Beautiful Losers — the show, the book, the movement, the movie — is probably the most acclaimed template for crossover between Lowbrow and mainstream, though its impact is more readily observable in the world of commercial graphic design than the Art World. Scene svengali Aaron Rose — whose Alleged Gallery in ’90s Manhattan was the flash point of the BL submovement — has finally completed the documentary component of his marketing Gesamtkunstwerk, and it’s actually very good. The artists mostly come off as nice folks, many struggling with the politics of their commercial success. Between the talking heads, Rose and co-director Joshua Leonard have pieced together bits of archival footage (Mark Gonzales!) into a visually hypnotic montage that echoes the stoner, street-based BL aesthetic.
There’s maybe a little too much echo in other areas. Weren’t punk rock and graffiti art and skateboarding and Tom Waits hobo-beatnik chic and street credibility all over with by 1987? At the absolute latest? And aren’t there hundreds — if not thousands — of little scenes like this all over America, and the world? Layer upon layer of dubious nostalgia separates Beautiful Losers from its alleged subcultural authenticity, and we find ourselves obliviously subsumed by a myth of community, a niche-market simulation of counterculture like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel.
more from the LA Weekly here.