NELA Second Saturday: Visit Baby IKKI and his neighborhood pals

Baby IKKI flies high at the Farley Building (Photo by Fredrik Nilsen)


With its open-’til-late art galleries,  strategically placed, graze-as-you-go food trucks,  copious watering holes, and scattered sound scapes, NELA Second Saturday has long been one of the best ‘hood parties in town.   

The pub/grub/gallery crawl just got art-world-serious, though, with the arrival of  “A Voyage of Growth and Discovery”:  the multi-media installation by artists Michael Smith and Mike Kelly, based in the latter’s studio at the Farley Building in East Eagle Rock.  The video aspect of the “Voyage…” (on six suspended screens) follows the road trip that Baby IKKI, a bemused child-man dressed in diapers and sporting a bonnet and a pacifier (and conceived and portrayed by Smith for several decades), takes to the annual Burning Man Festival where he stumbles through the bacchanalia with alternately hysterical and heart-wrenching innocence.   In addition to a giant, suspended sculpture of Baby IKKI (assembled from trash and resembling the heroic Iron Giant more than the iconic Burning Man) and creepily juxtaposed porta-potties and plush toys, Geodesic jungle gym structures dot the open space of the former storage facility, evoking Baby IKKI’s disorienting festival excursion in the desert.   The exhibit opened two weeks ago but Saturday is the NELA debut of the installation, curated by Emi Fontana and co-produced by public art non-profits West of Rome and SculptureCenter of NY.  The show has also gotten extensive media coverage, Go Go’ers, so get there early or expect crush crowds.  

Baby IKKI may be getting the most press but there’s plenty of Opening Reception Fabulosity to peruse at this month’s Second Saturday: cult fave Walt Hall’s solo show “through the forest of our endless numbered days” at the Cactus Gallery;  Metal Urges” at Avenue 50 Studio; and “The Photography Exhibition and Evil Bunny Show” at The Land of Odd.  Of course there’s odd, Go Go’ers.  Remember whose blog this is.   

Want to work off the calories you KNOW you’ll be consuming at scattered food trucks (including Cool Haus at Cactus Gallery and Frysmith at The Land of Odd)?   Opt for the Spoke(n) Art Ride starting from the flagpole at Figueroa & York  in Highland Park.   Desperate to get your Dad’s Day shopping done?  In addition to gallery goodies, selected Eagle Rock merchants will be open for your shopping pleasure at the Eagle Rock Block Party.  (Let their lit lanterns  guide you, Go Go’ers.)  

After your art appreciation, food fun, and multitudinous adventures are complete, wrap up the night at the Verdugo’s late night/after party where you can soak up the alcohol you’ll consume with Baby’s Badass Burgers.  

Go Go’ers, let’s hear it for all the Babies….  

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….  


NELA Second Saturday  

Saturday, June 12th,  5:00PM – 10:00PM  

(Check individual establishments; hours may vary)  

For NELA Gallery and maps, click here:  

For info about  Spoke(n) Art Ride, click here:  

For Eagle Rock Block Party info, click here:  

For food truck locations and the Verdugo after party info, click below, then scroll down to NELA art logo:

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