Monopoly Havana Noir CENTRO-webPalos Verdes Art Center is pleased to announce HAVANA NOIR, an installation by Cuban artist Kadir López and HAVANA LIGHT, studies on the restoration of neon signage in Cuba. The exhibitions are curated by Adolfo Nodal and Joe Baker, and will be revealed to the public at HAVANA NOIR: THE PARTY, 6 – 11pm, October 1 at Palos Verdes Art Center. The exhibitions will remain on view  through December 31, 2016.

Kadir was born in the provincial town of Las Tunas, Cuba. He was trained at the Escuela Profesional de Artes in Camaguey and the prestigious Instituto Superior de Artes in Havana, commonly known as ISA, graduating in 1995. Known for his moody, atmospheric works incorporating re-purposed American signage overlaid with applied prints or painted in oil, Kadir’s works relate a personal recollection of the history of post-1950s Cuba. Recently, he has turned his eye to historic neon signage of he pre-revolution era.

Kadir has exhibited his work consistently since 1990 in over 120 solo and group shows in North and South America, Europe, China, and the Caribbean. He has participated in several of the art world’s prominent international art fairs and events. Among his many outstanding solo exhibitions, Signs series, brought him critical attention and he was named one of the top ten artists to watch in 2011 by The Huffington Post.

HAVANA LIGHT documents the work of Habana Light Neon + Signs, a neon restoration project pursued byKadir López and Adolfo Nodal.

READ: Vankin, Deborah. “L.A. Helps Havana’s Vintage Neon Signs Glow Again: ‘It Marks a New Era, a Return of the Light, of Hope'” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 16 June 2016.       (more)


Michael Flechtner: THIS IS NOT A SIGN

flektrowebPalos Verdes Art Center is pleased to announce THIS IS NOT A SIGN, a major West Coast exhibition of works in neon by Los Angeles-based American artist Michael Flechtner. The exhibition will open September 10 at Palos Verdes  Art Center and continue through December 31, 2016.

“Neon, more properly luminous tube, has been my medium of expression for nearly a decade.  It has replaced the paint and sculptural materials I used as a student.  I’m ever mindful of the compelling nature of this pure, colored, glowing light and the tendency of many to see “all things neon” as signage or kitsch.  It is my experience that the more traditional viewer and critic resist seeing neon as a fine art medium,” says Michael Flechtner.

“My work reflects a fascination with the symbols of language, technology and how they influence popular culture. I describe animals, machinery, etc. and utilize various forms of language. The various “components” inhabit my internal landscape.  I bring forth and arrange this highly idiosyncratic material to create pictograms, ideograms and rebuses, surely the effects of my unconscious.  Through the creation of these pieces I work through and process personal issues and attitudes.  Each piece is a complete record of that process.  In spite of this focus on my “inner self”, this work is for everyone.  To that end the figures are recognizable and the compositions are “pleasing to the eye.”  And if the viewer wants more, they can apply there own meanings and interpretations which I feel are as relevant as my own.”

Michael Flechtner has received a J. Paul Getty Trust Fund Fellowship for the Visual Arts , the Boticelli Award, and Ford Foundation Award. His public works are in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Tokyo; in 2010, he was commissioned by the USPS to create the “Neon Celebrate Forever Stamp.”

Flechtner has exhibited and is collected internationally, and has been featured on PBS, CBS News, Fox, Los Angeles Times, Gourmet Magazine, and publications in Japan among other places.    (more)


Mark V. Lord: L.A. NOIR

child of the golden landweb“Post-war film noir was inspired by hardboiled American crime fiction made famous by Los Angeles writer Raymond Chandler, and expresses the cynicism of the period through themes of corruption, loss and desire. Lord’s depictions of Los Angeles are filled with the deep shadows and low-key lighting characteristic of these films, but with a decidedly contemporary twist. With the addition of fragmented text and dialogue, Lord’s evocative images function as imaginary movie stills documenting an L.A. noir film that never was. The incongruity of text and image confounds expectations and challenges conventional constructs of storytelling. The resulting installation engages viewers to shape their own narratives, while revealing the creative process of this singular writer and photographer.” – Gail Phinney, Curator

“Noir, as a screenwriter, I’m very familiar with. It is something I’ve studied, I’ve written about, I’ve admired. It has stood the test of time in storytelling. There is something inherently attractive to noir. When I shoot photographs, I shoot them for myself – and for the subjects, oftentimes giving them away . . . Give me a second of your time, and I’ll give you a record of your life. It makes a good bargain with the city.

I think there is still a noir aspect to contemporary Los Angeles . . . for me to feel a photograph is successful, there is a sense of fleeting time, of an ache of something almost familiar that is gone in the second you photograph it that says something about what came before, and what might come after.

It is also a gem you have to find. You can walk for a long time before the light hits the moment in the right way to catch that emotion. So you walk.”  – Mark V. Lord


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“These exhibitions are supported, in part, by the

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through

the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.”