The email messages below are from those who experienced ONE YEAR IN LA, either in Los Angeles or on the internet.

Scroll down to read them.


There is much I liked about your monumental piece. The first thing I noticed was that it was so big that it couldn't be perceived in one take.  Then, when I saw that the first work (Jan) used subliminal persuasion as a primary metaphor, I sensed that not only was it too big to be seen at once, but that it was going to have some subtle subtext that would have to be actually excavated.

The Rosetta stone is, of course, the fact that the work represents a lifetime. Once that is known, the id piece; EAT POPCORN - DRINK COKE - becomes a perfect birth announcement: you have arrived, squalling and probably ready to have your diaper changed. The it was given as an injection into the vein of the seeing segment of the public was delicious.

The preschool piece, the amusement park, is hilarious and deserves to be built if just to underline the fact that it already has been. There's more to be said but I need to get to the Braille piece.

That work is an hilarious oxymoronic masterpiece: flat Braille. As we discussed, the real force that expresses the content of the piece, is the statement made by the work. It is sharp - almost painful statement that language doesn't work very well to convey true meaning. To the blind, tomato may mean salad, but it doesn't mean a shade of red. So this piece is about school and the excitement of learning and the shock that tasting the learning process brings. The realization that there are limits to understanding. Thought has an outer limit and it isn't that far away.

The next piece, the Joseph Beuys signatures, is my favorite digital art to date.  Granted it has no competition so this may not be that great a compliment but they were beautiful and so contemporary. I mean, the piece is about hitting the market place so let's cut to the chase. Forget the art, go for the $ignature.

The abandoned sign pieces were lyrical and clear. Faded hopes and broken dreams. And, like a mouth missing teeth, the harbinger of far worse. The stage of life where the first true intimation of death really gets in our face.

The game pieces spoke of leisure that sometimes comes with age and accomplishment. At first I saw the primary metaphor to be procrastination but then I realized that they were more about changing the rules of the game: one of an artist's main responsibilities. As is true for most good artists, you don't play right and probably never have.

Reminds me of a game of checkers I played with Mick Sheldon. It was a hard fought contest and toward the end I was in a pretty good position. Then Mick made a move that suddenly set me up so I could jump all of his remaining pieces in one move. I looked at the board for a second and said, "You win." He had jumped from the contest on the checker board up to another game. That of trading winning for the gift of a once in a lifetime chance to clear the board with one move.

Not only do these works change the rules but they dequantify the pieces.  "Free the spades. Unchain the hearts. Diamonds for all. Watch out for the clubs though.

The paint by number pieces are somewhat similar: a mini manifesto about the didactic aspect of the art achieved by the transformation of false art to painting with a shot of disobedience and a transfusion of randomness; which I believe is the artist's second best friend.

The November show was my favorite. The lithos completed by Dave were maps of all of the trips, both large and small that I have made and will make during my life. Maybe it's just trips to the refrigerator. The black screen and the Ray-o-graph image say it completely; First the crypt for us and then our art decays: we are physically temporary beings and despite the best efforts of a lot of Phd.s, our most durable art will soon follow. And there you were looking at it... 730 times. That takes courage but we have to do it. It's our job.

Peace,  Stephen Kaltenbach

One Year In LA…
Writing about it by Steven J. Brooks (Part 1 of what I hope is and needs to be at least two parts).

What a long, challenging and interesting year.
I don’t quite know how to sum this up, so I guess I’ll just start…

I really realized what a challenge this project was in about March or April, when I decided to put up a link for the One Year In LA web site on my site I have quite a few artists listed on the site, enough so I have to categorize them to make it manageable to navigate. Well, One Year In LA didn’t fit in any of the categories (i.e. Painting, Sculpture, Electronic, etc...), and the only way to get it to fit was to create a new category, “Conceptual”.

And I think that action back in March or April really sums it all up, it’s the concept that is the draw to One Year In LA. While the year of work has contained Painting, Sculpture, Found Objects, Installations, Performance, etc..., beautifully executed and presented, what really makes this project stand out are the concepts behind the work.

Some of the challenges that I was presented with when attending the shows were ones that I will always carry with me. Summer Leisure, approaching the activities that we use to relax and bond with during that vacation time was one that really sticks with me. And with that show, it wasn’t just the art, but the discussion at the opening between patrons that made it so meaningful. I had brought away from it how my family had not passed down the intergenerational tradition of Bid Whist as a family game to my generation. In discussion we actually talked about this issue amongst our families, and others had observations like how gambling was a leisure group activity, the cultural differences between what card games we were taught, and most importantly, the memories we associate with that time and place in our lives.

And this was a big part of One Year In LA. Because it’s the concept that’s important, while viewing the shows was a stirring jumping off point, it was the community discussions that quite often brought the meaning of the show home in a personal and poignant way. The fact that David and Cathy were able to build such a community is testament to how much dedication went into these shows, and how important that component of the work really is.

I’ve got to say, this work is really bright. I am chomping at the bit to discuss my favorite show, HTML Colors for the Blind. First, it’s a clean, pristine show, with impeccable presentation. At the same time, it’s a pretty useless show all the way around. First, the colors were rendered as text representations of the Braille lettering for each of the colors. Red, Dodger Blue, Lavender Blush, etc... all rendered in black and white. And the rendering is in Braille text (the Braille letters printed flat on paper), so visually it doesn’t make a lot of sense to most who are trying to read it, and absolutely no sense to anyone who would try to feel it to read it. And, and this is the kicker, as a web developer part of my time, I knew of the support that the HTML programming language (the language that is used to create web pages) for text versions of colors. I also know that almost no web developer uses this arcane system of defining colors, choosing instead to write in the hex numbers (i.e. Red = FF0000). As much as the show worked on the face of things, the presentation really said it all. I say that because as much as the concept of the show worked, the stark B&W rendering of it showed how useless the rendering systems are. And that makes a lot of sense when you are defining colors for those with no sight.

As bright as this is, and as much as I got it, I didn’t realize until a couple of days after the opening when I was at work and talking about what I had done that weekend that I was shown how absolutely bright the work is. While I’m a web developer part time, I’m a photo real visual effects artist full time, and as I’m talking with the other visual effects artists, I say “HTML Colors for the Blind”, and every head in the room whips around all of a sudden in rapt attention. They had all turned to hear the concept as presented in the title, because it is such a offbeat idea. I had such trouble explaining the show, because you really did need to see it to even begin to understand.

Seeing and discussing are two components that go hand in hand with this project. Yeah, I’m a visual effects artist, and as much as I have a clue about the art world, maybe even a couple of clues, I had no idea about Joseph Boyes. I went and saw that show, the one about his signature, and visually it was stunning. And I walked away from it with enough interest that I came back to look at it on it’s last day, and talk to David about it (I’d missed the opening and thus the great discussion that went on about it that month). Our discussion on that last day really made me understand both the show much better and made a lot of sense about some of the major themes that One Year In LA dealt with. In this case the issues focused upon were the marketing, branding and commerce of art as it manifests itself in the western art tradition.

But this is what made One Year in LA so much fun, because those aesthetics of art marketing (yes, One Year in LA raises the act of marketing art to an artform with it’s own rules and criterion in and of itself), didn’t just manifest themselves on the high end of the art world. David was able to apply these same aesthetic criterion to much much goofier stuff, like the Ordinary World show, where he was basically trying to raise money to build an amusement park themed around ordinary life. The concept of the park itself was pretty hilarious, I especially enjoyed the mock up of one of the rides, an automated tour of an ordinary recreation park on motorized track park benches. But what really brought this project out of the box was not the concepts of the parks activities and trappings themselves, but the fact that this was a pitch to raise money to build this amusement park, dedicated to paying to amuse yourself by enjoying ordinary life.

I hate to say it, but I’ve been writing long enough for now, so I guess this means at least another  installment of how I have felt about, and what I have learned from One Year In LA. Until that time, I’ve got to say is “If you missed it, you missed a lot...”

Hi David,
Here is part 2, I need to write yet another part, I still have 3 shows to cover... I don't like it as much as part 1, sorry...

If I didn't really know what to write in Part 1, I have much less of a clue in part 2... But here it goes...

Thinking, that's what One Year In LA is really all about. Some of the challenges such as the games show, Summer Puzzles. Mostly these were puzzles, either connect the dots images, or crossword puzzles, that David rendered useless. I've got to say, the work in rendering the crosswords useless seems like it was almost more effort than actually doing the crossword puzzle. I say this in part because my favorite one of this half of the series was one that the pen he used didn't really like writing on the magazine paper, and David worked hard to blot everything out. Maybe it's the effort and success, though at a price greater than any of the others that drew me.

While the crosswords were all rendered useless, the connect the dots was fun because they weren't really useless, just much harder. But I was able to figure a few of them out. Being a visual person, this gave me a feeling of success and accomplishment, truthfully where there was supposed to be none found. I don't quite know how to feel about defeating a couple of the pieces, but I'm glad that my favorite was the one included in the “Greatest Hits” show at year end.

As someone who recently moved to Los Angeles, the Greetings from Los Angeles Part 1 show was pretty fun. As soon as I had seen the La Brea Tar Pits out here, I was fascinated. It's a place and subject that the long time locals pretty much stay away from. David's view was unique, using them as a generator for beautiful multicolored abstracts by photographing them at night. A very unusual approach to say the least. And it along with the empty signage really summed up a big part of what LA is for me, a vacant dirty stinky hole. As much as this town has to offer, most of what it offers is desolation and ruin, and between the vacant commerce and the pits that swallow you up and then spit you out generations later for people to look upon your LA demise, I thought it was in total pretty fitting. And the freeway scrape marks were just a reminder that in LA, no matter what, you have to drive it, even to your demise.

Eat Popcorn, Drink Coke... I wish I'd seen this in the theater, but I didn't get to the show until the last day, and missed the opportunity to see the slides. I've got to say, coming out of the starting blocks like this for this year long project showed me right off that this was something special. Besides taking the first show and using it to look at how we perceive the world, by playing with a trick in perception (the subliminal) that we are aware of, and making us totally aware was quite a way to start. And it was a good foundation to set with the rest of that show, which laid out how the project was to be presented. Some things I didn't get well until the Joseph Boyes show, but I had enough of a guide to get started.

On the flip side, the closing show, the “Greatest Hits” show, was pretty interesting because besides a comprehensive wrap-up of the year, it included the series of pictures David had been taking of himself every morning and night during the project. Watching his weary face in the throws of starting or stopping the day really brought home what a long and trying trip this has been for him and Cathy. I'm just glad they made it...

I need to stop, I guess part 3 will be coming soon...
Steven J. Brooks –

                    for David

             Tire slicing skid marks,
                    tracking Twombly
           on the Ten.
         February freeways,
     one year in L.A.

             Mondrian in mourning,
                    editions the secrets
                         from empty marquees.
             I don't remember when,
  one year in L.A.

                November, reversing Felix
                     O,  poet gumshoe.
             A your-turn on Hillhurst,
 one year in L.A.
                    With love,
                                        Julia Couzens


When Billy and I signed up for the Souvenir edition of your year-long stand in L.A. I really didn't know what to expect. And after receiving the first few and watching the website I soon realized that you were up to your tricks again. (I've been using the card that helps me understand your art)

Due to the fact that I'm caught up in my own world I didn't remain as diligent at following your shows as you were in documenting them. I found the mailings were great reminders, and as I'm not a religious reader of my email, the USPS became my notice to check in.

As a result, I found myself catching up with what you'd been up to. I don't know if that was a bad thing or not. Since receiving your request I've gone back to the web site and am amazed at your thorough documentation. I liked the pictures of you at your openings. My favorite shows were the colors for the blind and the Joseph Beuys. I think my only unresolved question involves the election cycle, the election of he-who-should-not-be-named, and your reaction to it. Did the outcome change how you felt about your show(s)? It certainly changed the way I felt about our country, and to some degree, my own work.

I hope this reply finds you and Cathy well.

Congratulations on One Year In L.A. Where will you be next year?

Take care,

Galelyn Williams

My friend, Emory Story, and I went to the rare showing of Man Ray's film "Emak Bakia" back in November. It was shown appropriately enough on David's work "Light Screen." It was one of those special events in time that can not be repeated. Well, at least not with the same impact.

Deena Bowman

You might say that I am the Alpha and Omega to David E. Stone’s One Year in LA and I may be too late to meet the deadline for the dissertation of this sojourn, perhaps the most important to be included and read. You see, I witnessed the inception of his transformative yearlong testament when it was a mere twinkling in his eye. I use the word “transformative” because it rocked the very cradle of his existence; that being his family, his extended family, his home and his marriage to his wife, Cathy.

I observed with keen interest the development of what came to be, in my mind, the single most systematic, dedicated focus to make manifest, in contemporary epic proportions, a single vision at all costs. I’d never seen such clear-cut, black and white motivation self-generated by anyone. From it’s inception, I not once did I doubt David’s ability to produce the final result. However, from time to time, I felt as though I was watching a combination of the Fool from the major arcana of the Tarot and the stroll of Mr. Magoo through a minefield. I was transfixed as this exhibition anus developed to become an epic of contemporary proportions.  In the end, his unwavering compulsion setting his sites squarely on a single target to follow a dream, dismantle a house and home, disconnect from the comfort of the close proximity of long term, deep friendships and risk the potential loss of his marriage, came to fruition on schedule as planned. Obsessive compulsive? Definitely. But it speaks volumes about the belief in one’s self and confirms the fact that the Italians are so very right in saying “tutu es possible.”

David and Cathy are my best friends and family. We three were born in the Year of the Dragon, 1952. Our triumvirate has been one unfettered by the mundane and blessed to bathe in the realms of creativity with the lightness of merely being. We have come to know each other with keen understanding. I make this point because it is important for you, the reader, to know, that it is Cathy who has been David’s touchstone that has given him unprecedented latitude to carry out his vision, magnificently weathering the stormy chaos of emotions as they dislodged their comforts afforded them in Sacramento for the great unknown ahead of them in Los Angeles.  I could elaborate greatly on many points and at many levels as they prepared to leave Sacramento, established themselves in LA and as this year has unfolded; comment on clevernesses, insightfulnesses, flights of fancy, nuances, pain and uncertainty. But after all has been said and done, and as this year comes to a close, One Year in LA as an exhibition along with it, I can only say that Los Angeles has experienced sheer greatness of fortitude, intact, the likes of which you may never fully know or understand until history writes the story as it reflects the past and movies are made. The Stones have arrived. Year Two is about to begin. 

Charles Miller, Friend

I browse eBay, its relaxing. one day it occurred to me to check out David's stuff. I had looked early in the year, but not for months. I looked at his listings and saw that none were being bid on. One week, seven prints, no bids. I thought shoot I could just scoop em all up. Then I noticed the dates, October 1st through 7th. Hey, I could get the whole month, all of October of One Year In LA. If I waited until tomorrow I couldn't do it. Ever. October 1st would disappear. Hee Hee. It seemed a perfect reflection of the intention of the work, or works. I started to bid on each one as it came up and always had DES mail each days separately by paying for each as it finished it's run. I have all 31 in their original sealed envelopes. No one ever bid against me.

-Tim Quinn

I thought the concept behind One Year in LA was very cool. My wife, daughter, and I live in Sacramento, California. We were able to make it to the opening reception for the first month's exhibition. I still have the card that David handed me at the opening stating that I was there. I remember arriving at the gallery and telling David we were really hungry.

David told us about a Mexican restaurant down the street. After eating dinner, we returned to the gallery. I remember viewing the art, drinking wine and talking about LA.

I loved the idea behind the January exhibition. I believe David had subliminal messages in several theaters around LA. In the gallery, the images adorned the walls. My recollection of the January exhibition may not be entirely correct. Many months have passed since the opening, and my memory has clearly faded.

Anyway, I am glad that I was able to attend the opening reception. Hey David, how about one year in London, or Paris, or Singapore, or Bangkok, or New York, or Mexico City, or Lima, or . . . My family and I are starting to plan our next vacation.

Louis E. Greenwald


Some more ideas about your show.
Visuals: Play and negation. The artist sabotages the intended purpose of playing cards, cross-word puzzles and connect the dots puzzles. . . Why? To reduce to visual terms. But is a reduction in this case a lessening, a loss of idea, of experience? Has the artist instead transformed what had been intended to be functional into pure form. Does pure form have a function other than to be pure form?
Without function and now converted to pure form (this is a gain, not a loss of something), it has the ability now to provoke in the viewer a question. "What am I looking at? What is its new purpose and how do I relate to it?" Pure form exists in its own nature, has its own purpose. Now that the puzzles and the playing cards are mysterious, they become difficult to be assimilated into the mind (which wants to pigeon-hole reality, break it into small digestible parts). What was a snack now becomes a meal to be digested over a long rather than a short period of time.
We will not find out what the connect the dot puzzles will draw out for us because the numbers have been covered up. . . but as we lose the answer, the simple answer we gain a complex mystery that is put in its place. It might be anything now, a rooster, an alarm clock, our next lover. Are the answers important? No. What is important is the question and the simple question of a puzzle to be solved becomes a complex one with many potential possibilities for answers.
The right answers for the cross-word puzzles are now almost limitless. The playing cards now that they are more ambiguous in nature might be used in a far more complex way for playing new and future unknown card games.
There is of course still the text and subtext of mass-produced items for popular consumption. This can still be recognized by the viewer and is a part of the experience but function has changed. Mystery and mysterious possibilities become the new purpose for the existence of these popular forms of entertainment, amusement and for "killing" time.
Playing cards are reproduced at factories by the thousands, millions but now they have been personalized and mystery-ized (not a word but it should be; the act of making something into a mystery).
That's all I got for now Dave. Will send along new ideas if they come to me.
Later. Dave White

David E. Stone's ONE YEAR IN L.A. has been a fascinating project to follow. For an artist to do one new show a year is impressive, but *12* new shows?  Interesting shows? In one year? That's downright extraordinary.

Along the way, we've bought shares in an imaginary theme park, "read" colors in Braille, received art through vending machines...the range of subject matter has been both challenging and intriguing, all of it buoyed by Stone's playful sense of mischievous, interactive subversity.

In other words, it's been a damn good year in L.A."

-Joshua Ortega, author of ((FREQUENCIES))

Congratulations on a successful year in LA.  I admire your determination in executing this huge project.  Thanks for the monthly online updates - it was interesting to see the evolution of the project throughout the year.
On a more personal note, I have never before had the experience of sleeping in a gallery under the neon glow of a giant painting-by-numbers. This is a memory I will keep forever!
Thanks for making life that much more interesting.
Rachel Clarke

David Stone’s project, One Year in LA, blows up my skirt! But moreover, it strikes me as an overarching, eccentric perforative work than a succession of singular, independent pieces of visual or conceptual art. Not performative in the usual sense of the term but instead something akin to Warhol’s life; essentially an incidental performance. It is, in fact, what I would term post-performative, where the performance does not drive the work or even really factor into it ... but performance is, none the less, implicitly lodged within it. This is, however, a performance that has substantial and consequential relics - invested with essay-like powers - that live a life of their own outside the corporate system of One Year in LA and not mere documentation. The fact that this project was parallelly pursued, thoroughly explained and invariably kept current on the web would suggest that the domain functions as the documentation while the work itself operates independent of that function. The readymade-like art garnishes an unlabored gloss it is never simple nor senseless but suffused with internal complexity.

And as if the gallery being located in the center of David Stone’s living space is not evidence enough, the post-performative aspect of One Year in LA was aggrandized by everyday life events which took place within the gallery. For example, a Thanksgiving meal which the Stone’s hosted was situated within the blackened walls of the gallery and when out-of-town friends came to visit they were offered the then-white gallery as domicile for the extent of their stay. The monthly openings and closings often bleed far over the designated time as guests lingered to converse with one another in the gallery/home of the Stone’s. This is the crux of the enchanting questions which seamlessly weave throughout this project; what does it mean when the relic of a performance is made to live a life of its own with virtually no dialogue to the performance? And how does a relic define a performance, and a performance a relic?

- Devon Paulson

David Stone's 1 Year in LA caused me to reflect in a broad way on David as well as his work. There has always been a certain enigma around David, and his work, for me. Even though they both seem very straight forward. This seems fitting given that it was David who first introduced me (back in the '70s) to Warhol's films and other conceptual works that I found amazingly intriguing and inaccessible.

The works David presented during this project still have that same provocative quality that I responded to when I first became familiar with his work, and the uniqueness of this project (both bold and zany) is not dissimilar to  David's innovations when he started his  artist run gallery, Acme. David's project, much like Acme, is as much "the piece" as the artworks in it.

- Caroline Cox

My most reoccurring memory was always being irritated that the new work was not posted on the oneyearinla web site when the monthly announcement was sent out. At the end of every month an announcement announcing the new show would come to me via email. I would quickly go to the work from the current exhibition link and it would always tell me to return after the opening reception for the images to be posted. every month I hoped the work would be on the web before the opening reception, but it never was..

- Richard Haley

Almost one year in L.A.

Hi David,

I have a feeling that this thing you have asked me to do suspects its future shape that is to come, but right now it is still a swirling vagueness to me. All I have is the faith that it will reveal itself and the desire to do this for you because we are friends and it’s important to you.

I think it has possibly been literally several years since that last time I wrote anything whatsoever without keeping my profession as a writer in mind. Not a work for publication, nor a letter of any significance on my own or another’s behalf, not a parking ticket contestation, certainly not a love letter, nor even a birthday card or thank you note. It’s all there, ideas about my voice and my work, all the time - and now you want me to separate it out, and write to you while not being an art critic.

At your beautiful Thanksgiving dinner party - to which we were honored to be invited and that was so sparkling and full of life – we talked this over. Here’s the thing about all this: it hasn’t even so much as occurred to me to try and write outside of the professional head space in all this time, and this is making me kind of nervous. But I think it’s pretty cool to be considering it, what it means to me and to you and maybe to others who might encounter it. Ha, ha, it will probably help me in my work.

I’m still not sure I can let it go in any case even if I wanted to, and now I’m too self-conscious to try. So for once, your art is making me think about myself as well as about you and about our adopted city. That’s good art. Sorry, can’t help it.


Shana Nys Dambrot

Los Angeles

gram pa,


why do you have to end it so soon?


it's fun visiting you and flying over.



See you soon


- Maddy

One Year in LA is a project that I was made aware of well before it became a reality. As it began and developed, I watched as it became a richly developed work which provided an insight into the work of this artist, and provided Los Angeles with a unique perspective on itself.

As a result of the project, I offered David E. and Cathy Stone the opportunity to install works in the display windows at Bert Green Fine Art, a project that will last beyond the close of One Year in LA.

David E. Stone's work has challenged me to reexamine my understanding of conceptual art. Through his various monthly projects, I have seen an approach to art making that I have found refreshing and eye-opening. The celebration of the mundane and the examination of the singular act or object requires a quietude of reflection which forces the mind into a state of wonder. David E. Stone's work brings me to such a state of awareness, a place of singular attention.

Bert Green

Bert Green Fine Art

The first time I heard of the One Year In LA project, I was eavesdropping on a conversation David Stone was having with a gentleman I did not recognize at the Solomon Dubnick gallery in Sacramento during the second Saturday in October or November, 2003.  After the conversation was finished, I asked Dave about it and he handed me a card with One Year in LA on it and the web address, Dave gave me a brief description of the project and I was intrigued.

The next day I logged onto the site and have been logging on through out the year and have bid on and won several prints on eBay.  I was especially keen on the cards of the days of opening receptions for they were more unique. 

A girlfriend of mine was puzzled by my fascination of buying the cards with little aesthetic value and no real monetary value unless they became desired by a number of collectors, and I can not really answer the question.  I bought them to encourage a friend who was taking a big risk with the project but also in the back of my head I felt they had some other value to me as a reminder of the passage of time.  To be honest I also hoped they would gain monetary value over time..."Greed."

I did however convince this friend of mine to buy a card for her mother that corresponded to her date of birth.  After the card was won on a eBay auction. Dave sent the card to my friend's mother's address. She did not know what to do with it, so after a few days she tossed it out.  She lives in Oklahoma.

Steven Baudonnet


Well, well, we miss you in Sacramento....a gain for L.A....I never got to L.A. but I did look forward every month to your announcements and up-dates. 

I must admit that I admire your having the balls to attempt this project.  Maybe there is something here about ways to get a statement out there no matter where you are located.  Do we need official venues?....and do they (venues) need be about official art? ...or culturally sanctioned?   I have always been puzzled by art and artists' rituals, at least in modern, western terms.  I think that there is a statement out there that says,. 'real art is artless'.


My apologies for not getting to L.A....I really did intend to get down there some time during your 'year' and I kept thinking "what the hell, I've got a whole year" ,  but every time I began to think seriously about the journey,  I was torched by my usual panic  attach and depression concerning anything geographically south of San Luis Obispo.  Please don't view that as a snotty attitude about southern California but something more along the lines of self preservation.....Good Luck and hope to see you at the end of your year......Ken Waterstreet

I just want to congratulate you on the success of your “One Year in LA” project, and let you know I’m interested in what you do next.

I have to say that I’ve been a Los Angeles native my whole life, and was  taken aback to see what spoke to you about our city.  Seeing some of the same familiar  views of the city that I’d grown accustomed to  brought back fond memories,  and also a  new appreciation for  things I’ve taken for granted.  Thanks for noting  what spoke to YOU-  the redundancy, the humor, the oddities  about our beloved the City of Angels, or as Joni Mitchell would say “City of the Smog”.  We love it, and are glad you came.

Continued success,  good health to you and  your loved ones.

Lydia Santa Cruz


In hearing that your project is reaching its natural and foreordained conclusion, I am left with the same sense of loss that I would feel had I heard that a favorite sociopolitical columnist of mine had ceased to write.  I would be left without his acerbic and informed insights into a part of the world in which we both inhabit - the world of commerce and advertising, of technology rendering some aspects of our lives more historic and less likely to be lived - as the internet has done to reading, and the unintended irony of bar codes on Orwell¹s fears of 1984.  Your "Ex Libris" exhibit (Ex = from the library of ...or ... Ex = No more books!) is like that imaginary columnist, acting as a bemused and Dante-esque guide in the world of business, marketing, and images

The comparison to an imaginary columnist seems apt in that, having looked back at the eleven months of your project that have been posted on the internet, the most clearly discernible theme that runs throughout your art is its commentary on our shared commercial culture as Californians.

From January¹s "Eat Popcorn, Drink Coke" slides at 43 LA movie theaters, through October¹s "Ascending", with its softly out of focus, hypnotic takeoff on movie credits, all of your work speaks - at least to me - about what is unique in our experience as pliant but not unhappy actors in the larger commercial and social experience of life in modern America, a life often influenced by events that first started in our state, and especially LA.

Whether the installation-specific pile of dirt from the "opening" of Ordinary World, the imaginary theme park which references its real LA counterpart; or the photographs of tire tread skid marks hitting freeway dividers in "Greetings From LA", you manage to cast a simultaneously cynical yet bemused and innocent eye at iconic LA experiences.  Your work is imbued with references, sometimes ordering on the homage, to important themes in 20th century art, be it to Rauschenberg¹s tire treads in the previously mentioned piece or the Dada-fathered absurdity of photographs of the LaBrea Tar Pits on a very dark night.  These multiple references - to whatever degree intentional, combined with your fascination with words and the situationally ironic - make your work new and interesting.  Every month is different, and a delight to witness. Just like life in LA!

To many Californians, LA seems to embody a certain crass commercialization in our society, so that it is not surprising that your art forces us to be aware of this undercurrent of commercialization, always so close to the surface of our daily lives.  One of my favorite art works from the entire project was "Economic Value".  One work beautifully embodies this focus on our commercial ethos - your art piece consisting of a vending machine full of dozens of varieties of Joseph Beuys signatures captured from various web sites.  Here your conceptually driven examination of our market economy is

dominant - the value a mere signature gives a work of art - especially

when it is the signature of Joseph Beuys.

And yet it is more than mere political commentary, as you are taking something and doing something to it, and then you¹re doing something else to it - as the adage goes - and certainly in ways that I have not seen others do!  Beuys¹s signature becomes in the end a marvelously abstract image, a captive identity of someone who was a captive, now a trading card.  While the trading card at least has the potential of being bartered, we all know that the real and most delicious thrill is to be experienced when we put the money in the machine and make a selection.  Quick and sweet, like spoon of honey.

My other favorite was of the photograph I bought from the "Greetings from LA" exhibition.  The creative destruction of the free market creates its own commentary if an artist is prepared to capture it, as you did in that marvelous series of photographs of abandoned and once illuminated outdoor business signs, signs now bereft of commercial information and half vandalized.  But by virtue of their having been given up by now bankrupt businesses, these signs have gained new information as photographic art.

"Eclipse" saddens me.  The closure of this project, like the closure of the year, is inevitable. But even here we have the humor - the black screen.  We can project our own ideas on your art, but in its absence - with the end of the show - we are forced back to our commercialized world without the guidance of your illumination.

Your art is always full of surprises. I look forward to the next installment. In the meantime, I think I will fix me a batch of popcorn, and have a Coke.


Ron Pike

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Last updated: February 14, 2005

copyright, 2003, 2004, David E. Stone








"David E. Stone" artist art conceptual art Los Angeles gallery exhibition prints multiples 2004 neon David Stone LA Los Angeles














A Yearlong Art Exhibition Project of twelve monthly shows by artist, David E. Stone

January February March April MAY June July August September October November December