Opie and Bahbah Pack ‘Em In
Regen Projects; HVW8 Gallery
The spectrum of photography lovers never ceases to amaze when it comes to enjoying art—especially when it comes to re-imagining reality and wishing that which doesn’t exist. This past weekend, Los Angeles has its share of the well-defined, distinguished along with the romantic, well-recognized solo-exhibitions of Catherine Opie at Regen Projects and Sarah Bahbah at HVW8 Gallery.
Arriving at Regen Projects and taking in the ambience of its refined clean aesthetic, there’s an immediacy knowing you are not the most intelligent individual in the room—so get used to it! Which was great, hence there was an interesting and humbling dynamic in reverence of Opie’s work and wanting to commit arson to iconic mid-century architecture. Her film, The Modernist takes a riff on the French art film noir, La Jetée, though creating a theme catalyzing nostalgia versus the future. The arsonist in the piece is the perfect balance of benevolence and malevolence wanting to even out the score of economic unfairness.
At the epicenter of the main gallery was the screening of the film in a mirrored-wall structure with surrounding walls displaying photographs from the film. Looking beyond and glancing of who else came to absorb Opie’s jovial presence was curator Shoghig Halajian, artists Johanna Breiding, Hannah Griffith, Peter Dmytro Wowkowych, Frances Stark, Pittman, Roy Dowell, Barbara Kruger, film director Devon Kirkpatrick and Pig Pen who is a subject in Opie’s film and photos. Many more eminent professionals and musician Kim Gordon, and most notably Opera Director Yuval Sharon. Wow, what a VIP list!
After seeing expressions of delight of those emerging from the screening several times over and schmoozing with acquaintances, it was time however—and HVW8 was calling us. Its always interesting in the shift of attending an opening here since you need to be on the guest list. A demographic observation: HWV8 pulls a young, eclectic crowd of chillness.
This place is always packed and showcases the very best of emerging art. Bahbah’s work embodies a Larry Sultan-suburbia feel with Sophia Coppola-hues giving you an urge of wanting to clear your schedule, take a bath and order takeout.
Her exhibition “Fuck Me, Fuck You” shows bits from her dreamscape of millennial existentialism questioning the psychology of how we approach hooking up and getting to know one another. There is no sign of nexus of the before and after; only the right here right now. So interestingly enough, from conversations spoken that evening, her work is one of the few most predominately recognized on social media. Everyone has seen her work without knowing.
The opening was well thought-out, equipped with a DJ saturating the air with ’90s classics, boutique drinks at the bar, outdoor heating lamps and interesting street fashion. Everything at HVW8 that night boiled down to the little things and sharing passions with author/writer Sam Hayes. Admiring those who take the chance of bringing their dog to an art opening like artist Mia Carucci never runs dry for dog lovers and conversation icebreakers for key highlights.
Opie and Bahbah like to pick you up and drop you off, leaving you directionless and yearning of how to get back to them in their reality—which is exactly the kind of sensory overload that is preferred from time to time.
All photographs by Moj Mehr-Assa