My Friend with a Camera
My friend with a camera actually owns many cameras, and she likes consistency—not only with her camera but also in other aspects of life. To visualize my friend with a camera, you will have to imagine a Japanese cartoon of the nineteen eighties, in which strange people with big sparkly eyes always wear the same outfit. My friend with a camera is like that, from complementary color clogs to red bike pants, from vintage-looking shirts to outrageous sweaters. My friend with a camera is not a photographer per se, but she is also that. Other things she is are artist, unicyclist, brown-haired, inquisitive. My friend with a camera might even be too hard to portray because it is too easy to do so. She likes to eat at Korean tofu restaurants and deceivingly upper-class bakeries. She carries knitting tools everywhere she goes, and she has a light in her stomach that turns on when she has an idea. No, it turns on only when she has a good idea. Her ideas include knitting, taking pictures of stuff including knitting, riding her bicycle in Los Angeles, and other things that she keeps hidden in a white shed outside her house. The shed is packed full of magical devices and mysterious machinery but does not contain things that normally go to die in sheds, like broken appliances and questionably colored paint. I remember the first day I saw that shed: I was secretly looking for an obsolete toaster-oven. I expected to find the place less lit and consequently more serious. When my friend with a camera opened the door for me, I was hit by colors that clearly did not belong in questionable paint cans but were all happily making funny impressions of the light coming in from the outside. Outside it was the perfect weather Los Angeles always has. Granted, I magnify the scope of my encounter with my friend with a camera’s shed for narrative purposes, but there are other stories about her and said space that don’t need to be reworked fictionally. This is not the place to do so.
My friend with a camera and I like to go skiing. My friend with a camera is a much better skier than I am, as the stories I am not writing here would confirm. But this is not really important, except that when my friend with a camera and I went skiing together once it struck me as an epiphany that Americans know how to ski and they can do it very well. That day we also ate beans and took pictures of skiing. Not of skis, just of skiing. Other things my friend with a camera does are ordering and posting things online, which is also what everyone else does, and it’s okay, because she’s not really a Japanese cartoon from the nineteen eighties but a normal person. Only thing, she does not go to museums like normal persons but more like the people who are in the permanent collection, so it is amusing to go to museums with her because she will always know everything about it inside and out, including all the interns working in the gift shop and all the artworks, piece by piece. She often initiates conversations with gift shop interns and all the artworks, so if you are ever at a museum with her, you should watch for the Rembrandts as they tend to get inappropriate in her presence. My friend with a camera likes to talk, but she listens too, and if you say something, she questions it first, then she remembers. Sometimes she doesn’t, though, because we are all very busy.
I get along with my friend with a camera because we have similar tastes in people, forms of entertainment, and coffee. We also have similar brown hair, but mine is curly.
P.S. My friend with a camera, Lisa Anne Auerbach, is making a “megazine” for her C.O.L.A project, called the American Megazine. It is a zine that has pages 60 inches high and 39 inches wide. The first issue of American Megazine is about megachurches: there are pictures of megachurches and stories about visiting them. The megazine is displayed so that people can flip through it.
Born 1967 in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Lives and works in Los Angeles (downtown)
MFA, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, 1994
BFA, photography, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, 1990
Chicken Strikken, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden (solo)
United We Stand, AIR: Artist in Residence program, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (solo)
The Tract House: A Darwin Addition, Philagrafika 2010: Out of Print, American Philosophical Society Museum, Philadelphia (solo)
Take This Knitting Machine and Shove It, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (solo)
UMMA Projects: Lisa Anne Auerbach, University of Michigan Art Museum, Ann Arbor (solo)
Election Sweaters, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO (solo)
Bryan-Wilson, Julia. “Lisa Anne Auerbach’s Canny Domesticity.” In Lisa Anne Auerbach, ed. Jacob Proctor, 5–15. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Museum of Art, 2010. Reprinted in The Textile Reader, ed. Jessica Hemmings. London: Berg, 2012.
Fogle, Douglas. “Lisa Anne Auerbach.” In Creamier: Contemporary Art in Culture; 10 Curators, 100 Contemporary Artists, 10 Sources. London: Phaidon, 2010.
Subotnick, Ali. Nine Lives: Visionary Artists from L.A. Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2009.
In Krysten Cunningham’s practice the relationship between ideas and forms is reciprocal: preconceived ideas and work plans generate studio activity, but formal experiments are also allowed to suggestively generate impressively far-flung ideas. In 2004, having just finished graduate school, at a moment when most serious sculptors of her generation were pursuing some fusion of late modernism and pop art, Cunningham turned about and set sail for a world of handicrafts, pattern, and play. Her first works in this vein take the well-known ojo de dios (God’s eye) motif of colored concentric squares, traditionally woven by the Huichol Indians, and spin it out into three dimensions. Planes of wrapped yarn occupy the faces of polyhedra, in turn structured by metal rods. The facture of the early pieces is transparent in the high modernist tradition: the viewer sees (or thinks he sees!) exactly how the piece was constructed. With the God’s Eyes, Cunningham came up with an ingenious, radiantly simple solution to some of modernism’s most well-worn binaries: hard/soft, armature/facade, inside/outside, object/support. The shadowy inside spaces of the sculptures, glimpsed through narrow breaks in the weave and at the edges of each design’s faces, posit a subdued interior world, one that the viewer is unmistakably beckoned to enter.
Found throughout Huichol temples, ojos de dios are regarded as shamanistic portals, places through which humans and the deity can perceive each other. Cunningham’s relationship to this highly specific tradition, long since commercialized in Huichol yarn paintings for the tourist trade, is not simple. She is obviously no Huichol—indeed the average American is more likely to encounter a God’s-eye form in a kindergarten classroom than on a Mexican mountaintop. Nevertheless these sculptures resonate with the ancient modalities of sacred geometry and pose vexed but urgent questions about the spiritual meanings and utopian possibilities of geometric abstract art today.
The breakthrough video Hypercube (2006) introduced another layer of cultural reference to this geometric domain, that of the fourth dimension. In the film, an unseen narrator (voiced by Cunningham) introduces the concept of the hypercube, a theoretical solid that exists in a fourth spatial dimension. Just as a square can be seen as a two-dimensional representation of a cube, so, it is observed, a cube can be seen as a three-dimensional representation of a hypercube. The animated image track, which shows rotating hypercubes seen first orthogonally and then in perspective, bears a striking resemblance to the box-kite forms of Cunningham’s earlier sculptures. The notion that there exists a spatial dimension that is invisible to us is then used as a springboard for psycho-philosophical speculations on the nature of knowledge, existence, and the body. (The bulk of the material in the film is appropriated: the spoken text is taken from the book The Fourth Dimension  by the Russian esoteric philosopher P. D. Ouspensky, and the stunning vector-graphics animations are from an award-winning 1978 film by the mathematicians Thomas Banchoff and Charles Strauss.) Hypercube mobilizes the arcane (and, it must be said, archaic) literature on the fourth dimension to produce an ethereal mood of transparency. The video slyly frames the sculptures, proposing an extraspatial model for their physical origin, as if they had been deposited from a higher, invisible plane.
In Cunningham’s most recent work, occasioned by the C.O.L.A. exhibition, yarn and thread become their own autonomous support, loosely woven on a handloom into textiles. Displaying simple bands of color, these coarse fabrics reveal the structure of their warp and weft in explicit detail. The weavings are draped or pinned onto vertical metal rods, in turn stationed on floor supports that variously allude to desert architecture, garden follies, and theatrical sets. The expanded human scale of these works can be seen as an evolution of Cunningham’s previous sculpture but also draws from her ongoing experiments with performance, video, and theater. Literal space dividers, the sculptures engage the relationship between viewer and object but also that between viewer and viewer. While they unquestionably hark back to the history of minimalism and the famous question of its theatricality, their material thinness and transparency stand in sharp contrast to the heavy industrial materials associated with that movement. The works raise familiar but unsettled questions about weaving as a metaphor and about the gendering of facture, process, materials, and space itself.
Born 1973 in New Haven, CT
Lives and works in Los Angeles (West Adams)
MFA, sculpture, University of California,
Los Angeles, 2003
Thomas Solomon Gallery, Los Angeles (solo)
Undone: Making and Unmaking in Contemporary Sculpture, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK
Dispatch, New York (solo)
Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
Beyond Measure, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK
Ritter/Zamet, London (solo)
Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
“Conversation between Claire Barclay and Krysten Cunningham.” In Undone: Making and Unmaking in Contemporary Sculpture. Leeds, UK: Henry Moore Institute, 2010.
Miles, Christopher. “Krysten Cunningham: Thomas Solomon Gallery.” Artforum 47 (March 2009): 252–53.
Rosenberg, Karen. “Krysten Cunningham: Tangental.” New York Times, November 27, 2009.
Above all, what can be said of the shape of clouds (“How is a cloud outlined?”). When the question is formulated like this, it proceeds from a certain confusion between the signified and the referent and between sign and substance. —Hubert Damisch
The word amorphous conjures that which is geometrically elusive, evoking Paul Valéry’s definition of the shapeless—things that evade the possibility “to replace them by an act of drawing or clear recognition.”1 The work of Amorphis embraces the tenuous qualities of recognition that some forms evoke, or what could be called compromised forms of legibility. In some instances the formal legibility of the work approaches a nearly anamorphic logic, as in the exhibition Go Figure (SCI-Arc Gallery, 2012), in which the thickened line that meandered through the gallery suggested a multitude of originary figures yet settled fixedly on none. Each latent figure inscribed by the line work becomes partially compromised through the coloration of the piece, which was applied to the faces of aluminum that make up the substance of the line in such a way that the torquing of the line figure also literally pulls these colored surfaces through the space. A cyan, magenta, yellow, or black surface defining one part of the line begins to dissolve into a perforated line punctuated by the folded tabs of aluminum that operate as joints. This attitude toward coloration, in which color indexes the involution of geometry and simultaneously unsettles the stability of any figure that may be produced, creates a flickering effect between figure and substance. Likewise, in the design of the Tumbleweed pavilion (2012), a particular vantage point vis-à-vis the structure enables a nearly anatomical figure to emerge from the line work. The clarity of this body subsequently recedes in legibility as one moves around or through the architectural object, provoking a change in the posture of the inscribed figure and providing the structure with differential depth. In the Smiley Bar project (2012), a different kind of amorphy is present. In this case a two-dimensional figure of a smile undergoes a series of transformations that liberate the smile from the human face. Ultimately what is rendered tangible in the wood that forms the bar is no longer a smiling face but rather a diffuse “smileyness” that oscillates in tandem with the multidirectionality of the wood grain. The material properties of the architectural object vex its formal legibility to produce a more provocative form of coherence between the two.
In Amorphis’s C.O.L.A. project, Adumbrated Figure, the obsession with figure is targeted toward the territory between face and body. A single iconic facial profile is transformed into a series of drawings and objects that oscillate between visual legibility and physical sensation and are delivered through line and mass. The objects consist of three similar profiles that are revolved into a six-foot-tall bodyface rendered in cast foam. As one moves around the objects, the legibility of the profile gives way to the physicality of a suggested body, or line gives way to mass. The drawings are based on the ten original Rorschach inkblot tests (a psychological tool developed in the early twentieth century to evaluate emotional functioning or identify what were referred to as “thought disorders”). Based on the profiles of the inkblots, the drawings are hyperindexical notations producing a mass of lines that allude to faces and bodies and promote
The projects of Amorphis challenge the conventional distinction between drawing and object. In this work objects are to a certain extent delineations that have become materialized, suggesting that the drawing is not necessarily the precursor of the form but rather that the form may instantiate itself as the drawing of matter through space. Not unlike the attempt to outline a cloud, this elicits the impression of occupying a space somewhere between the drawing and the object, an ambivalent state that allows for multiple forms of legibility to coexist. Each of Amorphis’s projects evokes a multitude of possible affiliations related to its particular attitude toward geometry, form, posture, material, and coloration. If one task of architecture is to provoke more profound forms of engagement between itself and those who encounter it, the work of Amorphis certainly figures highly in this regard.
Epigraph: Hubert Damisch, A Theory of
/Cloud/: Toward a History of Painting, trans. Janet Lloyd (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002), 191.
1. Paul Valéry, quoted ibid., 194–95.
Born 1971 in Santa Monica, CA
Lives and works in Los Angeles (Highland Park)
M.Arch, University of California, Los Angeles, 2003
B.Arch, Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Los Angeles, 1996
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS and Installations
SCI-Arc Graduation Pavilion Competition, SCI-Arc Library, Los Angeles
Go Figure, SCI-Arc Main Gallery, Los Angeles (solo)
Architecture of the Urn, Lundgren Gallery, Seattle
C-hub, SCI-Arc Library, Los Angeles (solo)
Vertical Garden, MAK Center, Vienna
Diaz-Granados, Ramiro. “Craft Works:
On How to Get Medieval.” ACSA Journal(forthcoming, 2013).
Lubell, Sam. “Work: SCI-Arc’s Chub Table.” Architectural Record 196 (May 2008), http://archrecord.construction.com/archrecord2/work/0805/SCI-Arc.asp.
Clear in the Haze
Sometimes it’s through moments of deep uncertainty that we ultimately find our way. If not an adage, this is surely an oft-repeated truth, but what does it mean exactly? To understand the statement—and, in a parallel perceptual realm, the mutable yet intoxicating surfaces of Samantha Fields’s new paintings—we must take it apart. To find one’s way implies that there is a route to be discovered, and not just any route but the right one. To bemoan not knowing suggests that somewhere out there clarity is lurking, waiting for us to simply recognize and understand it. Despite the inherent impossibleness of the task, we want to know, to be certain of where we are headed or what we understand our role to be. Paradoxically, following the logic of our would-be adage and of Fields’s striking canvases, we make room for comprehension within the very space of recognizing and accepting incertitude.
Fields’s longtime exploration of looking, specifically at nature but more generally at the world around us, has led her on dangerous expeditions into rather than away from fires and storms in an effort to document the power of weather. It was on one of these journeys that she came upon, quite literally, a deer in the headlights. In photographing it (badly, in her own estimation), she transformed her own practice, setting her work on a new path, one less about looking at nature and more about looking at looking, a metacognitive approach that grounds the new paintings but sounds much headier than the actual emotional, perceptual, and aesthetic experiences that they engender.
Fields has continued to paint from what she refers to as “failed photographs” while also taking new pictures of the landscape, intentionally photographing through blurry windows and at skewed angles, allowing the imperfections of one medium to enhance and dramatize the potentiality of another. Using a camera equipped with a high-speed lens capable of shooting in low light, she is able to capture the glow and lurch of nocturnal scenes often missed by the casual viewer, particularly one sitting in a car speeding down a freeway. Through a meticulous process of spraying fine mists of paint, layer upon layer, over a smooth canvas, Fields continues to expand on the integration of would-be flaws in the photographic process, painting in sun spots that showed up on images of works-in-progress as well as the elegant hexagonal lens flares produced by a particular camera.
One hazy midnight landscape, horizontally streaked with pale blue, Passenger (2013), could easily be described as nonobjective were it not for a faint line of trees at its center. It is based on a photograph taken from the window of a car driven by Fields’s husband, the artist Andre Yi, as it sped down a darkened highway on the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington State. Passenger is less an image of a landscape at night and more a depiction of seeing and experiencing, being and viewing. By choosing to make this strange and blurry photograph the impetus for a painting, Fields suggests that site doesn’t matter or, rather, that its import is located wherever we encounter it.
The C.O.L.A. grant, designed to offer artists the opportunity for experimentation, seems the perfect context for a visual exploration of uncertainty and fugue; interestingly, in painting images of faulty photographs and in-between spaces, Fields has arrived at a place of depicting the precise but fleeting nature of presence. The oncoming headlights of a car at night become a brilliant orb in the center of a concentric composition in Nocturne 2, Eugene (2013), easing into a charcoal gray ground tinged with blue like the rays of a star in the night sky or the trail of an elusive jellyfish deep in the sea. One of Fields’s first large works on paper, the painting vacillates between landscape, however ordinary, and abstraction. It deftly transforms the everyday into something magical, a feat to be sure, but more important to her project, I think, is the way the painting becomes something that is neither here nor there, not the journey nor the process but a finite and distinct collision of light and time and memory catapulted slowly and carefully into being.
Born 1972 in Cleveland
Lives and works in Los Angeles
Professor of Art, California State University, Northridge
MFA, painting, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1998
BFA, painting, Cleveland Institute of Art, 1995
Be Careful What You Wish For, Western Project, Los Angeles (solo)
Painted Desert, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA
No Object Is an Island, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI
My House Is Your House, Statler Waldorf Gallery, Los Angeles
From a Safe Distance, Kim Light / Lightbox, New York (solo)
Altimetry, Terminal 1, Los Angeles International Airport, curated by Mark Steven Greenfield, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles
Containment, 2680 Kim Light / Lightbox, Los Angeles (solo)
Eco-Logic, Cypress College Art Gallery, Cypress, CA
Lewis, Joseph. “Samantha Fields at Kim Light / Lightbox.” Art in America 95 (October 2007): 221.
Melrod, George. “Eden Is Burning.” Art ltd. (March–April 2010): 30.
Myers, Holly. “Hip, without Forgoing Tradition.” Los Angeles Times, March 9, 2007.
Mysteries Reclaimed, Voices Unbound
Judithe Hernández is a pioneer. At sixteen, she became the first recipient of the Future Masters Scholarship (1965), enabling her to attend Otis Art Institute. In 1974 she was the first Chicana to earn an MFA for her scholarly examination of the emergent iconography of Chicano art and accompanying visual portfolio. She is the only woman ever invited to join the seminal Chicano artists’ collective Los Four; she also distinguished herself during the Los Angeles mural renaissance of the 1970s by mixing classical compositions with urban calligraphy, pushing the aesthetic boundaries between fine art, graffiti, and folk art. In 1983 her solo exhibition at the Cayman Gallery in New York made her the first Chicana to extend her artistic reach beyond the West Coast.
Hernández has always sought out the unexpected. Her inspiration emerges from poetry, urban vernacular, women’s experiences, Mesoamerican cosmology, and Catholic narratives. The mixed-media work produced for the C.O.L.A. fellowship is clearly grounded in the Western artistic traditions of Renaissance portraiture and the modernist concern for surface and process. Yet her work is not derivative. She explores philosophical questions regarding humanity, filtered through the lens of Chicana/o iconography and mythology. Throughout her career she has interpreted the female form as a universal human figure rather than a portrait of an individual. Visual precedent also includes the nineteenth-century symbolists, for whom the female figure was central, portrayed as a virgin or seductress. Hernández rejects this patriarchal visual vocabulary of objectification by delineating calm, emboldened women warriors; self-possessed luchadoras armed for battle and rebirth. These are women of divine grace whose deerlike purity symbolizes their ancient elemental nature. The deer—an indigenous symbol of creation, human origins, and the feminine—provides multilayered meaning throughout this series and is evocative of womanhood’s intrinsic power.
The centerpiece of Hernández’s C.O.L.A. project is Les Demoiselles d’Barrio (2013), in which she offers an alternative interpretation of one of modern art’s most compelling works: Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). Like Picasso, Hernández stages a tableau vivant, but although she incorporates visual echoes of the original, she rejects his objectification of the female figures. Hernández humanizes and empowers them, and unlike Picasso’s women, who are distant and emotionally absent, all but one of Hernández’s engage the viewer with their gazes. Intense, beautiful, their minds at work, they are gathered together as a unit. The central seated figure suggests self-assurance and independence, as does the figure in another of Hernández’s new works, L’Épée de Sainte Jeanne (2013), who is seemingly ready to lunge forward. Setting aside Picasso’s cubist perspective, Hernández introduces a philosophical facet. The enigmatic figure—her arms crossed over her chest, her eyes closed—is meditative and solemn. The artist challenges the viewer to consider her significance given the title of the work. These women reside within our current reality: they are the maidens of the barrio, women in charge of themselves and more.
Each of these new works has the haunting, lyrical quality that we have come to expect from Hernández: a multidimensional aesthetic and intellectual perspective offered by a mature artist who has attained complete mastery of her medium.
Karen Mary Davalos
Born 1948 in Los Angeles
Lives and works in Los Angeles
MFA, drawing and sculpture,
Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1974
BFA, drawing and sculpture,
Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1972
La vida sobre papel, National Museum
of Mexican Art, Chicago (solo)
L.A. Xicano: Mapping Another L.A.; The Chicano Art Movement, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles (part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980)
Le démon des anges: 16 artistes Chicanos autour de Los Angeles, Halle du Centre de Recherche pour le Développement Culturel, Nantes, France
Judithe Hernández: Works on Paper, Cayman Gallery, New York (solo)
The Aesthetics of Graffiti, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Los Four, Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA
Costa, Octavio. “Instantaneas, tiempo y muerte en la pintura de Judithe Hernández.” La Opinión, August 3, 1979.
Noriega, Chon A., Terezita Romo, and
Pilar Tompkins Rivas, eds. L.A. Xicano. Los Angeles: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2011.
Rechtman, Ana. “La vida sobre papel, una exposición de Judithe Hernández.” Contratiempo, April 2011, http://contratiempo.net/2011/04/la-vida-sobre-papel-una-exposicion-de-judithe-hernandez/.
Carole Kim gives little direction about how to openly engage her multimedia performances, which integrate the moving image, theatrical elements, experimental music, and dance, conjuring a feeling of mixed anticipation and wonder. Drawing on Jacques Lacan’s discussion of the mirror image as “the threshold of the visible world,” Kaja Silverman elaborates, in her book of that title, the processes of identification and desire. Silverman’s definition of looking—in which “to look is to embed an image within a constantly shifting matrix of unconscious memories”—aptly describes Kim’s recent series of collaborative performances.1 Against layers of hanging mesh scrims, projections of light, moving bodies, and live-feed video, images collide and converge, dematerialize and engender multiple scopic planes, or what Kim describes as an “amplified hybrid phenomenological space.”2 Maurice Merleau-Ponty described perception as “not a science of the world . . . not even an act . . . it is the background from which all acts stand out, and is presupposed by them. The world is not an object such that I have in my possession the law of its making; it is the natural setting of, and field for, all my thoughts and all my explicit perceptions.”3 Engaging this notion, Kim invites the viewer to be aware of the act of perceiving. Her ethereal environments serve on one level as a folding and unfolding of depth and on another level as a threshold of the visible.
These ideas are perhaps best clarified by a brief discussion of Scan (2011), a multimedia installation that integrated video, live music, dance, and live-feed video. Playing on the multiple significations of the word scan, including to gloss over and to examine closely, the performance metaphorically evokes the process of “scanning” through which sense data is broken down, built up, and transferred. In Scan, Kim deftly uses light and movement in a participatory exchange with musicians and dancers. Altering perception through fissures of form—the scrim suddenly fractures into filaments, which in turn unravel and reveal liminal or interstitial spaces—she presents a loose narrative in which laboring bodies continually transform, disappear, and reemerge in correspondence with the falling stream of mutating elements projected on the screen. Such distortion and augmentation of perceptual boundaries evoke a need in the viewer to find some kind of anchor in memory and imagination or in the iterative traces of a dancer’s movement and/or to share some common ground with the other people in the darkened room. At the same time, Kim exhorts her viewers to let go of the ways in which we see and listen in order to viscerally apprehend how we become aware of and bound to the world. In a kind of improvisational call-and-response with a revolving roster of musicians, dancers, and writers, she both mediates and invites the viewer to respond, by way of encouraging the viewer’s mind to wander, be it to the threshold of another dimension or back to the present moment. Reconfiguring, condensing, and translating this experience into stand-alone installations at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery will be a challenge that I anticipate Kim will meet with rigor and intelligence.
1. Kaja Silverman, The Threshold of the Visible World (New York: Routledge, 1996), 3.
2. Carole Kim, quoted in Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, C.O.L.A. 2013, http://www.lamag.org/?page_id=2300.
3. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, preface to Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith (London: Routledge, 2002), xi–xii.
Born 1961 in Cambridge, MA
Lives and works in Pasadena, CA
MFA, integrated media/film/video, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, 2003
MFA, printmaking, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1987
BA, studio art, Brown University, Providence, RI, 1984
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS and Projects
Furnace, site-specific installation and performance, Automata, Los Angeles; with Scott Cazan, Phil Curtis, Jesse Gilbert, Moses Hacmon, Odeya Nini, Oguri, Morleigh Steinberg, Roxanne Steinberg
CC’ (Carole Kim/Carmina Escobar): Filamento, live video installation and performance, Open Gate Theater Series @ the Moose Lodge, Glendale, CA
Burrow, site-specific installation and performance, Lehrer Architects, Los Angeles; with Phil Curtis, Lyn Horton, Shel Wagner Rasch, Theresa Wong
Scan, AxS Festival 2011: Fire and Water, Wind Tunnel Gallery, Art Center College of Design South, Pasadena, CA; with Aaron Drake, Jesse Gilbert, Moses Hacmon, Oguri, Roxanne Steinberg
In one ear . . . and in another: Iteration #1, collaborative live-feed video installation, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT
N1, video installation, New Original Works Festival, REDCAT, Los Angeles; with Alex Cline, Dan Clucas, Oguri, Moses Hacmon, Adam Levine
Lewin, Marla. “A New Voice at the REDCAT’s New Original Works Festival.” Global Film Village, August 31, 2009.
Lincoln, Marga. “Where Silence Meets Cacophony.” Helena Independent Record, October 21, 2010.
Looseleaf, Victoria. “NOW Festival at REDCAT.” Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2009.
At the Intersection of Opposing Forces
The first time I visited Nery Gabriel Lemus’s studio, I encountered a drawing of two combs intersecting, forming an X floating over the white ground: one comb thin and blue, teeth up, the other brown with a tan streak and a handle, its teeth down and penetrating the prone blue object. It’s a provocative, even violent image but typical of Lemus’s approach in that the drawing is as fastidious as it is calculated to cut in several directions at once. Titled Wylin Out (2007), the work is only one component of a larger project on and around the fade—a hairstyle (or really a category of styles rife with variation) shared by African American and Latino communities. The fade is, of course, a haircut that stands in for a larger network of signs that recur throughout Lemus’s work: racial and gender identity, social formations and cultural pressures, and the friction that often occurs when communities overlap or merge.
Again and again, Lemus locates forces in opposition. He does so with a wide array of means and is equally likely to incorporate the imagery of mass media as the homespun objects of “folk” culture. In Until the Day Breaks and the Shadows Flee (2010), initially realized for Project Row Houses in Houston, he adapted imagery depicting domestic violence from inexpensive Mexican graphic novels, painting the panels in a grid directly on the gallery walls in flat sepia brown. Removing the text from the speech bubbles in the original images, he reshaped the narrative to further emphasize the desperate intensity of these interpersonal confrontations as well as the insidious and pervasive nature of such imagery in popular “entertainment.”1 In Alfombra Domestica (2012), Lemus adopted the traditional multihued Guatemalan rug made from dyed sawdust while incorporating stenciled text in Spanish and English bluntly bearing witness to domestic abuse (“Machismo mata todos los dias,” “He says it won’t happen again,” and so on). For the opening of Made in L.A. 2012, the work was positioned at the entrance of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, and these straightforward messages were rendered illegible, the explicit signals of trauma blurred to abstraction, as viewers walked across the rug and activated its fugitive surface. If the work’s construction was labor-intensive, then its obliteration was startlingly sudden. For the 2013 C.O.L.A. exhibition, Lemus will further investigate his Guatemalan heritage through the topic of immigration: using painting and video, he draws us into the life of his mother, who immigrated to the United States from Guatemala.
In 2012 Lemus organized a group exhibition titled after James Baldwin’s autobiographical novel Go Tell It on the Mountain.2 Published in 1953, Baldwin’s novel examined the paradoxical role of the Christian church in the African American community—on the one hand, offering inspiration, if not salvation, and on the other, serving up hypocrisy and repression. Through a diverse selection of artists—including Rev. Ethan Acres, Andrea Bowers, Nikki Pressley, and Erika Rothenberg—whose varied works seemingly address this duality, Lemus expanded outward from his own focus on the intersection of opposing forces. Beyond simply articulating paradox, he positions each conflict as a locus for dialogue and action—and as the threshold for working through the difference or differences that emerge, inevitably, within or between communities. This is the crux of his engagement.
Michael Ned Holte
1. A second, larger version of Until the Day Breaks and the Shadows Flee was included in Made in L.A. 2012 at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.
2. Go Tell It on the Mountain was on view at Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, January 14–February 18, 2012, and presented with additional artists at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, October 4, 2012–April 7, 2013.
Born 1977 in Los Angeles
Lives and works in Altadena, CA
MFA, California Institute of the Arts,
Skowhegan School of Painting and
Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, 2008
BFA, Art Center College of Design,
Pasadena, CA, 2007
A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles (solo)
Made in L.A. 2012, organized by the Hammer Museum and LA><ART, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
Go Tell It on the Mountain, California African American Museum, Los Angeles
Black Is Brown and Brown Is Beautiful, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles (solo)
Friction of Distance, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles (solo)
OZ: New Offerings from Angel City, Museo Regional de Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Feil, David A. “Round 33: The Seventh House.” Art Lies, no. 68 (Spring–Summer 2011). http://www.artlies.org/article.php?id=2051&issue=68&s=0.
Griffin, Jonathan. “Made in L.A. 2012.” Frieze, no. 149 (September 2012). https://www.frieze.com/issue/review/made-in-la-2012/.
Hunt, Amanda. “Nery Gabriel Lemus.” In Made in L.A. 2012, by Anne Ellegood et al., 227, 247–50. Los Angeles: Hammer Museum; Munich: DelMonico Books • Prestel, 2012.
Jao, Carren. “Domestic Affairs: The Poetically Political Art of Nery Gabriel Lemus.” Artbound, KCET, February 20, 2013. http://www.kcet.org/arts/artbound/counties/los-angeles/nery-gabriel-lemus-charlie-james-gallery.html.
Selected Awards and Honors
The Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award
In 2010 Rebeca Méndez traveled to Longyearbyen, the largest city in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, to join an international group of artists, scientists, architects, and educators on an Arctic expedition. Participating in a three-week residency program aboard the Noorderlicht, a two-masted ice-class sailing vessel, the group explored one of the most remote and unusual places on earth. Among the locations the participants visited was the research village of Ny-Ålesund, where scientists from Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and China come to work, remaining for one to two years before returning to their home countries. They journey back and forth dozens of times in the course of their scientific investigations, establishing a periodic migratory pattern not unlike those of many animals and birds.
Méndez had initially heard about the arctic tern from her husband, Adam Eeuwens, who had spotted it while living in Iceland; she finally got to see the bird herself in 2006, during a residency there. On her visit to Svalbard she became reacquainted with this extraordinary creature and its migratory existence. Traversing the globe from north to south and back, this member of the family Sternidae is a tireless migrant whose medium-size frame effectively conceals its almost unnatural stamina: an inner force compels the bird to undertake an annual circumpolar migration totaling 44,300 miles. It flies from the North Pole, over the west coast of Africa and the east coast of Brazil, and arrives at the South Pole, where it settles down for the winter. With the arrival of spring, the arctic tern retraces its journey to the North Pole. Catching the trade winds north of the equator, it will arrive at its destination in the month of June, in time to nest. This pattern will be repeated every year during the bird’s life span of approximately thirty years.
Méndez’s channeled her incipient interest in the life and migratory habits of the arctic tern into a poster that she designed in collaboration with Eeuwens for the eleventh edition of the International Poster Biennial of Mexico in 2010. Seeing the bird again in Ny-Ålesund gave her the impetus to commence a project that would help her understand what she refers to as “the edges of the world”—remote, extreme, and often precariously fragile environments—and their relationship to our lives. Pairing her own experiences in the Arctic Circle with her observations about human and animal migration, Méndez has created Circum/bi/polar, which is included in the C.O.L.A. exhibition.
Circum/bi/polar consists of photographs and a projected video. The six 32-by-48-inch photographs show various aspects of the research village at Ny-Ålesund, including the scientists at work and the surrounding Arctic landscape; an 80-by-56-inch photograph shows the arctic tern in flight. The video spotlights a journey the artist took to a remote location in Svalbard, where, in the midst of a blizzard, she attempted to plant the Mexican flag. Carrying out an act that the Spanish conquistadores would routinely perform when they arrived at a new post in the New World, the Mexican-born Méndez tried to claim this inhospitable land on behalf of her native country. Appearing as a tiny black speck on an immense white landscape, the artist struggles to accomplish her mission until the intense winds tear the flag out of her hands: she ultimately accepts the futility of her efforts and walks away.
Circum/bi/polar is a visual study of the understanding of human existence and its interconnection with the earth, as well as an attempt to come to terms with this relationship. According to Méndez, her expedition to the polar region has led her to see the world in more precise ways than ever before: observing the arctic tern’s behavior has sharpened her awareness not only of life’s vulnerability but also of the ability of living creatures to triumph over extreme circumstances. By taking the bird as the subject of an ongoing art project, she aims to draw parallels between its life and her own. Circum/bi/polar is one more step in this direction.
Born 1962 in Mexico City
Lives and works in Los Angeles (Westwood)
Professor, Design Media Arts, University of California, Los Angeles
MFA, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, 1996
BFA, design, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, 1984
Rebeca Méndez: At Any Given Moment, Nevada Art Museum, Reno (solo)
Each Day at Noon: Rebeca Méndez, Café Hammer, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (solo)
Rebeca Méndez, Museum of Contemporary Art, Oaxaca, Mexico (solo)
X Bienal de Arte, Cuenca, Ecuador
Rebeca Méndez: Iridescent, Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, CA (solo)
Rebeca Méndez: Selections from the
Permanent Collection of Architecture and Design, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (solo)
Bradner, Liesl. “On View: ‘Energy’ at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.” Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2010.
Hodge, Brooke. “Seeing Things: ‘Getting Upper.’” T Magazine (blog), New York Times, May 12, 2011. http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/12/seeing-things-getting-upper/?ref=t-magazine.
Schwarz, David. Strangest Thing: An Introduction to Electronic Art through the Teaching of Jacques Lacan. London: Routledge, forthcoming.
Selected Awards and Honors
National Design Award, Communication Design, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution
The watercolor paint that Rebecca Morris uses to make her drawings is fugitive, requiring great attention and control, assuredness and an economy of means, the exacting and decisive nature of an expert calligrapher. Each drawing is refined, like a letter in an alphabet. How long did it take for the letterform R to emerge fully formed, with its lanky vertical, its graceful curve, and its sassy kick to the side? How many manuscripts were illuminated before the twin summits of the letter M unveiled their stately peaks? The first time Morris showed me her drawings, I looked at each one and had the same thought over and over: for this one that I am holding here, how many were made and thrown aside? Each one seemed elemental, crystalline, and reductive. Her drawings breathe a palpable energy, the result of the combination of tremendous skill and immense desire in a great exhalation of strange beauty through improvisation.
There is a casual vibe to Morris’s paintings, but it’s important that I qualify what I mean by “casual.” The paintings are not superficial or noncommittal. Not in the slightest. And they aren’t informal or messy either. But they do privilege personal expression over convention and conformity. They are cool. They have the kind of cool, casual feeling that signals mastery. They are cool in the way that only something that is so totally itself and unlike anything else can be. This kind of cool comes from tending to details with limitless fascination, from repeating gestures over and over. It’s not to be mistaken for mannerism, though. What I’m talking about here can’t be achieved through mimicry. What I’m talking about here can come only from a long journey into one’s calling. It has to be earned.
Abstraction is not an esoteric or rarified language; it is all around us, all the time. The palette and vocabulary of marks and shapes in Morris’s paintings have a direct relationship to contemporary life, suggesting that painting exists within rather than outside of or adjacent to the mundane. The space of painting is not immune to the forces of the world beyond it. Paintings are not above, outside of, or separate from the rest of the world. They are part of the conversation. Morris’s paintings are a peculiarly articulate voice in this conversation. As an amalgam of gestures, meaningfully arranged, they present themselves to us in an articulate way. They are assertive and plainspoken. They state their case clearly.
And they are articulate in another way too. In Morris’s paintings, spaces within their spaces are articulated by outlines, or perhaps a shape is underlined, or maybe a space is delineated by a clean metallic glimmer overlaid on a dingy, paint-spattered canvas. These demarcations are not structures laid bare, nor are they merely marks; they are subjects unto themselves with all the richness and history of a letterform in an alphabet. In proximity to one another, strung together in contiguous patchworks, leafed together and interwoven, these utterances take shape and make meaning. Grids drawn with a wobbly freehand, intentionally dripping and bleeding: these are a grammar. Outlines and underlines are punctuation, defining and completing ideas. Color is poetry, but when it really sings, it becomes even more intimate: it is timbre. The gestures are letters, and the composition is the story they tell.
Born 1969 in Honolulu
Lives and works in Los Angeles (Lincoln Heights)
MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1994
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
Postbaccalaureate studio certificate, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1992
BA, Smith College, Northampton, MA, 1991
Southafternoon, Kunsthalle Lingen, Lingen, Germany (solo)
Phantom Limb: Approaches to Painting Today, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Harris Lieberman Gallery, New York (solo)
Ambigu: Contemporary Painting between Abstraction and Narration, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gall, Switzerland
For Abstractionists and Friends of the Non-Objective, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin (solo)
Rebecca Morris: Paintings, 1996–2005, Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (solo)
Smith, Roberta. “Rebecca Morris.” New York Times, January 7, 2011.
Westfall, Stephen, and Diedrich Diederichsen. Rebecca Morris: Paintings, 1996–2005. Chicago: Renaissance Society
at the University of Chicago, 2005.
Wilson, Michael. “Rebecca Morris, Harris Lieberman.” Artforum 49 (February 2011): 228.
Malathi Iyengar has just handed me a cool glass of homemade almond milk. I am embarrassed to tell her that, as a Minnesota native, I am tasting it for the very first time. Suddenly on a new journey, I automatically turn on my internal GPS, which tries to triangulate familiar guideposts using wine vernacular: strong mahogany-nut foundation, round mouth feel, notes of cardamom, saffron, sweet yet not cloying, with a brightly refreshing finish. Next there’s her glistening tomato rasam soup, and I’m transported again to a new world.
The United States has historically been considered part of “the New World,” and Los Angeles is the current epicenter of that identity. With more than five hundred miles of freeways and 45 million trips per day by Angelenos speaking more than two hundred languages, there are infinite journeys to be taken. Los Angeles is a piece of rangoli art, a mandala made with peacock-hued flower petals, flour, rice, sand, and people. When you meet Malathi Iyengar, you’ll find yourself at a creative launch point, and before you can fasten your seat belt, you’re off! Navigating the cultural freeway of L.A. forces all of us to evolve, to ask questions about our own cultures, our identities, ourselves.
Being awarded a C.O.L.A. Individual Artist Fellowship provides a new creative path for this brilliant choreographer, dancer, writer, and visual artist. Iyengar met her husband only five days before their arranged marriage and within eight months had moved from Bangalore, India, to Los Angeles. She then pursued a fierce and innovative trajectory beyond the confines of what is considered a conventional life for an Indian woman, leading the Rangoli Foundation for Art and Culture for more than twenty-five years on a journey with dancers and audiences. This courageous creative path of persistent exploration has an inherent contradiction. The classical Indian dance form known as Bharatanatyam has a long history, and while she embraces this tradition, Iyengar continually develops and extends it, transcending her culture by learning from other cultures. In this way she strives for universality in movement, music, and stories.
This is a story that is being written now, as the global community inexorably becomes more intertwined. People around the world are beginning to truly connect in a new global culture and are struggling to acknowledge a shared humanity. As with all myths and legends, the scale of this story may be great, but ultimately it is an intensely personal one, as we are all part of it. In her C.O.L.A. project, Iyengar will tell her own story of navigating within the West when her soul is in the East, an unfolding journey of identity on a changing cultural map.
As I finish the last of her miraculous soup, Iyengar is laughing while simultaneously being ruthlessly blunt about herself. She has never choreographed such a personal, modern story using the evolving physical vocabulary of Bharatanatyam dance. Quite frankly, it frightens her. But as a true artist, she is propelled forward by her intense curiosity and courage. My seat belt is now on. . . . I’m ready for the ride!
Born 1954 in Bangalore, India
Lives and works in Sherman Oaks, CA
MFA, dance (choreography and performance), University of California, Los Angeles, 1996
Professional Designation Certificate (art and design), University of California, Los Angeles, 1977–80
BS, chemistry, botany, and zoology, Bangalore University, Bangalore, India, 1972
Shivaya, Rangoli Dance Company, Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, Los Angeles, and Scherr Forum Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks, CA
Paintings of the Divine, Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, Los Angeles
Patanjali, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, Santa Monica, CA
Rangoli Dance Company performances, Madrid Theatre, Canoga Park, CA
Punyakoti, Julia Morgan Theatre, Berkeley, CA
Iyengar, Malathi. Dance and Devotion: A Hand Book on Bharatanatyam Dance and Traditional Prayers for Students Pursuing Indian Classical Dance. Sherman Oaks, CA: Rangoli Foundation for Art and Culture, 2004.
Emanating a rippling aura, shining and bright, he slowly walked up to the stage. He was just as free as a bird, soaring, his energy resonating through the whole band and his warm, unique sounds embracing the entire club. I was simply mesmerized by him. “Who is this man?” I wondered. I really loved his sounds, and my inner voice said clearly, “Someday you will play music with him.” Next thing I knew, he was off the stage and came to my table, saying, “I am not trying to pick you up, but can I sit next to you? I like your energy.” This was my first encounter with Michael White, in 1993.
Ten years later, miraculously, we reunited. Michael said that for many years he had been looking for a unique sound, which would entail a female voice, to complete the concept of his band. When I later joined his recording project Voices, I witnessed how he drew the best out of all the musicians, making space for creativity and allowing uniqueness to blossom individually and collectively. He weaves in, spontaneously and organically, his blessed quietness, kindness, and peace while driven internally by a rich reservoir of passion. He lives in the now: the essence of jazz. Michael reminded me how, in jazz, synergy between musicians is of the highest importance. Soon we became partners in life and music, pursuing our mutual artistic visions and endeavors, staying true to our cores—the spiritual energy of Love, Healing, Inspiration, Hope. The Michael White Quintet was born, and it became our life’s vital mission.
As time went on, I discovered that Michael White is also a truly groundbreaking living legend, a jazz violinist and composer whose spirit, vision, and sound continually open and heal the bodies, minds, and spirits of listeners around the world. His musical life began more than seven decades ago with his Western classical training under maestros from Germany and Italy and his performance as the first black violinist in the Young People’s Symphony of Berkeley. Later he set aside some of his classical training in order to innovate his own techniques and cultivate a sound that he felt suited violin as a solo leading instrument in jazz and modern music. Michael also worked his way through tradition to progressions of jazz. He performed with luminaries such as John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders, and countless others and was cofounder of the first jazz fusion band, the Fourth Way. As a leader he composed and recorded twelve major albums that included more than forty-five compositions, and he toured nationally and internationally. Albums such as Spirit Dance, Pneuma, and The Land of Spirit and Light have been reissued in recent years, some four decades after their original release dates, as a result of high demand from new and old listeners alike, who call Michael their “Spiritual Jazz Master.”
A young artist named Edward LaRose wrote to us: “Listening to Michael for the first time I instantly felt changed. As if his sound opened another dimension. . . . These listening moments are rites of passage, where the music educates you and changes the course of your life. For me the example of Michael White, the man with the violin was something that I always returned to. . . . Here is this man who recorded this beautiful music; in it you can hear wisdom, love, and enlightenment. The example of your devotion and integrity has inspired me to also be a man of integrity.”
As we put it in the description of Michael’s 2013 C.O.L.A. project, Orbit: “The roots of Jazz have always reflected ancient wisdom and universal spirituality. The concept of Orbit entails the universe, space, and the inhabiting of celestial bodies. Orbit is a portal of energy that permeates the cosmos and our human inner universe. The orbit of Venus traces the shape of hearts, emanating divine love. The music of Orbit reflects universal oneness.” This vision is to be presented with Michael’s beloved band members and jazz master musicians—Leisei Chen (vocals), Michael Howell (guitar), Heshima Mark Williams (bass), and Kenneth Nash (percussion)—who together form the Michael White Quintet.
Born 1930 in Houston
Lives and works in Los Angeles
Music studies, Contra Costa College, Richmond, CA, 1948
Michael White Quintet, tour the ARTS.MWQ, Croatian Cultural Center of Greater Los Angeles, San Pedro, CA
Michael White and Leisei Chen, Alice Coltrane Tribute, Royce Hall, University of California, Los Angeles
Michael White Quartet, FESTAC ‘77, Lagos, Nigeria
Michael White Quartet, Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland
John Handy Quintet, Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA
John Coltrane Quartet with Special Guests, Jazz Workshop, San Francisco
Buti, Luca. “Michael White Quintet: Note acute che suonano universali.” Jazz Magazine (Italy) 57 (August 1, 2007): 32–33.
Kuramoto, Kenichi. “Michael White.” In Spiritual Jazz: Jazz Next Standard (Japanese), by Mitsuru Ogawa, 78–79. Tokyo: Ritt–o My–ujikku, 2006.
“Michael White.” In The Rough Guide to Jazz, by Ian Carr, Brian Priestley, and Digby Fairweather, 856–57. 3rd ed. London: Rough Guides, 2004.
May 19 to July 7, 2013
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
4800 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Sunday, May 19, 2013, 2 to 5 pm
Metro: The Vermont/Sunset Red Line station is right next to the park, and multiple bus lines stop nearby.
Wheelchair accessibility: Handicapped parking is available at the top of Barnsdall Art Park, outside the Hollyhock House motor court. In addition, elevator access is available on the south end of the park near the Metro Red Line exit, with a second elevator at the base of the Barnsdall Art Center.
Park hours: 5:00 am to 10:00 pm
Municipal Art Gallery: Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5pm
Contact: email@example.com or (323) 660-4254.
Since its opening in 1971, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) at Barnsdall Park has been considered the flagship exhibition space for the Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Los Angeles. Throughout the gallery’s history, its leadership role in the community has evolved, but our focal point has always been the city’s artists, as demonstrated by our past and current exhibition programs. The gallery focuses primarily on the presentation, interpretation, documentation, promotion, and enrichment of the visual arts. The exhibition program is devoted to showcasing emerging, midcareer, and established artists. The exhibitions include group and individual presentations, with educational components for each. We are dedicated to serving the people of Los Angeles, and the scope of our curatorial activities includes painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, video, installation, design, and other related disciplines that reflect the cultural fabric of the Southern California region.
The city of Los Angeles offers a rich tapestry of culturally diverse audiences—from the Westside to the Eastside, from downtown to the Valley—and Barnsdall Park is one of the places where all of them can explore the arts. One can spend the day there, take an art class, or watch a live performance.
The fellows in the visual arts are Lisa Anne Auerbach, Krysten Cunningham, Ramiro Diaz-Granados, Samantha Fields, Judithe Hernández, Carole Kim, Nery Gabriel Lemus, Rebeca Méndez, and Rebecca Morris. The performing artists are Malathi Iyengar and Michael White.
LAMAG celebrates the accomplishments of these artists by presenting a nonthematic group exhibition featuring each visual artist’s most current work. The C.O.L.A. fellowship’s purpose is to give the artists flexibility to step out of their comfort zone and create adventurous new work that might otherwise be set aside. The fellows are chosen based on their past artistic accomplishments, with the selection made by a panel of established arts professionals and past C.O.L.A. fellowship recipients. This selection process results in a multifarious group of artists creating an “end product” exhibition and performance series that is always stellar.
I would like to thank the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Associates for their generous support of LAMAG’s exhibition and educational programming. The gallery could not run effectively without the following dedicated staff members, who continue to strengthen our vision and our purpose: Sara Cannon, art curator and director of museum education and tours program; Michael L. Miller, chief preparator; Gabriel Cifarelli, education coordinator; Marta Feinstein, education coordinator; and Mathew Ohm, director’s assistant. I would also like to acknowledge the executive team at the Department of Cultural Affairs: Olga Garay-English, executive director; Matthew Rudnick, assistant general manager; Will Caperton y Montoya, director of marketing and development; and Leslie Thomas, community arts division director overseeing Barnsdall Park.
In addition, I am grateful to the gallery’s support staff: Joan Bacon, Michael Bell, Dexter Delmonte, Jacqueline Dreager, Steve Honey, Marta Feinstein, Randy Kiefer, Mark Lucero, Michele Murphy, Matthew Ohm, Mary Oliver, Annette Ownes, Albino Njar, Gloria Plascencia, Larry Rubin, Michael Sage, Nancy Stanford, and Nan Wollman.
I would also like to thank the designer of this year’s C.O.L.A. invitation and online catalog, Michael Worthington, for the creative energy that he has dedicated to the project. Special thanks go to all the writers who have worked with the C.O.L.A. artists on developing texts about their work and to our editor, Karen Jacobson, for her outstanding editorial oversight of the project.
Finally, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery has a rich history of working with artists from all over Southern California and our surrounding communities, so I want to give my most gracious thanks to them for their generous support over the years. And I especially thank the residents of Los Angeles, who keep this gallery as a beacon for the arts in the city.
One of the primary tasks of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is to support the creative process in a global city at the crossroads of the world’s ideas. We are privileged to fulfill that goal and introduce new bodies of work produced by master artists selected for the 2012–13 C.O.L.A. Individual Artist Fellowship Awards.
The fellowships are significant because they acknowledge and highlight the contributions of some of our city’s finest individual artists. The fellowship program appears to be quite simple, yet a great deal of support is necessary to select the artists and allow them room to create freely. This simplicity provides a framework for the complex, aesthetically challenging, and divergent work showcased in our exhibition, performances, and online catalog.
At a time when most government sector support continues to limit access to funding for individual artists, city funding is critical. Join us in extending our appreciation to Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, the Los Angeles City Council, and the Cultural Affairs Commission for their commitment to the arts in our city.
The C.O.L.A. Individual Artist Fellowship program is the product of inspiration. The artists selected for this honor represent what is unique about L.A.: that we recognize, value, and celebrate innovation and creativity. Together we congratulate this year’s fellowship recipients. Their sensitive approach to the social, political, and intellectual traditions reflected in Los Angeles helps us expand our cultural consciousness. We are fortunate to work with a community of artists whose energy and vision continue to make this collaboration a success.
Catalog Design and Production
Michael Worthington and Ania Diakoff, Counterspace, Los Angeles
Artists’ Portraits by
Printed by LuLu
© 2013 by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. All rights reserved.
Original artworks courtesy of the individual artists unless otherwise noted.
As a covered entity under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and upon request will provide reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities.
Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Grant Program
The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs awards grants for the production, creation, presentation, exhibition, and managerial support of art projects in the following areas: culture/history, design, dance, media, music, literary arts, outdoor festivals/parades, theatre, traditional/folk art, visual arts, and projects which are multi-disciplinary.
Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to bring the highest quality artistic and cultural services to Los Angeles residents and visitors. Since 1990, the Department of Cultural Affairs has awarded over $57.6 million dollars to local artists, arts organizations, and arts events. In 2012-2013, the Department offered $2.2 million in project support to more than 280 local artists and organizations through its Cultural Grant Program.
C.O.L.A. INDIVIDUAL ARTIST FELLOWSHIPS
Each C.O.L.A. grant recipient was offered support to create new work that is showcased in a non-thematic group presentation series. This annual event greatly benefits general audiences and honors a selection of established and creative artists who live and work in Los Angeles.
Catalog Design and Production
Michael Worthington and Ania Diakoff, Counterspace, Los Angeles
Artists’ Portraits by
Printed by LuLu
© 2013 by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. All rights reserved.
Original artworks courtesy of the individual artists unless otherwise noted.
As a covered entity under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and upon request will provide reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities.
The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) generates and supports high quality arts and cultural experiences for Los Angeles’ 4 million residents and 26 million annual visitors. DCA advances the social and economic impact of the arts and ensures access to diverse and enriching cultural activities through: grant making, marketing, public art, community arts programming, arts education, and building partnerships with artists and arts and cultural organizations in neighborhoods throughout the City of Los Angeles.
DCA’s operating budget and managed portfolio totals $39.8 million in fiscal year 2012/13. It consists of: $11 million in funds from the Public Works Improvements Arts Program (PWIAP); $10.8 million in City related and indirect cost allocations; $6.7 million from the Private Arts Development Fee Program (ADF); $9.2 million in Transient Occupancy Tax funds; and over $2.1 million in private and public funds raised from foundation, corporate, government, and individual donors.
DCA significantly supports artists and cultural projects through its Public Art Division by administering a portfolio totaling $17.7 million in PWIAP and ADF funds in FY12/13. DCA’s Marketing and Development Division has raised over $20 million since FY07/08 to re-grant to LA-based artists and arts and cultural organizations for special grant initiatives and to support DCA’s special programming and facilities. DCA also grants approximately $2.2 million annually to over 280 artists and nonprofit arts and cultural organizations through its long-established Grants Administration Division.
DCA provides arts and cultural programming through its Community Arts Division, managing numerous neighborhood arts and cultural centers, theaters, historic sites, and educational initiatives. DCA’s Marketing and Development Division also markets the City’s arts and cultural events through development and collaboration with strategic partners, design and production of creative catalogs, publications, and promotional materials, and management of the culturela.org website visited by over 3 million people annually.