Saturday, February 5, 2011

READ ALL OVER - Saturday, February 12, 2011


Featuring: Brian Dupont, Seth Goodman & Kristen Jensen

A long time ago words held the images of every person’s imagination was required to take an adventure into other worlds, other realities, to experience the rush of London’s streets, or Paris’ debaucheries. There were no television sets, Marconi hadn’t yet invented the radio and when you wanted to solicit the love a beautiful maiden you would idealize her and then scribble passionate letters.

Times have changed and the media we have to choose from is infinite. The

written word has lost its value. Some that resonate these days in the tabloids and news media: Celebrity. Plastic surgery. Fear.

Fear of questions. Fear of thought. Fear that something different must be wrong. I drive the streets of cities and see strip malls, corporate conglomerates erasing the regionalism of our nation. Clothing, books, movie houses. There is no regional identity and we wonder why life is boring and we retreat into "Second-lives" and social media proclamations of having "the best times of our short lives."

READ ALL OVER serves as a celebration of deeper thought. The novel, the newspaper, the written word in general. From literature to pulp, we investigate the items in our society that do a lot of the investigating for us. Inspired by books, their cover art, the stories they tell, or what their readers might actually be seeking.

READ ALL OVER is also serving as an investigation of what people are reading, why they are reading and what they hope to get out of those books. It is a mirror held up and warped. We all want fifteen minutes of fame regardless of how we look during those fifteen minutes.

We will

be holding an opening reception and will be scheduling viewings by appointment. The opening will be held on FEBRUARY 12, 2010 from 5 – 9:00 PM at the gallery 2255 India Street, LA, CA 90039. Refreshments will be served.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


The fanfare has ended, the books have been placed on the shelves, the libraries are emptied out. Dan Brown and that Mormon who wrote Twilight control the bookshelves in Wal-Marts and supermarkets world wide. And we wonder why the country is the way it is.

Celebrity. Plastic surgery. Reality programs creating false celebrity. Fear. The best-sellers pre-chosen, dictated sensibilities. No one is safe from the taste-makers in unimpressive offices all over the world (LA, NY, Houston and Chicago).

Fear of questions. Fear of thought. Fear that something different must be wrong. I drive the streets of cities and see strip malls, corporate conglomerates erasing the regionalism of our nation. Clothing, books, movie houses. There is no regional identity and we wonder why life is boring and we retreat into "Second-lives" and social media proclamations of having "the best times of our short lives."

READ ALL OVER serves as a celebration of deeper thought. The novel. From literature to pulp, we investigate the things that do a lot of the investigating for us. Inspired by books, their cover art, the stories they tell, or what their readers might actually be seeking. READ ALL OVER is also serving as an investigation of what people are reading, why they are reading and what they hope to get out of those books.

More thoughts to come soon.

ByStander Presents:
2255 India Street
And then by appointment only

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Stay-At-Home was an idea I guess, or maybe it was something else. I remember when I started to venture out into the art world there was one obvious fact, there are less women in galleries than there are men. I do not believe that this is because there are more talented men than there are women. Nor do I believe it is totally associated with discrimination. Men are typically looked upon as the Alpha-Dog of the family pack, and hence even when married the male artist is probably given more time to focus on his work.

This probably rings even more true for parents of infants and children. Traditionally, the woman's role was limited to raising her children. While feminism has changed those expectations, many parents, men and women, still chose to stay home to raise their children. This is out of necessity, out of the desire to raise your children the “right way” whatever that might be. And while most parents are willing to sacrifice everything for their children, should anyone sacrifice their dream?

The second portion of Stay-At-Home is probably a reflection of personal questions that I, the curator, am asking myself on a daily basis. How does one maintain a dream while dealing with the realities of day-to-day life? Artists are at their core romantic beings in search of greater vision and understanding. What happens when life becomes so overwhelming and busy that your ideals take a back seat to reality?

So, while handling Trashed, my first art show based out of my house, I came to the realization that there is a certain level of joy one can extract from pursuing dreams in spare time. A focus comes upon you when you know you have limited time, and clarity of vision. The work is succinct and in many ways a different kind of beauty emerges.

Hence, the purpose of Stay-At-Home is to celebrate those artists who have kept their dreams tucked away for free moments. I am seeking artists who are full time, stay-at-home parents. This is not to be an insult, I believe creating art is work, not therapy, but, what I seek are people who have kept that drive and that hope that the world will take notice of their efforts and their vision.

This is a call to artists interested in Stay-At-Home. Please submit recent works to me with an explanation on how the experience of staying at home to help raise your family has become a compliment to the art you make. In addition, please let me know where you saw yourself at the age you are now, when you were just out of college and trying to make a go of it as an artist.

While trashed was a large collection of artists, on this project I am looking for roughly 4 to 5 painters and 1 sculptor to fill the space. 2 – 3 paintings per and they can be larger, but not enormous. Looking forward to submission.

Please submit to craig.a.platt at

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Importance of Sitting In One Place and Reading

There is a slight breeze. There are people all around. The trees sway gently, the air is growing cool in the shade, in the sun I can feel every corpuscle in my skin, the pink forming on me neck, the matted brown hair on my head hot to the touch. I am leaned over, right leg resting on top of the left, chin parallel to my chest and my eyes are moving from left to right at a solid marathoners pace. I am reading. My mouth slightly bitter from the drink I am enjoying. This is a true feeling of calm.

Recently while traveling to Italy I was reminded of something I had learned several years earlier while living in New York City. A time before text messaging, when I would sometimes leave my cellular phone at home, and just read. I would read in Union Square, in Washington Square Park, on a park bench along the Hudson River or on my lunch break while watching the boats from Battery Park. In Italy I sat in Piazzas with a cool beer and read. Dogs running wildly, little children playing in a fountain. I didn't worry about appointments or bills or what time to be back at the office. I read. I read for hours, while the sun set and the street lights came alive.

In my early twenties there could be a storm outside or a light flurry, the red of tail lights would trail through foggy windows. I would sit and devour words. There is this strange sensation when you sit and read. The mind becomes clear, at least for me. These ideas present themselves, big ideas, things you are afraid to think about when you don't want to be distracted. And then those ideas vanish and there's a peace that settles. And you keep reading and then the imagination really kicks in. A city or a nature reserve can materialize in three dimensions.

I find myself transported to the world I am reading about. And I read and read and read. And when I finish the book, or it's time to go somewhere, I feel something, what I imagine the skydiver feels after he lands and hits the bar for some conversation. An exhilaration and a clarity that I don;t normally feel. Also, a level of inspiration and understanding of the world. Or at least that's how I perceive it.

And here's what this really is about. Sometimes you want to have a conversation, an interaction, and the real life one's don't fulfill those needs. Well, sitting with a book at a cafe, in a plaza or a park, a hotel room or in bed, these are the conversations I need to have. It is sitting with like minded people, or with people I look up to. It's an opportunity to see new parts of the world, new perspectives, experience emotions and situations I may never experience. And most importantly it puts my own life in context. Helps to sharpen my intellect and my wit and to help me write. It's reading for me that inspires writing.

So when I talk about the importance of sitting and reading, what I mean to say is that sitting and reading is as important as breathing for me. I will never be normal, this I know. I will never be at peace. But, when I sit and read for an hour or two I feel more like myself than at any other time in my life. From the day I moved into an apartment on Calhoun Street in New Orleans and sat on the front portch swing and read Hemingway, to this weekend when I say on my lawn and tore into some Murakami. I have made my best friends in the world while sitting quietly and reading. Kerouac, Miller (Arthur and Henry), Hemingway, Ginsberg, Vonnegut, Bolano, Carver, WH Auden, William Carlos Williams, Thoreau, Joyce, Thomas Wolfe, Joseph Heller and Carson McCullers and so many more.

Reading on subways, reading in bars, reading over coffee, over whiskey, reading over rainstorms and heatwaves, snow drifts on large acreages. I love to read. And I love to sit quietly on any type of day and read, finding a gentle peace that can only wash over me at these times.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Pessimists Book Club -- An Incendiary Beginning to a Beautiful Intellectual Endeavor

The Pessimists Book Club started somehow, like so many things do in the digital age, with a suggestion sent into space. If you're on Twitter and you feel passionately about a subject, (be it art, sport, magic or bunny wrestling), you will inevitably find new friends who think about the same things. Hence when Jennifer Dalton, William (Bill) Powhida, Zachary Cohen, MuseumNerd (Name classified) and TheButcherBlog (name also classified) all decided to read a book together we started a book club. The Pessimists Book Club.

I was tired and I think the rest of us were tired with all the positivity in the world. I loved this, this is "genius," everyone should read such and such. Twenty best under forty, most likely to rewrite the bible because their prose is so divine. I might be exaggerating, but that's me, a man of extremes.

We started by selecting a book, a lot of suggesting went on and then Powhida suggested The Ask by Sam Lipsyte which to my knowledge didn't have a single review. So we read the book and began feeling out the rules, quotes from the book went up, ideas and feelings, impressions on the text. We all agreed it was a fast read, the humor was amusing and the characters were thinly written, the subject matter slightly boring and the depiction of women pretty darned awful. Lipsyte did not write artists well, and he didn't seem to understand that his shock and absurdity was hurting his ability to get the story across clearly.

Finally this morning we had a conference call on Skype, after 30 minutes of figuring out how to do it, and began what I found to be a very interesting and intimate conversation about books, art, ideas and how absurd is too absurd. We spoke about Lipsyte and then French novelist, poet, and provocateur Michel Houellebecq. We talked about George Saunders and why his form of absurdity is successful, what Lipsyte might've done differently if he were Saunders. We brought up Philip K. Dick and bad landscape painting. Everyone spoke and ideas lead to other ideas. It was an extremely pleasurable experience.

Now we have set some sort of foundation. Reading is time consuming and solitary and sometimes you want to discuss a book. There are options out there for Book Clubs, has one for fiction and one for poetry that I might participate in at some point as well, but for now i have The Pessimists Book Club.

So as for a mission statement or a description of what we're doing. I guess simply stated we're a group of intellectuals interested in dialogue. In order to focus our dialogue we will be using works of fiction, though I am open to poetry and non-fiction as well, as a spring board for discussion and discourse.

You can find us on twitter and the hastags will be #pbc #pessimistsbookclub #thepessimistsbookclub #pessimistbookclub. Also at the website: Where we will fine tune our discussions so you can observe.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Contact: Craig A. Platt

June 3, 2010

For Immediate Release:


Featuring: Jonathan Allen, Leticia Bajuyo, Jennifer Dalton, Jennifer Faist , Olympia Lambert, William Powhida, Garric Simonsen, Mark Venema, and Jeff Woodbury

We acknowledge that we are sending you this press release so that you the listings editor or critic can ignore it. We are not trying to change the world, nor do we believe wholeheartedly with sound mind that the art we are hanging is the best or most important art ever to adorn a wall here in Silver Lake, California. In fact, we're sure we saw a Ruscha and an Irwin in a window along the reservoir, a Hockney on our drives to day jobs and there is assuredly a Warhol out there somewhere too, probably up in the hill where people have medium sized houses with large listing prices and zero yard space. Make no mistake, what we're selling is, literally, trash.

But, that is a digression. Trashed seeks to answer the age-old question, what makes it art? We have reached out to artists across the United States and even up into Canada and found a collection of savvy painters, thinkers and craftsman who have happily handed over their trash to us, which we will be hanging on the walls, placing on the floors and leaning against furniture in our home. We can't afford a gallery space and if we could, then you probably couldn't afford the art. So please, before you arm yourself with your poison pen, remember we are doing this for the right reasons...oh, hell, whatever that means.

As explained to the artists when convincing them to join into Trashed: The show isn't meant to look clean or organized. It's meant to be studio trash, ramshackle and bare for the world to see and appreciate. Like looking at a skeleton or a gutted building. Simply put, the raw materials. The individual parts rather than the sum of those parts. The idea of failure resonates in everything we do as aspiring artists, but begging the question, "what is art?" Also begs the question, "At what point do we fail as artists?" Perhaps the artist will send art that didn't sell, or pieces they didn't think made the cut for a major gallery show. Or, maybe it's really trash, failed sculpture or collage, studies in color or maybe a notebook full of communist ramblings. Really, it's up to them to decide what the trash in their life is.

We will be holding an opening and closing reception and will be scheduling appointments with people interested in the art. The opening will be held on JUNE 12, 2010 from 6 - 10 pm at the gallery 2255 India Street, LA, CA 90039. Refreshments will be served. BBQ might be on hand as well, come find out.


Photos available by email

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why Los Angeles Is No Place For A Poet Anymore If It Really Ever Were

Poetry: the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.

Name the poets from Los Angeles who have left any long-standing impression on the form. There are not very many of them in my memory, Bukowski stands out, and make no mistake, Bukowski was an anomaly here. The landscape, the people and the culture of Los Angeles make it nearly impossible to write poetry.

I was looking through old notebooks a few weeks ago, from my time spent in both New Orleans and New York, and I found that I wrote poetry almost constantly. At bars, in backyards, subways and by the river. I wrote on public transportation and in bed. Now, in Los Angeles I find it impossible to write poems like I used to, and I have been trying to investigate why that is.

New York, Paris, Berlin, Rome, New Orleans and even San Francisco, these are places with a natural and consistent rhythm. It’s as if the collective energies of these metropolis’s converge into the consciousness of everyone and the poems feed from that energy. This is I attribute to the close quarters and constant feeling of connection with those around you that these cities provide. I am simplifying, sure, but I truly feel that Los Angeles may be the loneliest and happiest place in the world, all at the same time.

Los Angeles’s landscape is gargantuan. It covers 498.3 square miles, compared to other major cities, Manhattan = 22.7 square miles, Paris = 33.5 square miles, New Orleans is 363.5 square miles, but half of that is water and uninhabitable landmass. What I am getting at, is in these other cities all classes, colors, and ideologies are forced to come into contact on a daily basis. This is not the case in Los Angeles. Here we drive to work, to the store, to dinner. We eat in strip malls with people of similar income and similar color and beliefs. We eat at restaurants with one name that boast a “fusion” style meal, a melting-pot of cultures.

Let’s be honest, America was not meant to be a melting pot, it was meant to be a salad bowl, where flavors, colors and textures could co-exist in a harmony. We were not meant to all melt into some sludge of similarity. Hence, when I walk the streets of Manhattan or boldly spend 24 hours out and about in New Orleans, I come in contact with all walks of life, from the poorest man to the richest woman. In Los Angeles, I do not. I spend my time in bars and coffee shops with aspiring actresses, screenwriters and executives. These people not only seek fortune, but also fame. And the industry they seek it in lacks any motivation toward innovation, risk or being creative incendiaries.

Hence, poetry in Los Angeles is dormant, dead. And the poems that will inevitably flourish here are the shallow and lonely kind. A wish for intercourse with a model, a job on set, or paparazzi snapping photos outside an underwhelming bar. Whereas New York City’s poems are of echoing footsteps in late streets, the flicker of footsteps and the traces of hip hop playing from windows. In New Orleans it’s blurry bar rooms, sweat filled sexuality and the stinging sound of jazz. And in Paris it’s insomnia and politics. But, in Los Angeles, it’s Bukowski, drunk and alone with a whore, embarrassed by his face and longing for success, which he will only want to cover with more success.

This is what I began writing today, searching for poems and finding people at the table next to me bragging that they went to summer camp with a friend of Seth Rogens. Liking everything is failure. Failing is what people here perceive as success. Poetry is a bone cleaned of the meat that once held life and meaning. But to write and to do it well one must be in the rhythm of nature, hence when an individual lives his or her life against nature, they become detached and unable to find the natural movement of ideas and sentences. Once they become conscious of that, it becomes an escalating battle so frustrating that ultimately everything becomes so extreme that things seem hopeless. The poet, by this point exasperated, must remember that Nothing is a failure, everything is to learn.

Los Angeles, a poet’s town? Maybe not, but a poet living in this town, must work harder in his imagination or memory to transport himself to the locales that inspire him. Either that or he must move.

~ Craig A. Platt