All Works Copyright 2016 Jennifer Vanderpool
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In 1998 Paige Wery dropped out of California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco, drove her old truck to Los Angeles and began her professional art career selling paintings on the Venice Beach boardwalk. Each morning she would arrive around 8:00 AM, layout her blanket, and display her paintings. These were the days before spaces along the boardwalk were doled out by the lottery system, so finding a good location among the other artists and vendors selling work was competitive. Over the next two years, Wery befriended these mostly self-taught, homeless artists and fostered a sense of community among them. In 2000 she organized the first of what became monthly exhibitions of the Venice Beach artists’ work at the now defunct Highland Grounds a coffee shop in Hollywood. Each artist self-selected three works and Wery would arrive early on the appointed Saturday morning, load up her truck, and install the work for the opening that evening. There was a $3.00 cover charge to see the exhibition which was shared between the organizer and artists. She arranged shows for two years before dedicating more time to her own practice and later segueing to work as the publisher of Artillery Magazine from 2007-2013. Wery’s latest endeavor takes her full-circle back to her interest in self-taught artists with the opening of The Good Luck Gallery, Chinatown, Los Angeles, which will exclusively exhibit non-formally trained artists.
The Good Luck Gallery’s inaugural exhibition “103 Ceramics,” a ten-year survey of ceramist Harry Steinberg’s work from 2004-14, opens March 15, 2014. “103 Ceramics” is a playful and poignant title: not only are there are 103 works in the exhibition, but also Steinberg is 103. This is his first solo exhibition.
Steinberg was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 12, 1910. Growing up he visited the Carnegie Museum of Art on school field trips, but had little other arts education. He earned a M.D. from the University of Michigan and during World War II served as a medic in the European Theater. Steinberg eventually achieved the rank of Colonel and was deployed on D-Day Plus 1. He moved to Los Angeles at the end of the war and began his medical practice as an otolaryngologist, head and neck surgeon. It wasn’t until the fifties that he developed an interest in art, first as a collector of African and Pre-Colombian work. Steinberg’s curiosity grew from there as he visited artists’ studios and galleries in the emerging L.A. art scene. He took up painting on the weekends, but during a 1961 studio visit with ceramicist Claire Hanzakos, Steinberg discovered his creative passion. A few years later, Steinberg converted his garage into a ceramic studio and arranged for her to teach him and six of his colleagues. Steinberg and Hanzakos were married in 1979.
Steinberg created ceramic sculptures on weekends, but when he retired in 1986, he dedicated himself to his studio practice. Nowadays, he works three or four mornings a week creating mostly sculptures that respond to everyday life— brightly colored, boisterous storybook animals and anthropomorphic figures, while others mimic household objects. Many of these works included in “103 Ceramics” evoke a sense of wonderment and joy.
Steinberg’s inquisitiveness seems boundless both as a creator and patron of the arts. He enjoys visiting museum and galleries in Los Angeles and is on the Ethnic Art Council at UCLA’s Fowler Museum. Steinberg is a gem. He would be delighted to meet you at his opening and as much as he would love to share stories about his life and art, he would be equally, if not more so, pleased to hear stories about your work.
“103 Ceramics” opens March 15, 2014, at The Good Luck Gallery from 6:00 PM-10:00 PM. The exhibition is on view from March 15-April 12. The Good Luck Gallery is located at 945 Chung King Road, Los Angeles, California 90012. The gallery website is www.thegoodluckgallery.com
Los Angeles, California