Interview with Jensen Karp of Gallery 1988

I just found this great interview with Jensen Karp, founder of Gallery 1988, Los Angeles. You should really check out their homepage, cause they always have really great art shows there.

Jensen Karp (pictured above with friend Ernie Hudson) and Katie Cromwell are the founders of Gallery 1988, which is on an incredible run of success with shows inspired by cult movies and pop culture relics featuring some of the most interesting artists working in all mediums, styles, and subcultures. This Friday at 7pm, the Venice Gallery 1988 (214 Pier Avenue) will open the Old School Video Game Show. Jensen found time for LA TACO discuss art, the art business, tacos, “lowbrow” art, and pop culture.

LA TACO: What’s your favorite taco spot?

JENSEN KARP: I’ve lived in Los Angeles my whole, and to be honest, I’ve always been a loyalist to El Comprade and Lucy’s El Adobe just based on history. I know they aren’t secret spots, like some of my hipster friends cherish, but my two picks are storied LA tradition and I just grew up eating there. Katie and I are also both USC grads, so we have a soft spot in our heart for El Cholo, but that’s just because they’d let us drink there when we were 19.

T: One thing I love about your Gallery is that not only do you do shows with themes, but the themes are actually interesting, which seems to be fairly unique in the gallery world for some reason. Who comes up with the show concepts and how does that process work?

J: That one is in my job description. When we opened the gallery in 2004, we literally did it to make fun of the stuffy art scene in Los Angeles, or the hot rod lowbrow underground scene that people thought was a “youth movement.” Those genres couldn’t have been more off base for the generation that Katie and I are in, and we say all our friends starting careers and starting to get some income to spend. We basically sat down and asked each other, what would we hang on our walls if we had the choice, and we quickly realized that pop culture was the common thread for everyone in our age group, including the artists. So we started with video game themes and cult movies, two things that have basically been my main interests since I was 6 years old. And they were huge successes, so from there it was about just staying focused and making sure we align ourselves with things we LOVE, because at the end of the day if we as owners don’t want the art, no one else will. I usually throw out ideas to Katie, and she’ll agree or disagree (the only real “no” I got was a Saved By The Bell show, and she did go with a show based on Wet Hot American Summer – so you win some, you lose some). But picking themes is my favorite part of the job, because as an avid pop culture junkie myself, I get excited imagining artists creating pieces in these themes, and to see that come true is really rewarding. I just ask myself, what do I want to see in the gallery and that’s the whole process.

Read the full interview here…

Be there or be square:

September 16 – October 8, 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s