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Gallery 1988 displays its love for Steve Martin

by James Kim | Off-Ramp

Gallery 1988's founders Katie Cromwell (Left) and Jensen Karp (Right). Tony D'Amato

Gallery 1988 is a pop culture-inspired art gallery started in 2004 by Jensen Karp and Katie Cromwell. The exhibits are themed after celebrities, like Bill Murray, Pee Wee Herman, and now Steve Martin. This month the actor, writer, musician, and modern day renaissance man joins the ranks and becomes immortalized in an exhibit called "Excuuuuuse Meeeeeeee." It's a collection of work influenced by Martin's career as an entertainer.

Karp named the exhibit after something Martin said in his comedy album, "Let's Get Small". He and his friend would listen to the album constantly as a kid, and the phrase, "Well Excuse Me!" just stuck. When he tries to explain the title, people normally don't get it. But Karp was attracted to this catch phrase because "he's so good at making these things sound funny."

Steve Martin not only pursues a vast amount of artistic endeavors, but he's an avid art collector as well. For that reason, Karp says, "it makes a ton of sense for why artists would be so inspired by the stuff he's done."

The fan favorite of the night went to Fernando Reza's portrayal of the beach scene from The Jerk.

Alf LaMont, Nathan Levenson, and Tonya Cooke were the first to purchase the original work. Alf and his friends frequently attend Gallery 1988 on Melrose and it was their first time at the Venice location. Just like Martin, they enjoy collecting art and find Gallery 1988's works and pricing accessible to a younger generation. LaMont says, "This is internet age art at its core." Alf believes 1988 is tapping into an audience that other galleries ignore, and "the fact that it caters to young people is just what the doctor ordered."

The exhibit is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and ends its run at the Venice location on Saturday, June 30th.

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