THE MUSEUM OF DESTINY
The Museum of Destiny The gallery and curatorial agency Courtesy is devoting its entire summer residency program inside The Impermanent Collection’s downtown loft space to present The Museum of Destiny. The museum features the private collection, art, and spirit of Jonathan Bernad. This is the first public project for an artist whose work has focused primarily on providing and sharing surreal and intimate experiences with people in everyday life, such as flying a stranger from South Africa to meet his family and drive with him across America.
According to Isabelle Le Normand, the senior curator of the museum, “what is more important than the size or financial value of the collection is the unique way many of these works were obtained, which was through Jon’s passionate engagement with strangers. Working with Jon, we tried to figure out a way to honor that spirit, and that opened up new possibilities for a museum experience. The Museum of Destiny is meant to be more than just an experiment in expanding the possibilities of a museum. While re-imagining everything from how a person gets to the museum (the artist and curator come pick you up) to what a gift shop can be (in this case, the gift shop is an artist in another city named David Horvitz), the museum’s most important contribution is simply to make you feel like you’re part of a story that you’ve helped to create.”
Museum of Destiny, portrait by Jon Bernad
Jon, book by Gloria Maso (cover by Deenah Vollmer)
ON YOUR WAY
Arriving in Los Angeles six years ago from his hometown in Northern Virginia to work with his brother in Hollywood, Jon started to explore Los Angeles. His passion for befriending traveling strangers and giving them increasingly elaborate tours of the city created many unexpected friendships and experiences. This grew from a distraction to a hobby, from a hobby to an obsession, and finally, from an obsession to an art form: putting a frame around real life. From this angle, he started to collect and make artworks for his own collection in response to the world around him.
“At an unexpected and difficult point in his life Jonathan Bernad fell back in love with the world. His collection and artworks for the museum began.” - Isabelle Le Normand Senior Curator, Museum of Destiny
Eugénie Frémiot: Director of the museum, describes how a typical visit begins: “One of the first things you’ll notice when you enter The Museum of Destiny is that you’re not inside the museum yet. In fact you’re still pretty far away, getting inside a 1954 baby blue Chevy that takes visitors from their homes to the museum, by appointment.
The museum begins with the drive to the museum and all the experiences that go along with it, the conversation, the thoughts, the real life that passes by. To go to the museum is to go on a trip. For example, you might stop to pick up another visitor and another person may join you, changing the overall feeling of coming to the museum, now the chemistry is different.”
THE COLLECTION On view is a personal collection of art and miscellanea, which include both a new generation of French artists - and more well-known artists such as Andy Warhol and William Wegman, along with anonymous artists, and ‘non-art’ as well. Highlights include: a large stitched artwork featuring scenes from American history found on the road in Santa Monica; a photograph taken by a visiting art student of a desert mountain on fire after crashing Jon’s convertible; a glass artwork containing unopened presents given for free at a hair salon; a memory David Horvitz hadn’t thought about for a long time bought online for five dollars; souvenirs, thank you notes, and books made for Jon by travelers - people he met and spent days or weeks with; a birthday present to Halston from Andy Warhol of an I.O.U promising one art (the I.O.U was kept as its own artwork); a framed book about Bridges made by two brothers with the last name of Outerbridge; and a drawing made by Julien Berthier illustrating one of the most important moments of Jon’s life.
Julien Berthier The thin line between with chance & miracle, 2013
Part of The Collection Photos by Jon Bernad
Things desired for the collection that could not be physically collected were turned into photographs instead, such as the dogs Jon notices worldwide inside art galleries and museums; the feeling he has with his girlfriend while looking at paintings together ; American flags they see in the streets and on people’s clothes; the everyday miracles that occur in the world when you see people from your past who you haven’t seen for 10 or 20 years: the things in life which give him happiness.
“ Art Lovers ”
Anabasis X - Rayogram (Eric Baudelaire), from the series "Art Lovers" 2013
is Jonathan kissing Isabelle. Their fantasy is to live inside of art, which is the place where fantasies come true. To achieve this they focus attention not on art, but real life, painstakingly trying to transform the real world into an art world.
“ Art Dogs ”
“ My American ”
Asher (Principle Gallery) from the series "Art Dogs" 2012
Jan 1st (Los Angeles) from the series « My American » 2013
is the worldwide collection of dogs whose destiny was to hang out with art, the dogs you see inside galleries, studios, private collections, and even museums. The photos suggest that somehow the art spaces are emanations of the dog’s spirit.
is a series of pictures of Jon with American flags taken by Isabelle, who sees his trips with strangers as attempts to evoke the American dream where our desires can be externalized in the real world. Each flag and each stranger wearing a flag becomes part of a larger quest to have art enter our daily lives.
Temporary Exhibitions Isabelle Le Normand: “The museum has a wall open for anything the universe brings its way; flexible, it leaves room for the possibility of collaboration and discovery, for artists and artworks who seem to belong there. This wall will be filled by different artists throughout the summer. Some really exciting artists like Dawn Kasper and Elvire Bonduellle have proposed ideas to us already, so we’ll see what happens.”
Isabelle Le Normand working on her next tour de force
“News from the Gift Shop” by David Horvitz The gift shop for the Museum of Destiny is David Horvitz. An artist of transactions, David will become our human gift shop, offering items for sale as he travels around the world as usual. What he thinks, remembers, sings, wears, holds, or carries might be sold. Inside the museum, “News from the Gift Shop” will keep visitors updated concerning his whereabouts and sales.
David Horvitz walking somewhere.
A series of public programs will focus on the mysterious collection we are all born into in one way or another, otherwise known as family. Museum President Christian Mayeur, who organizes expeditions from the creative micro-cluster of Le Coursive, near Toulouse, France, speaks about some of the programs being planned that involve travel: “We will announce the programs in more detail later, but Jon is organizing a portrait of Blaine, which will be a biographical journey to discover the essence of Blaine by driving to the various homes of his family members, and meeting them, without ever meeting Blaine. Just as collections can reveal their owner, so does one’s family give an idea of a person.”
The Museum of Destiny, on view for two months this summer, is a life project that will reappear again. It is part of the larger Museum of Chance & Destiny, Coincidences & Desire, and is an homage to the wondrous spaces of Los Angeles: MJT, Olandar, Machine Project, Weisman Foundation, Wende, Farmlab, Watts Towers, Santa Monica, the Ocean, and more.
«Past Lives of Mike White» by Sam & Ali Demke
Akatre Kathy Alliou Xavier Ameller Ivan Argote Gilles & Louis Balmet Pauline Bastard
Ryan & Trevor oakes Ellie O’Neill & family steven orlikoff Sophie Blackall Florence Ostende Elvire Bonduelle Graeme & David Outerbridge Elodie Büri Adam Overton Katie Byron & Rachael Ferrara Lidwine Prolonge Sophie Calle Geoffrey Pyke Laura Cambon Jhafis Quintero Aslı ÇavuŞoĞlu Sébastien Rémy Jean Cocteau Daniel Rolnik & Trudy Green Rob Cruickshank Clyde Seavey Jr. Megan May Daalder Pauline Shaw Fanny Daubigny Katie Shook Sam and Ali Demke Andrea Siegel & Brent Bradshaw Constance Frémiot Tiffany Sum Eugénie Frémiot & Guillaume van wassenhove Jane swavely Vincent Ganivet Ben Tong Gerda Achraf Touloub Dominique Gilliot Cyril Verde Piero Golia Deenah Vollmer Claus Groeger Lauren von Gogh Travis Heaps Andy Warhol David Horvitz William Wegman David Horvitz & Natalie Häusler Lawrence Weschler Ana Iwataki Angela White Tao Jiang Ginger White Dawn Kasper Mike White Emily Katrencik Charlyne Yi Jeremy Kennedy Chelsea Zeffiro david Lefebvre Bari Ziperstein Jean-Bernard
The Museum of Destiny presents works by Jon Bernad and works from his collection (or on loan to the museum) by:
Isabelle Le Normand Sonya Masinovsky Gloria Maso Anna Mayer Christian Mayeur Yuri Norstein
Eugénie Frémiot, Isabelle Le Normand, Jon Bernad
“The museum is a resource for people who are lost or looking for wonderful things.” - Isabelle Le Normand Senior Curator, Museum of Destiny