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No Sad Stuff | an Exhibition about Tom Hanks at Gallery1988
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No Sad Stuff | an Exhibition about Tom Hanks at Gallery1988

Picture of Eric Dzinski
Updated: 24 April 2017
Before he was one of Hollywood’s power producers, before he was the voice of the world’s favorite animated film franchise, before he was the eminent multi-Oscar-winning dramatic actor, Tom Hanks was the exasperated, wavy-haired everyman starring in a string of quirky and often bizarre comedies that helped define the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. It is this period in Hanks’ career—from his feature debut in 1984’s Splash to his second Oscar for 1994’s Forrest Gump­—that is the focus of the brief show ‘No Sad Stuff‘ at Gallery1988 (West) on Melrose.

The multi-artist show includes dozens of pieces ranging from acrylics to digital paintings to 3D paper cutouts to knits and sculptures exploring images, characters, and themes from the films of this era. Although most of the films from this period are represented at least once, works inspired by Splash, Big, the ‘Burbs, Turner & Hooch, A League of Their Own and Forrest Gump emerge as the stars of the show.

The show’s title is the one directive that the gallery issued to the artists involved: to focus on the comedies, not the few dramatic turns that Hanks’ took in this period, like his Oscar-winning performance in Philadelphia.

And although many of the works highlight the cartoonish delight and absurdity of their films, it is hard to ignore the threads of isolation and melancholy that weave their way from the movies onto the canvas. Particularly striking are Nan Lawson’s No Crying, J.R. Barker’s Brain Cloud and Eugene Kaik’s Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.

Shows like this let you see a movie through the eyes of someone else for whom visual symbolism is bread and butter. A talented artist can isolate an image or a moment from a movie and magnify it until it takes on a significance you never considered. They can also mash up dominant visuals from many movies to capture the surprising range of Hanks’ early career.

The show is well worth the trip if only to see how your favorite early Hanks movie (and let’s face it, you know you have one) is represented. But Gallery1988 also makes owning fine art accessible. Originals range in prince from $75 to $2,000, but high-quality prints run as low as $25. The gallery also sells prints from previous shows that focus on the careers of J.J. Abrams, Steve Martin and Joss Whedon, among others.

If you want to see ‘No Sad Stuff,’ you should get moving. The show opened on Saturday June 13th, and runs through Saturday the 20th. Gallery1988 (West) is open from 11 to 6 except for Monday and Tuesday, when they are closed.

Gallery1998, 7308 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles CA +323 937 7088