There should never be 310 pieces displayed at one time in a small storefront gallery. In some ways this is great, as everyone is guaranteed to have a row of artwork at their perfect viewing level regardless of how tall they are. This, however, means that a plentiful amount of jumping and crouching is necessary to examine all of the work.
The price list is truly the scavenger hunt from hell. Once you actually identify a piece you like you must then skim through four pages of two-column listings to find the artist and the price. While certain artists such as Andrew Bell and Roland Tamayo have all of their exceptional work in one place, you pretty much need a map, a compass, a snorkel, two sherpas and a movie-sized box of Sour Patch Kids to unearth the drawings of Greg “Craola” Simkins scattered across the gallery.
Simkins is a master at creating haunting childhood imagery complete with snakes, bunnies and spiders, all invading dreamy landscapes. DEPH's tattoo/graffiti hybrids are the highlight of the show, in particular his Caught in a Lie and the elaborately styled To Die For missile.
Ironically, Aaron Wilson's hot-rod inspired drawings of sea creatures, pirate insignias and beautiful women are done on Chipotle restaurant menus. Chipotle has found success by offering only what they do best: tacos, burritos and salads. Gallery 1988 should do the same and only show the best work produced, thereby allowing the spotlight to be focused on the myriad of great participating artists.
Gallery 1988 is located at 7020 Melrose Ave., in Los Angeles. Gallery Hours: Tues-Sat, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (323) 937-7088 or visit www.gallery1988.com.