David Choe: Nothing to Declare (UPDATE)

One of my favorite artists in the world, David Choe, has been working his ass off to fill the 8,000 square-foot space that is Lazarides Gallery for his upcoming show, Nothing to Declare, opening the 23rd of this month. If you’re not already familiar with his work, or his incredibly interesting life for that matter, take a look at the trailer for the film Dirty Hands, spotlighting Choe here.

Choe is a true inspiration to me and I’m sure many others. In my opinion, his work is more a documentation of an event or emotion he may have been going through while creating it, not just some cool idea for an image or message he may or may not be trying to convey. There is such raw energy in his pieces; watching footage of him paint drives me to run outside and start getting some work done myself. Choe is a master of the creative mindset, showing his skill in any medium–from spray paint, oils, and watercolor all the way down to his own blood and urine. The following is a statement from the artist regarding the works for his forth coming show:

“I will take all my love all my hate all my pain all my rage, all my suffering and all my skills and experience I’ve collected over the years everything I’ve learned in every medium from watercolors to oils to spray paint I’m gonna express everything I feel about this city and what it is to live and die and be born again in the city of angels…”

I cannot wait to walk into that gallery opening night and not only see his newest works, but feel the powerful energy that is close behind. If ever you listen to me when I tell you to do something, GO TO THIS SHOW! This is a great treat to have this Angelino artist actually show in L.A. Him showing at all is rather rare, and I can almost guarantee you he will be there acting as he does drawing your attention away from his own works to view the spectacle that is himself.

Check back here for show coverage if you already know you can’t make it. I hope to get an invite to the pre-show press event, but either way I will be there opening night to cover the party. See you there.


Aboslutly amazing show. With LA Zarides closing next month, this is a great way to go out with a bang. There were a few lesser notes of the evening however. First of all, from the beginning there was no timeline for the event; what gallery in Beverly Hills closes at 8pm on a Friday (and on opening night, no less)? Let’s say you do close early, neglected to tell anyone and start with the typical flashing of the lights to let eveyone know it’s closing time. There are nicer ways to get us out than yelling and herding us like cattle.

So now that you know what I think of the place, let’s get to the show. Given that I was only able to be there for less that 25 minutes, I did manage to run around after they turned off the lights and catch a flick of pretty much everything. I didn’t really get to enjoy the show much, though. I already figured there would be a lot of new really great work, but didn’t expect the sheer volume of work, not to mention the size of most of it. Without getting too deep into the enourmous inflated whale who was cut in half, guts filling the 8,000 square-foot space, almost everything was very large and in your face–in the front room, at least. The rear of the building, showing it was obvioulsy a clothing store before, was full of smaller pieces–mostly watercolor.

I have never before had the opportunity to see David Choe’s work in person. Now having done so, I have learned so much to reinforce my love of his work. The freedom expressed in every line is almost overwhelming, yet so precise and strong. Some of the work is thick with layers of oil and acrylic. Every texture and every composition seems so well thought out and planned and at the same time it feels like he just threw some paint down and called it a day, only to wake up in the morning to some kind of masterpiece. There was once piece in particular–I wish I could tell you the title, but the gallery decided to not post any info or pricing of the paintings–that was painted out of focus. I had never seen anything like it. It also showed a fog-like layer of the window of a car showing the warmth inside. So awesome.

I would really love to go to this show again in the daytime, when the gallery staff isn’t being rude or turning the lights off. The photos I was able to get are not great. There is also a very short clip circling the inflatable of Choe’s infamous whale character. If any of you want to go to the show, let me know–I’d like to go back.

One last note: thank you to those of you who stopped me to say hello; I wish I had some stickers or something I could have given you. It was great to meet you all, and I hope to see you guys again at future events.

Video walk


  1. Great write-up. I made the mistake of going there late on Friday as well. I assumed that just like other gallery openings, it would be open late. We got there around 9-ish and the gallery was closed.

    I did go back the next day and I was blown away. This has to be one of David Choe’s greatest body of works.

    Dirty Hands is premiering next week in LA. I think it’s a must see for David Choe fans. I saw it in 2008 and Harry Kim did a phenomenal job.

  1. May 2nd, 2010
  2. September 15th, 2010

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