Guatemalan performance artist Regina José Galindo is standing on a high, wooden stage inside the Project Room at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA). A man begins to cut around her with a saw as she stares straight ahead without any expression. Although he quickly gets tired, he continues to saw. The museum is noisy, full of squeaky wood being separated. Galindo continues to stare ahead, never looking down at the ground, at him or her audience. But we all begin to predict the next moments as the piece of wood loosens and her body begins to wobble and incline. She takes a deep breath. The wood breaks open. Galindo falls into the abyss of her stage with a surprised look on her face. We hear her inside what now seems like a little house. Somebody from the audience runs up the steps of the platform to check if she’s ok. To the woman’s surprise, Galindo has closed the rectangular hole back up with its fallen piece. She remains underneath, quiet.
Galindo uses her body in the way performance artists did in the 60s and 70s by testing her physical and psychological limits. Her performances can be considered a response to the deep socio-political issues concerning women, inequality, crime, etc. commonly found in Latin America. The exhibition Vulnerable, on view until Sept. 30th, includes documentation of other performances, objects and sketches by Galindo.
In an interview with Idurre Alonso, MOLAA Curator, Galindo explained that this performance, titled Third World, is about “the anxiety caused by our own fears; fears caused by the world falling apart and you being left suspended in the air with nothing. It is also caused by the terrible conviction of not knowing where we are standing and by the frustrating reality that tells us that we can always fall through the ground. Third World plays with the feeling of emptiness in the stomach. It is a piece built with the tension of the fall.” Dropped from the First World, she remains inside her sealed wooden container on the bottom floor, the Third World.
This notion of duality, where we think we are one thing but really another reminds me of a piece that Mexican artist Daniel Lara has on view now at Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) as part of the exhibition Random Acts of Time curated by William Moreno. Lara’s installation Unavoidable Rhythms investigates the notion of time by reminding us how controlled our lives really are according to not only bio-rhythms but through the man-made ticking clock which never ticks too much or too little. Twelve small, white cubes are perfectly aligned. On each cube stands a tiny plastic baby in the center of what resemble minute and second hands, which have been cut, twisted and turned. The hands tick; the babies move simultaneously, like soldiers in the military. They are organized and controlled. And even though within each one the clock hands are unique and seem to be out of order, the rhythm continues.
If you are interested in seeing more of Lara’s work, check out his interactive chess piece Invisible Hierarchies or You are not a pawn, are you? at JB Jurve on view until June 19th. (Read Geoff Tuck’s post about Lara here.)
Unfortunately Daniel’s artist non-talk has already passed, so if you missed his Piñata breaking event, you’ll have to wait until the next one. Here is a video of that event.
In Random Acts of Time, Bill Moreno questions “What have we chosen for ourselves? When has our hand been forced? Where have random or serendipitous events changed our course? When have we triumphed? What have we lost? What have we remembered and forgotten?” The 75 artists in the show attempt to answer these questions through painting, sculpture, installation, video and photography.
Camilo Cruz‘ two photographs Tend and Loretta seem to highlight the awkwardness of people in a waiting room. They sit and stare into nothingness; the viewer notices their humanity, their reality of that moment in time and anticipates what is to come. Cruz is an employee of Los Angeles County Superior Court. He’s even been known to call himself a “bureaucracy artist.” Cruz received permission from the courthouse to compose photographs there after normal working hours. The courthouse as his studio allows him to investigate his everyday experiences that are unknown to the general public.
In Ahree Lee’s video Me, the artist has compiled self-portrait snapshots of herself taken everyday since November 2001 and then created an animated sequence.
The days fly by a week per second. The artist stated that “through its flickering instability, Me becomes a meditation on image, identity, and ultimately, mortality.” Lee is continuing to take a photo everyday and plans to never stop. Watch Lee’s video below:
Dino Dinco’s Untitled (EP 03); (From the Elysian Park series) is a photograph from a series of large-format landscape portraits of unofficial outdoor sex venues. The scene is quiet as the trails intertwine. There is absence of the human figure but it’s understood that public encounters are plenty. I’m very excited to see Dinco’s documentary film Homeboy, which takes a look at the lives of gay Latino men in LA who are former gang members. It will be premiering at Outfest 2012 on July 14th.
Chris Eckert’s Auto Ink was definitely a hit at the opening, as many people, including kids, wanted to get a tattoo. This well-crafted machine is an automated sculpture that randomly selects a religion and tattoos (with a ball point pen) a corresponding symbol onto the person’s arm.
Other art works that I found intriguing include Kim Seieroe’s Typeball and Tonearm, which are two drawings of objects that are becoming obsolete, Louis Jacinto’s photogram Baby’s Bottle of …”, Miguel Arzabe’s video Pushover (Thwarted by Winning), and Ryan McCann’s installation Famous at 3:21pm. McCann explains in his artist statement: “At 3:21pm the shadow was glamorous, where hours earlier it was just an unknown blob, and hours later the shadow had faded into obscurity. There is a point when an actress is an unknown blob, becomes a glamorous starlet, and then fades into obscurity. That oh so elusive point for this Step Ladder was 3:21pm.”
At the entrance of the show, which definitely makes an impact, is Donnie Molls’ painting Everything Was OK a Minute Ago. Make sure to check out more of Molls’ work at his solo-show Disposable Culture at Edward Cella Art + Architecture opening on June 23rd.
Also in the exhibition is Linda Vallejo’s figurine of a Mexican Bob’s Big Boy from the series Make ‘em all Mexican, which will definitely make you giggle. Vallejo explains her work:“Make ‘Em all Mexican is biting political satire that de-constructs time-honored images to create new cultural icon. The viewer is cajoled into envisioning an imaginary and wished-for political and social status and then forced to face the reality. Wickedly funny, these images make the viewer laugh and then apologize for ‘thinking it’s a joke. This new work carries a strong electric charge – to some they are hyperpolitical, for others they are emotional portals to a past remembered and sometimes forgotten, and to others they are just down right hilarious.”
If you want to see more of these, thirty MEAM (Make ‘em all Mexican) works are now on display at Arte Americas in conjunction with the Fresno Museum in Fresno, CA and a solo show of the work will be featured at Cal State San Bernardino Fullerton Museum in September. I’m so excited to see more of these muchachotes!
Random Acts of Time is on view until June 16th in Santa Ana… pues si, apúrate y cómprate unos tacos ricos en el camino!
An artist who takes us back in time with his art work is Ethan Turpin. Little by little I’ve been getting to know more artists who live and make work in Santa Barbara and luckily show it to us here in LA. I got to experience Turpin’s art work at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. As if in a late 19th century parlor, Victorian chairs and a small table were set up as part of the Stereocollision installation so the viewer could sit, relax and use a stereoscope in the right context. Turpin has access to the world’s largest stereograph archive at the California Museum of Photography’s Keystone-Mast Collection. (Stereographs were 3D photos popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.) After selectively choosing from these historical images, he digitally recomposes them. Working under the Global Curiosity, Inc. moniker, his first series presents the medium’s traditional world tour format, updated for an advanced state of globalization.
Turpin’s latest edition, The Gilded Garden, consists of 12 stereocards with letterpress printed text on the backs, which he’s written in an authoritative tone of the era. All the images deal with the ecological legacy of the 2nd industrial revolution. One of my favorites is A Tree Dwelling, which shows the Panama canal in construction with a forest outpost in the middle.
The new images are often humorous and play with notions of cause-and-effect for what we have done in the past and possibly what we continue to do. As we chuckle at some of the images, we also feel a sense of guilt and irresponsibility. An old 19th century narrative is completely tied to today’s newest stories.
As I looked through the viewer to see the stereoscopic picture on thick card, Turpin explained how it works and how to focus it better. These stereo photographs were once used to educate people without leaving their homes. We now have the internet, but the stereo photograph offers a nostalgic and romantic feeling and Turpin’s images continue to educate.
If you would like to see these images in 3D on your computer screen by simply adjusting your eyes and without needing a stereoscope, here are some directions from Turpin on how do it.
“The whole idea of ‘parallel viewing’ is to set your eyes to something far away while viewing the images only about 3 feet away. With your head level, place a finger upright at the bottom of the dividing line between the left and right image. Space out, like you’re day dreaming with far away eyes. As your vision doubles you should see two fingers separating. Relax and let them drift further. Notice that the images above are overlapping to form a third, central image: This will be the 3D image. Once the eyes have spread enough this center “window” will lock in place – put your attention on a foreground detail there while maintaining the relaxed, spacey eyes. The more you try this the easier it gets. The longer you observe the 3D image the greater volume you will perceive.
NOTE: Near-sighted people tend to have a slightly easier time with this. People who wear glasses may want to try it with and without them.”
Don’t worry if you missed seeing Turpin’s work at 18th Street. He has a solo-show at UC Riverside’s California Museum of Photography on view until June 30th.
Last but not least, I want to invite everyone to take their dad this Father’s Day to LA’s fifth annual Monster Drawing Rally, which inaugurates the relationship between Outpost for Contemporary Art and Armory Center for the Arts. The event will be hosted by Outpost at Armory and held this Sunday, June 17th from 12-6:30pm at Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave. in Pasadena. 100 artists in total will be drawing at different times throughout the day and all works of art are only $75!! There will be DJs, food trucks, and beer!
Artists include (so far): Danielle Adair, Steven Bankhead, Joe Biel, Elonda Billera, Holly Boruck, Richard Bott, Brian Bress, Heather Brown, David Burns, Andrew Cameron, Juan Carlos Muñoz-Hernandez, Matthew Carter, Xavier Cázares Cortez, Lorraine Cleary Dale, Luke Davis, Jeseca Dawson, Michael Dopp, Veronica Duarte, David P. Earle, Ariel Erestingcol, Allison Fisher, Diego J. Garza, Paul Gillis, Aimee Goguen, Justin Greene, Margarete Hahner, Lia Halloran, Robert Herbst, Gregory Michael Hernandez, Sergio Hernandez, Onya Hogan-Finlay, David Hughes, Kim Kelly, Olga Koumoundouros, Aitor Lajarin, Daniel Lara, Nery Gabriel Lemus, Jeff Levitz, Kristi Lippire, Patricia Liverman, Karen Lofgren, Nick Lowe, Justin Lowman, Lisa Madonna, Oscar Magallanes, Dana Maiden, Melissa Manfull, Melise Mestayer, Rebekah Miles, Dylan Mira, Melanie Moore, Nikko Mueller, Tracy Nakayama, Hazel Mandujano & Nancy Cahill, with Tucker Neel, Christine Nguyen, Chris Oatey, Gina Osterloh, Michael Parker, Zack Paul, Julia Paull, Alia Penner, Jennifer Phelps, Nancy Popp, Gala Porras-Kim, Max Presneill, Vincent Ramos, Christy Roberts, Jean Robison, Steve Roden, Brett Cody Rogers, Kimberly Rowe, Simone Rubi, Yoshie Sakai, Kristofferson San Pablo, Shalini Sanjay Patel, Finishing School, Jeannie Simms, Jennifer Smith, Niko Solorio, Meriel Stern, Amelia Symes, Brendan Threadgill, Elizabeth Tremante, Chris Trueman, Hataya Tubtim, Carrie Ungerman, Mark Verabioff, Keith Walsh, Matt Wardell, Carrie Whitney, Rosten Woo, Jacob Yanes, Amanda Yates, Carrie Yury, Bari Ziperstein, Weronika Zaluska & Jeff Levitz
¡Nos vemos este domingo!