CONTEMPORARY ART & DESIGN // ISSUE 37
August 29 - December 10, 2017
Ed Ruscha, Gates of Paradise (1983), Tom Wudl, Untitled (1973), John McCracken, The Case for Fakery in Beauty (1967).
This exhibition marks the 25th anniversary of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, which was dedicated in September 1992. It presents key works of California art from the 1960s to the present, with an emphasis on seminal historic movements such as California Pop art, Fetish Finish, Light & Space, and more â€“ offering a fascinating survey of the art of our time. 25th Anniversary Party: Tuesday, September 26, Noonâ€“8 pm
MASTHEAD Publisher Chris Davies Editor Megan Abrahams Associate Editor Peter Frank Creative Director Chris Davies Art Direction & Design Chris Davies and Paul Soady Proofreader Leah Schlackman Contributing Writers Megan Abrahams Shana Nys Dambrot Molly Enholm Peter Frank KioÂ Griffith F. Scott Hess Steven Irvin Juri Koll Simone Kussatz Eva Recinos David S. Rubin
Contact Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: email@example.com Web: thisisfabrik.com Mailing Address 269 S. Beverly Drive, #1234 Beverly Hills, CA 90212 Subscriptions To subscribe to Fabrik, please visit us online at www.thisisfabrik.com. Information Fabrik Magazine is published quarterly by Fabrik Media, Inc., 269 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 1234, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Contents cannot be reproduced in part or in full without the written permission of the copyright holder. The opinions expressed are those of the artists and writers themselves and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Fabrik or Fabrik Media, Inc. Copyright ÂŠ 2017. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN LOS ANGELES
Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia. Pushing Daisies (Ressurection Painting), 2017 Acrylic on paper 35 x 25 inches Courtesy CB1 Gallery. Jay Oligny, photographer. See page 74 for more.
CONTEMPORARY ART & DESIGN // ISSUE 37
ON THE COVER
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
FABRIK ISSUE 37 Hurricanes, PST: LA/LA & a New Season of Art What’s the connection between hurricanes and art? I’ll get to that in a bit... At the moment, I can’t stop rhapsodizing about the thrill of being in LA for the kick-off of the fall art season—which is a blockbuster this year, coupled as it is with the roll out of Pacific Standard Time: Latin American & Latino Art in LA. The timing of this broad-based Getty initiative, which in this iteration brings to light the phenomenal role of Latin American and Latino art in our midst, couldn’t be more meaningful. We live in an era when an agenda is underway to build a wall that would divide us from countries south of the border, an era when Dreamers—undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors—face the prospect of losing their protected status. PST: LA/LA is a veritable dream program that demonstrates how obsolete such thinking is. The mind-blowing contribution of Latin American and Latino art is already part of our culture. It’s here to stay. Let’s embrace it! This issue of Fabrik brims with PST: LA/LA from Molly Enholm’s Museum View of the Kinesthesia exhibit at the Palm Springs Art Museum, to Shana Nys Dambrot’s review of Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia’s show at CB1 Gallery. On a somber note, the LA art community was shaken by the death of Los Angeles gallery owner and champion of the arts Greg Escalante. Inside this issue is an appreciation by Los Angeles painter F. Scott Hess. Finally, having lived in the Bahamas for a large part of my life, particularly during my formative years, the recent barrage of hurricanes that have torn through the Caribbean is a reminder of the vulnerability of this region at a time when climate change cannot be denied or ignored. With the Caribbean very much on my mind, I was delighted to see, as part of PST: LA/LA, a fascinating survey of artists from that region at the Museum of Latin American Art. At least on some of these islands, life may not be viable in the future because of rising sea levels and the increasing ferocity of storms which gather force over the warming Atlantic waters—but the art from this region is thriving. That gives me hope. Megan Abrahams Editor
CONTRIBUTORS MEGAN ABRAHAMS is a Los Angeles based painter, writer, art critic and editor. The editor of Fabrik, she is also a contributing writer for WhiteHot Magazine of Contemporary Art and other publications. An artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association, Megan is currently working on a new series of paintings. SHANA NYS DAMBROT is an art critic, curator and author based in Los Angeles. She is currently LA Editor for Whitehot Magazine, and a contributor to Artillery, KCET’s Artbound, Flaunt, Huffington Post, The Creators Project, Vs. Magazine, Palm Springs Life, Desert Magazine and Porter & Sail. She writes a lot of books and speaks in public with alarming frequency. MOLLY ENHOLM is a writer, art historian and artist based in Los Angeles. She is the former managing editor of art ltd. magazine and contributor to several publications, including Art and Cake, ArtScene, Fabrik, Hi-Fructose and visualartsource.com. Molly also teaches Art History at CSU Northridge. PETER FRANK is a New York-born, Los Angeles-based art critic and curator. Associate Editor of Fabrik and art critic for the Huffington Post, Frank has served as Editor of THEmagazine Los Angeles and Visions Art Quarterly, as art critic for the LA Weekly, Village Voice and SoHo Weekly News, and as Senior Curator at the Riverside [CA] Art Museum. KIO GRIFFITH is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, graphic designer and writer based in Los Angeles and Yokohama, Japan. Griffith is currently project director at Art Bridge Institute and TYPE (Tokyo), co-founder of Genzou photojournal and IMMI magazine. He has exhibited extensively internationally and is currently working on a project for the next Setouchi Triennial. F. SCOTT HESS is a Los Angeles based American painter and conceptual artist whose work is represented in international public collections. A former Huffington Post blogger, Hess is an Associate Professor with the MFA & BFA programs at Laguna College of Art + Design. STEVEN IRVIN is a visual and performance artist from Los Angeles. Trained as a gallery manager and art handler, he provides support for museums and galleries county-wide. Irvin has also contributed to Art Issues. and Art Week magazines. JURI KOLL is a Venice based artist, curator, writer and filmmaker. He is the Director of the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art and the Fine Arts Film Festival. He has written for the New York Times, the Huff Post and other publications. He exhibits extensively. One of his films was recently selected for the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. SIMONE KUSSATZ is a German-born journalist and author. Published internationally and trained in the US and Berlin, she now shares her passion for the arts in multiple ways in Los Angeles. EVA RECINOS is a freelance writer and social media producer based in Los Angeles. Her writing has been featured LA Weekly, The Creators Project, PSFK and others. She is less than five feet tall. DAVID S. RUBIN is a Los Angeles-based curator, writer, art critic and artist. He has held key curatorial positions at museums and contemporary art venues in Southern California, San Francisco, Cleveland, Phoenix, New Orleans and San Antonio.
FEATURES & COLUMNS 8
Spotlight: The Gentle Militancy of Betye Saar
Profile: Mark Steven Greenfield
Spotlight: Inside Self Help Graphics & Art
Spotlight: Inside the New ICA LA
Art About Town: Museum Views
Art About Town: Gallery Reviews
Fresh Faces in Art: Artists You Should Know
An Appreciation: Gregorio Escalante
DAVID S. RUBIN EVA RECINOS
F. SCOTT HESS
Betye Saar. Lest We Forget, The Strength of Tears, The Fragility of Smiles, The Fierceness of Love, 1998 Mixed media and wood figure on three vintage washboards. 22.75 x 30.25 x 2 inches
WORDS MEGAN ABRAHAMS IMAGES COURTESY OF THE CRAFT & FOLK ART MUSEUM
THE GENTLE MILITANCY OF BETYE SAAR
“I just like using an ordinary object, and changing the meaning of it.” — BETYE SAAR “Betye Saar is to assemblage what Mick Jagger is to rock and roll.” — MONICA WYATT
The assemblage work of Betye Saar is softspoken; conveying its message in a beguiling whisper, feminine in its vernacular, adamant in its power. Its very impact comes from an unexpected paradoxical fusion of quietude and strength. Sourced from a place of grace, Saar makes a statement loaded like the rifles she embeds in her imagery. However quotidian the components of her assemblages might seem on the surface, they are imbued with symbolism, historical significance, personal meaning and intent, all artfully combined. 10
Betye Saar Gonna Lay Down My Burden, 1998 Mixed media and soap bar on vintage washboard 24 x 12.6 x 1 inches
“My artworks are created from my collections of objects, images, things and ideas,” Saar said in an email interview with Fabrik. “Each object has a story, and I create a story by combining the objects, images and ideas together. I try to integrate my materials so that unlinked objects appear to be connected,” On the surface, her recent exhibition at the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM), Keepin’ it Clean, was about laundry. The title refers to the washboards, ironing boards, linens—objects with which she assembled this body of work. On a deeper level, they are artifacts and symbols of women’s work, the work of domestic help, and, from not so far back as to be forgotten, the labor of slaves. Saar has used these materials as points of departure towards a look at something difficult to confront. In I’ll Bend But I Will Not Break, for instance, Saar has imprinted a vintage ironing board with the image of a slave ship and a black woman ironing. More shocking is the backdrop: a white sheet on which the initials “KKK” are pristinely embroidered. “This piece illustrates the interaction of the KKK sheet and the woman who keeps it clean,” said Saar. As a young artist, Saar began collecting objects that portrayed black people in a demeaning way; as she describes them, “mammies, uncle Toms and piccaninnies”—like the beatific face of Aunt Jemima. “When I began to collect derogatory images in the 1960s, I noticed they were designed as humorous cards, but at the same time [were] degrading for African Americans,” said Saar. “As I recycle these images into my artworks, I try to reverse the meaning of the images into something that is more positive. For example, [in] my assemblage The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, I transformed her from a worker to a warrior by substituting a rifle instead of a pencil in her hand.” When she empowered the docile Aunt Jemima, Saar re-appropriated and flipped the prevailing cultural narrative. Indeed, why should Aunt Jemima be complicit in her white-conceived character? Saar’s enthralling art, which forces conflicting concepts and symbols to collide, becomes a profound form of visual activism. “As I continued to work with these images in what I call my ’political series,’ for example the washboards, I was interested in creating a visual contradiction of the pain of a so-called ‘humorous’ image,” Saar said. While the artist’s work—and Saar herself—may come across as subtle, her momentum and influence are significant and far-reaching. In a panel discussion at CAFAM last July led by LA based curator Dr. jillith moniz, local assemblage artists Duane Paul, Monica Wyatt and Rosalyn Myles discussed Saar’s impact on their visions. “Betye pushes the boundaries,” said moniz. “The 12
Betye Saar. Iâ€™ll Bend, But I Will Not Break, 1998 Mixed media tableau with vintage ironing board, iron, and sheet with KKK along border. 80 x 96 x 36 inches
Donn Delson. Training Ground.
Betye Saar Extreme Times Call for Extreme Heroines, 2017 Mixed media and wood figure on vintage washboard, clock 21.5 x 8.62 x 1.5 inches
Betye Saar A Loss of Innocence, 1998 Mixed media tableau with vintage dress, chair, and framed photo 50 x 12 x 12 inches
Betye Saar A Call to Arms, 1997 Mixed media on vintage washboard 36.8 x 13 x 2.5 inches
Betye Saar Supreme Quality (back), 1998 Mixed media on vintage washboard, metal washtub, wood stand 37.5 x 22.25 x 20 inches
work she did portraying black women was powerful at a time when we weren’t considered sexual beings. She paved the way for other artists… gave them their freedom to be highly narrative, provocative and unapologetically political. That freedom comes with a price. In keeping with her radical agenda of authenticity, Betye, I think, would insist that these artists locate themselves on the right side of history.” Ripples from Saar’s influence are also being felt across the Atlantic, where a gallery devoted to her work is featured as part of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the Tate Modern in London. On view through October 22, this landmark survey focuses on the work of African American artists from 1963 to 1983. One theme the exhibit explores is the beginnings of the Black Feminism movement in which Saar played a major role, and which has ongoing offshoots today. In August, in conjunction with the exhibit, the Tate unveiled a one-off digital installation created in collaboration with American pop singer-songwriter Solange Knowles which addresses black female identity and was inspired by Saar. It seems only now, at the age of 91, that Saar is beginning to receive the recognition she merits. On April 18, 2018, the International Sculpture Center will present her with the Lifetime Achievement Award, given in recognition of exemplary contributions to the field of sculpture. The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco is honoring her with the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award on October 28, 2017. At home in LA, CAFAM will honor Saar for an artistic practice committed to issues of racial equality, cultural inclusion and women’s rights, at the museum’s gala on October 14, 2017. Saar’s next exhibit at her local gallery, Roberts & Tilton. will open in January, 2018. Although her important and eloquent oeuvre has enduring resonance, it’s both shocking and disturbing to consider its renewed relevance in an era of ongoing, even heightened, racial inequality in America. It’s a situation Saar continues to address today, through the act of creating art with grace and relentless determination.
Betye Saar Liberation (washboard), 2014 Mixed media and Aunt Jemima figure (made of composition material) on vintage washboard 19 x 8.5 x 2.5 inches
Mark Steven Greenfield. My Country Tis Of Thee, 2017. Ink on Duralar, 24 X 40 inches
WORDS DAVID S. RUBIN IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND DAVID S. RUBIN
Mantras & Musings Lora Schlesinger Gallery (Sept. 2-Oct. 14, 2017)
MARK STEVEN GREENFIELD: MANTRAS FOR FIGHTING RACISM
In the early 2000s, Mark Steven Greenfield began examining the negative effects of racial stereotyping through a series of digital prints. In them, he superimposed eye charts that spell out racist jargon or witty commentary over images culled from his extensive photo collection of white people wearing blackface. In subsequent years, Greenfield has expanded his repertoire of subjects to include portraits of black entertainers who were required to wear blackface to appear more authentically black, racist cartoon characters, cotton fields and Egunsâ€”ceremonial performers who came to the Americas as part of the African slave trade. While on a recent residency in Brazil, Greenfield attended a present-day Egungun ceremony on Itaparica Island off the coast of Salvador. 22
Mark Steven Greenfield Problem Child, 2001 Ink Jet Print, 30 X 24 inches
Born into a military family, and having spent his early years in Germany and Taiwan, Greenfield had never heard the ‘n’ word until after moving to Los Angeles at the age of ten. During his youth, his exposure to negative stereotyping of African Americans like himself was countered by studying with positive black role models at the Otis Art Institute, where he was mentored by celebrated artists John Riddle and Charles White. Such dualities—positive versus negative, black versus white—are among the many binary principles that fascinate Greenfield. They also reflect his transcendental meditation practice, which has enhanced his awareness of the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious, which he suggests “is where our stresses are.” He is particularly concerned with the way images and language negatively affect the subconscious minds—as well as the physical health—of African Americans on an almost daily basis. In an interview with the artist during a recent visit to his studio, Greenfield explained, “Reinforcing stereotypes can have the effect of shortening your life. Blackface is a part of American history that we like to sweep under the rug. It constitutes the shadow, which exists in the subconscious. If you suppress something over time, it comes out and affects you in ways you can’t control.” Since 2010, Greenfield has referenced the subconscious in many of his drawings, using the Surrealist practice of automatism to create patterned abstract fields that he views as “mental maps.” In drawings such as Little Black Sambo Joins the Boy Scouts (2012), in which a boldly colored cartoon Sambo armed with a gun stands before a black-and-white field of abstract energy, the unsettling features of the foreground image are balanced out by the peaceful connotations of the background. Automatic drawing enables Greenfield to cope personally with the history he is investigating. As he sees it, “These images inform the way I am perceived. In order to neutralize them, you have to engage with them to expunge their power.” In his fall exhibition, Mantras & Musings, at Lora Schlesinger Gallery, Greenfield presents selections from several recent series—each installed in a separate gallery space. Upon entering, visitors are greeted by two works from the Egungun series in which Greenfield employs bold colors and frenzied patterns, effectively simulating the chaos of the ceremony he attended, where he had to avoid making physical contact with the shirtless performers carrying sticks, or he would be marked for death (which can be spiritual and not necessarily physical).
Mark Steven Greenfield Crucilibum, 2017 Ink Jet Print, 50 X 40 inches
Mark Steven Greenfield. Little Black Sambo Joins the Boy Scouts, 2012. Ink and Acrylic on Duralar, 40 X 51 inches. Collection of Robert and Karen Duncan.
Mark Steven Greenfield. CC One, 2017. Ink on Duralar, 41 X 40 inches
Mark Steven Greenfield On The Money #1, 2016 Ink on Wood, 24 X 18 inches
Elsewhere in the exhibition, an intimate grouping of smaller works provides an aesthetically sumptuous lesson in history and political consciousness. For his series, On the Money (2016), Greenfield collaged photographic vignettes lifted from Confederate currency over wood panels. Each panel is embellished with emblematic depictions of cotton and energy bursts representing mantras, those repeated sounds that lead one to peaceful states of solitude during meditation. Arranged in allover configurations that appear to float weightlessly, the imagery conceptualizes a view of the subconscious from an African American perspective, while also diminishing the repulsion we might feel towards the legacy of slavery by reducing it to a tiny speck within the vast expanse of the space/time continuum. In their own way, these meticulous collages are small gems that remind us in these difficult times not to lose faith in hope and change. In the largest gallery, a contemplative installation of abstract ink drawings may help an empathetic viewer to sense something of the sublime psychological freedom that Greenfield experiences regularly through transcendental meditation. Compelling side-by-side juxtapositions of abstracted cotton fields and the cosmos convey a heightened awareness of microcosm and macrocosm, a sense of our interconnectedness and our place in the universe at large.
Installation View: Día De Los Muertos: A Cultural Legacy, Past Present & Future © Self Help Graphics & Art
WORDS EVA RECINOS IMAGES COURTESY OF SELF HELP GRAPHICS & ART (September 17, 2017— February 24, 2018)
INSIDE SELF HELP GRAPHICS & ART DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS: A CULTURAL LEGACY, PAST PRESENT & FUTURE / PST: LA/LA
Inside the entryway of Self Help Graphics & Art you are greeted by a table decorated with flowers and candles. A label reads “Sister Karen Boccalero, 20th Anniversary Commemoration.” There are notecards inscribed with messages like, “It appears you have inspired many including myself. Thank you. Rest in Peace.” This homage to the SHG founder, who died in 1997, feels especially timely since Día De Los Muertos: A Cultural Legacy, Past, Present & Future, which opened in September, chronicles the influence of Self Help Graphics & Art on Día de Los Muertos celebrations in Los Angeles from the 1970s to now. It was in 1970 that Sister Karen, Carlos Bueno, Antonio Ibañez, Frank Hernandez and other artists gathered in her garage to make serigraphs. These gatherings led to the establishment of SHG, currently located in East L.A. 34
Installation View: Día De Los Muertos: A Cultural Legacy, Past Present & Future © Self Help Graphics & Art
Since 1983, Self Help Graphics has commissioned a different silkscreen print each year to commemorate Día de los Muertos. The prints also served as invitations to the community to attend SHG’s annual celebrations. A 1978 print by artist Linda Vallejo, for instance, depicts a hybrid figure: half mustachioed man and half skeleton. Vallejo worked closely with co-curator Dr. Betty Brown and SHG staff, especially Associate Director Betty Avila, in conceiving the Día De Los Muertos exhibition as part of PST: LA/LA. The team looked through an archive devoted to SHG at the University of California Santa Barbara. “So many of us don’t know Los Angeles without this celebration, but Linda was part of a group of artists that would carve this out together from nothing,” Avila said in an email to Fabrik. “Going back into this history and digging into the Self Help Graphics archive at UC Santa Barbara with Linda was powerful,” Avila said. “It was incredibly grounding to me personally and to the process to be working with someone who, at the time, was engaged in creating an artistic and communal healing experience not because they knew it would become this anchor, but because our community needed a creative opportunity to come together. Now it’s an iconic part of the city’s identity.” That importance is best expressed through the objects that Vallejo and SHG have chosen to display. “We found things nobody knew existed,” said Vallejo during a private walk through of Self Help Graphics before the exhibit opened. “I think the lesson really is that artists and art organizations of all types, all institutions and agencies and individual artists—I would encourage them all to take their offerings seriously, to take their careers seriously. To save things, to collect things, to keep good track of things. Because it could be very important, it could be extremely important and it’s showing in this exhibition how important that could be.” The Día de los Muertos holiday remains an important part of both Mexican and Chicano culture, she explained, and should be remembered in all its layers of meaning. Día De Los Muertos reminds us of the fragility of life, said Avila. “The fact that we’re finite.” The exhibition also features a penacho (“a headdress for an Aztec danzante,” as Avila describes it) belonging to Jose (Joey) Rivera that was worn during the program component at Evergreen Cemetery. Rivera is a historian, anthropologist and museum curator born in East L.A. As Avila explained,
Installation View: Día De Los Muertos: A Cultural Legacy, Past Present & Future © Self Help Graphics & Art
the program would include a Catholic mass and danza with Rivera. Flores de Aztlan and Vallejo. The penacho, re-feathered for the exhibition, shows the intermingling of both religious influences and indigenous spiritual beliefs, which Avila sees as a key element of Día de los Muertos. So much about Día de los Muertos promotes community. SHG serves as a gathering place for people to pay homage to the ones they lost and also to preserve their culture. “Long before the idea of creative place-making or social practice would become part of art and urban planning terminology, artists at Self Help were doing it because it is simply part of who we are as a community, as an organization,” Avila said. Since planning for the exhibition began, groups have met at SHG to reminisce about the celebrations of the ‘70s and ‘80s. “The sense of community is going to be brought out—I mean here we are looking at our own legacy, right?” said Vallejo. “It’s kind of another parallel to the Day of the Dead. We’re looking at our past, we’re looking at our present. We’re looking at our future, which is the aim of the show: to know ourselves better, to remember the legacy of the artists. To remember Sister Karen, of course, and her vision.”
INSIDE THE NEW ICA LA â€” WORDS STEVEN IRVIN IMAGES COURTESY OF ICA LA
When the new Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) opened September 9 after an extended makeover from its days as the Santa Monica Museum of Art, it unveiled an array of new staff, new board members, a new physical plant and inaugural exhibits designed to reflect a re-envisioned mission.
After a pivotal meeting with the Santa Monica City Council in 2015 over the direction of the redevelopment of Bergamot Station—where the Santa Monica Museum of Art had been located—the future of the museum was catalyzed. Elsa Longhauser, ICA LA/SMMoA director since 2000, explained the excitement and energy that brings the museum into a new era and a starkly contrasting location in downtown Los Angeles. “We chose to move to downtown LA because it was transforming as an epicenter of the art world; we saw this as an opportunity to become part of the city’s emerging cultural hub,” said Longhauser in an interview with Fabrik. Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford designed the new logo. The architectural firm wHY, under the direction of Kulapat Yantrasast, redesigned the building; an airy space with ambient light filtering in from above. Situated on 7th Street, across from the LA bus terminal, ICA LA now shares the neighborhood with Inner City Arts and the downtown ghost of the now-Hollywood-based LACE. Immediately next door is a bodega and the fashion outpost Descontrol Punk Shop. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles takes its name independently, with no affiliation to any similar companies or arts entities. As previously, the museum remains a kunsthalle, and will not have a permanent collection. Visitors enter the new space set back from 7th Street, and are immediately engulfed by activity. “The ‘back of house’ section is actually at the front,” said Longhauser. “When you enter, you’ll see bookcases and bleachers (portable stadium-style seating modules), and people working.” The entrance lobby rests between two identical mezzanines on either side, including a board room-style educational center. “You won’t enter into a pristine space. The administrative areas are designed to be transparent and accessible. This way we can reveal the inner workings of our organization and facilitate integration between the museum’s team and its visitors.” Opposite the learning center is a large room designated as the museum’s café and retail space. Initially, the space will feature an installation designed by dosa’s Christina Kim, with hand-made artifacts and objects inspired by one of the inaugural exhibitions, Martin Ramirez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation. Part of Pacific Standard Time LA/LA, the Ramirez exhibit features roughly 50 pieces borrowed from various lenders. Ramirez was confined to a hospital for most of his life with a diagnosis (now challenged) of schizophrenia. While there, he left an indelible mark on the outsider art world with a vast series
Installation View. Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Presents Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation. All works by Martín Ramírez. All images © 2017 The Estate of Martín Ramírez; Courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, NY
of drawings of pastoral and industrial scenery, including an 18-foot scroll on view for the first time. Curator Jamillah James, who came to the ICA LA from the UCLA Hammer Museum, is launching what will be a vibrant and ambitious contemporary program. “In terms of the upcoming curatorial program for the museum, I want to platform artists who are using their abilities to think through some of the problems we collectively face locally, nationally and on the global stage,” she said in an email interview with Fabrik. James’ focus on special projects here includes New York installation artist Abigail DeVille in the project room and LA-based painter Sarah Cain’s site-specific work, Now I’m Going To Tell You Everything on the Museum’s courtyard wall on 7th Street. “As curator,” James said, “I have a special interest in continuing to articulate and broadcast the tremendous lineage of artists who are here living and working in Los Angeles, and those who have passed through this city for one reason or another who we may associate with other places.”
In a gesture of community inclusion, ICA LA is hiring local staff and has established a relationship with the nearby bus station. Longhauser added, “We’re working with youth in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles on an education initiative called Agency of Assets to help them explore, engage and ultimately work as paid interns in the downtown arts and culture sector.” This area of DTLA has changed slowly, yet remains rooted in an identity that is transient to its core. The bus station functions as a portal to this dynamic. Many bright spots shine behind protective exteriors. “We are doing everything we can to be responsible to our neighbors and the community,” said Longhauser. “We will be sure to be as welcoming to the people walking by on the street, as to the art world.” It seems particularly timely that the Institute’s curatorial vision intends to be welcoming, too. James said, “I want ICA LA to be a space that continues to welcome experimentation and challenging work, as it did in its earlier incarnation, and one that shows through its programming a commitment to showing a world we’d all like to live in, that is critical, fair, inclusive and rigorous.” 45
October 6-8, 2017 THE REEF | 1933 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA
The Objects of Art Show Los Angeles presents a unique experience for beginning as well as seasoned collectors, showcasing an extensive collection of antique, historic and contemporary material ranging from fashion, jewelry and ornamental items to furniture and books, prints, paintings and sculpture. Spanning the globe, the show brings together fine and folk art, tribal, American Indian and contemporary art all under one roof, creating a visual and cultural feast that is both encompassing and exclusive.
2017 SHOW INFO: Friday, October 6, Benefit Opening Night 7pm to 10pm 100% of the Gala ticket proceeds benefit Rock The Elephant ÂŽ Saturday - Sunday | October 7th-8th (11am to 6pm)
February 8-11, 2018
February 17-18, 2018
BENEFITING Rock The Elephant ÂŽ
ART ABOUT TOWN
MUSEUM VIEWS ANNENBERG SPACE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY Images Not Walls: Cuba Is (September 9, 2017—March 4, 2018) Words Juri Koll
Cuba Is, the Annenberg’s contribution to Pacific Standard Time, presents an unblinking, eloquent, prescient exhibition of more than 120 images, as well as important films, that defy characterization. Together they expand exponentially the lens through which we see this island culture barely 90 miles from our southern shores. The exhibition, broken into sections featuring open and hidden elements of life in Cuba, captures a constantly adapting, exuberant soul. This soulfulness is particularly exemplified by the gorgeous, bare immediacy of images by Michael Christopher Brown of “Los Frikis,” a defiant youth culture, hung next to scenes of the youthful elite, the sons and daughters of the one percent. Like their counterparts everywhere, these subjects openly present their experiments with drugs, music and adventurous lifestyles. Their portrayals run counter to the beautifully costumed and posed dancers in Leysis Quesada Vera’s images, which are often presented against a background of forced neglect. While at opposite ends of Cuba’s economic spectrum, all the people depicted gravitate toward the camera, as if hoping for recognition of their chosen place in the world. This practice contrasts with a film about “El Paquete,” a revolutionary black-market packaging of information and entertainment content that quietly circumvents the Cuban regime’s stringent media restrictions. Films, television, apps and other communications are downloaded to a secret server managed by a wizardly, defiant 26 year-old entrepreneur, and delivered via thumb drive across the island on a daily basis for a few dollars per delivery. Usually, the content is received much more quickly after initial broadcast than can be accessed here in the States. At one end of Cuba Is, a selection of images depicts the ingenuity of these Cuban residents, who use normally discarded materials to make new objects: gas lamps fashioned from cans and bottles; a lighter made from a rubber shoe, lead pencil and a stripped extension cord; and abstract ashtrays created 50
(Top) Tria Giovan Beauty Salon In Vedado Neighborhood, Havana, 1993
(Bottom) Leysis Quesada Vera Avril and Thalia on the Rooftop, Havana, 2017
Fran Siegel (b. 1960, New York, NY) Lineage through Landscape: Tracing Egun in Brazil, 2015–2017 Suspended Drawing: pencil, pigment, gold leaf, string, and collage on cut drafting film, scrim, cyanotype, sewn and printed fabric Leaves: porcelain. Length (drawing): 10.97 m Commissioned by the Fowler Museum at UCLA; Collection of the artist. Photo: Don Cole
from molten plastic. These objects appear almost like conceptual art in the context of the show, a kind of Dada existence that has become a normal part of life. At the other end of the show are conceptual photographs—an Adidas logo emblazoned on a Gloc 9 mm—one might expect to see in major art centers like Los Angeles or New York. Tenacity to survive against high odds appears to be typical of these islanders, as demonstrated during the 1990s, when the country was abandoned by the disintegrating Soviet Union. Tria Giovan photographed the scarcity and isolation as the communities pulled together to make it through this difficult time. Another chronicler here is Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt, who was invited to Cuba to photograph Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in 1964 and returned to the island in 2015 to focus on contemporary life. Erwitt is featured in a film about the four photographers commissioned by the Annenberg for this exhibition. 52
UCLA FOWLER MUSEUM, PACIFIC STANDARD TIME: LA/LA Fran Siegel: Lineage through Landscape: Tracing Egun in Brazil (July 23—December 10, 2017) Words Simone Kussatz
Fran Siegel’s commissioned work, Lineage through Landscape: Tracing Egun in Brazil, features the artist’s interpretation of Egun (or Egungun), the worship of ancestors. The ritual originated in West Africa and was practiced mainly by followers of Candomblé on Itaparica, an island off the coast of the city of Salvador in Brazil’s northeastern Bahia state. Siegel’s two-part work consists of a thirty-five-foot long woven drawing curving over two walls and an installation of porcelain leaves extending from the drawing, both reflected in a mirrored pillar. Part of the Fowler Museum’s three-part program for Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Siegel’s piece explores how diaspora, continental drift and cultural reconstruction have changed the Brazilian landscape. The New York-born artist’s elegant and intricate work stems from her early studies of the Yoruba people while attending Yale University. Having viewed the artist’s work for Ecuador and her piece Translocation and Overlay at the Art, Design and Architecture Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Fowler director Marla C. Berns 53
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invited Siegel to engage the Fowler’s collection as catalyst for a new project. When Siegel spotted a richly layered Afro-Brazilian ensemble worn during the worship of Egun, her direction was sealed. In 2015, during an extended stay in Brazil while on a Fulbright Scholarship, Siegel conducted research at the National Archives in Rio de Janeiro, the Museu Afro in São Paulo and on-site at the Instituto Sacatar on Itaparica. While there, she met with ritual experts, observed Egun ceremonies and began working on the piece, which she completed in her Los Angeles studio. In an interview with Fabrik, Siegel explained that there are only two terreiros (worship or community centers solely devoted to Egun) in Brazil, both on the island of Itaparica. In her piece, she emphasized the importance of the island to this ethnic-religious group with a cutout in the shape of the island, as well as through leaf drawings, leaf-shaped cutouts, fabric with leaf patterns and the porcelain installation. “There is a special preserve on the island of Itaparica that contains a range of sacred leaves,” Siegel said. “Each leaf has associations with a specific orixá (deity). So, the landscape becomes codified and personified and connected to the ancestral roots of Africa. Certain leaves are used for distinct Candomblé ceremonies and have curative powers. They can cleanse, are magical and can protect by warding off bad spirits.” The quilted appearance of the work suggests family heritage. Its uneven edges add an irregular quality. “The holes or gaps are a subtractive process (mostly at the left and right edges of the suspended drawing),” Siegel observed, “which allows the piece to visually merge with the gallery space. Shadows are projected in these areas. The mirrored column adds a spatial complication to this work by contrasting ephemerality with physical form. The grid also refers to the Portuguese tiled interiors or courtyards of churches that I saw throughout Bahia. Many tiles have been replaced, so they are mismatched and new associations emerge.” As in her previous work, Siegel plays here with light, density and shifts in perspective; achieved through the mirror and the juxtaposition of either transparent and non-transparent or coarse and fine-fibred materials. She also embeds symbols of Egun into her portrayal of Afro-Brazilian history. The use of exuberant multicolored fabric, phrases in gold from letters and documents related to the gold trade and various other golden elements integrated into her work refer to the history of Rio de Janeiro. “The central area of the suspended drawing deals
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with the power of gold and its relationship to Rio,” Siegel noted. “Rio secured its position as the Brazilian capital away from the city of Salvador because they made a more efficient road (Strata Nova) connecting its port with Minas Gerais (where the gold was mined). Slaves came in and gold went out of the Rio port. I’ve included drawings of the Portuguese seal used on gold shipments: the documentation of who and what was exported.” The Fowler’s Egun ensemble can be viewed in the Fowler’s Getty Gallery as part of Axé Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis, September 24, 2017–April 15, 2018. LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage (July 31, 2017—January 7, 2018) Words Simone Kussatz
Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage, a collaboration between the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, was curated by LACMA’s Stephanie Barron in collaboration with opera director Yuval Sharon. The exhibition vividly reflects Chagall’s passion for music and dance. The dis-
Installation Photograph, Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, July 31, 2017– January 7, 2018, © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, photo © Fredrik Nilsen
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play of extravagant costumes and stage sketches recalls a similar dance-and-music oriented survey, the Oskar Schlemmer retrospective Visions of a New World, at the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, Germany, two years ago. Several similarities and overlaps provoke the association between Chagall and Schlemmer, such as their stage works for ballets by Igor Stravinsky, and the fact that both artists were persecuted by the Nazis. Yet, at a preview of the exhibit, Chagall’s granddaughter Meret Meyer said, “The two didn’t know each other personally.” So, it’s not clear if there was any cross-influence. What is certain is that both painters embraced interdisciplinarity and gave the performing arts a modern twist. Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage is not arranged in strictly chronological order, but is emotionally and aesthetically driven, accompanied by classical music from the four productions on which Chagall worked: Aleko, The Firebird, Daphnis and Chloe and the opera The Magic Flute. Also noteworthy is the fact that the exhibition follows a narrative in which love plays a key role. All four productions Chagall worked on center around the theme of love; and all are driven by Chagall’s love for the performing arts. As he once said, “Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love.” The show begins with Chagall’s backdrop studies and costumes for the ballet Aleko, based on Alexander Pushkin’s poem The Gypsies, choreographed by Léonide Massine and set to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Trio in A Minor. There are also film excerpts from the 1942 production in Chagall’s adopted city, New York. The premiere was supposed to take place there, but, due to union policies, the artist was prevented from completing his work in New York, so the entire crew went to Mexico to finish. Consequently, the ballet premiered at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, the costumes displaying a mélange of Russian, Jewish and Mexican influences: In his costumes particularly, Chagall relied on both his familiar motifs (animals, fiddles) and forms and images from the Mexican traditional dress. The various fabrics, from taffeta to georgette, were chosen by his wife Bella, who selected them from Mexican markets. Also featured is a display of stage sketches from two other ballets in which Chagall was involved: Stravinsky’s The Firebird and Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. The former debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1945, the latter at the Paris Opera in 1959. Especially noteworthy are the fantastic, partially embroidered costumes for Firebird, made a year after Bella’s death, presenting anthropomorphized demons, monsters and animals mounted on rotating stage
Marc Chagall, Costume Design for The Firebird: Blue-and-Yellow Monster from Koschei’s Palace Guard, 1945, watercolor, gouache, graphite and india ink on paper, 18 5/16 x 11 7/16 inches, private collection, © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris, photo © 2017 Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris
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platforms so that viewers can see them from all sides. Prime among these is the elegant costume with a blue fruit tree ornament for the Blue-and-Yellow Monster from Koschei’s Palace Guard. The stage display ends with Mozart’s Magic Flute, the only opera Chagall ever worked on, which premiered at the Met’s Lincoln Center home in 1967. Here, Chagall shifted from pure drawing to collage, most evident in a bird cutout and pieces of shimmering gold and fabric integrated into the sketches and costume studies. The sash around Pamino’s waist and the head cover on Sarastro epitomize mysteriousness. Comical are the suggested feathers on Papageno and Papagena’s costumes, underlining Papageno’s duties as a bird-catcher. A separate, much smaller part of the show addresses Chagall’s engagement more generally with the performing arts. This addendum includes videos of discussions by experts about the merging of the fine and lively art forms. It closes with a few iconic Chagall paintings displayed in a separate area. Among them are The Green Violinist (1923-1924) and Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers (1912), emphasizing both Chagall’s love for music and his affinity for his adopted home of Paris, the city of love. MUSEUM OF LATIN AMERICAN ART (MOLAA) Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago (September 16, 2017—February 25, 2018) Words Megan Abrahams
The timing of this important and fascinating exhibit is grimly serendipitous, coming so soon after Hurricanes Irma and Maria pummeled the Caribbean archipelago, leaving behind unthinkable trauma and devastation. The storms also raised international consciousness about this fragile and beautiful multi-cultural part of the world. Curated by Dr. Tatiana Flores, Relational Undercurrents is a tour of these island nations through the visions of more than 80 contemporary artists from the Caribbean and its diaspora, a tour that gathers insight into the complex, multi-faceted cultural, geographic and historic—as well as pressing environmental—influences that drive them. While part of PST: LA/LA, the exhibit does not focus exclusively on territories that could be considered Latin American because of links to Spain: like Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, etc. The scope is much broader and more inclusive, involving voices from island nations with ties to Britain, 58
Tony Capellán (Dominican Republic, b. 1955) Mar Invadido, 2015 From the exhibition at the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago
France, Holland and the U.S. as well. Featured is the work of artists with roots in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curaçao, Aruba, St. Martin, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Barbados— brought together with the intent of reflecting a commonality of themes confronting these islands today rather than adhering to circumstantial boundaries carried over from colonial times. Heritage, race, identity, migration, sustainability, climate and landscape are among the recurring threads that emerge in the varied and compelling works assembled here, and which offer tantalizing glimpses into a treasure trove of island narratives. Starting with maps—which are embedded with stories from colonial times to the present—Conceptual Mappings is one of four themes formally explored in the exhibit and a good jumping-off point for conveying how artists perceive the islands in the context of their interconnectedness and their relative position in the world. One of the most literal approaches to the mapping theme is the rendition of Bundlehouse Borderlines No. 3 (Isla de Tribamartica), a fictional island conceived by Nyugen E. Smith. The artist contrived the outline of this hybrid territory by overlaying maps of Trinidad, Cuba, Martinique, Haiti and Jamaica. Smith, whose background is Trinidadian/Haitian/Cuban, adapted the language of cartography 59
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Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaica, b. 1981) Untitled (Goffa) from the series Out and Bad, 2012 From the exhibition at the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago
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to weave together multiple historical references: a lace border alludes to the traditional Madras fabric worn on the French island of Martinique, for example, while a network of differently colored lines stitched in thread throughout his map of the imaginary island represents the arbitrary way borders were imposed in colonial times, with complete disregard for the linguistic and cultural ties they divided. The colonial powers could have had no inkling of the environmental havoc and the ravages of climate change these island communities would ultimately be destined to confront. Some of the participating artists address these concerns, grouped under the theme Landscape Ecologies. Among the most striking is the installation Mar invadido, 2015: Found Objects from the Caribbean Sea by Tony Capellán, in which the artist presents a collection of detritus gathered from the shore, organized in gradations of blue. The oddly beautiful arrangement of assorted bottles and other inorganic waste hints at the degradation and pollution of the once pristine waters. Also addressing a concern related to the environment, Lynn Parotti’s composite painting on aluminum, Thirst II: Clean water cost to a consumer by municipality per 100 gallons graphically documents the skyrocketing cost of clean water to residents of Nassau, Bahamas, along with other cities of the world. The theme Representational Acts, connects works that seem to focus more on the personal lives of Caribbean residents from a sociological, cultural and political point of view. Among these are Myrlande Constant’s Haiti, Tuesday, January 12, 2010—the date a magnitude 7.0 earthquake unleashed death and destruction in Haiti. The vibrantly colored grand tableau portrays a parade of humanity interspersed with skeletons, composed of beads and sequins on a fabric background, in the tradition of the Haitian drapeaux. This survey takes on an admirably ambitious task. Its formidable scope reveals an enticing selection of modern day treasures from the Caribbean, but also suggests that this is only a small sample of the burgeoning wealth of contemporary art from this culturally opulent part of the world. PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM Kinesthesia: Latin American Kinetic Art, 1954-1969 (August 26, 2017—January 15, 2018) Words Molly Enholm
Over the past few decades, the term “analog” seems to have acquired new significance, often tinged with nostalgia for a bygone era. That all of
Installation view of the exhibition Cosmic Dialogues: Selections from the Latin American Art Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, May 14–August 23, 2015, featuring Gyula Kosice La ciudad hidroespacial, 1946–1972. Acrylic, paint, metal and light, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund, 2009.29.1-.26, © Estate of Gyula Kosice
the kinetic art on view in the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Kinesthesia: Latin American Kinetic Art, 1954-1969 hearkens back to this “analog” period is part of its charm. There is tangible sense of the mechanical throughout the exhibition, often accompanied by an audible whir of miniature motors or the hum of incandescent bulbs. The exhibition, however, is not merely a trip back through beloved modernist tropes. Rather, it opens the door to the reexamination of a movement that remains largely unrecognized in the United States: the perceptually perplexing abstractions of Kinetic Art. The inspiration for Kinesthesia first struck curator Dan Cameron after viewing Real/Virtual: Argentine Kinetic Art of the 1960s at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Argentina five years ago. The visit introduced the experienced curator to myriad artists previously unknown to him. Cameron began to explore the broader story of Kinetic Art in Latin America, looking for artistic connections, experiences and shared influences which led to the multi-national exhibition currently on view. Though ultimately Cameron found little evidence of international discourse among the various kinetic artists working in different parts of Latin
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America, there were many similar characteristics, including a shared rejection of representational illusionism and embrace of Constructivism and Concrete Art. Additionally, the kinetic movement also provided a means to disrupt traditional boundaries between painting, sculpture and other artistic disciplines, as demonstrated by Jesús Rafael Soto’s Vibración (Vibration) series. Kinesthesia opens with optical-kinetic works by Venezuelan-born Soto that betray the close alliance of Kinetic Art with the popular Op Art movement. Upending expectations from the start, it is worth noting that none of Soto’s geometrically patterned artworks actually move. Instead, the perception of movement is created as the viewer moves physically around the work, producing a dizzying sensation of vibrations that destabilize the viewing experience. If it were possible to identify a singular work of art responsible for catalyzing the emergence of Latin American Kinetic Art, it would likely be the multi-colored, luminescent installation carved into a wall by first-generation Brazilian artist Abraham Palatnik at the inaugural São Paulo Art Biennial (1951). The first of 33 such works, the piece was described by the artist’s colleague and writer Mário Pedrosa as “kinechromatic,” or “frescoes of light.” Hidden within the wall-mounted construction, underneath the luminous façade, is a complex Geppetto-meetsEdison contraption composed of extensive wiring, colored light bulbs and cut forms driven by miniature motors. Lit from within, these shape-shifting polychromatic forms epitomize the artist’s desire to capture light and motion in pictorial art, while also capitalizing on his background in engineering. Beyond the didactics and history, Kinesthesia offers a truly visceral experience. While some of the artworks maintain a delightfully vintage aesthetic, others seem surprisingly contemporary. Such is the case for a series of light-refracting works of revolutionary Argentine-born artist Julio Le Parc. Rays of white light flicker throughout the darkened room, the secrets of their continual rhythmic movement revealed by their exposed industrial mechanics. In contrast to Soto’s viewer-activated vibrations, the visitor observes and absorbs Le Parc’s continual flux of light from a fixed position, placing the viewer, in the artist’s words, “in the center of a phenomenon.” By contrast, the patterned flickering light squares of Italian-born, Argentine-based Gregorio Vardánega revel in their ’60s roots: patterned squares of light flicker on and off with a sort of “Star Trek” panache, as if striving to predict future technologies with what was then state-of-the-art machinery. Also giving off a distinctly retro-futuristic vibe is the
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immersive Hydrospatial City by self-taught Czechoslovakian born, Argentine artist Gyula Kosice, whose spherical mixed-media maquettes embody the artist’s ecologically driven concept of future cities hovering over the sea. This shared concern for technology and use of industrial materials is equally prevalent in kinetic explorations of Argentine artists Martha Soto, Horacio García-Rossi and Venezuelan Alejandro Otero, whose architecturally scaled kinetic sculptures changed the cityscape of Caracas. Part of the larger Getty Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, Kinesthesia illuminates the oft-overlooked legacy of Kinetic Art in Latin America. Although it is not, strictly speaking, an examination of any specific dialogue between Latin American artists and Los Angeles, it is not hard to locate parallels between the Kinetic movement and their Light and Space counterparts in LA. More specifically, it is hard not to relate the chromo-saturation rooms of Venezuelan-French artist Carlos Cruz-Diez to the Light and Space explorations of James Turrell. Although the artists clearly worked in isolation from one another, the work itself highlights a shared desire to challenge academic traditions, practices and materials. Instead of paint, canvas and marble, the kinetic artists turned to industrial materials, technology and light to fundamentally transform prevailing notions of art and perceptions of reality. ICA LA (INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, LOS ANGELES) Sarah Cain: Now I’m going to tell you everything (September 9—December 31, 2017) Words Megan Abrahams
To describe the paintings of Los Angeles artist Sarah Cain as visual poetry is not merely contriving a trite metaphor. A sometime poet herself, Cain consciously references poetry in her work, as in her new thrilling, ambitiously monumental mural, which covers all 800 square feet of the vast ICA LA courtyard wall. Its title, Now I’m going to tell you everything, is taken from a poem written for the artist by her friend, the poet Bernadette Mayer. A wooden bench at the base of the mural, seamlessly subsumed into the painted composition, is deliberately connected to Mayer as well. The poet has a matching bench by a creek in upstate New York, where she and Cain have often sat. “I love the idea that somebody could be sitting in the middle of the piece, titled after a line from the poem, at the same time that she’s sitting at her creek,” Cain said at a preview of the inaugural exhibits. 64
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© Sarah Cain. Now I’m going to tell you everything. Mural at ICA LA.
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Artist Sarah Cain (left) with ICA LA curator Jamillah James on the bench in front of Cain’s Mural, Now I’m going to tell you everything at a preview of the ICA LA inaugural exhibits, Sept. 7, 2017. Photo by Megan Abrahams
Although the ICA LA mural might have seemed a daunting project, Cain didn’t do much planning. The artist typically works on the fly, her process largely improvised—an approach she refers to as “attack and resolve.” As she explained, “It’s very much about the present tense. I just show up and figure it out with the elements.” In this case, the figuring out involved several elements not all typically associated with painting: Cain incorporated vinyl floor tile, canvases, sequined backpacks and other incongruous objects and material onto the piece, making the work pop with sculptural dimension, texture and inventive—literally off-the-wall— context. Significantly, the canvases serve to define rectangular shapes, which divide the vast (40 x 20 feet) space into interacting sections. More important for Cain, the 66
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canvases were a way to demarcate line after encountering how difficult it was to render a straight line while painting on the irregular brick surface. Complimenting Cain’s infectious instinct for palette is her apparent sense of daring and a refusal to conform to conventional boundaries. Her in situ paintings—or architectural interventions—often continue on to the floors, as if the paint didn’t stop flowing. Indeed, Now I’m going to tell you everything appears like it might continue flowing upwards, into the sky, revealing everything. ICA LA curator Jamillah James was most deliberate in her decision to engage Cain, as well as Abigail De Ville, whose installation occupies the Project Room, to kick off the first season. “It was important for me to introduce two working, contemporary artists into the inaugural season at ICA LA who reflect some of the themes and formal aspects of the [Martin] Ramírez show, but offer some exciting departures, and are reflective of some of the things to come at the museum,” said James in an email response to Fabrik. Part of the strategy behind extending the art into the courtyard was to make the new Institute appear to be an inviting, open and accessible public place. “There really are no walls or barriers,” said James at the preview. “We’re really committed to engaging our different publics, from the westside, the eastside and all over town.” While temporary, Cain’s mural will remain on the courtyard wall for quite some time, James said. A good decision, as the piece is a welcoming beacon to the outside world. In its colorful, tangible, visually poetic energy, it projects a sense of the exciting program unfolding inside. ICA LA (INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, LOS ANGELES) Martin Ramirez: His Life In Pictures, Another Interpretation (September 9—December 31, 2017) Words Peter Frank
The Martin Ramirez story is at once unusual for and typical of “outsider artists.” Typical, in that his artistic output was realized at particularly far remove from any sort of self-conscious artistic discourse; unusual, in that the work itself, while exhibiting the graphic obsessiveness we expect, even cherish, in outsider art, has a stylistic and thematic complexity to it—one carefully but dramatically unpacked in this survey of the artist’s work. Pictorially, Ramirez knew what he was doing, or at least what he wanted to do. Ramirez also knew from experience the pictorial traditions from which he was working, again as demonstrated by the show. A day laborer in California 67
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Martín Ramírez Untitled (Horse and Red Rider), n.d. Gouache, colored pencil and graphite on pieced paper 34 1/2 x 24 1/2 in. (87.6 x 62.2 cm); 43 x 31 1/2 in. (109.2 x 80 cm), framed Collection of Jim Nutt and Gladys Nilsson. Photo: Tom Van Eynde © 2017 The Estate of Martín Ramírez; Courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York
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and ultimately a ward of the state, in his spirit Ramirez never left his native Jalisco. Trapped in an asylum with a (dubious) diagnosis of schizophrenia, the nearly mute artist-despite-himself responded to the available visual culture—that is, mid-century American popular imagery—but based his iconography on a range of references to his birthplace. A survey of someone like Ramirez falls readily into thematic distinctions even as it resists chronology: much of his work is dated vaguely, but its subject matter and formal qualities present themselves forcefully. Ramirez’s work has been accessible to the American art world since the 1970s, and its formal strengths and subjective peculiarities have long been acknowledged; indeed, they fairly leap at you from every single one of his works. But only in careful, if expansive, selections like this does his art radiate such pathos. Fully worthy of the scholarship lavished on him here, Ramirez emerges as anything but a naïf. His exposure to fine art was limited, of course, but he clearly had a sense of his own style as a method of self-expression, The segment of the show isolating his “abstractions”—linear structures absent any figurative reference—argues, persuasively, as much. Ramirez’s style, notably consistent and even more notably inimitable, depends on the repetition of large, curved lines (or, less often, short, straight ones) rendered in graphite and used to define space and volume. These elaborations contain his referential motifs in various ways, defining spaces around them, entrapping them, underscoring them, and generally serving to elaborate pictorial space in a deeply respectful, almost votive manner. Such reverential decoration bespeaks Ramirez’s sources in Mexican religious art of various kinds, more insistently than do the occasional appearances of religious images themselves. Ramirez lavished the same attention on depictions of deer or caballeros as he did on the Virgen, almost as if averring that the world, too, is holy. The volume and ambition of Ramirez’s output clearly betrays the fate of someone with too much time on his hands, forced to live institutionally, far from his home and family, whether or not he was actually schizophrenic. He was not a lucky man. But he was a gifted and resourceful one, arguably even more so than most of the other artists we now celebrate for their mental-hospital mastery. This survey succeeds in its ultimate argument: Ramirez was one of the great artists of the last century.
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GALLERY REVIEWS ROBERTS & TILTON Jeffrey Gibson: In Such Times Daniel Joseph Martinez: Divine Violence (September 9—October 21, 2017) Words Shana Nys Dambrot
Within its festoon of embellishments, tertiary palettes, intriguing elements of text and more shiny fringe than gallery-goers might be accustomed to, Jeffrey Gibson’s art is activated by the direct interplay of motif and meaning. The work’s visual paradoxes cohere into a unified aesthetic, largely because the relationship of abstract shape and color to the semiotic structure of language is territory common to both spheres of his practice: reworking Modernist and Native American visual tropes. The same hybrid quality is also true of his deconstruction and reclamation of social signifiers from popular culture and craft, even more so in the specific way Gibson seeks to integrate both into the conceptual discourse of contemporary art. Plenty of artists have responded to the dominance of Modernism by fusing its core values with emblems of their own unique identity, or by executing those values in unconventional media. Gibson does both, viewing his formalist problem-solving through the cultural and personal experiences of his own Cherokee and Choctaw heritage, plus his education in Christianity and Art History. As he reclaims motifs of the iconic Old West blanket trade, he wrangles the baubles and beads of ritual tribal decoration, and, finally, throws in salient references from mainstream music and fashion—all somehow resulting in mixed media works that evoke paintings by the likes of Ellsworth Kelly. Asking questions about cultural appropriation, institutional narratives, assimilation and sovereignty, ownership, authorship and identity, Gibson’s special gift is his gentle manner of provoking the viewer to answer for themselves. While most of the works hang on the wall—the better to reinforce traits derived from their woven ancestors and to show off their enticing fringe and fancy foils—a pair of embellished punching bag sculptures hang at either end of the room. One is about power and language, the other about love and nostalgia. They are both about much more: race and gender, sexuality and faith, memory 70
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Jeffrey Gibson. Like a Whisper. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles. Photo: Peter Mauney.
and obsession, and the intersectional deconstruction of systemic everything. The beaded, text-based sculpture about power creates some shivers in color-based word-play, while the trinket-encrusted, flouncy-bottomed one about love toes the line between kitsch and pure emotion. Both are powerful, unique iterations on the form. While we readily perceive the messages “encoded” in the snippets of text throughout all the works, it is important to keep in mind that the abstract patterns of color and shape that form their foundation were once an active, complex language of their own, literally encoding communications between and among First Nation tribes. But there again, the phrase “language of abstraction” will be familiar to any student of modern art, such as Gibson himself. The pairing of Gibson with a project room installation by Daniel Joseph Martinez is inspired. Both artists combine the use of text, color and religious/art historical signifiers as elements of composition and direct messages. In Martinez’s installation, a grid of gold enamel panels with hand-lettering listing the names of violent groups, sects and organizations, the room initially presents like a chapel, the warm glow of the gold diffusing throughout the space. The names do not all 71
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sound terrible. The KKK, Machete Wielders, Generation of Fury, okay sure. But the Peace Conquerors and the Creativity Movement sound lovely. Nope. These are all groups known for their violent political activism. A larger-scale version of Divine Violence was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial and still lives in its permanent collection, but this intimate restaging on the occasion of Pacific Standard Time—and given the current state of geopolitics and domestic strife —strikes a fresh, poignant and timely tone. Martinez, in his way, also draws on familiar cultural and religious motifs, as well as art history and even a dash of Warhol, generating emotional discomfiture amid aesthetic pleasure. VON LINTEL GALLERY Kysa Johnson: As Above, So Below (June 24—August 19, 2017) Words Molly Enholm
The infinite expanse of the universe is a sublime concept. That the universe is also infinitely small is an equally wondrous and mind-boggling conundrum. Merging these two concepts might seem a vast undertaking, but it only scratches the surface of what Los Angeles-based artist Kysa Johnson explores in her recent exhibition at Von Lintel Gallery. At first glance, her paintings evoke the Abstract Expressionist tradition of mark-making. But Johnson’s distinctive marks are not about expressive gestures, tracking the artist’s reach or the movement of paint across the canvas. Instead, the Glasgow-trained artist finds inspiration in what might be considered the antithesis of such emotional devices: scientific theory. The paintings’ elaborate and overlapping paths, drawn with a rainbow palette, combine patterns of subatomic decay and astronomical charts, effectively substituting conduits of atomic activity for constellation patterns found in the nebular landscape. But all is not sky-bound. Johnson counters the lyricism of her stellar nocturnes with a mysterious installation in the second gallery. The back wall, covered with a grand-scale drawing portraying the night sky, framed with two Corinthian-style columns, transforms the gallery space into the cella of an ancient Roman temple. Or, perhaps, Johnson equates the mysteries of the universe to the secrecies of a Masonic Temple. Appropriately drawn in chalk, the columns recall the twin pillars of King Solomon’s temple, adorned with capitals and spheres inscribed with maps of celestial and terrestrial globes—following the
(Top) Kysa Johnson, “As Above, So Below” installation view at Von Lintel Gallery. (Bottom) Kysa Johnson. The long goodbye—subatomic decay patterns and cold dark molecular clouds in the Horsehead Nubula, 2015, Ink on high gloss on board. 24 x 30 inches. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Von Lintel Gallery.
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masonic tradition. A pyramidal offering of faux gold bars heightens this association. Although the majority of the bars are black and covered with Johnson’s distinctive script, a few are symbolically transformed, as if alchemized from lead to gold. Recent research, however, suggests the true origin of gold takes place not through Masonic alchemic processes, but rather, in the words of The Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach, “violent explosions in the far reaches of outer space.” Here, the title of Johnson’s recent gallery show finds new meaning, as the violence of the precious element’s celestial origins, As Above, so frequently finds equivalent ferocity in its consumption and accumulation, So Below. CB1 GALLERY Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia: Vida, pasión y muerte (September 9—October 21, 2017) Words Shana Nys Dambrot
In Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, we have an artist embracing change in his practice, without ever weighing anchor on what came before. CB1 is showing new works from four distinct series, inviting viewers to discover the plentiful interconnectivities for themselves. It’s a warm, generous, engaging, mysterious exhibition, by turns somber and witty, deftly crafted, quirky, spiritual, private and timeless. It’s part of the Pacific Standard Time family, but this is more than a Latinx moniker; label, because in the case of Hurtado Segovia, that PST heritage exerts a salient and specific influence on his content, processes and materials. Chiefly centered around iconography and folk-infused rituals of early Christianity, Segovia’s paintings on paper set a tone of dark whimsy, telegraphing their allegorical character even to those unfamiliar with the imagery. For example, the white stag in Pushing Daisies (Resurrection Painting), echoes the Unicorn Tapestries, Biblical references and embodies a certain Greco-Roman mythological quality. The prolific, multi-layered, chromatically vibrant palette and textures and rhythmical patterning relate directly to the paper weaving. Festooned with pattern motifs like six-point stars, hearts, candles, mosaics, flowers and wheels, the paintings on paper are set off by the overtly reliquary quality of the coffin cover for which the entire show is named, lovingly embroidered and beaded, and another example of Segovia’s penchant for hand-crafted textile based sculpture.
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Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia Pushing Daisies (Resurrection Painting), 2017 Acrylic on paper, 35 x 25 inches. CB1 Gallery
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Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia Vida, pasiĂłn y muerte. Installation View. CB1 Gallery
The Paleolithic quality of the sand and tar paintings (with materials meaningfully sourced from the La Brea Tar Pits and local beaches) replicate not only the motifs but the substantial qualities of heft, texture and surface of their petroglyphic inspirations. The biggest surprise was the small army of gleaming wood sculptures. Abstract, yet always bordering on the figurative, they radiate a warmth and display a jaunty stylization reminiscent of totemic folk art. The artist follows the contours of found wood (culled from chopped down city trees) and performs a perfect, patient marquetry to fix all gaps and wounds, bind striations, to contrast wood grains and to tease out figurative resemblances within the same lexicon of holy virgins, gentle monks, old-world ships and tribal altars. The care given their finishes and details speaks to the spiritual energy infused into their making with a pre-Columbian elegance, highlighting a folkloric narrative thatâ€™s both universal and totally personal. 76
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KAYNE GRIFFIN CORCORAN GALLERY John Mason: Sculpture 1958-1964 (July 15-August 26, 2017) Words Peter Frank
John Mason is recognized as one of the pioneers of modern ceramic sculpture, a West Coast phenomenon with worldwide ramifications. Mason’s innovative works from the later 1950s and ‘60s pop up—usually singly, given their normally large scale—in museum collections around the country; but too rarely are they seen in any kind of aggregate. This grouping of “vintage” pieces was curated not simply to reassert the then-revolutionary strategy of fashioning abstract sculpture out of clay, but to expose Mason’s own artistic character—to lift him, for once, out of the arc of history and to focus in on the artist’s own aesthetics.
John Mason: Sculpture 1958 – 1964. Installation view Kayne Griffin Corcoran. July 15 – August 26, 2017 Courtesy the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles
The result was a survey that revealed a structural dynamic forged from two opposing formal impulses. The “feel” of the work, as expected, is gestural, closely related to abstract expressionism; the textures are kneaded and sensuous and Mason has exploited the material for its weight and density. But,
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John Mason. Untitled Wall Relief, 1962 Ceramic. 92 x 66 x 8 inches. 233.7 x 167.6 x 20.3 centimeters Courtesy the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles
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by contrast, his compositions are geometric, perhaps even quasi-architectural, whether free-standing or hung on the wall. The wall-mounted multipartite works, in fact, suggest doors and windows as much as walls, and hark back to the use of tiles and oddly fashioned bricks in local Craftsman houses and the experiments of Frank Lloyd Wright. The free-standing pieces feature (if sometimes by implication) a vertical shaft as a formal armature, on which Mason has appended variously shaped extensions. By 1963 such extensions, now simplified, determine a cross motif. Mason has never allowed that this crucifix-like format refers to anything religious or even art-historical. Rather, these stark formations assert a non-objective reasoning; their power derives entirely from shape (enhanced by surface incident), heft and presence. In their rough-hewn forthrightness and their insistence on their own physicality, they anticipated the obdurate, anti-relational formal language of minimalism. In this regard, they had advanced further from their abstract expressionist roots than had any other contemporaneous clay sculpture. These were truly radical ceramics. That aura of radicalism maintains. These pieces still catch us by surprise with their gaunt, stripped-down thingness. Even those that retain some suggestion of the vessel reject any sense of function. From the start, Mason wanted to work with clay as a substance, not just a medium, and to find shapes in it as a sculptor would, rather than be limited by tradition to the production of intimate utilitarian objects. Even more than his friend Peter Voulkos, Mason set the standard early on for â€œanti-pottery.â€? That standard still comes through powerfully today, and still feels like a breakthrough.
FRESH FACES IN ART
ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW BY KIO GRIFFITH
KENYATTA A.C. HINKLE What does it mean to have multiple geographies imposed onto one body? And what happens when we think we know everything but in fact, we don’t? And how, in the attempt to erase historical mistakes, does the action draw attention to itself, re-exposing buried facts? Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle describes her work as an exploration of historical detritus existing in the “historical present,” a term signifying how we are all chained together through past and present. Channeling the narratives of thousands of black women who have been erased by history, Hinkle depicts them as fictional figures in her hundred-plus drawings from The Evanesced. These abstracted “un-portraits,” minimal yet provocative, represent women bearing the physiological and psychological manifestation of cumulative, trans-generational trauma, human trafficking, homicide and domestic violence. In her Uninvited series, Hinkle metaphorically explores the virus-host relationship of the French African occupation and the Black female body by marking up 19th-century postcards from Europe that depict West African women in sexualized positions, occasionally giving the women alternative backgrounds or shielding their bodies from their captors. The Kentifrica Project is Hinkle’s ongoing auto-ethnographic project about a hybrid, contested geography. What began for her as a personal narrative exploring fissures of identity eventually transformed to embrace the notion of unknown ancestral origins, shifting the narrative away from a story of trauma and loss. The project opened up collaborations and interpretations about Kentifrica through panel discussions and re-created artifacts. In the process, Kentifrica has morphed into a physical and theoretical place in which a living archive could evolve. More info at www.kachstudio.com.
(Opposite) Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle From The Evanesced Series
FRESH FACES IN ART
EMILY MARCHAND Emily Marchand works the table settings of survivalism, preservation, and the needs and waste concerns for what is provided in social experimentation related to food and objects. Her multidisciplinary art is primarily concerned with distilling various ideas involved in creating new collaborations and expanding the accessibility of art to a wider audience. In her varied projects, Marchand explores themes layered with significance related to personal and cultural memory, providing sustenance and provoking sensory response. She has participated in numerous collaborations with Los Angeles community projects, such as homeLA, Notch, New Paragraph and Feed Us Fund Us. Each project centers on relationships between artists’ needs and desires and their surroundings. The homeLA project stages performance, sound and intermedia work in modest Los Angeles homes. Notch and New Paragraph engage in site-specific food experimentation. Feed Us Fund Us is a fundraising supper club in which artists are invited to apply for a grant that is awarded at one of the dinners. Marchand’s sculptures culminate her investigations into the integrity of the materials used—their history, location and transformative abilities—clay into ceramic, salt crystallization, tree sap into amber, seeds, beeswax, etc. More info at www.emilymarchand.com.
(Opposite) Emily Marchand Crumbling Earth
(Top) Emily Marchand My Compass Rose
FRESH FACES IN ART
NARSISO MARTINEZ Little light is shed on honest labor today. It is overlooked, forgotten and often dismissed in this entitled era of delirious wealth for the privileged few and lack of respect for those who play the fundamental roles that support society. Narsiso Martinez addresses the discriminatory treatment of field workers (braceros) and documents the undocumented struggles that need immediate attention. “I started to notice a lot of inequalities in the fields, like [only] a few porta potties to every hundred workers,” said Martinez. “We shouldn’t be going through this in this day and age.” He paints the workers’ narratives relying on memory from his experiences growing up in Oaxaca, Mexico. “My family’s goal was to have enough to eat,” said Martinez. “We didn’t really have time to dream.” Martinez’s portraits of agricultural workers are painted or drawn on recycled produce boxes, meticulously transforming them into objects permeated with life. The artist’s exquisite technique is evident in his use of varied media, including charcoal pencils, ink washes and oil paints. By holding to an optimistic view of the coming years, Martinez continues to help expose the plight of workers, raising awareness of the circumstances of immigrants around the world. More info at www.brainworksgallery.com/narsiso-martinez.
(Opposite) Narsiso Martinez Philosophy in the Fields, 2016 6 x 9 Feet Ink and Charcoal on Cardboard
(Top) Narsiso Martinez Premium Harvest (2), 2017 70 x 65 x 20 Inches Ink, Charcoal, Gouache and Collage on Reclaimed Produce Boxes
FRESH FACES IN ART
LARA SALMON Lara Salmon uses her body as the primary instrument to coalesce and transform the materiality of a specific environ including herself, the subject in question. Her performances sustain a careful, risky balance of bold formalism and ephemeral experimentation. From her performative acts, Salmon manifests raw materials with which to birth further iterations. Her presentation of millennial feminism connotes conditions of individuality and semi-androgyny. Photographs are pre-meditatively cut, sewn and hung as substances on her body, measurably identifiable but elusive in meaning. Salmon’s humanitarian involvement in the Middle East has developed into projects uniting art with refugee aid. In 2013, in collaboration with her mother, artist Niki Salmon, Lara produced No Vacancy, an art show to raise awareness and funds for Syrian refugees. Her evolving projects with refugee aid organizations continues, taking the form of such manifestations as the act of reutilizing hookah smoke into forty beach balls; a bathing performance in 255 cans of Diet Coke; a mud spa made of Starbucks Soy Latte and sand collected from a Syrian Refugee Camp in Amman, Jordan; an audience participation in message-writing on Salmon’s body for the refugees—‘Pride and dignity were her clothes.’ Through her body Salmon continues to amplify the ambiguous and aestheticized use of culturally charged materials. More info at www.larasalmon.net.
(Opposite) Lara Salmon Ivanka
(Below) Lara Salmon Anice
GREGORIO ESCALANTE Greg Escalante killed himself in his bedroom on September 7th, in a desperate attempt to end a struggle with depression that had plagued him since his early twenties. The hugely energetic persona the Southern California art scene knew and loved—dressed in wildly patterned suits, always sporting a fedora and seemingly at all events at once—hid his bipolar swings from the public, and even from most of his friends. His ebullient Instagram and Facebook feeds often showed Greg’s animated figure, eyebrows raised, an open laugh and his forefinger pointing at art or an artist he was with. That pointing finger tells it all. It was never about Greg, but about you experiencing his fantastic discoveries. Art had to wow him or he wasn’t interested. From his teen years on, Greg was drawn to work that later gained the moniker ‘Lowbrow.’ The established art world, as ‘Lowbrow’ supporters saw it, was a boring arena of decorative pieces meant for millionaires, and aca- Photo courtesy Osceola Refetoff – www.ospix.com demic theory gave those works a veneer of ‘bad boy’ rebellion. Greg wanted the real thing, art that was about raw human experience uncensored by aesthetic pretense. In Southern California that meant hot rods, surfing, cinema, television, comics, sex and the macabre, all mixed surrealistically together into a radical cultural expression that thumbed its nose at a stuffy elite. From its inception, the movement’s paterfamilias was Greg Escalante. In co-founding Juxtapoz magazine with Robert Williams, Greg helped create a venue that eventually gave this underground movement international exposure. He opened two Los Angeles galleries, curated museum shows of pop culture and gave talks at conferences, art schools and backyard potlucks. Greg was a master facilitator for the art and artists he loved; it was never about the money. It is said the art of salesmanship is to effectively transfer your enthusiasm (feigned or not) to the customer, and Greg’s
passion was boundless. He could barely contain himself when he encountered work that excited him, but instead of going after the financial reward most dealers seek, Greg wanted to help get that art the exposure and support he felt it deserved. A certified accountant would have a hard task tallying the artists’ lives that Greg Escalante touched. In the LA area during the early 1980s there were barely a dozen artists of any credibility doing figurative representational work. Now there are thousands, with the bulk of those fitting in some manner into the Pop Surrealism vein. In popularizing his favorite artists, Greg fostered a groundswell of creators who realized they didn’t have to grapple with the restrictions of the official art world. They could build their own base, sell to their own collectors, and have a popular following that establishment-artists could only dream of. The advent of Instagram and Facebook multiplied the possibilities Greg had already envisioned. The artist Sandow Birk said, “Greg was not only my best friend since I was a teen, he was a mentor into the art world, although he wasn’t really an art world “insider.” We would often go surfing together up and down the coast and on long drives we would plan and discuss the business side of my career. Greg was always plain-talking and straightforward. His simple guidelines were to include everyone who had helped on a project, thank everyone, give everyone who worked on a deal or a show credit and a fair cut of the money and be honest. It’s a way of working that I’ve taken to heart and followed since the beginning because it makes sense. And I’ve been lucky enough to have found dealers who feel and work the same way.” When Greg took his life that Thursday afternoon it was apparently a spur of the moment decision. He’d done some household chores and put dinner in the crockpot to cook. The walls of his Huntington Beach condo are covered with artworks by the artists he championed. Surrounded as he was by his favorite pieces, it is tragic to realize that his art could not suppress the pain that was consuming him. Art’s job is to create meaning in a universe that insists it has none. It shakes us all when our protective patchwork of artistic efforts splits at the seams and the void seeps in around the edges. In his happier moments Greg found joy in works that celebrated the crazy juxtapositions of life and the eternal human drive to find meaning in chaos. The Greg Escalante that will be remembered by the artistic community he helped build is not the one who succumbed to a depression so dark few of us will ever experience it, but the one who told us to follow our gut, do well what we love and make works that laugh loudly and point at the crazy world that is art.
F. Scott Hess, September 15, 2017
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Published on Sep 25, 2017