Dog Day Afternoon
Artillery, Vol 3, No 1, September/October 2008
My name is Flan and I am a dog a Reindeer Chihuahua if we're splitting hairs here, and bored with my usual routine of going to the Brentwood dog park, running fearlessly through Runyon Canyon, resting quietly in the sun spot in the hall, I decided to check out some of LA's most reputable galleries in search of other discerning canines, fallen cheese squares, wide open spaces in which to bark and frolic, and of course the illusive Ezrha Jean Black who is a self reputed "dog lover." She still owes me a Pastrami sandwich!
My first stop - Fifi at Kim Light's Lightbox. A lovely, ever so self contained and highly sophisticated little Shitzu, Fifi is the quintessential "gallery dog." Light's son Jack had originally given her the name Sapphire, but as one savvy collector pointed out, it sounded too much like a drag queen's moniker, so over time the name was shortened to Fifi, and sometimes "Princess Fifi." This little lady exudes royalty. A typical day in the life of Fifi includes arriving at the gallery whenever she feels like it, not paying heed to clocks or schedules, lounging around the office, or chasing Lulu, a feisty little Chihuahua buddy who also has way too much time on her hands, ur, paws. . .. Fifi has led quite an amazing life thus far, arguably an E Hollywood True Story, having once been kidnapped by a group of crystal meth addicts! Few of us can sport such a reputation.
Around noontime, Patrick Marcoux, the gallery associate, fetches a tasty lunch from Fifi's favorite food spot, Tender Greens. Her all time favorite food items include raspberries, popcorn, apples and of course chicken. Ben Lee is Fifi's favorite gallery assistant because when he worked for Kim, he spent all his time holding and playing with little Miss Fi instead of doing a lick of work. Fifi has her favorite canine pals including Pingo, owned by Gary Garrels and Richard Hoblock, though really Fifi is most partial to Lulu, owned by Alex Couri, director of the gallery. Fifi, having broken her back once playing with another dog (another E Hollywood True Story!) is reluctant to fraternize with other avid canines, being of delicate constitution, though she does pull out all the stops when Kim Dingle drops by the gallery, calling her "The Idiot", a term of abiding love and endearment, and Fifi once stood barking for five minutes at Keith Boadwee's erect penis in the image the artist took of himself titled "Breakfast In America." The girl's gotta have it!
Onward to Roberts & Tilton, whose new gorgeous location at 5801 Washington Blvd. proves to be a doggy paradise or a near approximation of heaven with its 13 ft. ceilings and glistening concrete floors. Oh, how those floors call to me! There we met with Rose, who sports a heart shape design on her head and what might be a Motherwell painting on one flank. Ravishing. Rose gets into the gallery at about 10AM where she spends most of her day in a specially fabricated dog pen with silk blankets and velvet pillows. No kidding.
Rose is definately NOT a vegetarian, having once attempted the Meg Ryan diet of wheat grass juice, fig newtons and fennel, but alas the outcome was not pretty! After inspecting all the new works that have come in through Fed Ex, it comes time for a quick grass soiling. She prefers using her Jorge Pardo inspired sod box by the door! Rose has some favorite canine friends who often come to visit including Ike, owned by collector Deborah Irmas, Jacko, Michael Gold's dog, and myself, Flan, owned by the fabulous artist/critic EveWood. Rose has great taste in art, quite literally, as she loves to lick Thomas Kiesewetter's sculptures or stare for hours at Kehinde Wiley's luminous large scale paintings of stunningly delectable men.
Next stop -- Susanne Vielmetter to meet with Luna, a German Shepard who is as smart as she is beautiful. She was born in LA, but her parents are of true German descent. Luna runs a tight ship at the gallery, and her day usually begins around 11AM where she spends most of her time asleep in her mother's office, fielding clients and the constant ringing of the phones. Impeccably trained, Luna is the modicum of good behavior. She never barks while at the gallery, and is always gracious when people come by. Unlike most other canines, lunch is not a particularly momentous event in Luna's day as she is really only partial to Trader Joe's Bully sticks, though if you held a piece of fresh chicken squarely in front of her face, she might lick her lips more than once in anticipation. Sometimes she shares the gallery space with Peanut, another feisty little Chihuahua (it seems we Chi's have quite the reputation) who regularly makes her very large presence known by barking and growling to let Luna know she's the "boss." Luna just smiles and turns away, knowing the keys to the kingdom are hers!
We then traveled on to the Robert Berman Gallery at Bergamot Station to meet with Sophie, a motorcycle riding pug. Sophie does not simply sit passively on the seat, but actually rides on the tank, clad in fitted leather jacket, bulgy eyes to the wind! I can claim to have done a lot of things in my short life, including meeting Bono and sitting on Sharon Stone's lap, the closest I've ever come to Nirvana BTW, however, I'm afraid Sophie trumps even me. Sophie's taste in art is decidedly political. She has been known to sit and bark at Dietrich Wagner all-too-realistic sculpture "Bomber Boy," which is a lifelike replica of a boy holding a bomb. Sophie has a conscience. Sophie has a first-rate mind and glistening coal colored coat. Sophie has a discerning artistic eye, but above all Sophie is the true physical embodiment of coolness, style and "canineonical beauty," a term I recently coined. So, don't be surprised if you see me around town on my very own customized Harley. A boy's gotta have it!
Until then my friends, always remember and never forget, a single bark can open big doors -- any more than that and you're just annoying. . .