Opening up a modern day cabinet of curiosities, hidden inside a former 1930’s roller rink in Northeast Los Angeles.
Artist and collector Clare Graham is an expert at transforming recycled material into art reminiscent of fractal designs and elaborate patterns found in nature.
The word ‘wunderkammer’ translates as ‘wonder-chamber’ or cabinets of curiosities; a place where a collection of curiosities and rarities is exhibited.
Since the 1980s, Graham has turned his studio — known as MorYork — into a collection of millions of buttons, soda pop pull tabs, jigsaw puzzles, yard sticks, and Scrabble tiles that resemble pyramids, stalagmites, and kelp canopies.
Twenty-nine years ago, Bob Breen and Clare Graham bought an old supermarket in Northeast LA’s Highland Park neighborhood. The studio originally stood as a Safeway supermarket and a roller rink in the 1930s (the lines of which can still be seen on the studios wooden floor).
The unmarked 7,000 square foot building is located next to a Korean church on Ave 50 & York Blvd.
It’s a dramatic space.
He loves aluminum pop tops…
…and has used well over 15½ million of them in his various pop top creations.
He does not see himself as an artist, but a craftsman and considers MorYork to be more of a “neighborhood portal in the exchange of information and ideas,” than a traditional gallery.
He studied sculpture at CSU Long Beach and subsequently spent 25 years working as a Senior Art Director at the Walt Disney Company.
The look of worry.
Though MorYork doesn’t keep official business hours, it does function as a quasi store and gallery space to the curious who wander in, and as a gathering spot for the couple and their friends. And for a time, Mr. Breen and Mr. Graham hosted visiting artists and musicians as part of a neighborhood art walk.
I’ve been wanting to come here ever since I saw Huell Howser visit the space on an old episode of “California’s Gold” and was happy to finally get a chance to see it. It truly was AMAZING!