Bondo Wyszpolski

Local art: Death Cult! Intergalactic! Industry of Meaning!

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“Death Rider,” by Liz Craft, in the foreground, and “Denimz Rogue, Porirua, MMIX,” by Jono Rotman, in the distance. Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

On the street, on the waves, or lost in space

Local art shows: “Death Cult,” “Intergalactic,” and “Industry of Meaning”

by Bondo Wyszpolski

Not to start off on a dour note, but it’s been said that there are two kinds of motorcyclists, those who’ve gone down and those who will. In short, being on a motorcycle gives one a sense of freedom and even ecstasy that’s hard to imagine if you’ve always been confined to a standard, four-wheeled vehicle. However…

The downside of all that freedom, grace, and ecstasy can be what happens when the SUV up ahead doesn’t see you and makes a sudden lane change. “Death Cult,” which opened last weekend at the Torrance Art Museum, seems to acknowledge this. Not the SUV, but the ever-present risk. The exhibition, nicely installed and curated by Max Presneill and Sue-Na Gay, states its “particular focus on the motorcycle world lifestyle” and duly notes that “its participants have one of the largest mortality rates among these sub-cultures.”

Ronald Price and his work on view in “Death Cult.” Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

If there’s a particular motif that accompanies the images of bikes and their riders, it’s that of the skull. You’ll see a lot of cool skull imagery in “Death Cult,” and this is all first-rate art as well.

Art by Nicolette Groome in “Intergalactic”

Across town in Hermosa Beach, with a reception in two days, is “Intergalactic,” a group show at ShockBoxx that was juried by Mike Collins, Scott Meskill, Kymm Swank, Sarah Svetlana, and Preston Smith. That’s a lot of cooks for a small kitchen, but this is a venue that makes good use of what room it has.

“The motivation for this show,” Collins replied when asked how it originated, “was to cast a net as far and wide as possible to get submission of new work. We’ve been having fun using this model where we come up with a theme and then have our regular program artists jury a show that complements works from our usual suspects.”

That means we’ll see some regulars or semi-regulars like Paul Roustan, Eric Michael, Emerald Padgett, Priscilla Ortiz, and Drica Lobo. Perhaps the show is being called “Intergalactic” because there’s work in it from far away: New York and Japan.

But before we leave Hermosa:

Skateboard art, featured in “Industry of Meaning”

“Industry of Meaning” opened last Saturday at Resin (next to ShockBoxx), and it’s being curated by Matt Wessen, who is also the founder of the L.A. Historical Society, and Skip Engblom. This retrospective overview of art in four mediums: surf, skate, street, and beach, goes back 50 years. Lots of skateboard art and photographs by the likes of Anthony Friedkin, in collaboration with the South Bay Artist Collective.

Death Cult is on view through March 14 at the Torrance Art Museum, 3320 Civic Center Drive,Torrance. Hours,Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details at

Intergalactic opens Saturday with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at ShockBoxx Projects, 636 Cypress Ave, Hermosa Beach. Through Feb. 8. Call (310) 989-4323 or visit

Industry of Meaning is on view through Feb. 8 at Resin Gallery, 618 Cypress Ave, Hermosa Beach. (831) 601-8137 or go to ER


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