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John Lee Bird

One Small Step At A Time played to an appreciative audience in competition at The Newport Beach Film Festival on Sunday 28th April at 4.30. Afterwards there was a fascinating Q & A with filmmakers and a reception at YellowKorner Gallery.

Guests enjoyed a private exhibition of the work by John Lee Bird.

Every time I look I see a new favorite. I just fall deeper and deeper into his work and the more intense the experience becomes. I see the patterns emerging. The lines, the circles, the meanings that I don’t understand and are hidden from me but I know they are there, are just captivating. I can’t decide on a favorite.” Dan Editor


The halls were bursting and the Paramount backlot was buzzing and even though the punters were friezing, no one cared. This was a celebration of what L.A. does best, putting on a show. We can only imagine what next year will bring. Here are our favorite highlights from the LA FRIEZE ART FAIR.


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Tom Pope’s One Square Club was tucked away in the furtherest corner of the backlot. The only thing that announced it was a maze of red ropes and two bodyguards, the Hollywood signifier for exclusivity. Immediately the queue began to form. One bodyguard shared with us that earlier in the day some eager beavers thought that standing in the queue was the installation before they realized there was more to it. The worlds smallest private members club can only accommodate two people at a time with the artist himself present as barman offering a cheeky glass of champagne. He wisely drank water. Tom explained the terms and conditions of membership to the club. Anyone could become a member for a day. It would cost whatever the average value of one square meter of property costs where-ever you happen to live (you pay for the club to be shipped to you of course.) The idea was sparked when Tom heard that one square meter of residential real estate in Kensington & Chelsea, London cost approx $15,000.

The parallel between the fair and Tom’s club are pretty clear. Value, exclusivity, elitism, fluctuating markets, who determines who pays what for club membership, for art, for entry into the hallowed world of Hollywood, who gets past the red rope… brilliant.


karon davis

Artist Karon Davis created The Game, a site specific installation that explores “how schools have become a place for the hunted - our children - through dramatically stage life size sculptures. The title is inspired by the name given to animals hunted for sport, and the work reflects on how our current administration’s policies and ideas have left families and teachers in fear for their lives.” Deeply arresting installation on the backlot.


STUDY FOR SYD (NO USE TRYING), 2016  Acrylic on canvas 204 x 242 x 3.5 cm 80.3 x 95.3 in

Acrylic on canvas
204 x 242 x 3.5 cm
80.3 x 95.3 in

Duggie Fields is a master of large superbly painted bold canvases that arrest with their size and vibrancy. Fields is a national treasure in Britain and a beloved member of the artistic community. His colorful past and his friends constantly turn up in his giant incandescent paintings. Duggie was brought to FRIEZE and L.A.’s attention by The modern Institute a fine establishment based in Glasgow, Scotland. Vibrant and bold, we are in love with the simplicity of this moment in time that Duggie spent with Syd Barrett another English icon. Rule Brittania.


Doug Aitken, Midnight Sun (distant view with pools), 2019

Doug Aitken, Midnight Sun (distant view with pools), 2019

Doug Aitken was born in Redondo Beach, so it makes sense that his love of light, colour, swimming pools, and signage were all on display at FRIEZE. His exploration and originality are fresh and original, like a Los Angeles summers day, yet packs a punch when you stay long enough. Doug Aitken’s work just gets better and better. We’ve all known it for the longest time, the world has caught up. He is no longer L.A.’s best kept secret.



Luckily for FRIEZE, they employed the wonderful talents of Kulapat Yantrasast, founder and creative director at wHY to construct the tent that showed of the galleries finest. Light flooded into the space and thankfully the rain did not. The weather was reminiscent of a London day but the tent was one hundred percent Californian, bright and breezy.



And what a lot of fun that was… until next year.

Duggie Fields at FRIEZE L.A.
STUDY FOR SYD (NO USE TRYING), 2016  Acrylic on canvas 204 x 242 x 3.5 cm 80.3 x 95.3 in

Acrylic on canvas
204 x 242 x 3.5 cm
80.3 x 95.3 in

Duggie Fields is going to be featured in the first ever Frieze fair in LA as part of The Modern Institute’s artistic offering. Duggie’s vibrant life enhancing paintings are filled with references to art history and pop culture. His repetition of imagery has become his trademark but also an amplification of the impact that modern culture has on all our shared lives. There are certain people and moments that can be boiled down to a graphically defined shape and we are easily able to read who or what Duggie is referencing. His love of a bold palette can be traced directly back to a childhood full of intense imaginings as described by him in the IMAGE issue.

“The power of the drawn/painted image, first really seen/felt/remembered as a 7-year-old miserable boarding-school boy in grey flannel hand-me-down shorts on a once-a-month Sunday seaside ‘exeat’ with his mother and brother, after a lunch time Knickerbocker Glory so tall he had to stand on a chair to get his spoon to the bottom of it in the large new colorful Forte’s 1950s modernist cafe, watching and experiencing in a mixture of transfixed awe, wonder, and terror, unforgettable was the wild dramatic climatic out-of-control moment when the broomsticks with water-buckets march across the screen landscape in the nightmare dream sequence of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Walt Disney’s Fantasia.

Sitting spellbound I gripped my mother tightly throughout, only to later discover when the lights went back up, so absorbed and enthralled by the experience was I, that it wasn’t her I’d clung to but a stranger sitting on my other side.

Living in a small village in the late 1940s, early 1950s Britain, before television, the rise of the color supplement and the multiplicity of medias that followed, the visual world was confined to everyday reality enhanced by the home’s content of books and pictures, conflated with those found either in school, church, or in magazines at the local branch of the W.H. Smiths newsagents situated in the railway station up the road that was the end of the line that eventually led to London. Besides these, there was a local cinema that offered both Saturday morning pictures for hordes of ever-screaming children with its cartoons and serials, and several villages away, an arts and crafts gallery where I was to have my first painting ever shown exhibited at age fourteen in their Open Summer Exhibition, though it was mistaken for an adult abstract work and when the local newspaper commented on it, it was moved to a less prominent spot behind a door. Fantasia was a momentous experience for me. Already a weekly print comic addict by then, the music and movement was irresistible. At that age I was into making things more than painting, but this slowly transformed so that by my early teens it was just something I did almost daily, certainly my main creative outlet. That moment of terror though has to be the point of my first searing visual arts memory, more than anything before, lingering still in my unconscious certainly today, and the occasion of first seeing it is still something I can vividly recollect.” Duggie Fields

Iconoclasm,  2000-2015 Randomised free-scale digital collage construct

Iconoclasm, 2000-2015
Randomised free-scale digital collage construct

Image Preview, John Lee Bird, Madam and Jamie Stewart 

In celebration of IMAGE, The Laboratory presented John Lee Bird's exhibition 'One Small Step at A Time' at the Sur Le Mur gallery, in the Pacific Design Center.

Musician Sukie Smith, AKA MADAM performed her response to the work. The grand finale was a cymbal celebration performed by artist, musician and provocateur Jamie Stewart in response to John Lee Bird's work, an explosion of noise and wildness.

Photography by Adam Sheridan Taylor


The Getty Villa Britweek Celebration

The Getty Villa celebrated Britweek in an exclusive VIP reception and private viewing of the Museum's newest exhibition PLATO IN L.A. The Laboratory Arts Collective Magazine was a proud media partner of this event and members were invited to join the celebration.

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Guests viewed a contemporary take on Plato from a range of celebrated artists that included Jeff Koons and Whitney McVeigh. 

Photography by Rex Gelert



Guests wandered through the gardens enjoyed a perfect Californian evening, dined on fine food and wine and visited the contemporary art on display. It was the first time The Getty Villa had shown contemporary work alongside their superb collection of antiquities and it was beautifully curated by Donatien Grau.

“More than anywhere else in the United States, Los Angeles is a laboratory of existential and institutional experimentation, whose inhabitants must constantly negotiate a dialogue between the traditions of Europe and the multiculturalism of the modern American city. Plato, whose spirit is ever present in Los Angeles, reminds us that for humanity to prosper, it must contemplate a higher form of itself. By making thoughts perceptible, artists invite us to adopt this premise."  –   Donatien Grau, Curator

The exhibition Plato in L.A. successfully brings the ancient teachings of Plato into our modern consciousness. The playfulness of the Koons sculpture is wonderfully complimented by the provocations of the other works on display. Taking the viewer into a deeper experience, a dialogue was struck up between some chosen sculptures  and the poetry of Gabriele Tinti. 

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Actors Robert Davi and Oscar Sharp were invited to read. The surprise of the evening was the power of Tinti's poems alongside his chosen statues. The conversation became very real as the ancients were brought directly to those who gathered to listen. A powerful dialogue bridged the past with the present. Both the poems and the art were brought to life and made relevant by the existence of the other. It was a literary reflection of the contemporary exhibition and a reminder of the timeless human journey as defined in Plato's philosophies.  


The Victorious Athlete is a poem that I wrote especially as a tribute to the work of art on display at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles.

The sculpture - also known as the Getty Bronze, the Atleta di Fano and the Victorious Youth - is one of the very few Greek originals in bronze to have come down to us that can be attributed to a master of antiquity.

Attributed on the basis of style to Lisippus (Paolo Moreno), it depicts a young athlete just crowned, caught in the act of emphatically pointing to the wreath with his right hand and to the palm branch, which was also a symbol of victory, with his left.

The strong leg muscles suggest a runner. The cavalier attitude suggests he was not a professional athlete though, but a noble who took part in the races.

Scholars have strained to identify him as a historic figure: some (Frel, Pasquier) as Demetrius Poliorcetes, others (Paolo Moreno, Antonietta Viacava) as Seleucus Nicator. Other theories identify the athlete - considering the numerous analogies and success of this iconographic form in the Hellenistic and Roman ages - as Hercules or as the very image of Agon (Victory in the athletic races).

Scholars do agree, however, on the evidence that the figure must not have been alone as his left side is particularly flat. This would suggest the presence of at least one other statue, but here, too, it is not known whether it was of the father proud of his son’s successes, or the referee caught at the moment of the coronation.

It is in any case likely that Lisippus, at the time the ‘court sculptor’ to Alexander the Great, wanted with this work to create the figurative model of the new generation of victorious condottieri who, led by Alexander himself, conquered Greece and the eastern Mediterranean.

Unknown   Statue of a Victorious Youth , 300–100 B.C., Bronze with inlaid copper 151.5 × 70 × 27.9 cm, 64.4108 kg (59 5/8 × 27 9/16 × 11 in., 142 lb.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Statue of a Victorious Youth, 300–100 B.C., Bronze with inlaid copper
151.5 × 70 × 27.9 cm, 64.4108 kg (59 5/8 × 27 9/16 × 11 in., 142 lb.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

The torch bearers participating in this contemporary exhibition are the following celebrated artists. Paul ChanRachel HarrisonHuang Yong PingMike KelleyJeff KoonsJoseph KosuthPaul McCarthyWhitney McVeighRaymond PettibonAdrian Piper, and Michelangelo Pistoletto