Pocket Utopia is a collaborative art space, for which Fred Gutzeit has installed Lee Wall, a 58-foot installation that belongs to a series of works inspired by the painter Lee Lozano (1930-1999). Fred and Lee were friends during the 1960s peace and love era. Before Lozano famously made her exit from the art world, she left Gutzeit a notebook with the inscription "Love to Fred from Lee Lozano." Fast forward thirty years, Gutzeit picks up where the latter's Wave series left off. Given that Lozano prized the intertwining of Art and Self, "living her art" at all costs, the gifted notebook must be a momentous passing of a baton.
I was there to see Lee Lozano's posthumous 2003 PS1 show of disconcerting oversized drawings of hammers and other tools, as well as an intimate notebook of drawings with enigmatic phrases such as "I WILL MAKE MYSELF EMPTY TO RECEIVE COSMIC INFO." Lozano was on the edge, and Gutzeit is reverently hounding these margins by referencing Lozano's scientific renderings of progressive light waves. Lee Wall is an exciting installation, with its cascading Art Nouveau forms, rhythmic circular waves rendered in multitudes of color that are drawn, digitally manipulated and redrawn.
Key to Pocket Utopia's founder Austin Thomas vision, the narrow nook of the gallery multi-tasks as a salon for the co-mingling of ideas. Gutzeit has chosen to display Lozano's notebook and related works by other artists. Audra Wolowiec has created Intimate Apparel (for Fred Gutzeit & Lee Lozano), two hip shirts with holes cut out on the sides for "comrades" to slip their hands around each other's backs. Not related but worthy of mention is artist-in-resident Amy Lincoln, whose paintings of her office co-workers depict the painfully normal. With all of this, Pocket Utopia succeeds in creating the spontaneity of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or total artwork.
Images: Wall Sketch for Billboard Installation (2008); Lee Wall (2008). Courtesy Pocket Utopia.