At their meeting on November 20, 2014, the Hollywood Media District BID expanded the size of its Board of Directors from 17 to 19 in order to accommodate two new members. You can watch here as one of them, Joseph Varet, introduces himself to the board.
Here’s the story. Joseph and his wife, Esther Kim, whose marriage was the subject of a surreally sycophantic New York Times article in 2011,1 moved here from Houston or some other place east of San Bernardino sometime roughly around last week, and started a gallery named after an Ed Ruscha project, Various Small Fires. “After all, these are two people who approach life as a kind of experiential art form.”1 First they ran it out of their big-ass house in Venice2 but more recently moved it to a newly-purchased and renovated building at 812 Highland.
It seems that, according to Joseph, all the best contemporary art galleries in the universe are moving to this neighborhood like a bunch of sheep in the wake of Regen Projects’s 2012 relocation to Highland and Santa Monica. Joseph speaks at length about the impending Weltreisezielmodernenkunstheit of the area, which is about 4 blocks from where the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition does its nightly mitzvah. The GWHFC is opposed in this by the Media District BID with lawsuits, subversive attempts to outlaw sharing food in public, whining, disgraceful letters to the editor, and probably any number of other shameful tactics. Of course, Joseph, whose wife has “never caught him in a lie,”1 mentions none of this. What, after all, do hunger, suffering, misery, have to do with “developing the district in a positive and sustainable way?” “It’s the damage that we do and never know. It’s the words that we don’t say that scare me so.”3
You can read a complete transcript of Joseph’s remarks after the break. We were going to mock them in detail but our modest abilities can’t even touch the speech’s inherent auto-mock functionality. Read it and weep for your city, Angelenos.
Thank you. My name is Joseph Varet and…um…I own along with my wife a…uh…property at 812 north Highland Avenue, between Waring and Willoughby, that we bought about a year ago and…um…it was a building from the 1930s that was in pretty bad shape, being used as a film production company office and we hired one of the…um…top architectural firms in Los Angeles or [unintelligible] in the country right now, [unintelligible], to do major [unintelligible] rebuild the building…uh…into a new location for the contemporary art gallery that we own together. Um…it’s called Various Small Fires. And we really…uh…came to Highland following on a very exciting migration of several of the best of the art galleries in the city to the corridor along and adjacent to Highland between Melrose and…uh…Sunset. And this was established by Regen Projects…uh…which is probably the foremost contemporary gallery in Los Angeles…uh…which moved…uh…over to…uh…Highland and Santa Monica on Santa Monica just…just east of Highland…um…about two years ago. And now there are over a dozen of the top contemporary art galleries and…um…and…uh…non-profit art organizations all located in the BID. And that’s up from, I believe, zero…uh…four years ago…uh…so…and there’s many more coming, so the Hollywood BID [unintelligible] Media District is really…uh…now and more and more going to be known as a world destination for contemporary art…um…which we find very exciting and hopefully all the other stakeholders in the BID find exciting and…um…as both business owner and property owner I thought it would be a great opportunity to contribute my own non-profit/for-profit board experience to just contribute towards further…uh…developing the district in a positive and sustainable way…um…that we’re very [unintelligible] in and to connect the…uh…especially to connect the…uh…community of contemporary art proprietors…uh…to the BID Board.
- Really, you should read the article. Maybe this kind of stuff is normal in these articles, but it’s not normal in actual reality: “The kiss, she said, began to change her attitude, as did the icons next to his name as she read Gotham magazine’s 2009 ‘100 Hottest Bachelors’ rankings. Along with a pile-of-money icon, which meant he was wealthy, and a pile-of-books icon, which meant he was smart (he has an undergraduate degree from Harvard and an M.B.A. from Columbia), he also had an apple-pie icon, which meant he was good to take home to Mom.”
- Both the NYT and VSF itself seem to think Venice is called “Venice Beach.” It’s not, guys. The beach is called “Venice Beach.” The part with the buildings and houses and streets and stuff is called Venice. The Coastal Commission, thank God, won’t let you build galleries on the beach.
- Elvis Costello, Accidents Will Happen
Image of Joseph Varet ©2014 MichaelKohlhaas.org.