“I don't like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself not for others—what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.”
― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, one of the books found in Ted Kaczynski’s cabin library.
Shed-turned-functional art gallery modeled after Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s Montana hideaway; The Cabin LA is a near-perfect copy, right down to the dimensions (10 feet by 12 feet). Artist Danny First built The Cabin out of fascination with the structure’s architectural design, and started hosting artists in his Hancock Park backyard. While many galleries try to cultivate a neutral viewing experience, here, the emotionality of the art is heightened by the irregularity of the surroundings. The Cabin promotes a sense of slight apprehension and curiosity with its dark, foreboding grey exterior, small windows, and sharp, angular design. The artists who exhibit at The Cabin take advantage of the space’s unique feel and measurements. When L.A.-based artist Jhon Monn exhibited at The Cabin in January, his oversized abstract paintings engulfed and engrossed the viewer in the intimate space, creating a palpable personal experience. This return to the residential roots of the arts feels like the resurgence of the Gertrude Stein-esque salon with its informal confluence of artists, collectors, and gallerists.
Like Stein, First started exhibiting art in his home not as a business, but as as a way of supporting local emerging artists. The Cabin promises young artists visibility and growth in a relaxed environment. First is the perfect person to mentor these young creatives, with his impressive and longstanding background in the arts. He got his start as a cartoonist, creating the children’s stick figure characters, Danny & Sally back in 1983. He produced a series of story and activity books centering on the friendship and adventures of the titular characters. First also developed a vast line of products featuring the two youths, including t-shirts, candy, and backpacks sold in boutiques and department stores worldwide. He then started collecting art. In the 90s, his first contemporary art acquisition was a Raymond Pettibon drawing. First is an avid collector of George Condo and Kehinde Wiley, and as an artist of his own right makes ceramic busts displaying a wide variety of emotional states. The busts, like little characters, are displayed around the perimeter of First’s spacious, manicured backyard.
Currently, the Cabin is home to GENEVIEVE GAIGNARD: A GOLDEN STATE OF MIND, a collaboration with the nearby Diane Rosenstein Gallery. This solo exhibition showcases the photographs, collages, and sculpture of Yale MFA grad Genevieve Gaignard. With its multitudes of curiosities and knick-knacks, such as Felix the Cat wall clocks and portraits of the artist hung like family photos, it’s an altar to the bizarre, the self, and memory.
GENEVIEVE GAIGNARD: A GOLDEN STATE OF MIND—curated by Danny First— will be on display The Cabin LA until May 31,2015. Viewings by appointment only. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for the exact location. The Cabin can be found near the intersection of Highland and Melrose avenues, Los Angeles. http://www.thecabinla.com/