-pressing every morning. They always use espresso beans, and they use them well. At the new Coffee + Food over on Melrose, stop in for a flat white or a long black or just a cappuccino, and you’ll really feel what the buzz is all about. As for the ‘+ Food’ part, there’s a nice selection of paninis, salads, pastries, and more.

The rustic and game-friendly Phoenix bar rose in Beverly Hills a bit ago, offering old fashioneds, sazeracs, craft beer, and one food item: steak frites and salad.

And in Studio City, PizzaRev brings a Chipotle-style ‘build-your-own’ food to artisan pizza. No matter the amount of toppings, it’ll be under $8.

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Los Angeles Opening: Caulfield’s at the Thompson Beverly Hills

Though this writer confesses he’d always found Holden Caulfield a distinctly insufferable character, there’s little denying the resonance of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye with the last few generations of disaffected souls. And the Thompson Beverly Hills’ new restaurant pays reverent tribute to that legacy.

Caulfield’s is an appropriately unflashy place, with dark leather banquets, a mahogany bar, deco lighting fixtures and an almost tavern-like vibe. Cody Diegel’s menu goes heavy on nostalgic Americana—think steak, burgers, and, um peanut butter cups. A compelling, Algonquin inspired mural depicts 1950’s glit-lits like Dorothy Parker, Arthur Miller and Jack Kerouac. With The Writers Room having just opened in West Hollywood, LA seems to be suddenly keen on nurturing its literary side. We approve.