Oooh! Teddy Bear! That’s the first thing I screamed, being the child that I am, when I entered the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City with my boyfriend. Some of the guests turned around to look at me and chuckled. Ugh. Embarrassing. Oh well, at least I didn’t get kicked out for making too much noise, right? On Feb. 12, the gallery opened its doors to 16 new artworks by Luke Chueh.

Describing Chueh as an ordinary contemporary artist is a bit of an understatement. He is the creator of an iconic character of a bear hailed and transformed into popular art toys by producers such as Munky King, Intheyellow and others. In each of his works for the exhibition, his bear is brought back to life with a new feel.

And, of course, the art done by Chueh definitely deserves more than an “Ooh! Teddy Bear!” This second solo show by Chueh has a lot of aspects that the audience can enjoy. The gallery is rather small, comprised of two small floors, but there is much to see. Immediately after stepping into the gallery, you will come face to face with a bigger-than-you sculpture of the iconic character created by Chueh. In the middle of the room, you will be able to see Chueh’s sort of welcome gift to the guests. He created two standup walls with outlines of his character available for the audience to color and decorate as they like. By the time I got there, all of the outlines were filled out. If only I hadn’t gotten lost getting there, I could have enjoyed the same opportunity. This is when I start hating Google Maps for giving me the wrong direction.

Anyway, surrounding this massive gathering of guest “art” are the pieces by Chueh. Kind of frightening yet appealing, the 16 pieces delve into psychology, sociology and art history. A weird combination, but he makes it work. His artworks are cocktails of pop culture, street culture and geek culture, approachable even to those who feel they should stay away from galleries because they know nothing about art.

The focus of this exhibition is the character created by Chueh. In each of the pieces, the iconic character is interpreted in a bit of a disturbing way. Well, at least to me, they were a bit scary. Some of the pieces seem to communicate to the audience loneliness and a sort of psychotic feeling humans sometimes possess, and some seem to have no relation to the human psyche.

Upstairs on the second floor, you will see other pieces, very different from the ones below. After climbing the looonnnggg staircase (Don’t mind the exaggeration, I hate stairs.), you will end up next to the DJ booth. Half the size of the first floor, Chueh’s work really pops here. Way more colorful and making no real sense (at least to me), those who love vivid colors will probably be more interested in the art upstairs.  

Stylish and well lit, the Corey Helford Gallery is probably one of the top venues for holding solo shows. The perfect size for an exhibition space, it is well suited for artists who hope to mingle with the guests, or want the guests to mingle with each other. The opening reception of Contemporary Art was bustling with guest energy, and the show continues through March 12. I suggest you make your way over there!

Corey Helford Gallery is located at 8522 Washington Blvd., Culver City. For more information, visit