The Curators Laboratory Exhibitions greatly enhance FOCA’s mission of supporting emerging and mid-career California artists by reaching out to emerging curators who will present exhibitions in support of a curatorial thesis. In keeping with FOCA’s historical goal to provide documentation of each exhibition, records of the curator’s process of conceptualizing and organizing each exhibition will be posted on FOCA’s website. Over time this series of curatorial projects and associated web support will generate - for students, artists, curators, and the public - a valuable archive resource.

Curators Lab Exhibitions take place in FOCA’s headquarters in Chinatown. FOCA periodically offers a Request for Proposals for curatorial submissions. Also, the Curators Lab has a Facebook Page.

The Future Eve
Curator(s):
Jared Baxter
January 28 to March 4, 2017

The Future Eve explores the relationship between technology and the body and features video, sculpture, drawing, installation and sound by 5 California-based artists:
Robert Crouch
Nicole Phungrasamee Fein
Karen Lofgren
Yann Novak
Dean Smith

The Future Eve is the title of a science fiction novel from 1886 by Villiers de l’Isle-Adam. Credited with popularizing the term “android,” its protagonist is a fictionalized Thomas Alva Edison, hailed in a short foreword as the discoverer of “among others, the Telephone, the Phonograph, the Microphone, and those admirable electric light bulbs which have now spread across the earth’s surface.”
The action begins with the return of an old friend, Lord Celian Ewald, who has arrived in a sense already dead. Fated by family tradition to love only once, the hapless aristocrat has fallen for a woman, evidently the mirror image of the Venus de Milo, whose materialistic personality falls far short of the ideal suggested by her beauty. He has thus resolved to commit suicide. Calling him back to life, Edison reveals that he has constructed a working prototype of an android, named Hadaly, who can be customized to duplicate this woman, with her inner flaws supplanted by machinery optimized for the realization of an allegedly scientific ideal of love.
Edison ushers the skeptical Ewald into a secret underground laboratory, where he expounds in detail upon the technical and philosophical underpinnings of his invention. The former discourse, which highlights features such as the two golden phonograph records that constitute Hadaly’s lungs and provide her voice and vocabulary, is notable for its inventive, at times nearly prophetic, use of then-nascent technologies. The latter stands out for its appalling sexism. The two strands merge when Edison presents two cinema reels, more than a decade before film was ever projected in public, depicting a woman who seduced a now-deceased friend to ruin with and without an elaborate array of cosmetic enhancements. If female beauty can be thus and so ruinously simulated, Edison seems to argue, he will spare men the risks of temptation by taking the matter to its logical conclusion.
The exhibition engages this dual legacy of Villiers’ novel, at once ahead of its time and deeply regressive. On the one hand, The Future Eve’s idealistic, if ideologically tainted, portrayal of the integration of man and machine is contrasted to the present climate, in which authors like economist Robert Gordon have argued that we have entered an era of permanently reduced technological advancement compared to the hundred-year period beginning in 1870. On the other, the sexism latent in the android narrative, highlighted by the example of Villiers’ Edison, is examined in terms of what it can reveal about broader cultural narratives surrounding technology and its relationship to nature, in particular through the latter’s omnipresent synecdoche, the body.
Recreating both Edison’s inner sanctum and the body of the android splayed wide, the art exhibition The Future Eve is a program that attempts to rewrite Hadaly’s code and a Frankenstein-esque monster formed from the hybridization of literary criticism and contemporary art. The exhibition features work in a variety of media, and raises provocative questions about autonomy, mediation, and sentience.

Curator Jared Baxter was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and studied German literature at Reed College. His writing on art has appeared in Artslant, Flash Art, and Native Strategies, and he joined VOLUME as a curator in 2012. His recent projects include Haunted Formalism, an exhibition of new works by Nicole Phungrasamee Fein and Dean Smith at Del Vaz. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Uncommon Ground: Curated by Kate Whitlock
Curator(s):
Kate Whitlock
August 20, 2016 - October 20, 2016
Left: Julia Haft-Candell Right: Anna Breininger
Left: Julia Haft-Candell
Right: Anna Breininger

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• Anna Breininger, Julia Haft-Candell, Molly Larkey, Lindsay August-Salazar, Feodor Voronov
• Opening reception: Saturday, August 20 2016 6-9pm
• Artist talk September 17, 2016 5pm
• Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10am-5pm
• Location: Fellows of Contemporary Art, 970 N Broadway, Suite 208, Los Angeles, CA 90012

“The fact of the matter is that the real world is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group. We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.”
-Edward Sapir

Over the past year, five artists who knew little of each other’s practice were encouraged to attend studio visits to familiarize themselves with each other’s body of work as it pertains to the alphabet. The casual meetings gave way to a transparent dialogue that helped inform, challenge and validate their individual languages. Inevitable similarities and overlaps in the artists’ singular realities resulted in a conservatory of documented sensory explorations that are visually uncommon, but grounded by the alphabet. Emphasizing the alphabet as a learned out- of- body entity, the artists’ work in this exhibition captures the moment “in-between” linear thought processes where cognition begins.

Applying their own language by proxy of medium, the artists draw upon intuitive experiences to then cultivate and paraphrase original content derived from the alphabet. Observed in a state of constant motion, the artwork calls to action a desire to evolve the fixed notions of the alphabetic character and its syntax.

Collectively, the artworks in this exhibition demonstrate desires to construe and categorize as well as discard and destroy. What is ultimately created through these different processes is the possibility for new interpretations and insights. The attempt to make something new and unfamiliar reflects the ongoing search to create what cannot be defined. To quote John Rajchman, “For what is new is in fact not what is in fashion, but what we can’t yet conceive, can’t yet see, or have the sure means to judge - which is just why it forces us to think and think together.”

Anna Breininger addresses aspiration and boundaries as they relate to taste and means through an index of forms derived from common interior patterns. Viewing a surface as a vehicle to define identities; a space on which we project desires, Breininger discovers relationships between painting and the ornamental. In doing so, Breininger’s library of reimagined forms invert meaning. Geometry now becomes a device for fluidity and the structural works in service of the decorated surface.

Julia Haft-Candell is curious about approaching the alphabet as a grouping of symbols. Letters are records of deliberate hand movements from which we have learned to derive or create meaning. In her work, she questions why these specific shapes were chosen as opposed to infinite other shapes; for example, adding a leg to an 'E,' rendering it meaningless, or slowly coil-building a cursive letter out of clay to fully understand the bends in its shape.

Molly Larkey’s work speaks to our human condition as bound in contradiction, even as it rejects the dichotomous, and insists on fluidity of form and function. It longs for a language that names the subjectobject, the malefemale, the richpoor, the blackwhite, the allnothing, the infinitelimited. It points to our failed dualistic vocabularies, and how the structures of power that benefit from an either/or have routinely denied the neither/both a space, a name, even a shape or form. To this end, her work combines elements of language, painting, and sculpture in an act of imaginative rebellion that opens up possibilities for revolutionary thought.

Lindsay August-Salazar has been investigating and developing a non auditory/ phonetic, glyphic like language, parallel to something that we call an alphabet, entitled ACC (Abstract Character Copies) that attempts to discern the differences within repetition and return. Perhaps to magnify or even carve out the space between the primal, the struggle, and artificial solutions. Through bold color, repetition and architectural division of space, her work attempts to highlight or visually depict this embodied “in-between”.

Feodor Voronov creates optical terrains that splinter and twist around the central image of a word. Voronov investigates the nature of repetition in both form and language by painting harlequin patterns that are at once organic and methodical - an analysis of the human experience that borders on familiar but is clearly unique. Voronov toys with the formal aesthetics of the written word, evaluating its psychological roots in symbolism à la Magritte, while also embellishing upon the intrinsic habit of mark-making in the vein of Cy Twombly.

 

For further information please contact Connie McCreight, FOCA Curators Lab Chair,
at conniemccreight@earthlink.net or FOCA Office at foca@focala.org

Straddling the Boundaries: Curated by Ricardo Rodriguez
Curator(s):
Ricardo Rodríguez
May 7th - July 8th 2016

Straddling the Boundaries

Read the Catalog: Straddling the Boundaries

See video of May 7 opening at:  https://vimeo.com/165793481

In the contemporary art world one could easily think that every “medium” is in crisis. There is constant shifting and borrowing among disciplines. This is not a new way of approaching art-making, but artists are increasingly embracing diverse creative and presentational possibilities in order to enhance their ideas and concepts. The idea of layering and juxtaposing images with materials has been practiced since the “readymades” of Marcel Duchamp. But contemporary artists continue to explore the blurring boundaries between images, objects, process, and media in new and exciting ways.

This exhibition showcases the work of Colin Gray, Melissa Manfull, and Ricardo Rodríguez. Though they all grew up in different countries, there are commonalities in their approach to their work and conceptual interests. Paper and wood form elements of many of the works displayed – either in relation to drawing in the case of Manfull and Gray, or photography in Rodríguez’s work. At the same time, each explores landscapes in one way or another; either by investigating the structure of their media, or by deconstructing the location in which they live.

Melissa Manfull, Colin Gray and Ricardo Rodriguez’s works compose a distinctive exhibition which showcases a hybrid approach to creating and presenting artworks. By borrowing from various different media – two-dimensional and three-dimensional – these artists are straddling the boundaries between them, and liberating themselves from medium-specificity.

Colin Gray departed England’s shores for Santa Barbara 35 years ago, and since that time has exhibited in solo shows locally as well as in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Primarily working in sculpture, drawing, and installations of drawings, he has also completed three permanent public art projects, two in the Santa Barbara area and one in Los Angeles. His artwork has been described as being 'monuments to the imagination', 'simultaneously horrific and ecstatic', ‘whimsical', ‘wild', ‘funny', ‘scary', 'improvised but ancient', and ‘undeniable'.
He has been awarded several grants, including the Santa Barbara County Individual Artists Award, as well as a Pollock/Krasner. He taught sculpture at the College of Creative Studies, UCSB, for nine years, and still teaches drawing at various places including Santa Barbara City College’s Center for Lifelong Learning, and VITA art center in Ventura.

Melissa Manfull is a Los Angeles based artist who has exhibited in California, Montreal, London and Boston. Her awards include the Armory Center for the Arts Teaching Fellowship, Palm Springs Art Museum Summer Teaching Residency, and Los Angeles Printmaking Society Scholarship. Manfull received her MFA from Concordia University Montreal, Canada.  She participated in the Fellows Curators Lab show "Witty and Urbane" curated by Kristi Lipirre in 2015.

Curator Ricardo Rodríguez was born and raised in Puerto Rico where he studied art at the University of Puerto Rico. In 2010 Rodríguez earned his Master’s in Fine Arts at Brooks in Santa Barbara, California. Rodríguez utilizes photography, installation, and video to explore the different ways he can approach reality. Since the beginning he has been interested in creating conceptual work, and he is particularly interested in blurring the line between reality and representation. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California and he has exhibited nationally and internationally. As an art educator Rodríguez taught photography at Ventura College in Ventura, California. While living in Ventura he curated the Tool Room Gallery for four years, and was a board member of Bell Arts Factory. Currently, Rodríguez lives in Los Angeles California and teaches photography and video at Glendale City College and Flintridge Preparatory School.

• Artists: Colin Gray, Melissa Manfull, and Ricardo Rodríguez
• Opening reception: Saturday, May 7th,  6-9pm
• Date: May 7th - July 8th
• Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10am-5pm
• Location: Fellows of Contemporary Art, 970 N. Broadway, Suite 208, Los Angeles, CA 90012

• Website: http://focala.org/curators-lab/

For further information please contact Connie McCreight, FOCA Curators Lab Chair,
at conniemccreight@earthlink.net or FOCA Office at foca@focala.org

 

SV+VS (Sonifying Visuals + Visualizing Sound)
Curator(s):
Yoon C Han
January 23 – March 18, 2016

SV2

SV+VS (Sonifying Visuals + Visualizing Sound)

Curated by Yoon C Han

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Visual Music is an art form that transforms auditory data into visual experience and shares aesthetics of music with the visual language. It closes the gap between two different sensory expressions by using the development of technology. Throughout the consistent evolution and innovations of technology, visual music has been investigated for a long time by artists, designers, engineers, and researchers in various ways. From color organ and television to mobile device and virtual reality, technological inventions have delivered higher impact to artists to push the boundaries of their multi-sensory artworks. Artists have used computer programming to create algorithmic composition and visualization based on sound data. Mapping sound into the visual language (colors, shapes and forms) can boost up higher user engagement and reading ability. Immersive audiovisual experience using sensory devices opens up a new possibility in media art and visual music field.

The diversity of these works reflects a complex and nuanced field. Yet the exhibition posits something specific: how we listen to visuals and how we see sound. Many of the artists in this exhibition aim for creating new ways of listening and seeing data. The sound and the visuals they create provide immersive experiences for visitors that resonate with them. In many of the works, visuals and sound are linked tightly together, and give rise to new understanding and exciting experiences.

This exhibition explores the cutting edge of visual music by observing diverse approaches from eight artists based on California. Artists include Reza Ali, Yuan-Yi Fan, George Legrady, Ryan McGee, Juan Manuel Escalante, Erick Oh, F. Myles Sciotto and Camella Da Eun Kim. Artworks range from hand-drawn animation, audiovisual installation and performance, and ­mobile application to data-driven visual sound.

·       Artists: Reza Ali, Yuan-Yi Fan, George Legrady, Ryan McGee, Juan Manuel Escalante, Erick Oh, F. Myles Sciotto and Camella DaEun Kim

·       Opening reception: Saturday, January 23, 2016  6-9pm

·       Exhibition program: Saturday, January 23, 2016  7pm,  Opening performance by      Ryan McGee

·       Date: January 23 – March 18, 2016

·       Hours: Tuesday – Friday  10am-5pm

·       Location: Fellows of Contemporary Art, 970 N. Broadway, Suite 208, Los Angeles, CA 90012

·       Website: http://yoonchunghan.com/sv+vs/,  http://focala.org/curators-lab/

·       Exhibition visual identity design: Josh Jiang

For further information please contact Connie McCreight, FOCA Curators Lab Chair,

at conniemccreight@earthlink.net or FOCA Office at foca@focala.org 

6H to 8B
Curator(s):
Sydney Croskery
September 19 - November 13, 2015
Left: Marissa Textor, Tropical Abstraction, 2015, 30" x 22.5", Graphite on Paper; Top: Michael Dee, 78, 2015, 7.62×39mm, Graphite Sticks; Bottom: Claudia Parducci, The Space Between Us/#15 , 2015, 60" x 48", Graphite on Canvas; Right: Aili Schmeltz, Twisted Hourglass Generator 1, 2013, 60" x 96"; Graphite on Paper
Left: Marissa Textor, Tropical Abstraction, 2015, 30" x 22.5", Graphite on Paper; Top: Michael Dee, 78, 2015, 7.62×39mm, Graphite Sticks; Bottom: Claudia Parducci, The Space Between Us/#15 , 2015, 60" x 48", Graphite on Canvas; Right: Aili Schmeltz, Twisted Hourglass Generator 1, 2013, 60" x 96"; Graphite on Paper

6H to 8B presents graphite and charcoal works by artists living in Los Angeles. Referring to the density range of graphite and charcoal pencils, 6H to 8B presents drawings, sculpture and animation in a spectrum of styles, spanning from photo-realism to abstraction. Demonstrating the multiple possibilities of charcoal and graphite, these works address ideas of comedy, violence, awkwardness, nostalgia and the politics of the present.

In our age of technological spectacle, these artists bring contemporaneity to a seemingly anachronistic medium and practice. The use of grey-scale, like a black and white photograph, becomes a signifier of history and nostalgia, and serves as a vehicle to imbue emotional and psychological depth. Without the punch of color, these works bring a complex gravity to their subject matter, whether tragedy or comedy.

6H to 8B links the work of 17 Los Angeles artists with very different practices and a full spectrum of styles, all who have a strong practice in drawing. Included are photo-realist works by Colin Cook (with Collaborator Bill Shambaugh), John Geary, Marissa Textor and Eric Yahnker; representational works by Sydney Croskery, Susan Logoreci, Rob Reynolds, and Yuval Pudik; lyrical realism by Chloe Boleyn, Brian Cooper, and Kiel Johnson; animation by Tanya Haden; sculpture by Michael Dee; and conceptual abstraction works by Tony de los Reyes, Claudia Parducci, Antonio Puleo and Aili Schmeltz. These artists examine contemporary complexities with the use of the most rudimentary of art materials.

Featuring Graphite and Charcoal Works by:  

Chloe Boleyn
Colin Cook (with Bill Shambaugh)
Brian Cooper
Sydney Croskery
Tony de los Reyes
Michael Dee
John Geary
Tanya Haden
Kiel Johnson
Susan Logoreci
Claudia Parducci
Yuval Pudik
Antonio Puleo
Rob Reynolds
Aili Schmeltz
Marissa Textor
Eric Yahnker

An opening reception was held at the Fellows office on September 19.

 

 

 

 

 

Witty and Urbane
Curator(s):
Kristi Lippire
May 9 – July 10, 2015

How do human beings respond to the Metropolitan structure? What are the aspects of living in the city of Los Angeles we find so compelling? What does it mean to live within generations of images and visual detritus from many different cultures?  Witty and Urbane, is a five-person exhibition curated by Kristi Lippire which reflects on the complexity of overlapping urban fragmentation and development with humor and curiosity.  Exhibiting artists include Kristi Lippire, Susan Logoreci, Melissa Manfull, Dana Maiden and Erin Payne.

To live in a city structure is to live as a collective. The fluid movement of people, businesses and neighborhoods allows for the coexistence of differences.  These artists attempt to level out any hierarchies by their interests in diverse urban elements. The work in this exhibition researches a variety of historical, social and cultural subjects and ranges from photography to sculpture and drawing.

On Sunday, June 28th there will be an all-day, multi-venue event in conjunction with the exhibition. Each artist will be leading a participatory activity related to how they explore the city of Los Angeles. Starting at the FOCA gallery in Chinatown, Melissa Manfull will help guests print their own silkscreened map of the day’s events and of other points of interest in North-East Los Angeles. Erin Payne will be constructing floating biodegradable structures at the LA River near Marsh Street Nature Park.  Susan Logoreci is showing visitors how to use their own cell phones to take personal aerial photographs in Lincoln Park. Dana Maiden will be setting up her photo-sculpture Think Tank in El Sereno where for the same price as a bag of fruit, participants will receive a bag of chopped up photographs, which they can use to create a collaborative collage. Kristi Lippire will host an open studio in El Sereno. Come see her space and the workspace of her colleagues in the former Post Office of El Sereno. There will be a post-event reception at the open studio 4 – 7pm.

ARTISTS:

Kristi Lippire’s sculptures embrace play, experimentation and intuitive exploration in their creation. Reinterpreting found images into precarious forms and structures; Lippire contributes two new works that have been inspired by issues of failed utilitarian interventions in urban forms and landscape. There is a sense of humor that is conveyed in keeping the viewer perpetually off balance in imagery and overall construction. The images and objects reference the negative spaces of urban landscape and are made up of objects and structures in any given periphery. The use of color and scale in the work directly refers to the access we have here in Los Angeles to light and space.

Susan Logoreci’s colored pencil drawings use well known Los Angeles landmarks in order to express a casual, playful and celebratory mood while simultaneously depicting urbanity as a flawed and sprawling endeavor that is out of balance.  Logoreci’s drawings express confusion between space and flatness, seducing and alienating the viewer with exhaustive patterns of form. They are contemporary landscapes that tease our preconceived ideas of place and structure as stable and permanent. “My interest in making this work lies in the paradoxes of the spaces we create (virtue and vice, doubt and wonder), as well as discovering a new vision in the rich tradition of landscape art.”

Melissa Manfull’s drawings for this exhibition each relate to a different section of a reading from Melville’s Moby Dick. The drawings are a notation of a chronological grouping of chapters where ink renderings are immediate visualizations of text through movement, line, pattern & imagery. The bookMoby Dick was chosen for its themes relating to the existential; living within daily existence of striving for something unattainable, moving through the motions of daily life within a set of prescribed actions, towards the goal of the unattainable. Manfull relates this story specifically to Los Angeles as a city intrinsically tied to the ocean & the vastness of the unknown outside of its borders.

Dana Maiden investigates the ways photography and sculpture can be combined to reactivate the spatial details of a particular time and place. The works in this show are inspired by two novels set in Los Angeles at the end of the 1960s: The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon and Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion. Taking each book’s descriptions of the L.A. landscape as her starting point, Maiden explores the intersection between nostalgia, alienation and the disembodied perception of photographic space as she attempts to relocate herself in a fictional landscape nearly fifty years later.   The artist’s large-scale photographs are often cut out, mounted to free standing structures, combined with found objects and re-photographed back in the landscape. These recursive explorations seize fissures in the simulacra, expanding the borders of the representation into the tensions of space.

Erin Payne’s work is an examination of the natural history museum diorama and the humor that exists in the relationship between what is real and what is artificial.  For this exhibition Payne has made a “prop” or sculptural recreation of a chunk of earth based on a site in Pico Canyon, Santa Clarita.  The artificial piece of land has been documented amongst living, natural elements and animals of the environment which inspired it. This sculptural prop is re-photographed as a sort of imposter or absurd copy as it negotiates a playful contradiction of sources between the flora and fauna. The Natural History of an urban environment is one of fluctuating circumstances.

EVENTS:

  • Opening Reception – Saturday, May 9, 6 – 9 pm
  • Sunday, June 28th Event from 11am – 7pm:
    • Melissa Manfull map printing workshop at FOCA 970 N Broadway, Suite 208,  11am – 1pm
    • Erin Payne workshop at the LA River, Marsh Street Nature Park,  12pm – 2pm
    • Susan Logoreci, Aerial photography with cellphones at Lincoln Park,  1pm – 3pm
    • Dana Maiden, Fruit Cart in El Sereno 4822 South Huntington,  2pm – 4 pm
    • Kristi Lippire, open studio and ending reception, 3316 Eastern Ave, El Sereno,  4pm – 7pm
Petraphilia: The Love of Stones
Curator(s):
Richard Turner
January 17 – March 13, 2015

Petraphilia: The Love of Stones is an exhibition in which viewing stones are displayed together with contemporary works of art inspired by the artists’ interest in Chinese scholar’s rocks, stones, boulders and the landscape. Exhibiting artists include Hilary Baker, Keiko Fukazawa, Lia Halloran, Jacci Den Hartog, Shoshi Kanokohata, Noel Korten, Pierre Picot and Richard Turner. Viewing stones on display are from the collections of Tom Elias, James Greaves and Freeman Wang. The exhibition is curated by Richard Turner. An opening night reception will be held Saturday January 17 from 6-9pm.

All cultures have held certain stones in high regard. In China, however, a tradition of stone collecting and connoisseurship evolved that was unrivaled. Viewing stones were appreciated for their formal properties and for their ability to evoke distant landscapes, human and animal forms, deities and the physical and spiritual energies of the universe. Scholars’ rocks were collected and displayed as far back as the 10th century Song Dynasty in China. The tradition was introduced into Japan and by the 14th century a distinctly Japanese version, suiseki, was flourishing. The American viewing stone practice, which is barely a half-century old, derives from both the Japanese and Chinese traditions as they have been understood and interpreted by American practitioners.

Since the 1996 Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Worlds Within Worlds: The Richard Rosenblum Collection of Chinese Scholars’ Rocks introduced western artists to viewing stones, artists as diverse as Roy Lichtenstein and Ugo Rondinone, Zhan Wang and Arlene Shechet, Brice Marden and Andrea Cohen have been working with ideas inspired by their encounters with viewing stones. However, there have been very few exhibitions of such work displayed alongside the stones themselves. Petraphilia: The Love of Stones will be a first for Los Angeles.

ARTISTS:

Hilary Baker characterizes her paintings as portraits of stones, not in the sense that they are faithful representations of the physical details of the rock, but rather as evocations of the essence of the stone based on careful study of its properties. Keiko Fukazawa’s cast ceramic Beanie Babies configured as Chinese scholar’s rocks, use a traditional form as a vehicle for a critique of child labor practices in a globalized society. Lia Halloran’s ink-on-film drawings of crystal structures with figures emerging from and disappearing into them are performative negotiations with the unpredictable “self-animating” ink, the drawing process an analogy for the growth of the crystals themselves. Jacci Den Hartog's tabletop pieces are answers to her question. "How does one paint a landscape without doing a landscape painting?" The Navajo blanket patterns that run riot over her rocky forms animate her landscapes with a psychedelic anxiety. Shoshi Kanokohata describes his ceramic sculptures as being somewhere between an object that he has found and one that he has made. He sees the forces involved in the production of his sculptures as being analogous to the natural forces that shape stones. Noel Korten views the landscape as a Rorschach test. His watercolors of the desert landscape are deliberately ambiguous so that the viewer can have the same experience with his paintings that he had with the landscape: finding their own imagined forms reflected in his indeterminate images. Pierre Picot’s precise drawings of tiny stones from the gravel in his driveway are his a means of participating in the grand tradition of European landscape painting and establishing a bond with the natural world as he experiences it in Bretagne, France. Richard Turner’s work deliberately obscures the distinctions between the artist and the connoisseur, east and west, convention and innovation. His piece includes traditional and contemporary viewing stones and found-object sculptures.

Viewing Stone Collectors

For Thomas Elias the diversity of his collection is the key to understanding contemporary viewing stone practices and keeping abreast of the latest developments around the globe. The stones he displays in this exhibition reflect the broad range of his interests. James Greaves repurposes a traditional piece of Japanese display furniture and employs it to present a grouping of stones that evoke memories of the archeological digs in Greece and Turkey where he worked on summers abroad and the Turkish ceramics that he collected at an earlier time in his life. Freeman Wang grew up around stones. He was born in the city of Luzhou which is sometimes referred to as the stone capitol of China. He chooses stones for himself, and encourages his clients to select stones, based on whether or not the stone “talks to you”.

FOCA’s exhibition space is located at 970 North Broadway Suite 208, Los Angeles CA. Hours are Tuesday – Friday 10:00AM to 5:00PM. For further information please contact Jackie Navarrete, foca@focla.org, FOCA Office Administrator (213) 808-1008.

EVENTS:

Opening night reception will be held Saturday January 17, 2015  from 6-9pm

Itch Scratch Scar
Curator(s):
Kohl King and Alevé Mei Loh
September 20 - November 21, 2014

Fellows of Contemporary Art proudly presents Itch Scratch Scar as their final exhibition for the 2014 Curators Lab series. Curated by Kohl King and Alevé Mei Loh, Itch Scratch Scar will feature the work of 15 Los Angeles based artists whose works are substantially rich in process and investigate and interpret the theme of impulse, action and fulfillment.

Historically, during 1880s-1920s it was observed that the cultural hallmarks of boredom, cynicism and pessimism lead to the rejection of social order and traditional values, which, in turn, impacted artistic philosophy and production.

Similarly over the period thus far from 1980, there has been extensive political change, environmental degradation, technological advancement and economic inflation and turmoil. The current generation describes a world that has gotten smaller and time is perceived to have sped up. The exponential ripple effects of all these factors have left many with a deep unshakeable feeling that the world may not experience the dawn of a new century; and yet, within this unrest, artists still answer to the need to create and leave a mark in whatever ways possible, while still sustaining their existence.

As we head towards 2020, the theme of Itch Scratch Scar is to survey current artists who are actively engaged in capturing the relevant narratives of the epoch either through subject matter, choice of materials or genre.

Featuring artists Peter Wu, Christian Tedeschi, Kiki Seror, Christine Nguyen, York Chang, Shiva Aliabadi, Mariel Carranza, Marc Horowitz, Cody Trepte, Yoshie Sakai, Emmett Walsh, Patricia Valencia, Finishing School, Alevé Mei Loh and Kohl King.

EVENTS:

September 20th: Opening reception with performance by Mariel Carranza.

November 8th: WETLAB: an instrument assembly, mapping activity and training workshop by Finishing School, 1-3 pm, FOCA location. Free, open to public.

Catalog Release featuring exhibition essay by Tulsa Kinney accompanied by artist talk.

The Third Ear
Curator(s):
Chiara Giovando
May 17 – July 18, 2014

In the same way that the “third eye” is a metaphor for a real or imagined sensory organ that perceives less tangible matter, conceivably, the “third ear” also perceives a realm located somewhere beyond what can be immediately verified.

Human sensory perception registers just a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) as sound and light. All sound and light, even matter vibrates and has a specific resonant frequency. The human ear perceives sound at waveforms between 20 and 20k Hz while light and color resonate at much higher frequencies. Still, there are a whole range of EMS frequencies that exist beyond the capabilities of our sensory organs. It is here that one could envision the third ear functioning - in a range somewhere between sound and light, between the audible and the visible.

The Third Ear exhibition invites five Los Angeles Based artists working with visual approaches to sound to participate in an exhibition that investigates the aural in contemporary visual art. Inspired by a subtitle to a recording by artist and composer Maryanne Amacher, The Third Ear explores the space between sound and visual cognition through contemporary sound art practices in Los Angeles.

Organized by artist and independent curator Chiara Giovando, The Third Ear, includes works by Jules Gimbrone, Chiara Giovando, Mette Hersoug, Alison O’Daniel and John Wiese.

Jules Gimbrone is an artist and composer. Gimbrone approaches sound and composition through the lens of architectural, sculptural and choreographic interplay. Concerned with a tension between conceptual systems and their inevitable demise, Gimbrone’s work exposes multiple failures and queries of the pre formative body. Gimbrone co-created, and curates Pack Projects, an art-music collective based in New York City and Los Angeles. Gimbrone’s work has been shown at venues including, VOX Populi, Human Resources LA, ISSUE Project Room, 3LD Art & Technology Center, MOMA PS 1, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Performance Project, and Cameo Gallery. Gimbrone is currently completing an MFA at CalArts under Michael Pisaro.

Chaira Giovando is an artist and curator. Based in experimental music practices her work includes installation, performance and film. Giovando has been actively involved with organizing exhibitions and concerts dedicated to sound art since the mid 1990s. She was curator of the Sound Structures series in San Francisco that recreated indeterminacy scores ranging from early Fluxus works to Cornelius Cardew’s The Great Learning to new commissions. In 2012 she was awarded a research fellowship with German Collector and curator René Block that culminated the exhibition Hammer Without a Master: Henning Christiansen’s Archive. Giovando has shown both nationally and internationally; in 2013 she was invited to arrange a score for the Calder Quartet at the Barbican in London based on Christian Wolff’s Edges (1969).

Mette Hersoug is an artist and musician living in Los Angeles, California. Mette Hersoug approaches the use of sound in her work as a tool for investigation into overlaps and slippages between existing cultural systems. She weaves a multi-layered fabric of associations between pieces of sonic and visual information in order to engage the possibility creating new connections between the narratives and ideas used in the work. Her work has amongst other been included in exhibitions at the Danish National Museum (DK), International Symposium on Electronic Art (CCA), Curtat Tunnel (CH), Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde (DK), CAEFER (CA, US), Matchmaking Trondheim (NO), Centre of Contemporary Art Copenhagen (DK), The House of the Artists Oslo (NO), Kunsthal Charlottenborg (DK). She has curated projects in the US and in Europe, she is part of the curatorial collective AF and she is the founder of the LA based sharing platform Our Living Room. She received her BFA from the Royal Academy of Fine arts in Copenhagen and The Nordic Sound Art Programme and got her MFA from the School of Art and the Intermedia department at The California Institute of the Arts.

Alison O’Daniel uses narrative to weave between film, sculpture/painting and performance. Her work builds visual, aural, and haptic vocabularies through sound, color, material and form. In O’Daniel’s sculpture, sound becomes physical, becoming ‘quasi-closed captions’ for music. Currently, she is making The Tuba Thieves, a work that reverses the usual process of filmmaking by starting with original musical scores commissioned from composers that experiment with the boundaries of sound. Her previous film, Night Sky was presented with live musical accompaniment or with live Sign Language accompaniment at the Anthology Film Archive, Art in General, Performa 11, MOCAD (Detroit), NYU, the Black Box; Pacific Standard Time 1945-1980, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Jurassic Technology. The Tuba Thieves will premiere at Art in General and Centre d’art Contemporain Passerelle. O’Daniel is a 2014 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award recipient and has presented a recent solo exhibition at Samuel Freeman Gallery in Los Angeles.

John Wiese is an artist and composer living and working in Los Angeles, California. His focus is on sound works rooted in montage, typography as a system of abstraction/communication, and image making—utilizing these various forms to evoke a concept of poetic cinema. In recent years he has begun combining these practices in the form of video—exploring the imaging of sound events, how visuals can evoke an impression of sound, the possibilities of documenting performances, and what these forms can reveal. He has toured extensively throughout the US, UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. He has performed at many international festivals and venues such as Ancienne Belgique (Brussels), Arsenale, Sala Marceglia/52nd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition (Venice), The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha), Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Issue Project Room (Brooklyn), La Machine Du Moulin Rouge (Paris), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago). Wiese is a 2014 recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award.

EVENTS:

Opening Reception - Saturday May 17, 6 – 9 pm

Performance - July 15, 7 – 9 pm
A night of performance works by Jules Gimbrone, Chiara Giovando, Mette Hersoug, Alison O’Daniel and John Wiese.

Are Friends Electric?
Curator(s):
Manual History Machines
January 18th - March 21st, 2014

The work selected for this exhibition hesitates towards a technology-driven frenetic future, addresses feelings of isolation and makes transparent the nature of shifting meanings through context/positioning. The exhibition title, “Are Friends Electric?” Is taken from Gary Numan’s iconic song, whose lyrics verge on fear of loneliness amid the appearance of friendly entities. In reflection of our truly complicated relationship with what it means to be “social” today, artists continue to forge, perhaps even more fastidiously now, personal identities in their practices despite the reality of shrinking “private” and [truly] “public” spaces. New forms of “social spaces” allow for one kind of collectivity, but marginalize a more analog communion between individuals. Laden with aesthetic self-identifiers, each work serves as a beacon for the thoughts, ideals, and intuitions of the artist. When this work is brought together, what new meanings take place? In collectivity, can anxiety about the future be temporarily subsided, helpfully articulated or possibly - exacerbated? Seen as a synecdoche, Are Friends Electric? focuses both on each individual artist as well as the collective formation of both exhibitions. The exhibitions seek to create a dialogue through a theatrically staged installation of video, photography, painting and sculpture.

Participating artists: Sarah Awad, Daniela Campins, Clifford Eberly, Jay Erker, Helen Rebekah Garber, Rema Ghuloum, Rochele Gomez, Raymie Iadevaia, Bessie Kunath, Nancy Lupo, Danielle McCullough, Stephanie Washburn and Tessie Whitmore.

EVENTS:

• Opening reception: January 18th, 2014 from 6-9pm.
• Catalog release with text by David Pagel and accompanied by Artist Talk
• “Are Friends Electric, Act II” will be on view from January 21st – February 6th
at the Peggy Phelps and East Gallery, Claremont Graduate University

Garden Party
Garden Party
Curator(s):
Carolyn Castano & Hadley Holliday
September 21-November 22, 2013

Fellows of Contemporary Art proudly presents their third Curators' Lab exhibition for 2013, Garden Party. Curated by painters Carolyn Castaño and Hadley Holliday, Garden Party features the work of over twenty artists and takes Los Angeles' gardens and green spaces as its focus.

Taking place over a three-month span, curators Castaño and Holliday hosted 5 collaborative events called "Garden Parties" in which participating artists were invited to draw or make art outdoors. The destinations ranged from the manicured collections at the Huntington Botanical Gardens, to an urban oasis at Ferndell in Griffith Park, to an artist's home garden, to the wilds of the Angeles Crest and to Ocean View Farms, the largest community garden in Los Angeles.

Garden Party is inspired by the tradition of Matisse and Rousseau and the fantastical flora of Los Angeles itself. Garden Party plays on artistic concerns with capturing nature, the sublime, celebrating biodiversity and movements such as victory gardens, sustainable gardening, and the organic and slow food movement. During the sessions artists were free to interpret the idea of plein air or working outside by drawing, painting, taking photographs, collage, making cuttings, or simply hanging out for the day. Ideas begun during the sessions were taken back to the studio for further development.

Artists in Garden Party build on the social aspect of art making. The experience of participating in the party sessions is equal in importance to the work produced. Garden Party sessions and artist studio visits were documented on Hadley Holliday's blog Studio Day. A catalog documenting the Garden Party events will be available. A gallery walk-through with the curators will be held during the opening.

Participating Artists: Hillary Bleecker, Ursula Brookbank, Britt Browne, Carolyn Castaño, Dee Dee Cheriel, Ismael De Anda, Martin Durazo, Amy Green, Bella Foster, Julia Haft-Candell, Elana Hill, Hadley Holliday, Roger Herman, Emily Joyce, Cyril Kuhn, Joseph Lee, Barry Markowitz, Stas Orlovski, Nikki Pressley, Jay Stuckey, Elizabeth Tremante, and Monique Van Genderen.

EVENTS:

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 21 6-9pm

Discussion with artists: September 21 7pm

Decomposition
Curator(s):
Constance Mallinson
May 11 - July 12, 2013

Fellows of Contemporary Art is pleased to present the exhibition Decomposition as the second in their Curator’s Lab series for 2013. Curated by Los Angeles painter and critic Constance Mallinson, the exhibition includes the work of 8 contemporary Los Angeles artists and explores images and concepts of ruination and decay.  Their work is part of a long artistic engagement with ruination and entropy stretching from  the Enlightenment  through Romanticism and Postmodernism.  Los Angeles’ ongoing relationship to natural, cultural, and economic destruction as described by writers such as Mike Davis in his City of Quartz, has created a climate particularly ripe for investigating the models on which we base social, environmental and economic decisions. The five painters and three sculptors use destabilizing forms and techniques to challenge compositional norms and as a means for a different kind of encounter, dialogue or resistance to conventional aesthetic orderings. Like all ruins, they contest and critique the power and authority of ordered space and embedded ideas, and as such are deconstructive but not nihilistic in their aims. Offsetting any negative associations with ruin and decay, they offer ways of seeing that consider dynamic relationships rather than binary oppositions and heterogeneous perspectives in place of single minded narratives, and an unexpected beauty. For these artists, ruination is thoroughly embodied as a creative force that can reveal  entrenched behavioral and thought patterns and help re-imagine a vision  that considers the complicated existence of the present.

Enlisting actual processes of decay and disintegration and darkly humorous, Doug Harvey will show “Dream House,”  an imploded, found and altered architectural model continuously subjected to mold and weathering.  Sculptor Coleen Sterritt’s “Over and Over,” constructed from repurposed building materials, combines the commonplace, industrial and handcrafted to investigate the tensions between the personal and manufactured, and states of emergence. With her “Farm Animals”  Nancy Evans casts strange figures from dried and decaying plant materials, nostalgically recalling the powerful myths that have shaped our connections to nature. Painters Yvette Gellis, Marie Thibeault, and Nikko Mueller all work on the borders of representation and abstraction. Gellis’ broad muscular gestures impart a primal experiential quality, but simultaneously suggest collapsing buildings and the dynamic flux  and terror of the urban environment in her three paintings on view. By integrating direct sensory experience with dramatic appropriated imagery from locations impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, tsunamis, as well as e-waste in California harbors, Thibeault expands on notions of the sublime and painting’s unique ability to portray emotional responses to eco destruction in two small works. Working from found internet images of deteriorating modern structures , Mueller scrapes and mars his painting surfaces  as in his “Greenhouse” on view, to create dystopian symbols of systemic and environmental failure. Painters Jonathon Hornedo in “Column,” “Beer Bottle,” and “Plaster Stretcher Bars,” and Constance Mallinson with “Stumped”  embrace more traditional still life approaches with an emphasis on found objects and detritus. Their imagery evokes the anxious states between balance and collapse in nature and culture.

There will be a catalogue available with essays on the artists by Mallinson.

EVENTS:

Opening Reception: Saturday May 11, 6-9pm
Curator's Talk: Saturday, May 11, 5pm

Poetic Codings
Curator(s):
Jody Zellen
January 26 - March 30, 2013

“Poetic Codings” is an exhibition that explores the relationship between art and technology. Through flatscreen displays, projections, interactive installations, and iPad apps it also addresses the differences between public and private viewing experiences. Many artists today embrace technology and find ways of integrating it into their practices. While their visual displays and artistic goals differ greatly, their processes of creation share numerous similarities. The exhibition posits that the experience of interacting with a digital work in public is vastly different from sitting back and navigating a work on a mobile device. Apps are contained and fill a small screen. Installations are often immersive environments. While the graphic elements and animations can be similar in both formats, how the viewer interacts with the artwork is very different. When viewing an interactive installation or projected video one is aware of the presence of their body in relation to the work, how their shadow may or may not interrupt the projection, and how their movement in the space changes the interaction. Even when looking at a monitor the viewer can move in closer or back up, changing the scope of view. When interacting with art on a mobile device it is a private experience more often than not, where one can loose themselves in the complexity of the interaction without regard to the architectural setting and placement of the work.

Exhibitions have presented code-based works on monitors and as interactive installations. This exhibition is one of the first to juxtapose wall-based works with those made for mobile devices. The goal of presenting them together is to suggest that apps are indeed viable works of art and should be considered as such.

On the walls will be works by John Carpenter, Casey Reas, Jeremy Rotsztain, and Jennifer Steinkamp.

John Carpenter is a Los Angeles-based, interactive digital artist and designer. He will be creating a new interactive work for this exhibition that continues his explorations of natural systems and complex data and spaces.

Los Angeles-based Casey Reas’ generative software pieces undulate and transform indefinitely. As the code moves through the stages of the algorithms, and shapes colors criss-cross on the screen creating overlapping patterns. For “Poetic Codings” Reas will present a new monitor-based work.

Jeremy Rotsztain will present “Action Painting,” an adrenaline-filled abstract expressionist painting that was composed by transforming popular sequences from Hollywood action flicks into digital gestures. Jeremy recently relocated from Los Angeles to Portand, OR.

Jennifer Steinkamp, best known for her immersive room-sized installations, will be represented by a small work from her “Dance Hall Girl” series. This projection, just 15 inches off the floor, features kinetic flowers that appear to move like dance hall girls gyrating their slender stalks and tossing their heads back and forth.

The artists making artworks as apps include John Baldessari, Jason Lewis, Lia, Erik Loyer, Jeremy Rotsztain, Rafael Rozendaal, Scott Snibbe, and Jody Zellen. These projects range from the poetic to the narrative. Some have game-like interactions while others offer ways to distort images. All of the apps are available in the app store and while they will be on view in the gallery, viewers will be encouraged to download them to their own devices.

A website accompanies the exhibition featuring an essay by Art Historian Patrick Frank as well as biographical information about the artists and links to their websites and apps  http://www.jodyzellen.com/poetic_codings

EVENTS:

Opening Night

Dorkbot Los Angeles will co-sponsor a presentation at The Public School in conjunction with the exhibition featuring participating exhibition artists John Carpenter, Erik Loyer, Casey Reas, and Jody Zellen.

Saturday, January 26, 2013 3-5 pm
The Public School
951 Chung King Road
Los Angeles, CA 90012
For more information on Dorkbot please visit their website at http://dorkbot.org/dorkbotsocal

The Small Loop
Curator(s):
China Adams
September 29th - November 24th, 2012

Artist, China Adams’ first curatorial project is composed of two parts, The Loop Show and The Small Loop Show. The pair of shows bring together a group of artists whose work collectively presents a vision of the art object as something rich and vibrant born of cast off materials, the things we are leaving behind. The exhibition features sculpture, painting, video and collage by Miyoshi Barosh, Thomas Deininger, Christian Cummings, Amy Drezner, Mark Dutcher, Doug Harvey, Anne Hieronymus, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, Robert Larson, John Luckett, Nuttaphol Ma, Stephen McCabe, William Ransom, Dustin Shuler, Don Suggs, Ann Weber, Christine Wertheim, Alexis Zoto, The Institute For Figuring, and China Adams.  The Small Loop Show is the second half of a pair of exhibitions that focus on artists who have an established, working relationship with reused materials. While the first Loop Show featured large-scale works, The Small Loop Show features the work of the same artists, at a small-scale.
The Small Loop Show is framed by contemplation on the problems of excess and material waste: In our culture, where unfixable appliances, outdated 3 year-old computers, and throw-aways of all types are the norm, it is hard to deny that we have become disconnected with the idea that material of all kinds, whether plastic, rubber, cotton, aluminum, or gold is fundamentally valuable. Woven into this loss of respect for material, is an even more systemic loss of respect for the basic tradition of human, physical labor.

Artists, however, typically have an intimate relationship with materials, one that perhaps more than others, honors the preciousness of material. Given this, it seems likely that a movement towards reversing our faulty relationship vis-a-vie people and their materials might start among artists.

In fact, there is a wave of such artists concerning themselves with this very issue of reusing materials to create their art. A great, emerging group of artists who have begun seriously addressing the issue of waste, reuse, and the inherent impossibility of continued expansion and growth (of brand new, raw material), both on a global level and in one’s own studio.

The Small Loop Show highlights artists working this way; artists who are exploring and addressing our “material problem.”

EVENTS:

Opening Night

Walk-through & Artist Discussion

Mnemonic Ritual
Curator(s):
Grace Kook Anderson
June 16 - August 18, 2012

Mnemonic Ritual looks at the uncomfortable subject of loss, mourning, and the remnants of what was. Too often the ritual passage of death and loss are shuffled along at a pace so quick, there is little time to reflect. However, artists Mary Cecile Gee, Gina Genis, and Nigel Poor reflect on the difficult moments between loss and moving on. In their own personal endeavors to work through this process, what the artists work with are the very materials that are left behind, inherent with history and aura. What becomes distilled from the process are sometimes unexpected reactions of utter irony, humor, beauty, and surprisingly, even joy. Curated by Grace Kook-Anderson, curator of exhibitions at Laguna Art Museum, a full-color brochure will accompany the exhibition.

EVENTS:

Opening reception and Artists Talk

Finds! The Unusual Object
Curator(s):
Joshua Aster & Kristin Calabrese
February 18 - April 21, 2012

Artists: Anna Simpson, Chris Finley, Francesca Pastine, Holly Lane, Jeni Spota, Joyce Lightbody, Juan Martin del Campo Jr., Linda Stark, Marcia Binnendyk and Mark Babcock.

EVENTS:

Informal talk, March 24th
Artists Anna Simpson, Chris Finley, Jeni Spota, Joyce Lightbody, Juan Martin del Campo Jr., Linda Stark, Marcia Binnendyk, Mark Babcock and curator Kristin Calabrese.

Seven Los Angeles Artists
Curator(s):
Scott Benzel
October 15 - December 17, 2011

The artists in this exhibition continue in the tradition of earlier generations of Los Angeles artists, employing strategies of appropriation and recombination to explore issues of political action, gender, autonomy, and race.

Anonymous’ Vaseline Muses or ‘How I Got into Art’ -seen here in its first West Coast showing- is a series of photographs and a book by Anonymous, a male Los Angeles artist.  Anonymous rephotographs iconic images of nude female performance artists through the (literally) Vaseline-covered lens of Hollywood glamour photography, infusing images of female power with a dose of adolescent male desire. Diedrich Diederichsenʼs essay in the book addresses the complex relationship between European left-liberal magazines and glamorized images of revolutionary women on their pages.

A second anonymous artist contributes a series of meditations on the relationship between aesthetics, radical politics, sport, and cheese in the works Lost Continent of Mu/ King of the Mountain and Frommage de Guerre. Displayed in cases somewhere between museum vitrines and commercial displays, the works form a palimpsest of the radical politics and popular culture of the last several decades.

Erin Cosgrove’s 7 Romance Novels feature cover images of the artist paired with romance-novel cover star Fabio. Her use of Fabio’s iconic image (she hired him for the cover shoots) and her “romantic” interactions with him are simultaneously an appropriation of his identity as mass fantasy object and a play on the “romantic” persona of the artist. The Baader-Meinhof Affair (one of the novels, also shown here in its recent German translation) literalizes the popular romanticization of the Baader-Meinhof gang and itsʼ revolutionary violence by making it the subject of the romance novel.

Mark Hagen’s To Be Titled (Additive Sculpture, Stack #1) and Balearic Islands Great Ape Personhood Flag (proposed mock-up) employ different conceptual and appropriative strategies to explore notions of hierarchy. Stack #1 uses mass-produced consumer items -Gatorade bottles, etc.-as molds for its cast concrete components. The individual components comprising the stack can be repositioned, “de-hierarchizing” modernist notions of sculpture handed down from Brancusi and pointing to the reciprocal and mutual influence of commercial/industrial design and minimalist sculpture.  BalearicIslands Great Ape Personhood Flag (proposed mock-up) envisions a collaboration between Hagen and Kanzi, a Great Ape “painter” in redesigning the Balearic Islandsʼ flag to commemorate the passage of recent Balearic Islands law extending personhood to Great Apes. This expanded conception of personhood points to an expanded definition of artist and collaboration.

Mike Kelley’s video Superman recites selections from “The Bell Jar” and other works by Sylvia Plath features the superhero reciting lines from Sylvia Plathʼs classic book to a large bottle- at once bell jar and container of his birth city Kandor. Superman is alternately ultra-masculine, morose, and hysterical as he recites. The recombinative effect of these two “classic texts” is jarring and hilarious, a reflection on gender, Utopia, isolation, and despair.

Rodney Mcmillian’s video Untitled (Michael Jackson) from “The Michael Jackson Project“ is simultaneously a virtuoso performance and an examination of gender, race, and voice.  Wearing a white t-shirt and irregularly applied clown makeup, Mcmillian lip-syncs Gladys Knight singing “The Way We Were / Try To Remember.” The carefully rehearsed intensity of the performance suggests Jacksonʼs own perfectionism and intensity while the makeup and confusion between performer and voice address complex issues of race and gender.

EVENTS:

Accompanying the exhibition will be “Sublimated Los Angeles”, a film series highlighting little-seen films either shot in or with strong ties to Los Angeles and suppressed for various reasons: Play it as it Lays, based on Joan Didionʼs screenplay from her novel, was considered a failure, rarely screened after its initial release, and never released in either VHS or DVD form; Pot-smoking star Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to suppress Pumping Iron prior to his campaign for governor of California; the 3-D version of Hitchcockʼs Dial M for Murder was quickly pulled from distribution following the crash of the first wave of 3-D films; and Let There Be Light, Hollywood director John Hustonʼs (The Maltese Falcon) documentary featuring soldiers suffering from ʻpsychoneurosis anxiety stateʼ was banned by the U.S. government for 30 years.

Suggested Reading
Curator(s):
Kristine Thompson
July 23 - September 24, 2011

Suggested Reading is an exhibition of visual art that is inspired by specific literary texts. It features the work of LA-based artists Marya Alford, Candice Lin, Jay Lizo, Catherine Lord, and Marco Rios. The exhibition considers how composition, research, and interpretation are shaped in both written texts and visual works of art.

The artists included have all been inspired by different kinds of writing, ranging from historical texts to poetry. Alford creates a duet for piano based on the punctuation marks in J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey; Candice Lin’s sculptural drawings respond to the fetishization and racialization of women miners from England that occur in Arthur Munby’s Victorian-era texts; Jay Lizo creates a sculpture with animations that pay homage to the Lettrist art movement and Gabriel Pomerand’s poem Saint ghetto of the loans; Catherine Lord turns her attention and camera toward the simultaneously intimate and public dedications found in several influential queer books; and Marco Rios channels his inner Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in sculptures and photographs that involve equal parts romance and horror.

A limited-edition catalogue will accompany the show and will include writing by Sarah Balcomb, Teresa Carmody, Moyra Davey, Daniel Hockenson, Douglas Kearney, and Benjamin Weissman.

EVENTS:

Franny and Zooey for Piano Duet & Suggested Reading Publication Release
The premiere of this duet, created by Marya Alford, will involve pianists performing a musical composition based on every element of punctuation in J.D. Salinger’s short story Franny and Zooey.

Catalogue release party/afternoon of readings
September 24, 2011
On this last day of the exhibition, enjoy the catalogue produced in conjunction with the show and join local writers as they share their textual responses to the work on view. This event will also highlight and promote local, independent publications and presses whose goal it is to explore the relationship between language and visual art.

Site as Symbol
Curator(s):
SURVEY WEST COLLABORATIVE: Jill Newman & Bari Ziperstein
April 9 - June 4, 2011

Los Angeles is represented to the world in carefully constructed ways, but those who have spent significant time here have a unique relationship to its complexity. An architect friend once described LA as a “city of dreamers.” Simultaneously, its pockets of injustice are undeniable. Perhaps these two poles fuel each other. Regardless, L.A.’s inhabitants tend to make meaning of this city. Site as Symbol brings together the work of seven artists working in and around Los Angeles. Each artist utilizes local sites as symbols for force and progress, explored as destructive and imaginative in realms political and magical-- as dichotomous as the city itself.

Melissa Thorne brings utilitarian architecture into conversation with modernist design, while Bari Ziperstein and Olga Koumoundouros create new connections between site, economics and class. With an allegorical approach to site, Charles Long and Jill Newman preserve and present place as symbolic celebrations of regeneration and wonder. Also focused on landscape as metaphor, Jed Lind and Pat O’Neill explore site as latent energy, and are invested in the tools needed to harness it. In these distinct and comparable ways, the artists address environmental and political landscapes, domestic spaces, and economics by investigating specific ideas of place. By transforming their subjects through context and material play, honor and imagination are reclaimed, critique of our current position comes into play, and site becomes symbol.

EVENTS:

An ’Evening of Projections’ with legendary filmmaker and artist Pat O’Neill at his Pasadena Studio
Sunday May 1st, Limited to 50 spaces, RSVP only, Reservation details TBA
Time: 3:00 - 6:00pm, screening starts at 4pm

Plying the P.E. Trail: Bisecting L.A.’s Edge
http://focala.org/updates/?p=1009
A bicycle tour lead by reluctant urbanist and ecological ethicist Claude Willey along the Pacific Electric Inland Trail.
Sunday June 5, Limited to 20 spaces, RSVP only (closing event), Reservation details TBA
Time: 12:00 - 3:00pm

All Time Greatest
Curator(s):
Natilee Harren
December 12 - February 27, 2009

Beyond the emergent field of sound art, there exist certain artists for whom music forms one aspect of a multi-faceted practice or for whom it plays a deep influence that may not find expression outside the studio. Conceived as a concept album-turned-exhibition, All Time Greatest offers the opportunity to consider how artists’ musical predilections—the secret soundtrack to their production—might add a dimension of significance to their work in an exhibition setting. The exhibition features the work of 11 LA-based artists: Gabrielle Ferrer, Brendan Fowler, Alex Klein, Dave Muller, Eamon Ore-Giron, Vincent Ramos, Steve Roden, Brian Roettinger, Sumi Ink Club (Luke Fischbeck and Sarah Rara), and Stephanie Taylor. Featured in the center of the gallery is a turntable and record collection composed of each artist’s chosen “all time greatest” album; visitors are welcome to thumb through and listen to the records. Against the culture of rapid digital file sharing, All Time Greatest uses the exhibition format as an opportunity to revive an analog, old-school approach to sharing music at the same time that it adapts the fan culture of audiophiles to the task of the curator.

A limited edition catalogue designed by Brian Roettinger as his contribution to the exhibition, including essays by Andrew Berardini and Natilee Harren, will be released in early 2010.

EVENTS:

Opening Night

Final reception and Concert

All Time Greatest will be accompanied by programming that takes advantage of the gallery’s location in a Chinatown office park with terrace views to the LA skyline. Events include collective public drawing sessions on December 5 and 6 by Sumi Ink Club; an opening reception on December 12 with DJ Dave Muller and DJ Lengua; a concert on December 19 with performances by Steve Roden, Lucky Dragons (Luke Fischbeck and Sarah Rara), BARR (Brendan Fowler), and Eamon Ore-Giron; listening parties; and a catalogue release party in early 2010.

Not Los Angeles
Curator(s):
Zachary Kaplan and Aandrea Stang
September 26 - November 28, 2009

Unique in both its assertiveness and the breadth of its proliferation, Los Angeles has attracted a genre of scholarship from Reyner Banham to Mike Davis, from ecologies to fortresses, that exists to divine the city’s essential meaning. While this has produced images both laudatory and critical of parking lots, production studios, mid-century property, and more, Not Los Angeles suggests a new way of thinking about the city– ignoring its structures, its boundaries, and collective identities, spurning the meta-narratives, forgetting the things read, and focusing on the individual perspectives and intimate interactions that constitute this inhabited general space. Engaging the exhibition’s participating artists in a reflective activity rather than a traditional display of bodies of work unified by an overarching theme, the goal of Not Los Angeles is to present decentralized vignettes, not a singular argument.

Six Los Angeles-based artists– Lita Albuquerque, Brian Boyer, Alexandra Grant, Todd Gray and Kyungmi Shin, and Joel Kyack (themselves a constellation of artistic production throughout the city)– will populate the FOCA exhibition space with individual “maps” designed to guide visitors around their estimation of a Los Angeles. The artists were asked to select a few locations–parks, stores, restaurants, monuments, museums, malls, whatever else– that they felt defined their lived city and from their selections create some sort of guide. The combined results, rendered through dioramas, photography and photo-collage, projection, text, and drawing, present a varied city dense and disparate, walked, biked and driven, seen and heard, undefinable.

EVENTS:

Opening Night

As a key element of the Not Los Angeles, each of the artists has been asked to present, at some point during the exhibition’s run, a unique public project reflective of the images of Los Angeles in their work. The schedule can be found below.

Saturday, October 17
Join Lita Albuquerque in a Sunrise Walk in Malibu State Park.  Return that evening for a Sunset Walk to explore the changing light over the course of the day.

Saturday, October 24
Join Alexandra Grant and members of the Watts House Project for a reading by writers Andrew Berardini, Allison Carter, Douglas Kearney, Gabriela Jauregui and Salvador Plascencia as they each explore one of the five senses and their impressions of the Watts neighborhood. The evening event will include a homemade chicken mole dinner created by neighborhood residents.

Thursday, October 29th
Joel Kyack and special guests will present and perform in response to the literal physical shift of landscape in Los Angeles.

Saturday and Sunday, November 14 and 15
Following a map of West Blvd. created by Kyunmgi Shin and Todd Gray participants will explore the Inglewood Open Studios.  The map (found here) highlights artist studios, churches, liquor stores and convalescent homes and includes a set of questions that the visitors can use to engage the artists as they visit their studios.

Tuesday, November 17
Join Lita Albuquerque and John Good, astrophysicist from Cal Tech, for a presentation about and viewing of the Leonid Metor Showers.

Tuesday, November 24
Bring your bike (and helmet) and join Brian Boyer for about a 20 mile ride touring some of the favorite routes documented in his piece, A New Atlas (may also be referred to as: A Collection of Bicycle Routes Throughout Southern California, or Los Angeles Reconsidered: By Bicycle).

Performing Economies
Curator(s):
Elana Mann
May 16 - July 20, 2009

Performing Economies featured artwork in the gallery space and a series of events that occurred throughout the run of the exhibition.  The exhibition highlighted art practices that produce innovative systems of exchange and dialog in the midst of a global political and economic crises.

The Artists for Social Justice created a day-long event entitled the “Free Free Market,” a forum for sharing and gifting designed to validate giving and exchange models.

John Burtle and John Barlog intervened with the language structures of the Fellows of Contemporary Art space by inserting performative conversation within the gallery.

CamLab (Anna Mayer and Jemima Wyman) produced architectures for multiple bodies by creating a two-part costume to be occupied by a series of performers. With this creation, they will literalize their collaborative process and disrupt conventional ideas about autonomous bodies.

Dorit Cypis, an artist and mediator, offered “Healer, Heal Thyself,” a performative presentation weaving aesthetics, conflict revolution and somatic reflection to engage us in exchanges of another kind.

Karla Diaz explored multiple narrative strategies between sound and text and will be reading a series of poems and stories based on the experience of growing up in Los Angeles. In particular, Diaz will explore the neighborhood of Boyle Heights and parts of it that were destroyed to build a bigger Police Station.

Liz Glynn showed a single channel black and white video loop depicting a group of participants struggling to tear open a large bundle of sticks.  Shot in Milan, where the Fascist era central train station is being restored to its original glory, and the antechamber to the balcony where Mussolini used to speak remains intact, the video enacts a moment of cathartic symbolic resistance.

Marc Herbst presented a comic book that anticipates the environmental and economic certitudes of the near future and outlines the next five years of fashion, including re-interpretations of the notion of success and re-branding the practice of sharing.

Ashley Hunt and Taisha Paggett drew from their work with the Los Angeles based Garment Workers’ Center, to conduct movement and discussion workshops that form a basis for video, photographic, or performance based works. The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Editorial Collective facilitated a panel around the emotionality of collectivities and social change.

Elana Mann explored the idea of “complementary currencies,” agreements created by communities to fulfill their needs outside of national and international banking structures.  Mann collaborated with three communities she is a part of to create a series of new complementary currencies for the exhibition.

Vincent Ramos celebrated the 50th anniversary of Chubby Checker’s version of “The Twist” by creating a series of drawings that function as “contractual” invitations to his artist peers, individuals whom he want to “twist” with.

Adam Overton presented artSpa, a series of workshops and events geared toward expanding and enhancing local artists’ visionary and healing abilities.  In each intervention into the gallery space, these entities shared thoughts, strategies, and ideas about new, experimental modes of operation at a time of economic woe, when arts funding and support is dramatically decreasing.

Many of the artists and collectives involved in Performing Economies invited other artists to contribute artwork for the exhibit through panel discussions, curated performance events, or participatory structures.  In all over sixty-two artits participated in this project, which had a budget of $1000.

Interview by Drew Denny appeared in LA RECORD online on July 20, 2009.

EVENTS:

Opening Night

Free Free Market
The Free Free Market is a market of free resources, a space for non-transactional experiences, and a forum for sharing and gifting with an intention to validate giving and exchange models. Everything in the market is free and bartering does not enter the market dynamics. The Artists for Social Justice Collective invite you to share in a wide range of aesthetic gestures, tangible and intangible learning, performative actions and playful exchange. The FFM is a response to the current socio-economic times and a comment on de-regulated transactional and corporate-driven models perpetuated by free market economies. The FFM is inspired by feminist theory, dialogical artistic practices, and “other-oriented” gift economy paradigms. Participants include: Yanira Cartagena, Carmina Escobar, Carribean Fragoza, Anne Hars, Matt Lucero, Gil Omry, Astra Price, Evelyn Serrano and Elizabeth Wild.
May 16th, 2009

CamLab Performance
CamLab performed in the courtyard of Mandarin Plaza with their Swoon Soon Suit. Premiered last year at Wildness at the Silver Platter, this three-chambered suit is designed to be occupied by CamLab and 1-2 other people at a time. Viewers are invited to zip themselves into the middle section of the suit in order to participate in a “non-verbal exchange”. The internal walls are quilted with tactile fabrics incorporating slits and tubes which facilitate the exchanges between chambers.
June 17th, 2009

Call me Lightning
An evening of performance-based works organized by Vincent Ramos.
June 26th, 2009