Formica Alto of the highest qualia

Michael Arcega has at least two pieces I saw at a new group show at a new gallery on Uzi Ave in Downtown Palo Alto four blocks from where I am sitting in a design within reach Clayton Moore (Eames) or whoever lounger (my wife, the artist Terry Acebo Davis picked it, and my dog Duffy Do Da Da has claimed the matching footrest or Ottoman as part of his empire) on my laptop computer from the Apple Store — the new gallery called Quaila is very near the Apple Store, that used to be Liddicoats Mall where Mrs Fields Debbie Fields sold her first commercial batch o f cookies. (When cookies were something you ate and not something that helped people spy on you).

One piece — or I strongly suspect it is from Michael Arcega having cheated despite challenging myself to try to find his work without reading the name tags — I saw it first, kept walking deeper into the space and then saw one that capitivated me enough that I broke my vow of three minutes earlier and read the tag, then was releived and excited that indeed that was Michael’s too.

The one piece is a musical instrument. I would call it a xylophone or TK like Lionel Hampton might play. Or Stephon Harris. I call the piece “Hampton” not referencing the Hamptons where rich white New Yorkers chill in the summer. I didn’t read the card carefully enough to know if the piece has a name. I squinted – I was wearing a Covid mask – -black and cotton and tied twice by Marine Layer which I sometimes call Marin Layer like from Tiburon or Sausalito and someday I will learn to type Sausalito or spell it or proof read and not think its funny to let the computer finish my sentence for me. I noticed it says DO NOT TOUCH which I took to mean to fight my immediate reaction to tap on the piece to try to get a sound. Did I finish the thought that with a mask on my glasses should fog so I took them off in advance?

So I’ve only seen the show to about a 99.8 percent acuity I could go back and look longer or bear the risk of getting a deadly disease for the sake of Ways of Seeing John Berger that much better.

I was in the gallery for about 3 minutes from 12:35 to 12:40 today. I had a time-stamped entrance from EventBrite but I did not need it plus my phone had died. There was one other person in the gallery who glared at me from above her mask and below her hat.

The gallery guy in the back room never bothered to acknowledge me – -though Michael Arecega’s piece is very near him.

Terry always likes to go into the office space of a gallery and see “the good stuff” if you excuse the digresson.

Fuck typing.

I mean, I alternate between being a stickler for grammar — “further” versus “father” like in Finding Fucking Forrester and or two versions of “cahoot” or more commonly “cahoots” from Websters 9th and Websters 11th and how the “devil” has been bleached from the latter or is just that much sneakier. It’s french and means “hut”.

That the gallery guy never noticed me – staring into his screen compared to me leaning  back, legs crossed keypad poised on tights or thighs and typing — but I was not offended maybe even with retail and gallery open during Covid time why increase the risk by being polite?

So this is a home made and maybe jury-rigged or improvised xylophone or TK made maybe of found objects or animals like Debbie butterfiedl but hers are actually bronze — the piece was sitting on little vintage plates. One said “welcome to Nebraska”,  “the gateway to the west” or something. Maybe the piece overall references Western Expansion or Manifest Destiny or white people taking from Red people with the help of Brown Brownish and Yellow people but then saying Irish Need Not Apply No Jews Either if You Can Read This You are Too Uppity.

A previous piece of Michael Arecega  I saw at Montalvo – which itself has a racist history he and his friend Stephanie pointed out — was a boat made of Manilla envelopes that apparently also floats.

I was tempted to tap on the keys or bones anyways and risk the scorn of the guy at his computer. When I used to hang out in Center City Philadelphia I once got scolded by the guard for banging the pads of my palms on some steel Alexander Calder sculptures near the museum or Benjamin Franklin Parkway. He did not excuse me for saying that I was in jazz and knew personally and had worked with John Santos and Stephon Harris.

The second piece or second suspected piece references Kon Tiki. It looks like models of seafaring or lake-faring crafts like the ribs – -hey maybe that’s a pun or interaction – iteration — like it happens twice — bones versus ribs — Underneath the table or on a different shelf were some bundles of sticks and empty bottles. Like, it could float.

So I suspect there are two pieces my Michael Arcega at Qualia Gallery on Uzi Ave in Palo Alto, one could float and one could make music. (Note: If you bang or tap the side of a boat you can get sound, and in deed an African xylophone thing might float or burn in a pinch). Vibes. Bobby Hutchinson also, was or is from around here and plays like that. Plus Mathew Zupri or something from Switzerland. Matthias Lupri or something on a small label. Maybe there is a Steve Nelson who plays with a super famous bassist I saw in New York one night with John Ellis and Joe Martin. Not Gary Peacock but that class. Not Charlie Haden either.

I want to come back to the gallery when Michael Arcega is there to demonstrate or sound.

There’s also a little annex that might have been storage for Disco Rex Pharmacy that has an installation of some chairs and a couch – but not Design Within Reach quality — and some chandeliers made of slides such that when you turn it on – it was dark when I went in but could make out the shapes of the charts and couches — you either notice the detail of the slides —Kodak et cetera — or it makes interesting random patterns on the wall. There is slim chance that that is a 3rd Micheael Arcega piece

did i say there were about six artists and about 20 pieces in various dimensions mostly works on the wall.

A couple other points: my dog was carrying a small orange ball and decided to leave it a two-putt from the xylophone. I hope no one trips and falls and sues the gallery which might then have to close. And then on way out I used their sanitizing goop to clean my hands – -though I had not touched anything — alas — and also stole some Scott tape from a handy dispenser or self-dispenser left near the goop and wrapped my bulge of newpapers or bundle as if I wanted to see if they would float.

Pamela Walsh also has a gallery nearby on Ramona with some nathan Oliveira nudes I like for about $15,000 each. There is also a small gallery I notice in the Thoits Building at 500 Uni, near the back on the southwest corner of the lobby exterior by Elon something or Something elm that is a globe thing with a light bulb plus Ghost Records like chopped up pieces of music, fake Christan Marclay. This is near Joe and the Juice which i call Joe the Juicer and Accel Partners or something.

But if you are a fan of Michael Arcega — as I am — or are in Palo Alto anyhow – go see this little gallery. there is also Leo Villarreal at PACE, plus our 16 BLM murals on literally on Hamilton between Bryant and Ramona plus various extant or surviving Greg Brown murals like at Bryant and or just before Uzi.

(I call it Uzi Ave not Uni Ave or University because at this rate with Fascism creeping into our society the huge corporations with office space downtown will soon have private guards with machine guns not just protecting their assets but firing at us for kicks making us dance or conform, with impunity or maybe for prize money. I just laughed to myself and simultaneously thought of Adam Johnson and his short story about Palo Alto hiring precocious teen snipers to silence corporate dissent).

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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