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Kim Dingle debuts 'Wine Bar for Children' at Coagula Curatorial

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Culture Monster popped into the opening of Kim Dingle’s show at Coagula Curatorial’s new gallery space in Chinatown on Saturday night. The installation -- "Kim Dingle’s Wine Bar for Children at Mister Ling’s Market,” was Dingle’s first solo installation in Los Angeles in almost 16 years.

The installation, which took over the entire gallery, was an ode of sorts to Dingle’s years in the restaurant business. She and her partner, Aude Charles, recently closed their Eagle Rock restaurant, Fatty’s; for the Coagula show, they turned Mat Gleason’s gallery into a real boutique wine and craft beer shop, where paintings and 36 hand-painted bottles of Verdicchio were for sale, among other libations.

The bar itself was made from babies’ crib parts, and Dingle displayed a 40-panel work from her "Studies for the Last Supper at Fatty's" series depicting fairy-like children perched atop bar stools. When it's not being hung, Dingle says, she stores the unframed painted sheets in a pizza box.

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“This opportunity just came up; Mat’s a real artist’s gallerist,” Dingle said of the new show, especially exhilarated. “It was like, ‘Hey, everyone, let’s put on a show!’ ”

The installation was particularly location-centric. It brought Ling’s Market, which has been closed for years, back to life in a very concrete and practical way. The store’s original 1940s cash register was being used, and after the Dingle show comes down, the gallery space – still owned by Ling’s son, Jimmie Joe, who has a  license to sell wine -- will continue to operate a wine shop in the back.

Gleason moved to the new space -- just across Chung King Road from his old gallery of the same name -- in mid-September. Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha, Gleason says, owns the building he was previously in and decided to open a recording space there, which prompted the move. DJ Skrillex (a.k.a. Sonny John Moore) also has a work space a few doors down -- all of which could speak to a changing face of the once uber-hip art hub.

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“It worked out,” Gleason said, “it’s pretty cool. It’s like I’m managing Ling’s Market and running a gallery here too.”

Gleason’s first show in the new space, paintings by L.A.-based Mark Dutcher, received especially positive reviews and sold out but for one remaining work.    

Even after her show comes down, Dingle -- who had numerous shows at L.A.’s Blum & Poe in the 1990s and is currently represented by Sperone Westwater gallery in New York -- will continue to curate the wine shop in the back of Gleason’s gallery.

“That’s why it’s called ‘Kim Dingle’s Wine Bar for Children at Mister Ling’s Market!’ ” she said, laughing.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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