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This year’s Art Palm Springs—the large annual art show that takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center—kicks off with an Opening Night VIP Preview on Thursday, Feb. 14, and runs through the entirety of Presidents Day weekend

Perhaps the word “large” doesn’t do Art Palm Springs justice; the show is truly massive and has been growing every year since its inaugural year in 2012. Nearly 80 galleries, from all corners of the globe, will be showing postwar and contemporary art, representing thousands of artists. Some of the Coachella Valley’s premier galleries, not surprisingly, are taking part.

These types of mega-art events—this one is put on by Urban Expositions, which also produces shows in Aspen and Chicago—are a relatively new phenomenon that is changing the shape of the art world. They are as much about the experience as the art itself—and the art-loving public in our community resoundingly approves, with 15,000 attending last year’s event.

In addition to the show itself, there’s a wide-ranging series of talks and events presented by critics, curators, gallery owners, collectors and artists. All of this is specifically designed to make modern and contemporary art a more-interactive experience for the public.

Debra Ann Mumm, the founder and director of the nonprofit CREATE Center for the Arts in Palm Desert, said CREATE will again have a booth at this year’s Art Palm Springs.

“The more events, the better it is overall for our community,” Mumm said. “This event is definitely an experience. It’s cool, and you can see so many different things from so many different places. As a contemporary artist myself, I think it’s worth taking a look. … As a nonprofit, it is a great opportunity to meet people interested in the arts. We’re always looking to pick up new members and donors. It gives us more visibility. We’ll also be doing silk-screen printing on tote bags and T-shirts in our booth throughout the event.”

I attended last year’s opening-night reception; it was my first experience with this type of show, and it was something I won’t forget. It was a heady mix of art, personalities, dress-up glamour and conversation, all with a friendly, open atmosphere.

Some changes have been made for this year’s event, including a new entrance to better accommodate the crowds and shorten the wait times to enter, and improved food and beverage service (which was my only complaint about last year’s event).

The Palm Springs Art Museum will be the beneficiary of this year’s VIP Reception. The 2019 Patron of the Year is Marilyn Pearl Loesberg; she has served for 10 years on the board of the Palm Springs Art Museum and is the chair of the Collections Committee.

Leah Steinhardt, Art Palm Springs’ group show director, answered a few questions about the event.

These types of mega-art events are a relatively new phenomenon, gaining popularity in the last decade. How do you think they are changing the landscape of the art world for artists, galleries and collectors?

The fairs are indeed changing the landscape of the art world, in that it is a different platform for galleries to exhibit art. Our goal is to create an environment where collectors and art enthusiasts can view art in a concentrated space.

Could you offer some insight into how you put one of these shows together?

We plan all year long for our shows, so there is very little downtime. As soon as one of our fairs is over, we are polling our exhibitors and attendees for their feedback. We then analyze those results and create a strategy for the next year’s show. From there, it’s a year-long process leading up to the fair. There are site visits, partner meetings and tons of outreach that happen on a consistent basis in addition to participating in all of the other essential art events throughout the year.

What is the impact of these events on the local communities that host them?

We work closely within each of the local communities, and our goal is to hopefully give platforms to the local art resources. For example, in Palm Springs, our opening-night beneficiary is the Palm Springs Art Museum, while in Chicago, we worked with ChiArts (Chicago High School for the Arts). We spend a lot of time building local relationships, because it’s important for us to have the community’s support as well as for us to support them in return. This past summer in Aspen, there were horrible forest fires. We worked with The Art Base to not only highlight their contribution to the art community in Aspen, but also create installations to thank the firefighters for all their efforts. We also invited local kids to create images that were installed in the entrance of the fair.

I attended last year’s Art Palm Springs opening. I found the opening-night crowd, participants and event itself to be as interesting as the art on display. Could you speak to the concept of art as an experience to be enjoyed as opposed to something that is simply viewed or collected?

We want our fairs to create an experience of discovery, whether it’s for an established art collector or a new enthusiast. Our goal is to create spaces where people can enjoy art and feel comfortable speaking to galleries and artists.

Art opens up a dialogue, and that is a goal at all of our fairs. Many of our galleries bring their artists, and collectors can have intimate conversations with artists that they might never have a chance to meet. In addition to the art, it’s important for us to create an environment where people want to spend their time.

Art Palm Springs takes place Thursday, Feb. 14, through Monday, Feb. 18, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, in Palm Springs. Single-day admission is $25; VIP tickets, which include the Thursday night VIP reception and are good for admission throughout the festival, are $100. For tickets or more information, call 800-563-7632, or visit www.art-palmsprings.com.

Published in Visual Arts

A note from the editor: As we were going to press with this story in our February print edition, we learned that Ed Moses had passed away, on Wednesday, Jan. 17—just five days after I interviewed Andy. He was 91 years old.

In tribute to Ed Moses, we’re presenting this story as-is. Our thoughts go out to Andy and the rest of the Moses family. —JB


Ed Moses (right) is 91 years old. He’s been one of Southern California’s foremost abstract painters for more than 60 years, and although he’s slowing down just a bit, he continues to paint in his Venice studio almost every day.

Andy Moses is 55 years old. After deciding to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an artist, he left Southern California after earning his degree at the California Institute of the Arts, and headed to New York City to create his own career path. In 2000, he returned home to California, and today creates his “simultaneously abstract and representational” works just a short walk away from where his father works.

In February, these two renowned artists will be honored as the Artists of the Year at the annual Art Palm Springs art show and convention, taking place at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The show has grown significantly each year since its start in 2012, and this year will feature nearly 80 galleries from four continents.

The Independent recently spoke to Andy Moses about the Artist of the Year honor he’s sharing with his father, Ed; here is an edited version of our conversation.

Congratulations on being named the Artist of the Year. Tell me a little bit about what that means to you as an artist.

Well, I’m a huge fan of Art Palm Springs. I think they’ve given this award to amazing artists over the years. I’m very happy to be in that mix. It gives me an opportunity to showcase my newest work at a solo booth, and I’ll be unveiling some of my very newest collections for the first time.

I’m going to be exhibiting the largest painting I’ve ever made. It’s called “Strange Attraction,” which is nearly 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. I’ll also be showing for the first time these new three-dimensional paintings called “Circumnavigations.” I’ll be exhibiting at least one of those in the fair.

I’ve got a lot of history in the desert. … I feel like the desert right now has so much going for it. I think the Palm Springs Art Museum has been great for many years. I think Desert X was a huge boon to the desert in terms of art.

I’ve been showing with Melissa Morgan (Fine Art, in Palm Desert) since 2006. I’ve had an exhibition every year for the last 12 years. This is a way to extend my audience out there. Some of my favorite collectors are out in the desert.

How does it feel to be sharing this award with your dad?

It’s really amazing. We’ve had a couple of opportunities in the past to exhibit our work together. We did a show back in 2002 at a gallery in Los Angeles called Double Vision, and then we did a show through Arts Manhattan, curated by Homeira Goldstein, in 2008. This is another opportunity to showcase our work together and to show some of the connections.

We’ve each been on our own path from day one, but … I moved back to L.A. in 2000. I was living in New York. (Since) I moved back in 2000, my studio has been one block from my father’s. We get to visit each other’s studios. There’s a lot of interaction. Getting to kind of understand each other and understand each other’s work over the last 17 years has been amazing. This is a great opportunity to show some of those connections. We each have our own zone. You’ll definitely see the connections and definitely see the differences.

Absolutely.

He’s a much more gestural painter, a mark-maker. He wants to make things that really jolt you. My work has always interfaced a little more with the natural world—and its transcendent beauty and shifting light that I’m after.

Tell me a little bit about the pluses and minuses of following in your father’s footsteps as an artist.

It started out mostly as minuses. I went to Cal Arts in the late ’70s early ’80s. There was an awareness among the other students that I was the son of a painter, and that invited a lot of unnecessary tension, because I was really just trying to develop my own work.

I moved to New York in the early ’80s. I worked for a painter named Pat Steir. There were a lot of galleries even then that felt apprehensive. I actually had galleries tell me that there’s no such thing as a good second-generation artist.

Wow.

I felt like there were more barriers than anything, and my father—he’s quite a personality, and he’s rubbed some people the wrong way over the years, as much as everyone loves him.

I really dug in, though, and developed my work. I was actually fortunate enough to start showing there in 1987 for the gallery called Annina Nosei, and that started to kind of turn the tide. I feel like some of the people who were very skeptical started to come around and really embrace what I was doing on my own. … Now, I feel like because of him and because of each other, we know so many more people, so it’s nothing but a positive.

How is your dad doing, by the way?

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if he’ll be able to make it out. He’s going to do his best. He is 91; he’ll be 92 in April. He still manages to get outside where he works. He works a little bit every day, but his general strength is not so good. It’s hard for him to sit in a car for that long. But we’re going to try. We’re definitely going to try.

Heck, I don’t even like to sit in the car for two hours.

Well, he wants to come out, and he is very excited. He asks me about it all the time: “When is the show coming up that we’re doing together?” He’s very excited.

How did he feel about being named the Artist of the Year?

He loved it, and he loved the fact that we were being named co-Artists of the Year together. He thought that was really extra-special.

He’s become such a big fan of my work over the last 10 years, so it’s very endearing. It’s just amazing to watch his development, because it never ends. He’s always shifting, always moving into new directions, always experimenting. To watch someone who’s in their 80s and 90s doing that, it really sets the bar high. It’s pretty amazing.

Tell me a little bit about your work. I’m fascinated by the fact that your works aren’t just some type of paint on some type of canvass; you talk about using chemical reactions. How would you describe your work to a layman like me?

I feel that my work is at the intersection of abstract painting and natural phenomenon, and I’m interested in both of those and actually how they connect. I’ve set up experiments in my studio where I allow paint to flow in these very organic ways. I’m overseeing it and directing it, but I really allow paint to kind of do its thing, and when it does its thing, it seems to want to (become) these images that really represent nature and infinite landscapes—boulder-ous forms and water meeting sky.

The one thing I’ve always been interested in is this notion of the infinite—looking out into something that just goes on and on. I think that my love of the desert comes from that, because there are these infinite landscapes that you see out there, and the light is ever-shifting. I’m also trying to kind of capture that light that’s fleeting, that’s shifting, that’s changing, because I feel like when you look at one of my paintings, it’s kind of an arrested moment, and you feel like that in the next moment, it could shift and shift again. I want them to feel very electric, very alive, and very much about light and space—infinite space.

Walk me through an anecdote on how, in your words, you’ve allowed the paint to flow in organic ways, and how that’s turned out with one of your works.

The work that I’ve been making since about 2007 and 2008 has all been made with floating colors of acrylic paint in containers, one on top of the other, in these very elaborate ways. So much of what the painting ends up looking like is (a result of) what I do in the preparation of these colors. Then I’m literally flowing it out onto a flat surface and moving the paint as well as moving the surface. I watch the paint sort of move across in these rivers, and then I can direct it in various ways. It’s very much an interactive process, where I need to see where it’s going, and then I respond to that. Then (the paint) responds by flowing in another direction, and I respond to that, all the way through until essentially, I’ve achieved the image.

I have some ideas of what I want the image to be, but it really galvanizes in the act of making the painting. Then I have to decide exactly when it’s finished, and I can basically arrest the movement at that point. It dries after about three or four days. I work inside a tent, so no bugs get in paintings while I’m working on them.

You do this outdoors in a tent?

I actually do it indoors in a tent.

How long, from start to finish, does a work take to finish?

It’s got to be done in one six- or eight-hour session. It has to be done, because there’s no going back. The part of my painting that takes by far the most time is preparing these mixtures of colors. It’s very elaborate how they get done, and that can take up to, on a large painting, three or maybe up to four weeks.

You mentioned that you’re excited about showing off some of your new works, including your largest work to date. How are these works different from what you’ve done in the past?

The largest painting I’ll be exhibiting is a double-stack painting, so it’s actually two panels, one on top of another. It creates one image together, but there’s a very distinct split. … It kind of tweaks your mind a little bit, because it’s a complete image, and you have the function as separate panels as well. It’s an image of what feels like a large, floating orb. It could be like a large boulder or shape that seems to be defying gravity.

That’s cool.

I’m really excited about this painting. Then I’m showing another painting that comes 18 inches off the wall. … It’s half of a dodecagon—half of a 12-sided object, basically. So it’s flat against the wall, but then the thick sides come out at angles to each other. It’s actually a hexagon, but it’s really half a dodecagon, because if the thick sides continued around the back, you’d have like a complete circle, if that makes sense.

Are these more three-dimensional types of work new for you?

I’ve been working on convex and concave canvases going back to 2002, but they were never more than about 6 or 7 inches deep. I’ve always been interested in the shape as well as the image on the surface, and basically, I’m interested in how the shape and the surface create a third image, if you will. There’s a real interface between what’s happening. There’s also a push-pull. What I like about these new six-sided paintings is that they’re projecting volumes of space, but the illusory space in the painting is actually receding. So, you’ve got one aspect pushing and one pulling back in the space. There’s kind of a tug-of-war, and again, it does something quite interesting when you’re looking at it, because your mind doesn’t really know which way to process it.

Do you have any overarching goal for what a viewer feels or how they react when they see your work? Or is it just up to the viewer themselves?

It’s up to the viewer themselves, but I definitely am interested in these transcendent moments where you see the convergence of elemental things happening, and it kind of creates a peak experience, if you will. I want it to be mesmerizing and really take you on a journey in your own mind—a journey into the infinite.

Is there anything else about your appearance at Art Palm Springs that you want to talk about?

I’ve been exhibiting at Art Palm Springs almost every year since its inception, so I’m a huge fan. … Some of my favorite collectors are out there. There’s a real renewed energy in Palm Springs right now. It feels the most vibrant. I’ve been coming (to the Coachella Valley) now since the early 2000s, and it feels like it’s the most alive in every way, but especially in the art world, than it’s ever been.

Art Palm Springs takes place Thursday, Feb. 15, through Monday, Feb. 19, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, in Palm Springs. Tickets start at $25. For tickets or more information, visit www.art-palmsprings.com.

Below top: “Cat Who A-1” by Ed Moses, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 78 by 66 inches. Below bottom: “R.A.D. 1603” by Andy Moses, 2017, acrylic on polycarbonate, mounted on parabolic vertical concave wood panel, 61 by 80 inches.

Published in Visual Arts

Tim Shockley’s sculptures almost seem alive—as if they have a mind.

The works in his Taming the Wild West series—they look like wire tumbleweeds, but are so much more—represent the conflict between the West’s nature and man’s development.

Then there’s his Loose Ties series. Is it just me … or do those ties have a serpent-like vibe?

“The tie relates to corruption—symbolic of a Bernie Madoff-type guy in a suit and tie, who then rips you off!” Shockley said.

Shockley is just one of the artists whose works can be viewed at Art Palm Springs, the ever-growing annual art exhibition formerly known as the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. This year’s fair, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, takes place Feb. 16-19.

Shockley is just one of a handful of local artists whose works will be shown at the fair. He’s represented by Myers-Kovich Gallery.

“It’s a contemporary gallery based in Laguna Beach, and they are showing some of the most innovative and inspiring artists working today, and I am very excited to be showing with them,” he said.

His new Taming the Wild West series will be featured at the fair.

“It consists of large tumbleweeds fabricated from barbed wire and coated in 24-karat gold,” he said. “This work is not a departure, but a step forward in my endeavor to create art that withstands the test of time. It is a statement series having to do with our species and our constant attempt to control the environment around us.”

Another newer series by Shockley, Loose Ends, takes everyday objects—neckties—and transforms them into works that are beyond unique.

Loose Ties has the quality of tweaking the general perspective of an ordinary object into interesting subject matter,” Shockley said. “With this work, I’ve taken a stagnant necktie and cast it in metal in the very fluid shape of a serpent. I use vibrant patinas on some to create striking patterns, while others are dipped in 24-karat gold or silver.”

Shockley said he thinks the works in the Loose Ties series give off a strong feeling of corruption or scandal.

“It all makes sense when you realize I started this series during this country’s financial meltdown,” he said.


Barbara Gothard is another local artist whose works will be shown at Art Palm Springs. The gallery representing Gothard is also local—Palm Springs’ Jorge Mendez Gallery.

Gothard’s paintings often show a dreamy vision—interrupted by linear lines or window frames. Gothard considers her work more abstract than realistic, and in fact, the paintings in her recent Hurdles series may be even more abstract than her previous works.

“My new hurdles or obstacles dissipate or break up,” Gothard said. “… The hurdle is to represent symbolic obstacles, as opposed to a realistic window. In recent years, rather than a window frame, the shape (in my art) has a free form, not a rigid rectangle.”

In these Hurdles series works, shapes are broken apart. A viewer may very well see pain and disruption.

“The Hurdles are symbolic and represent the obstacles we face in life—and in my case, may be autobiographical in terms of recent traumatic experiences,” Gothard said. “When the Hurdles first appeared in my work, they appeared as dark, very rigid, industrial forms that tended to dominate the picture plane but contrasted with architectural elements and … landscape elements. More recently, the Hurdles are breaking apart, exposing life behind them. The use of windows or other openings between the Hurdles represents options that everyone possesses.”

Each series done by Gothard has a strong theme, and Hurdles is no exception.

“The focus of my artwork is the concept of expansion: Expansion of the visual space within the canvas, and expansion of the principles that guide my creative process—moving from a more surrealism-influenced approach, and expanding my color palette from a minimalist color scheme to colors that are more reflective of my current environment—the desert,” Gothard said. “(I am) placing the organic with the abstract to result in a contrasting effect.”

Art Palm Springs takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, from Thursday, Feb. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 19. One-day passes start at $20; weekend passes start at $75. For tickets or more information, visit www.art-palmsprings.com. Above right: “Exposed,” from the Loose Ties series by Tim Shockley; cast bronze with patina (2015). Below: A work from the Hurdles series by Barbara Gothard.

Published in Visual Arts

If you’re like me, the recent political and societal climate has got you down.

Well, thank goodness our lovely valley is doing its part to offer plenty of mood-improving distractions.

Every February, art takes center stage in Palm Springs, thanks to the Art Palm Springs fair (which is rapidly growing) and Modernism Week (which already really huge). Not-so-coincidentally, we here at the Independent have a tradition of bringing you a selection of stories every February previewing these awesome events.

In the February print edition (hitting streets this week), and next week at CVIndependent.com, Brian Blueskye will bring you a fantastic article on the Royal Hawaiian Estates. This little Polynesian-themed south Palm Springs complex has a fascinating history—and even more fascinating architecture. It’s also the site of one of Modernism Week’s biggest parties.

Also in the new print edition and online next week, Nicole Borgenicht has two companion pieces that show the local side of Art Palm Springs: She talks to owners of two local galleries about what they have in store for the fair, and two local artists whose work will be on display at the fair.

Modernism Week and Art Palm Springs are just the tip of the figurative iceberg as far as Coachella Valley arts events go. This weekend brings the Southwest Arts Festival to Indio, while March brings the La Quinta Arts Festival. Of course, April is dominated by two weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival—you know it simply as Coachella—and one weekend of the country-tinged Stagecoach Festival.

Now … about that aforementioned political and societal climate: Starting tomorrow at CVIndependent.com, the Independent will publish a new regular column by veteran alt-media scribe Baynard Woods. “Democracy in Crisis” will focus its watchful eye on the actions of the Trump administration. And, man, is there a lot to watch.

In the meantime, I hope the Independent continues to inform you, enlighten you and entertain you.

Be sure to grab the aforementioned February 2017 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent, coming to a location near you (if it’s not already there). As always, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions or feedback, please drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Editor's Note