Bruce Bibby, aka Ted Casablanca, is a widely acclaimed, former Hollywood journalist, who, for two decades wrote about sensational, often prurient, Hollywood goings-on. His undergraduate degree is in sculpture from CalArts, after which he left to pursue a long and highly successful career in Hollywood and New York publishing—but he’s always remained an artist. Last spring he returned to art, where he finds stronger voices—more daring than in journalism.
Bruce Bibby recently completed a book, all true, about some of the hottest celebrity shenanigans you can imagine (or can’t); he also makes and sells art from some of the most inspiring artists he’s ever met. He lives in Palm Springs, with Margo Casablanca and Charlie Casablanca, of some repute.
Kate Buckley: Bruce, what led you to open your Palm Springs gallery, Ted Casablanca—a collection of contemporary artists, with a strong emphasis on transformative vision?
Bruce Bibby: I had always wanted to create my own community of strong voices, and it felt like a natural to do it more visually-oriented this time around, as art was my first love.
KB: What sets the gallery apart from other galleries in Palm Springs? What would you say is your aesthetic sensibility?
BB: Voice. My artists must be outspoken, whether quietly (which can sometimes be more palpable), or more in your face, like photographer Monica Orozco, my current show.
KB: And why Palm Springs?
BB: I’ve lived here on an off for years, from LA. I’ve always been attracted to the subtle power available here, and I greatly admire the artistic heritage and community.
KB: Ted Casablanca features artists from Santa Monica to Dallas to Paris. What are your criteria? How do you source—or how does an artist apply to be represented by your gallery?
BB: That’s like asking the secret to my killer lasagna! Let’s just say my criteria is that I must be personally moved, otherwise I can’t get behind an artist, nor would I. I’m always open to looking at exceptionally talented art.
KB: You’ve said, “We also like to challenge the notion of what is art. Beauty is in the eye of the opinionated, is it not?” What does that mean to you?
BB: For example, my i-beam tables, which I consider highly sculptural, are also functional as furniture. But they’re also art. I will be blurring many more lines like that in the future.
KB: And your art is also available at the gallery. What’s your personal artist’s statement?
BB: Visual Valium. I want people to feel like they’ve just checked out, in a very nice way, when they look at my pieces. After all, it’s how I feel when I’m working on them.
KB: What do you do when you’re not creating art or running the gallery?
BB: Free time? Excuse me?
KB: And just who are the illustrious Margo Casablanca and Charlie Casablanca?
BB: My rescue girls. Mixed breeds and hearts so full I want to sometime burst when they’re happy to see me-—and I them.
KB: What do you love most about Palm Springs?
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