Castelli Art Space
February 22-24, 2018
For three nights only, February 22-24, a number of Bill Barminski‘s works from the 1980s to the present will be on view at Castelli‘s great new space on Washington Blvd. near Culver City. You can even touch most of them. Bill likes that. During a visit to his studio, he explained:
“The work is meant to be touched, because that’s how it was made….Punks are always kind of making things. I do that a lot.”
This kind of punk aesthetic is what Barminski is known for, even when co-designing sets and animation for opera. (The Cunning Little Vixen was directed by L.A’s own Yuval Sharon and was commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra, which premiered it in September, 2017.) In addition to Barminski’s improvisational deadpan humor, which combines popular culture and iconography in ways that make you think and laugh, he makes cardboard sculptures, paintings, drawings, films, music, and works in other mediums – anything he thinks is cool for getting his ideas out.
“I used to work alone mostly. Just doing everything myself, but recently I’ve opened up. Now I’m making music with Mat Aston and a few other guys in a studio nearby. We record everything isolated, but mixed down together live. It’s nice, because I can watch the waveforms and see where I’m in the mix and where I’ve gone off the rails a bit.”
His casual and witty, but thoughtful approach to his work, is partly what influences the students who take his classes at UCLA, where he’s taught for nearly two decades.
Lately he’s been working with a new program that takes virtual reality out of the personal and into the public. It’ll be cool to see what he’s going to do with it.
We’ll follow up this preview of Bill Barminski’s retrospective with a review of next week’s opening, along with some surprise announcements of Bill’s upcoming events.
Cover image courtesy of Castelli Art Space; all other photographs by the author.