Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Martine Syms, Fact and Trouble, ICA London, Exhibition

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Martine Syms, Fact and Trouble, Lessons I-XXX, 2014, Motivational Text Message and Installation View of Fact and Trouble, 2016

Fact & Trouble is an exhibition by American artist Martine Syms that examines the space between lived  experience and its representation. Syms’s video series Lessons (ongoing), on view at the ICA, is a long, incomplete poem in 180 sections. Each piece is thirty seconds in duration and articulates a lesson from the tradition. One of these lessons is painted on the gallery walls. The videos use the idea of inheritance as a departure point, simulating the private-public unconscious of television shows, advertisements, animated GIFs, police cams, surveillance footage, Vines and other digitally-circulated formats. In the alcove, this abundance of signifiers manifests in an immersive floor-to-ceiling collage. To accompany and expand upon the videos, Syms has created an installation of double-sided photographs and cookies mounted on century stands, a standard workhorse of film production. The exhibition compiles original and found photography, alongside images taken by her father, weaving together familial, cultural, and historical legacies. Fact & Trouble demonstrates Syms’s multifarious artistic practice which includes video, performance and writing as well as publishing through her imprint Dominica.

Martine Syms (b. 1988) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Her artwork has been exhibited and screened extensively, including recent presentations at Karma International, Bridget Donahue Gallery, the New Museum, Kunsthalle Bern, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Index Stockholm, MOCA Los Angeles and MCA Chicago. She’s lectured at Yale University, SXSW, California Institute of the Arts, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University and MoMA PS1, among other venues. Upcoming exhibitions include Made in LA at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and Manifesta 11 in Zurich, Switzerland.

Source: Magazine Contemporary Culture.
Text: Press Release, ICA London.
All images belongs to the respective artist and managment.

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Photography: John Divola

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John Divola, Theodore Street, 2012, San Fernando Valley, 1973 and Zuma Beach (1978/2006), 1978

“Abandoned houses are one of the few places where you can go and paint anything you want and nobody is going to yell at you” says John Divola.

Los Angeles–based photographer John Divola is perhaps best known for this series of photographs documenting the gradual destruction of an abandoned and oft-vandalized beachfront property at Zuma Beach in Malibu. Without a studio of his own in the 1970s, the artist roamed Los Angeles in search of vacant properties that he could photograph. Using them as his canvas, he sometimes spray-painted his own designs onto their interiors, photographing them before the buildings were destroyed. Reflecting his painterly manipulation of the physical site, Divola’s Zuma photographs skillfully frame spectacular sunset views within these dilapidated structures, making his visually compelling, color-saturated photographs more than just pure documentation.

Divola has taken his camera into a variety of environments over the past four decades. However, it’s the vacant, dilapidated home that have been a constant throughout his career. He has found the structures in the San Fernando Valley and in the shadow of Los Angeles International Airport, along the coast at Zuma and deep into the Inland Empire. The modern ruins provided a studio when Divola couldn’t afford one. Divola could add to a scene that already existed, perhaps with a few strokes of a paintbrush, and then photograph it. They remain a part of his work, even now that he has his own space amidst the business parks and storage units of Riverside. Ultimately, these venues held an intrigue that went beyond practicality.

“It wasn’t a blank canvas,” says Divola. “It was something that already had a sense of place and presence and prior activity.”

It’s the activity that captures Divola’s eye. “If someone kicks a hole in the wall,” he says, “I’m really interested.”

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Gallery: Regen Projects, Los Angeles

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“I knew about the gallery before I ever moved to the United States,” says Philippe Vergne, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art who first landed in the U.S. in 1990s. “If you look at the Los Angeles art scene, Regen Projects, together with a handful of galleries, was really the organization that promoted artists working here from my generation. They represent a group that has been extremely important: Liz Larner, Raymond Pettibon and Cathy Opie, who has been a very important to MOCA not only as an artist but as a member of the board.”

This is the gallery that gave the California-born Barney his first solo gallery show in 1991, when the artist was all of 24. And it was the first to represent L.A. artist Opie, whose elegant portraits of drag kings and S&M fetishists from the 1990s sent a gender-ambiguous lightning bolt through the world of contemporary photography. In 2004, the gallery served as the site of Glenn Ligon’s first solo gallery show in Los Angeles, an exhibition of his gritty text paintings, which borrow passages from a vast array of cultural figures, from Ralph Ellison to Richard Pryor.

The story began in the late 1980s, when Shaun Caley met Stuart Regen at an opening at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Regen was part of an art dynasty, the son of prominent New York dealer Barbara Gladstone. He had worked at the experimental PS1 art space in New York (now part of the Museum of Modern Art) and later served as the director of the Fred Hoffman Gallery in Santa Monica. Caley, an art critic, had just landed in L.A. after a stint in Milan, where she’d served as managing editor of the magazine Flash Art. The two met for lunch. Regen offered Caley a job directing his soon-to-be-opened gallery.

“Stuart had always wanted to have an art gallery,” says Caley Regen, and the ’80s provided just the right confluence of happenings in Los Angeles. “There had been the opening of MOCA and the Broad Foundation. And there was a cluster of interesting galleries: Margo Leavin, Fred Hoffman and Daniel Weinberg.”

“We came to the idea that it would be an exciting venture and it was that simple,” recalls Weiner, who says the couple’s seriousness persuaded him that it would be the right thing to do. “It will sound pretentious, but they talked about the work and how it set a tone for the people they were trying to attract. I’d been showing in Los Angeles since the ’60s. I have very dear friends who I made projects with, from DeWain Valentine to Ed Ruscha. They saw me as an integral part of Los Angeles culture.”

A string of important shows followed: a light exhibition by James Turrell, prints by the innovative German painter Gerhard Richter and participation in a three-gallery tribute to Nicholas Wilder, an L.A. dealer who had helped foster the careers of painter David Hockney and minimalist sculptor John McLaughlin.

The gallery’s biggest coup, however, came in May 1991, with the first solo gallery exhibition by Barney, who would become one of the definitive artists of the decade. The show was a fusion of performance, sculpture, installation and photography. There were objects related to sports (a football jersey) and sex (bondage belts), as well as a metal cooling chamber that harbored an exercise bench sculpted out of petroleum jelly. The exhibition was a surreal examination by the former athlete of the cult of the body in relation to athletics.

“Stuart had seen his work in New York and was blown away,” remembers Caley Regen. “It was indescribable, so protean. He was using materials people hadn’t used: medical things, sports things, the body. I thought it was amazing.”

The show received a glowing write-up in industry bible Artforum. Kristine McKenna, who reviewed the show for this paper, described it as “rivetingly weird,” an installation that drew vital attention “to the complex and fragile interplay between spirit and flesh.”

“You put these things out in the world,” she says. “If you show great art, people will come to you.”

http://www.regenprojects.com
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Hauser & Wirth, Art Gallery

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Hauser & Wirth is a gallery of contemporary art and modern masters, with locations in Zurich, London, New York, Somerset and Los Angeles.

Hauser & Wirth was founded in Zurich in 1992 by Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser. In 1996, the gallery’s first permanent location, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, opened in the former Löwenbräu brewery building, along with other contemporary art galleries, the Kunsthalle Zürich, and the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich.

Hauser & Wirth opened its first London gallery on Piccadilly in 2003 with an installation by Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy and, in 2010, the gallery opened a second permanent space on London’s Savile Row.

In 2006, Hauser & Wirth opened a new space at the historic premises of 15 Old Bond Street, shared with the UK’s leading old master dealer, Colnaghi. The gallery hosted two to three twentieth century and contemporary shows each year, including exhibitions of works by Louise Bourgeois, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Subodh Gupta, Henry Moore and Francis Picabia, before the space closed in 2010. Hauser & Wirth also opened an enormous temporary project space in London’s East End in 2005. Hauser & Wirth Coppermill showed exhibitions by Martin Kippenberger and Dieter and Björn Roth, Christoph Büchel and Martin Creed before it closed in July 2007.

In September 2009, the gallery inaugurated its outdoor sculpture programme in Southwood Garden, St James’s Church, London, with an exhibition by Swiss artist Josephsohn. Also in September, Hauser & Wirth opened a New York gallery in the Upper East Side of Manhattan with ‘Allan Kaprow: Yard’, an Environment first made in 1961 by Allan Kaprow, the American artist known as the inventor of ‘Happenings.’

In October 2010, Hauser & Wirth London opened their new gallery, designed by Selldorf Architects, at 23 Savile Row with the exhibition, ‘Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works’. In December 2013, Hauser & Wirth closed their Piccadilly gallery permanently.

In 2013, Hauser & Wirth opened their second New York gallery at 511 West 18th Street, in what used to be the Roxy. Located on the second level of a Chelsea garage, the gallery draws visitors up a long, sweeping stairway before revealing the 10,000 square feet exhibition space. Several artists contributed to the project including Björn Roth, who designed the gallery’s Roth Bar as a tribute to his father Dieter Roth; and Martin Creed, who created a custom installation for the entrance stair hall.

In July 2014, Hauser & Wirth Somerset opened on the outskirts of Bruton in Somerset. Hauser & Wirth Somerset is a gallery and arts centre focused on a core belief in conservation, education and sustainability, and is designed around several renovated Grade II-listed historical buildings as well as two new purpose built galleries on the site of Durslade Farm. Accompanied by an extensive education programme and regular artists-in-residence, the gallery aims to share contemporary art with new audiences and to engage the public with art, the countryside and the local community. In September 2014, a landscaped garden designed for the gallery by internationally renowned landscape architect Piet Oudolf was launched, including a perennial meadow that sits behind the gallery buildings.

http://www.hauserwirth.com

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Film: Making Chinatown, 2012

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For his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Ming Wong creates a series of videos and scenic backdrops that reconsider the making of Roman Polanski’s seminal 1974 film Chinatown. Shot at Redcat, Wong’s reinterpretation, Making Chinatown, transforms the space into a studio backlot and examines the original film’s construction of language, performance and identity.

The artist plays all the roles originally belonging to Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston and Belinda Palmer, and crucial scenes are reenacted in front of printed backdrops digitally rendered from film stills and kept intact within the video installation. The wall flats adhere to the conventions of theatrical and filmic staging while taking on qualities of large-scale painting.

Wong has been recognized for his ambitious performance and video works that engage with the history of cinema and mass entertainment. Working through the visual styles and tropes of such iconic film directors as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wong Kar-wai and Ingmar Bergman, Wong considers the means through which subjectivity and geographic location are constructed by motion pictures.

Making Chinatown is Wong’s first project focused on the American context of filmmaking and draws upon its use of Los Angeles as a versatile and malleable character. Wong treats the film as a text and medium through which he is able to inhabit and impersonate the qualities that are particular to the place it represents. Making Chinatown mimics and reduces the techniques of mainstream cinema in order to emphasize the theatrical qualities that underlie cinematic artifice. Moreover, it analyzes how canonical works from American cinema are received and reconfigured by global audiences.

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Art: Chadwick Rantanen, Telescopic Poles

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Chadwick Rantanen, Telescopic Poles, 2012

Gestures related to the body and the exhibition space feature prominently in the work of Los Angeles-based artist Chadwick Rantanen who creates among others anodized telescopic sculptures with tennis balls affixed to the bottom which are held up by their own internal pressure.

Disseminated throughout a gallery space, and stretched from the floor to the ceiling, these frail sculptures with a combination of patterns and colors incise the white cube without clearly occupying it. By expanding or retracting them depending on the height of the space, the character of any particular installation is relative to its site, its proportions and form.

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