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LOS ANGELES — While window shopping in Silver Lake one day I stopped by the House of Intuition, a hipster-friendly, one-stop spiritual shop for the New Age-inclined. There, I came upon a Money Magic Candle — a glob of hardened wax that had been “programmed with intentions, magic … to clear any blockages in your career or finance” for the neat price of $16, flat. For Astral Oracles, presented by gallerist Michael Thibault through the Newsstand Project, artist Lazaros follows a similar principle, offering the promise of a transformative experience through capitalist means.
At the street-centric exhibition space, fashioned from a now-defunct former newsstand by infamous art dealer Stefan Simchowitz, viewers can select from a variety of glass jars containing objects suspended in mineral oil. The objects correspond to a spell cast by the artist, who is himself a spiritual practitioner. Consumer-friendly and priced to sell, these spell sculptures will run you anywhere from $222 to $4,444, fairly reasonable compared to contemporary art market standards. Conveniently, the works are housed in standard-size jars, making them practical for a domestic environment.
Beyond the inherent delight of seeing everyday items transformed into serious magic, immersed in the jars (the surprisingly beautiful lightbulbs or the comically banal pencils comes to mind), the pieces, with titles like “Spell for love,” “Spell for security,” and “Spell for clarity in darkness” (all 2018), contain a twinge of sadness, filled not only with their respective quotidian objects, but with the latent weight of their prospective owner’s anxieties and unfulfilled desires, ready to be tapped into and profited from. As for the Money Magic Candle, I didn’t end up buying it. Ultimately, I felt that was the best way it could bring wealth into my life.
Astral Oracles continues at the Newsstand Project (8361 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, California) through September 16.