Simone Gad (1947-2021)

Architecture + Kitsch

Then the paintings in the early 1990’s… cause I’ve been doing this career for 56 years… and I showed in New York with Monique Knowlton when I was doing my assemblage Hollywood pieces and my work is archived in MOMA PS1 from 1980 forward and also at the ONE library at USC. But at any rate I started showing with a gallery on Santa Monica Boulevard and I had made a series of pinups with little bits of facades of buildings vintage buildings from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, so I loved architecture and she suggested that I start painting buildings without collage too as a separate series, so I started making small ones and then they got bigger and bigger.

Then I showed – I made The Chinatown series when I was showing with a gallery, L2Kontemporary, so I took pictures of Chinatown Plaza, the pagodas there and the fu dogs and they turned into an extensive series from that but going back a little bit to the early 70’s, I had a Chinese boyfriend that I was madly in love with who took me to dim sum every Sunday and that stayed with me and then seeing the difference between Brussels and Chinatown just inspired me so much from childhood.

And I would go to the souvenir shops and buy chachkies in the souvenir stores for my early assemblages and my mom collected all kinds of kitsch: Belgium kitsch, Polish kitsch, Japanese, English bone china, so I was surrounded by that all these years and kitsch became, you know, I sniffed it, and it fell into my body

Rescuing Architecture

Well. Chinatown to me. I hope that it stays forever, but so much of the architecture of Los Angeles has disappeared and I feel it’s part of me and my responsibility as an artist with the way I work to rescue Chinatown in my work. I also made a series of Victorian – Victorian buildings and craftsmen and then Belgium too – Belgium Art Nouveau facades cause I have a strong connection there as well throughout these years… So the more of Los Angeles that disappears, the more I’m driven to make paintings to save them in a painting, even though I can’t save them in life as much as I would like to. […] And I also make male pinups as well.

Video: Cesar Delgadillo, Photos: Track 16, Sean Meredith