CALIFORNIA LOCOS, founder Dave Tourjé, has authored CALIFORNIA LOCOS RENAISSANCE AND REBELLION documenting the first decade of a cultural collective of five Los Angeles artists, Chaz Bojórquez, Dave Tourjé, John Van Hamersveld, Norton Wisdom and Gary Wong, whose work epitomizes West Coast culture.
The Locos will head out on a European tour shortly after the book’s launch on Saturday, June 17, 2023, 4-8pm, at EASTERN PROJECTS GALLERY at 900 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90012.
“After this Summer’s book launch and exhibition, we’re taking our show on the road to Europe, beginning in Rome,” said Dave Tourjé, one of the original five Locos and the group’s ringleader.
Dave Tourjé, Locos’ Founder. Photo by Gary Leonard
The 432-page tome is published in Rome by DRAGO PUBLISHER. Europe is welcoming the collective, eager to embrace the cultural mélange that the West Coast of the United States offers and that the California Locos manifest. “This is a union between the City of God (Rome) and the City of Angels (L.A.)!” said publisher Paulo von Vacano.
In her 5,000 word essay, RIDING THE WAVE OF REBELLION — CALIFORNIA LOCOS AND THE “BIRTH OF NOW”, art historian Michelle Deziel Hernandez observes “Asymmetrical and authentic, the California Locos are artists who create their works which are deeply rooted in their experiences growing up and living in the various neighborhoods and subcultures of postwar Los Angeles.” Her comprehension of the historical narrative within Southern California serves to contextualize where the Locos fall on the art timeline, “With decades of success behind them and as a reimagined L.A. Cool School, they offer another stop on L.A.’s long, chaotic and illustrious art historical continuum.”
The book launch opens June 17 at EASTERN PROJECTS in L.A.’s Chinatown and marks the first of several Locos events happening in Los Angeles this summer and fall.
“It’s a return to the scene of the crime after their blockbuster opening here at Eastern Projects in 2017. I am honored to host this book launch event,” said Eastern’s Rigo Jimenez. Art Direction for the book was provided by skateboard design legend Nano Nóbrega with artist Mister Cartoon contributing the title lettering for the Locos.
California Locos, L-R: Dave Tourjé, Chaz Bojórquez, Norton Wisdom (pictured on screen), John Van Hamersveld and Gary Wong. Photo by Gary Leonard
2023 is the tenth anniversary of the CALIFORNIA LOCOS and sets the stage for the quintet to tour European museums in a traveling retrospective of recent and historic works by all members of the group beginning with an exhibit at the MUSEUM OF ROME in April of 2024. “We have made our points clear on the West Coast,” Tourjé mused about his book, “We’ve done art shows and fairs in Miami and up the East Coast. It has been a great run, everyone here gets it, but Europeans revere California’s cultural ethos, especially now.”
Tourjé’s many recent encounters with European curators and cognoscenti has affirmed that Europe appreciates how the Locos refine the essence of the California experience, “The five of us have an eclectic legacy. We mix culture and lifestyle as art. That reinvents how the West Coast is seen in foreign lands and is why the Locos have to take our show on the road.”
The summer events coincide with a Jeffrey Deitch-curated Hong Kong exhibition of U.S. street culture “The City as Studio” that features California Loco Chaz Bojórquez. The larger art world’s embrace of the Locos’ aesthetic is apparent in the many museums showing and collecting their work, such as LACMA, the Smithsonian, Orange County Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, the Milwaukee Art Center and others.
“West Coast culture has always been appreciated in Europe, from the jazzers to Hendrix to punk rock and the avant-garde” observed Loco member Norton Wisdom, “so it looks like history will repeat for the Locos!”
The first 100 limited edition signed CALIFORNIA LOCOS books are available at EASTERN PROJECTS for $100 on a first come, first served basis at the June 17 launch.
WHAT: Book release of CALIFORNIA LOCOS RENAISSANCE AND REBELLION
WHEN: Saturday, June 17, 2023,
EASTERN PROJECTS GALLERY
900 N. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA, 90012
WHO: The CALIFORNIA LOCOS
•John Van Hamersveld