The other night we – Liana, Violet, myself, and a few others – attended the art show/party for Juxtapoz’s Psychedelic Art book. Other than Alex Grey, there wasn’t much that was impressive in any way, shape, or form. Juxtapoz Magazine, once a small outsider magazine, was there presenting to the world – and LA – their watered down version of ‘psychedelic art’ which really seemed to exclude artwork that actually might be interesting, psychedelic, and/or visually challenging. In any case, I received this rather scathing review from a friend. I don’t think he intended to share it widely but it sums it all up so succinctly, I can’t NOT share it. We’ll just say it was written by ‘The Wizard’.
I am rarely openly critical, but on my last night in Los Angeles, I attended the single most disappointing art show I’ve ever witnessed: the foppishly academic cultural misfire known as the Juxtapoz Magazine Psychedelic Book Release Party & Art Exhibition – a coked-up marketer’s hipsterfied version of psychedelic where psychedelic is another design scheme to be commoditized and exploited.
This misguided curation of bad collage, chromatic color swatches, second rate tattoo art, high school carnival level installations and random trip-doodles was only lent credibility by the inclusion of Alex & Allyson Grey, who were near last billing on the ‘brochure’ that included none of their work.
There were indeed a few nice pieces. The venue was cool and the show was put on the walls well. But the complete ignorance to the large international (and local) community of professional and genuinely psychedelic artists, the loud sweaty-vagina hip hop, the free flowing liquor, and the ridiculous hipster dress-up scene shown as proof the curator and, indeed Juxtapoz Magazine itself, have so little association with the subject, they may very well have created the least authentic & least significant publication & exhibition on the subject of psychedelic art to date.
This is what happens when you take an observational (and outdated) academic view of a subculture: you miss the mark completely. It was indeed so bad we began to suspect: “Did the Illuminati put this show together to make psychedelic art look dumb?”
I hope you will attend and see & judge for yourself, as this show is up for 3 more weeks, but for God’s sake don’t take psychedelics when you do!
There you have it. When the ‘outsider’ movement turns into one more institution, you know it’s time to change things up. I’ll leave you with this quote, from the book Psychedelic Art by Robert Masters and Jean Houston, published in 1969.
“Particularly, psychedelic art tends to be naive in its metaphysical outlook and in its religious and mystical awareness. These are generally shallow and rather primitive… Much psychedelic art is presently limited by some degree of adherence to these pseudo-theologies and neo-primitive concepts. There is no reason why it must remain so. When circumstances are more favorable, a profoundly spiritual art should be able to emerge.”
[Hint: this is not it – M]
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