I had my fair share of LOST mania. I remember spending two full days watching the first three seasons of the show during a Winter break in school to figure out what everyone was talking about. If you’ve ever seen the show, you know it is a delightfully frustrating rabbit hole that pulls you deeper and deeper into an abyss that may or may not disappoint you. I abandoned ship after around the start of season four, saving myself from the series finale frustrations stalwarts had. The show has been gone for years now but it is having a subtle, complex revival as it is the inspiration for the current exhibit up at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park. It’s LOST (in LA).
Reading about the show, images of a charcoal rendered shirtless Jack and tessellating Dharma Initiative logos come to mind. You’d guess it was a show for Gallery 1988. In lieu of these entertainment touchstones, the concept of the show–confusion, abandonment, uncertainty, deception, isolation–are what make this art show run. It consists of over sixty art pieces strung together by an intellectual needle handed to them by JJ Abrams. Set within the sometimes ancient and tomblike LAMAG, a space whose architecture allows for you to feel like you are within a hatch, you wander past art pieces that illustrate wonder and point toward meaning and meaninglessness. There are trash cans bubbling over with foam. A small wooden man balances perfectly on his head and next to a series of images that depict roads to nowhere. A group of grotesque scarecrows are arranged in a semi-circle within a double-doored room. A video of a torso-less dancing clay male body plays outside of the main gallery space. If you look to the bottom right wall when you enter the space, a flowering weed grows from the floor.
This weed, this imperfect impossibility, is the biggest emblem (and triumph) of LOST (in LA): it’s a bronze hyper-realistic sculpture by Tony Matelli. It represents everything LOST did. It’s subtle, it’s deceiving, it’s beautiful, it’s surreal, it’s stupid, brilliant, alarming, and a whole lot of WTF contained in a metal that thinks it’s a flower. The rest of the art in the shoe reaches similar levels of confusion but the flower is a hidden gem, one that makes you briefly question the reality of the space.
The art pieces included are contemporary works by Los Angeles and French artists along with a few pieces from legendaryary artists like René Magritte. The show is being put on by FLAX, France Los Angeles Exchange, in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs. The show is curated by Palais de Tokyo’s former director Marc-Olivier Wahler, who feels the show “supports the exchange and dialogue that FLAX thrives to promote through various connections made between France and Southern California.” As all of you LOST fans know, the French connection is a particularly important one.
The show opens December 1 and will be on view through January 27. It’s a totally Metro accessible show and is free. You can get more information on the show here, including events happening during its run.