The Radical F.E.W.’s ‘UnGallery’ throws an art bash without walls on the grounds of Mar Vista’s Munster Manor
By Christina Campodonico
As a child growing up in the house where the multigenerational Munster family lived in the 1995 TV movie “Here Come the Munsters,” curator and advertising strategist Kenna Stout didn’t fully appreciate the charm of her family’s Mar Vista home — not until years later.
“It was just my home … but as an adult this house really is much more magical,” she says. “My parents really tried to make every room unique. So every one’s painted a different color — nothing themed — but you walk into rooms and they start to feel like maybe they are themed a little bit.”
Her parents even incorporated props and the gate from the made-for-TV-movie into the 1906 Victorian’s architecture — something that disturbed the neighbors when the family first moved in.
“All the neighbors thought we were crazy Goths,” says Stout. “And then they tried painting the outside pink to make it look more Victorian.”
While the inside of the house known about the neighborhood as “Munster Manor” won’t be open during Saturday’s second annual “UnGallery” — an outdoor art and music soiree hosted by Stout’s art and strategy company The Radical F.E.W. to benefit the Mar Vista Art Walk — the home’s playful pink exterior, adjacent carriage house and yard will serve as an intimate gathering spot for Mar Vista’s art community and the art-curious to come together and unwind.
Unlike the Mar Vista Art Walk, “you don’t have to run a mile to see it,” says Stout, who originally planned UnGallery as a way for the organizers and artists of the Mar Vista Art Walk (now one of the Westside’s marquee cultural events) to celebrate the work they had done “in a much smaller, condensed way.”
“This allows the people that do art walk to be able to relax and kind of see the thing that they laid down, or what they’ve awoken on the Westside,” she says.
Last year’s inaugural UnGallery attracted about 400 people, but it didn’t feel that way, says Stout.
“It ended up being more magical than I could have expected. It was literally just people that I know by growing up in L.A. or being in the Westside arts scene — pretty much us just coming together in a backyard. It’s kind of like that magic of a garden party. And last year’s theme was ‘Wonderland.’ So it kind of took that direction,” she says, “… people doing art, doing live painting and poetry, and just people who are art lovers connecting and talking and sharing the moment.”
On Saturday, local electro-acoustic troubadour Ben Kernion kicks off the event’s live music lineup at 6 p.m., followed by the dreamy and mesmerizing vocals of Lana del Rey-esque singer-songwriter Isla June (aka Jenna Maranga) at 8 p.m., and then the jams of experimental violinist and music producer Tim Hui at 10 p.m.
Street artist and animator Ron the Killer (whose guerilla stickers you may have seen about Venice), figurative painter Jaime Guerrero, and Mar Vista artist Monique Boileau are live painting at various points throughout the evening, while yarn bomber Darlyn Susan Yee is doing some live knitting.
Expect to see artwork from street artist Jaase (whose signature is a white Cyclops), Picasso-meets-Basquiat paintings by William Wallace, and fantastical creature portraits from active Mar Vista artist Edrok One — whose paintings and drawings of monsters are a fitting complement to the Munster Manor’s film history and this year’s UnGallery theme “Urban Decay in Bloom.” Photography from local high school students Chaya Brennan Argawal and Rebekah Shane are also being showcased about the grounds.
“I thought I’d pared it down from last year and then I added five more artists,” says Stout, making a total of 20 participating artists. She hopes the event — which raises funds and covers costs through the sale of food and beverages at the party — becomes a meaningful way for artists to connect with each other, as well as potential clients, collectors and followers.
Additionally, she hopes UnGallery becomes a model for breaking out of the traditional mode for showcasing art — that is the stiff and white formal boxes of galleries essentially.
“I didn’t want to make a gallery show,” says Stout. “Every time I’d gone to a gallery show there was an uncomfortable-ness about it. We wanted to break that down and say that it’s not about being seen — like showing up to peacock. This is about literally coming in to embrace each other.
“It just feels so magical to see all of us come together and create a different world and see what could be possible,” she continues, “what that unification of magic could actually make and hoping that it trickles out.”
“UnGallery” happens from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 11) at Munster Manor. Free, but RSVP to get the address. Search “UnGallery by Radical F.E.W.” at eventbrite.com.