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Odd Ark LA

Nick Taggart at Odd Ark LA

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At Odd Ark in Highland Park, Nick Taggart’s “LA Stories: Paintings and Drawings from 1980s” is just that. The artist moved to LA from London in 1977, and became immersed in a small but vibrant scene of artists and musicians that Taggart documented through his paintings and sketches. Working from source images that he would snap of friends and acquaintances, the paintings on view, being shown here for the first time since they were made 40 years ago, documents the ethos of a budding Angeleno counter culture in 1980. 

Some of the paintings feel more staged, like “Gregory and Giselle,” in which a woman lays poolside, nude save for a plastic jacket, which was designed by Gregory Poe (a fashion designer and brother to Blum & Poe’s Jeff Poe). Other paintings feel like casual snapshots, Like the brooding girls in “Rochelle and Sandy” who sport ‘80s punk garb and lean against a graffitied wall outside of Brave Dog, a post-punk club in Little Tokyo. A series of prints produced for the exhibition feature celebs that Taggart would loosely sketch from fashion spreads in French Vogue. Together the exhibition charts a vibrant time in LA’s history and points to a moment of reburgeoning energy in our city’s experimental cultural landscape. 

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Photo: “Rochelle and Sandy,” 1980, acrylic on board, mounted on panel, 20.75 x 30.5 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Odd Ark LA.