I sat down with Daniel Rolnik, curator of his latest exhibit “Ultimate Beach,” and Om Bleicher, owner of BG Gallery. Daniel Rolnik traveled the entire perimeter of the United States to search for artists for the penultimate beach exhibit. He met some very eccentric and unique personalities along the way. Here’s what he had to say…
Gabby Cohen: So how did you meet and get started together?
Daniel Rolnik: Our families have been friends for a long time. Om is like my brother. You know, you have your friends that are so close they’re family. We met through our parents. Our parents were on a world adventure.
Om Bleicher: They were on a remote beach outside of north Queensland. They were waiting to go to Magnetic Island to catch a ferry.
GC: Did you come up with the idea for the exhibit together?
DR: I’m always inspired by Om’s work. We were originally doing a show with Isabelle Lago, who paints the gorillas all over Venice Beach. And then we thought of Ultimate Beach. The beach is right there and it made sense because of summer. We’re behind it, we have to bring that joy here.
GC: So you traveled the entire perimeter of the USA. What was the most challenging part of such a big trip?
DR: I literally just got in a car on my own and said I’m gonna go across the perimeter. I didn’t know anybody personally, so the first day was kind of challenging, but as soon as you start meeting somebody, you open yourself up to this whole world. Especially in art. The art world is so small and connected, that as soon as you find one person that you’re a friend of a friend with, they’ll introduce you people.
GC: Did you know the artists prior to going?
DR: Not all of them. For example, Michelle Devereux, we had talked online and I had her in other shows, but I had never actually met her before, so I met her in Austin, TX.
“Jimmy Buffet,” Michelle Devereux
GC: Did you gain any new perspectives while traveling?
DR: Yeah, one of the main ones was that artists living outside of LA and NY can have these huge spaces to work in because the cost of living is so much less. And a lot of people are always stressing out about where their studio is going to be, and you don’t have to be in the action right now. We can be in the action to help and assist artists. There’s a new system of working now where the artist can be anywhere.
GC: How do feel like the art differs between Los Angeles and other cities?
OB: LA is where it all comes together. Artists come from a lot of other areas here, and it really becomes the Wild West.
DR: I’m from LA and it’s rare that you meet people from LA in LA. Most of the artists in the show here aren’t from here, and so we have the ultimate melting pot – and the ultimate beach.
“Beaches B’ Trippin,” Malcolm Stuart
GC: So you wrote that you met some eccentric personalities. Can you tell us about some of them?
DR: My favorite story is there’s one artist who’s allergic to the internet.
OM: She gets dizzy and gets vertigo. She would cover all the windows in her studios.
DR: That’s what makes the art so interesting, because they’re an interesting person. Another artist, Tim Sharman, has to transform himself almost like an actor does, into this state for his personas.
GC: Daniel, you also write for a few magazines in addition to curating art. How does doing all this different work play into each other?
DR: For me, writing for so many places is about me not wanting to be a slave to one publication. I don’t want to follow their rules, I want to follow my rules, and then I’ll find the place it’ll fit for. Like when I went on the road trip, I didn’t have one publication in mind so that I could only visit these certain artists. I could visit any artists I want. No matter what, you can get exposure for all these good people.
GC: What was the process of organizing the show like?
OB: It’s kind of like painting. I usually do an all-nighter and I choose focal point pieces and bring in other works that either respond visually or have some sort of story between the pieces and it just grows organically.
GC: On your website, you wrote that your career began when you met a girl named Pocahantas. What’s that story?
DR: I was in a rock band in high school and I would make these flyers and on the back, it would say the dates of the shows. I went to a warehouse show in DTLA and was handing out flyers and there’s this drunk girl. I handed her a flyer and it turned out she wrote for this magazine, LA Record, and she didn’t even really know me, but she was like “do you want to write for this magazine?” I said sure.
GC: What are some projects you’re thinking about doing in the future?
DR: I would love to do a show from a helicopter. The show is hanging from the helicopter and you can bring it anywhere.