Flora Weigmann, installation view, Made in L.A. 2018, June 3 - September 2, 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Brian Forrest
CNP will be closed this Saturday, May 26th for Memorial Day.
We will re-open with normal gallery hours Tuesday, May 29th.
George Stoll, Untitled (4th of July: dropped American flag #5- double) 2017
Images by JW Pictures
Laura London, Bathroom Graffiti, X Show, The Roxy, Los Angeles, December 29, 2016
The ART Hotel brings “An Ocean View” to one of Denver’s busiest traffic corridors
Total Solar Eclipse & Space is the Place
August 21st, 2017
‘AN ARTS DISTRICT WITH NO ARTISTS’
Stakeholders oppose evictions at 800 Traction St.
We've had such a great run so far with Adam Braly Janes' Memory Song and we're just not ready to let go of it yet. We're extending Memory Song through June 10th, 2017.
Come by and see the show (but not this weekend because just like you, we'll be taking a three day weekend!)
The gallery will be closed Saturday, May 27th for Memorial Day.
See you at the beach!
Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction
May 21, 2017
340 Main Street
Moveable Lab Residency
April 26 – June 13, 2017
18th Street Arts Center and Public Spaces throughout Santa Monica
Major events: April 29, May 28, and June 3
Following a thrilling year in SETI Institute’s Artist in Residence Program, Nina Waisman has brought her Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences (LEI) to The 18th Street Arts Center. She is joined by founding member and movement expert Flora Wiegmann.
c. nichols project congratulates Michel Auder
on his latest solo exhibition
at Gavin Brown's Enterprise Rome.
February 18 - April 8, 2017
opening February 18th.
If you happen to be in Rome this Spring, pop in and see it!
Michelle Fierro will be our first show in 2017, until then check out this great write up about her work in Dave Hickey's 25 Women.
Review by Shana Nys Dambrot
Flora Weigmann and Rebecca Bruno perform Halo of Conciousness at the Seatle Art Fair
Love in the Time of War is a traveling exhibition at two sites, with varied work at each space. Curated by Việt Lê and Jennifer Vanderpool, the show will be on view at UC Santa Barbara Glass Box Gallery from August 4-26, 2016 and at SF Camerawork from September 1- October 15, 2016 and will include select pieces from Bruce Yonemoto and Delicious Taste.
Flora Wiegmann | Halo of Consciousness
Image credit: Flora Wiegmann, Allay Alight (with undertow), performance at 356 Mission, Los Angeles, 2013.
Can you spot John Geary??
Bortolami is pleased to announce an exhibition by Robert Bordo and Sam Anderson with Michel Auder. The exhibition explores the contingencies that transpire when three artists present discrete works of painting, sculpture, and video together for the first time. Please click below for more information about the show.
Kathleen Johnson & Leonardo Bravo
with poet and astrologer Stuart Krimko
:::FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:::
TRI (...ed) - Revisiting TRI Gallery
Wilding Cran Gallery, Los Angeles
April 30, 2016, 5:00 pm
For their joint contribution to TRI (...ed), Kathleen Johnson and Leonardo Bravo have asked poet and astrologer Stuart Krimko for a joint reading addressing the following core question: “Why are we still connected after 30 years.”
Underpinning the question is a genuine curiosity about why some friends, even very close friends, end up drifting apart over the years while others remain in one’s life. Johnson and Bravo have stayed loosely connected for three decades, throughout various episodes, eras, and life events, when they could have easily and quite naturally gone their separate ways. Is there any particular reason(s)?
If the artists were being asked to revisit TRI Gallery, i.e. to go back in time, then they wanted to go way back. They provided Krimko with their natal information, as well as a rough timeline of key events and moments in their history—from meeting at Otis in 1986 and their youthful club days, to their show at TRI Gallery in 1992, grad school at USC, and each becoming parents in 2008. Krimko will interpret their interconnectedness from an astrological perspective, offering insights into the role of temperament, thought patterns, and planetary symbolism.
Hot off the internweb: Jeff Ho: Jonesy's Jukebox / AIRS ON FRIDAY, April 15th @ noon. Tune in!
This exclusive Jonesy's Jukebox – Live! show is the first event in an exciting new strategic media partnership between Juice Magazine and KLOS 95.5 FM Radio. This special edition of Jonesy's Jukebox, featuring Jeff Ho and the Ruen Brothers, will air on Friday, April 15, 2016 from noon to 2pm on KLOS 95.5 FM Radio.
Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, is the host of radio show “Jonesy’s Jukebox”, which features everything from groundbreaking new music from his personal collection to current events discussions and guest interviews of all varieties, with a living-room conversation vibe. The Sex Pistols inspired a punk rock revolution starting in the U.K. during the mid-to-late 1970’s and spread throughout the music world.
Published: March 4, 2016
To celebrate the final weekend of the exhibitions A Fragile But Marvelous Life and Make every show like it’s your last, the AAM presents a daylong series of performances and interventions.
Flora Wiegmann & Anna Sew Hoy: Magnetic Between
4 PM on Saturday, February 6, 2015
Dancer/choreographer Flora Wiegmann and artist Anna Sew Hoy interact with Sew Hoy’s sculptures in the Roof Deck Sculpture Garden. Warm dress is encouraged for this outdoor performance.
To see the full list of events for Performance and Interventions click here.
AAM exhibitions are made possible by the Marx Exhibition Fund. General exhibition support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Visiting Artist Fund.
Make every show like it’s your last is funded in part by the AAM National Council.
A Fragile But Marvelous Life is supported by the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation for Latin American Art, and funded in part by the AAM National Council.
Magnetic Between is supported by the Simone and Kerry Vickar Roof Deck Sculpture Fund, and funded in part by the AAM National Council.
AAM education programs are made possible by the Questrom Education Fund.
Surfboard makers honor their best
DANA POINT – Half a century ago, Steve Walden and his friends from Pioneer High School in Whittier would pile into a friend’s truck and head down to Doheny State Beach to surf every weekend.
Since then, Walden has become a world-renowned surfboard builder known as the “father of the modern longboard.” His “Magic Model” design helped create a resurgence in longboard surfing in the 1980s and ‘90s.
Walden was back at Doheny Saturday morning, the very beach where he learned to surf, to be honored as one of seven inductees to the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame.
“This really is the summary of my work shaping surfboards over the past 50 years,” Walden said. “To be in the company of so many other talented people where I got my start brings it all full circle.”
The International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame was founded in 2000 by Bob “The Greek” Bolen and Mike “Mickey Rat” Ester as a way to honor the unsung heroes of the surf community – the people who build the boards.
There’s no shortage of awards for surfers, Bolen said, but this is the only award worldwide for “shapers.”
“Without these guys, there’s no surfing,” Bolen said. “They’re the ones spending time in the water and time in the factory, and they often get no recognition.”
To date, 78 surfboard builders have been inducted into the hall of fame. They’re often referred to as shapers because of the way they hone down hunks of polyurethane into surfboards.
Every year, the previous honorees select the next class of builders to be inducted, which ensures that the hall is more than just a popularity contest, Bolen said. But that doesn’t mean inductees aren’t ever popular.
Jeff Ho, who opened Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions in Venice Beach in 1971, drew huge cheers when he was given his trophy. In addition to the Zephyr Surf Team, Ho founded the Zephyr Skate Team, better known as the Z-Boys, whose story was show in the 2005 film “Lords of Dogtown.”
Despite his relative prominence in popular surf and skate culture, Ho said being inducted into the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame was the greatest honor he could ever achieve.
“This is everything for me,” Ho said. “This is like winning the Super Bowl, the Oscars, the Emmys, you name it.”
For Ho, crafting a surfboard is as much about giving it a unique design as shaping the board itself. He call his boards “performance-based works of art,” with vibrant colors that flow in and out of one another.
C. Christine Nichols is currently displaying six of Ho’s boards in her Mar Vista art gallery. Once a year, the gallery takes a break from displaying paintings, photographs and scultures to show surfboard artistry, and Nichols said Ho’s boards stand above most others in that regard.
“He has an uncanny ability to bridge the worlds of art and waveriding,” Nichols said. “There’s a sort of ‘fetish of the finish’ in the surfing community, and Jeff’s boards always stand out visually and in the water.”
In contrast, Walden has typically been more concerned with the function of his boards. While many other board manufacturers focus primarily on improving performance for the boards that professional surfers would use, Walden said he likes to create boards that improve performance for surfers of all skill levels.
At 67 years old, Walden hasn’t stopped working on boards with his own hands. In fact, he brought a board with a new design with him Saturday, which he was considering taking for a test ride in the afternoon.
“Surfing and shaping keeps me young,” Walden said. “I still think I’m 25.”
“Age sometimes catches up with the body, but in the mind I’m still going.”
Contact the writer: 949-667-1933, email@example.com and @ChrisMYee on Twitter
2015 Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame inductions set for December
Published: November 20, 2015
Posted: November This year’s International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame inductions, along with the Longboard Collectors Club annual swap, will take place Dec. 5 at Doheny State Park.
It’s a great event that I always try to make it to. It’s one of those “see all your old friends and make new ones too,” sorta deals.
I just received this year’s inductees list from my pal Mike, a.k.a. “Mickey Ratt” Ester, who puts the Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame event together each year with Bob “the Greek” Bolen.
We have both the East and West Coasts represented as well as Australia. The inductees are selected each year by the previous year’s inductees, kind of the ultimate surfboard version of a jury of your peers.
Starting off the list is a former Huntington Beach surfboard shaper, now living in Ventura – our very own Steve Walden. Steve built his first board in 1961 and by the early 1970’s was spoken of in the same category as the top shapers on the planet.
One of the few 60’s surfboard builders to survive even to this day in a very difficult business, Steve not only got by but also thrived. He has become one of the biggest and most respected surfboard builders in the world. His wildly successful “Magic” model is at the forefront of best sellers and has been for a long time. Good to see Steve getting some love from the Hall of Fame.
Next up is Santa Monica surf and skateboard legend Jeff Ho. Jeff was a part of the “Dogtown and Z Boys” skateboard crew that radicalized that sport – well documented in a movie of the same name. He’s known for his innovative surfboard designs as well as his skills in the water and on concrete.
Another Southern California boy getting the nod is the late Rick Stoner. Rick started building boards with his pal Bing Copeland and eventually opened his own business under the name Rick Surfboards in Hermosa Beach. Both Rick and Bing were students of the great Dale Velzy himself.
One more California boy on this year’s list is Oceanside’s Gary Linden. He’s known for his skills in big surf, even today in his 60’s, and for his amazing hand-made balsawood surfboards. In the age of shaping machines, where people do very little of the real shaping of boards anymore, Gary is one of the few who can still cut out a blank and do the whole job with his hands.
The last entry from California is a master of the craft from Encinitas, the one and only Tony Channin. He’s known as the manufacturer of some of the highest quality surfboards in the world, top of line shapes and beautiful fiberglass work. From the early days of Channin Diffenderfer surfboards, with the renowned shaper Mike Diffenderfer, to evolving into his own super star, Tony has been one of the main men in the business for many decades. Great guy.
From the East Coast is the long-time surfing and shaping legend Pete Dooley from Florida and Natural Art Surfboards. Natural Art has been at the top of Eastern-built surfing equipment since the early 1970’s and Pete is an icon of the region. Also inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame in 2004, Pete remains at the top of his craft.
And rounding out the group is this year’s thunder from down under, Pat Morgan. Pat hangs his power plainer in the chilly yet extremely surf-fertile Australian state of Victoria. It’s a place with cold and rugged surfing conditions and dedicated and innovative surfing industry creators. And also the home of Brian Singer and Claw Warbrick, who brought us Rip Curl Wetsuits. Pat is not as well know here in the U.S. as some of our other inductees but is a huge hero in the land of Oz.
If any of you are anywhere near the O.C. on that day, I strongly recommend you head down to Doheny Beach and be a part of this really cool event. I might even see ya there myself.
René-Julien Praz and his partner Bruno Delavallade, have a long history that involves the two contemporary art scenes in Paris and Los Angeles. Since 1989, they lead one of the best edgy art galleries, then rue Louise-Weiss in the 13th district, Praz Delavallade gallery, and now in the 3d District, rue des Haudriettes.
Alongside with the gallery, René-Julien Praz has always been a curator. He was asked by French auctioneer Piasa, to curate a show of emerging artists from Los Angeles. Praz was an obvious choice because no one knows better than him the Emerging scene. For personal reason, Bruno and he got the chance to travel to L.A. each year, and for more than thirty years that, of course, allowed them to understand the very heart of the LA art scene. They don’t have a false romantic idea about LA. They know that the freedom that characterizes at first the making art of Angelinos artists can lead to the worst but also to the best creative artwork.
From that best, famous names came out as to be also known across the Atlantic: Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, Chris Burden, Charles Ray, Paul McCarthy, Jim Shaw, John Baldessari, James Turrel, John McCracken, Robert Irwin, Ed Ruscha, Douglas Huebler, Michael Asher, Bruce Nauman, Raymond Pettibon, Vija Celmins, Bill Viola, Jeffrey Valance, Billy Al Bengston.
As French Curator & Art dealer René-Julien knows better than others whose artists French Collectors could be ready to like. We wanted to ask him a few questions to get to know what guided him for the show he curated at Piasa:
be-Art magazine: What do you like so much in the “made in LA” art?
be-Art magazine: So many good artists emerge these days in Los Angeles; did you have specific criteria for your selection?
As I said previously, L.A. is a city of images outrageous and elusive, open and generous and above all indefinable, seeing the extend to which this metropolis flirts with the very limits of what is possible. From assemblage to pop art or from minimalism to conceptual art, L.A. ‘s artists express this same sensation of excessiveness, a desire to mix and experiment with hybrid art forms.
L.A.’s art draws its creative nourishment from the very complexity of this city/ world, were underground movement mingle with more mainstream Californian culture and its communal expression, as seen in such makers of dreams as Hollywood and Disneyland. No wonder then we can’t think of specific criteria for selecting artists as creativity is free and that numerous visual artists of the 21 st century have cast aside conventions, movements and schools of thoughts.be-Art magazine: You chose a piece by Matthew Carter, who we do like too. To my opinion, he combines the best of LA, and it is everything but boring. Why did you choose him?
René-Julien Praz:Matthew is the perfect example of this new generation of L.A. artists whose characteristics are not enough to explain an art form that has found a continual source of inspiration in its diverse interactions with Eastern art, European culture and multi-ethnic neighbourhoods.
be-Art magazine: At bAm we try the most we can to build bridges between the two communities of collectors from France and Los Angeles to get the chance to know each other. In that spirit would you share three names of Emerging artists from France you’d discover?René-Julien Praz:
Interview conducted via emails by Beatice Chassepot in Los Angeles, October 12th, 2015
October 14, 2015
Royal College of Art
Jane Wilson joins as Senior Tutor in Moving Image, School of Fine Art, and a new MA in Contemporary Art Practice
Jane Wilson joins the Royal College of Art as Senior Tutor in Moving Image, School of Fine Art this academic year.
Moving Image has been a core strand of teaching in the Royal College of Art (featured in Art & Education's School Watch) for many years, and was developed into a taught pathway under Stuart Croft. Jane Wilson takes over as the School introduces a new MA programme in Contemporary Art Practice, which locates moving image, performance and the consideration of critical practice and the public sphere alongside concentrations in Painting, Photography, Print and Sculpture.
For over two decades, Jane has been half of an artist collaboration with her twin sister, Louise Wilson. Their work often centres on abandoned buildings that are imbued with the presence and ideology of the original occupants. They have explored some of Europe's least accessible sites: among them, a former Stasi prison in Berlin, the Star City complex in Moscow (key site of the Russian Space Programme), and the British Houses of Parliament.
In 1999, the Wilsons were Turner Prize-nominated for Gamma (1999), which continued their thematic concerns in the meditative study of an American military base at Greenham Common in Berkshire, UK, that housed cruise missiles during the Cold War.
Working with photography, installation and moving image, the Wilsons are keenly engaged in investigating how we receive images and what this means in the continuing dialogue with cinema as an art form. In their practice, the moving image becomes an installation—an expanded form of cinema and lens-based media—that generates atmospheric, immersive environments to produce an immediate effect on the spectator.
As Professor Juan Cruz, Dean of the School of Fine Art, notes, Jane Wilson joins the RCA at a pivotal point in the development of the ethos of the School: she brings "amazing professional expertise and art world know-how, together with a deep critical intellect and great ambition for our students."
MA Contemporary Art Practice
Launching in 2016, MA Contemporary Art Practice, with its studio-based pathways in Critical Practice, Moving Image, Performance and Public Sphere, extends the range of Fine Art specialisms at the RCA, both materially and also in how we consider our approach to history and tradition, enhancing our intellectual scope and enabling us to embrace and test important contemporary discourses including post-colonialism, exhibition studies and archival studies, among many others.
While many artists continue successfully to evolve their work from recognised material traditions, a growing number of practitioners are now generating work rooted in more diverse and ubiquitous platforms such as the Internet, social media, institutional structures and other academic and creative disciplines. The Contemporary Art Practice programme is flexible and adaptive to new and emerging interests and potential areas of research, and is designed to work alongside the existing Fine Art programmes in an increasingly integrated and collaborative structure.
The programme is delivered through four distinct pathways:
Critical Practice is delivered in collaboration with MA Critical Writing in Art & Design, offered by the School of Humanities, and provides a focused postgraduate programme for artists who wish to extend and develop the critical dimensions of their practice.
Moving Image, led by Jane Wilson, caters to artists using film and video, along with practitioners working in the areas of documentary, dance film and fiction cinema—artists who wish to draw upon, challenge and re-map established realms. This diversity is the new reality of contemporary moving image: it is post-dogmatic and intercontextual.
Performance, led by Professor Nigel Rolfe, happens in the "here and now" and not the "there and then." Unlike many practices, wherein time is historic and the image presented is necessarily an archive or record, "being and doing" are more immediately significant in live time, and the expectation is that in the contemporary, artists are often presenting work that is not made in advance.
Public Sphere is a studio-based pathway that supports artists wishing to expand their engagement with art and its publics, as well as to deepen their understanding of art's social function and its role in the formation of contemporary culture and civic life.
Pathways operate within the programme as a way of supporting students to develop their practice alongside other students, researchers, and academics with whom they share some material and philosophical concerns. Pathways provide opportunities for the formation of focused peer groups and the establishment of a supportive learning framework.
Applications for entry in 2016/17 have now opened. Please visit www.rca.ac.uk/applications for further information.
The ocean sometimes gets the best of those who love it most. The title of Alison Frey Andersson’s exhibition, “86’d” offers a surfer’s take on the hazards of that beguiling body. The Venice-based artist, who regularly succumbs to the pleasures of riding the waves on a glassed foam board, educes the essence of the sea with this show, and smartly distills the lifestyles of the ocean’s devotees into artworks that challenge the already slippery distinctions between painting, furniture and design.
Although Andersson’s objects elaborate an aesthetic of deterioration, a thread of serious painterly investigation lashes through the exhibition, oscillating between troughs of chic interior decoration and crests of raw elemental evocation. She craftily channels the her raw materials into a mergence of oceanic elementals with the stylish scrappiness of surfer habiliment.
Bailer (all works 2015) conjures thoughts of a storm surge plunging through a window; surf and curtains become one. Break Deep and Adrift recall ripped jeans and bloody bandages, respectively. These allusions to destructive oceanic power enliven her erosive investigation of painting’s boundaries.The ocean sometimes gets the best of those who love it most. The title of Alison Frey Andersson’s exhibition, “86’d” offers a surfer’s take on the hazards of that beguiling body. The Venice-based artist, who regularly succumbs to the pleasures of riding the waves on a glassed foam board, educes the essence of the sea with this show, and smartly distills the lifestyles of the ocean’s devotees into artworks that challenge the already slippery distinctions between painting, furniture and design.
Although Andersson’s objects elaborate an aesthetic of deterioration, a thread of serious painterly investigation lashes through the exhibition, oscillating between troughs of chic interior decoration and crests of raw elemental evocation. She craftily channels the her raw materials into a mergence of oceanic elementals with the stylish scrappiness of surfer habiliment.
Bailer (all works 2015) conjures thoughts of a storm surge plunging through a window; surf and curtains become one. Break Deep and Adrift recall ripped jeans and bloody bandages, respectively. These allusions to destructive oceanic power enliven her erosive investigation of painting’s boundaries.
Dark Seas at Night is a nocturnal seascape contrived of indigo-dyed canvas strips stretched around a frame. Horizontal lines formed by pleats and breaches become waves. Its fibrous levelness is also reminiscent of a bedspread or pillow. With warps of canvas and wefts of twine, Sunrise and Green Flash simultaneously suggest blinded windows and radiant aqueous reflections. A Place to Sleep occupies miles of space but is least evocative, elaborating little more than a decorative rug on the wall.
Concomitant with the terrene ruggedness of her materials and her musings over the fury of the ocean, Andersson’s work provokes questions over the advancement of painting’s structures: Can a painting also be a place to sit?
Composed of blackish jean-fragments and hot pink twine stretched over steel, Volcano Chairs and Bench pause between painterly and practical. Sitting on them collapses the traditional distance between object and viewer, along with the distinction between painting and furniture. In Andersson’s hands, art objects become housewares; paintings are, at their lowest function, textiles, though they may also exist on a higher plane.
Andersson’s work is rooted squarely within painterly conventions—pigment, canvas, stretcher. Considered within the tradition of Supports/Surfaces, the 1960s–’70s French movement whose recent resurgence is spawning new strains of work investigating the possibilities and limitations of painting’s protocols, it offers new possibilities. Painters are rolling up their sleeves to surmount, rather than surrender to, the idea that “it’s been done before.”
LA painters Jennifer Boysen and Noam Rappaport are associated with this trend; but Andersson’s work is more environmentally specific. Her interest in evoking locality aligns more with New York painter Joe Fyfe’s creation of paintings from detritus salvaged from Asian travels. While questioning painting structures, Andersson and Fyfe’s environmentally specific invocations also investigate frameworks of culture external to art.
Andersson employs tropes of seaside décor to question painting’s place within domestic, artistic and environmental milieus. She weaves disparate references into California-esque tapestries of distinct flair, though her inquiries transcend locality.
Christine Nichols has built her career on listening and watching. She understands artists' approach to their work, whether it be works on paper or formed by fiberglass. She is careful in her curating, generous in her exhibitions of their work as she studies their methods. She embraces their marks as she creates room for them breathe in her space, called c.nichols project.
It's a special environment in her gallery and in her back parking lot too, usually featuring tasty food (green and good) and various quenching beverages alongside her fully stocked and prepared surf van. It's a great place to rest after a days-long hunt for decent art. Her latest show, featuring Lisa Rosel, Laura London, and Kathleen Johnson is called Trio.
Kathleen Johnson has created Mars-like landscapes that carry you into the loneliness of an empty planet. They are part of her work as a member of a "crew rotation" at Mars Desert Research Station in Southern Utah in 2004.
Laura London's work in this show focuses on a single model, using somewhat filmic techniques in her approach to the subject, in created spaces that reflect her use of effectively theatrical elements of placement, costume, and presence.
Lisa Rosel's work reflects a need to prowl and photograph her territory, capturing elements of the female form and pose in advertising in it's various incantations throughout her beloved Sunset Strip and other parts of her world. She'll often take photographs while driving with a longish focal length on her camera, compressing the images that crop up in ways that make you aware of the environment, the flora and fauna the advertisements live in. And live they do. Sometimes she'll jump out of her car to capture an image as she waits at a light. Time is fleeting. These images have a tendency to give the impression the women are watching you, challenging you to confront them, as if you're on safari -- in the odyssey that is LA.
The show is up until May 2. Go see it before the sun goes down. c.nichols project is located at 12603 1/2 Venice Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90066. Emial firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Follow Juri Koll on Twitter: www.twitter.com/veniceica
KCET / ARTBOUND
Jason Yates' Colorful Examinations
By Tanka M. Laden Posted February 24, 2015
Recently on view at c.nichols project, Yates' "did i stutter did i ever" was a colorful examination of virtue and vice, success and failure, and the vicious cycle of self-doubt that plagues artists who are not necessarily hell bent on achieving financial success, yet who still want to remain true to their own creative vision.
Yates' show was composed of three separate works that function on their own, as a triptych, and even perhaps even as one work of art. "I usually work on one piece at a time, but this group of work, I was rotating between three of these, so something specific happened," Yates says.
All three tell a story, beginning with a piece that began as a commission and somehow found itself into the exhibition instead. "Why Sleep... When we're having so much fun," it reads in shiny metallic letters. Next is a piece with the phrase "Friends Forever" and "This is going to be our little secret," featuring a table with a mirrored tray of glittering mock-cocaine, rolled-up foreign currency, and crushed-out cigarette butts, alluding to the tacit shame that sometimes accompanies social drug use. Finally, a third work reads, "Nobody cares... Maybe partying will help (again)," thus ending -- and once again beginning -- the same cycle of misadventure all over again.
Not installations, collages, assemblages, sculptures, or paintings, the group of works somehow manage to exist as all of the above. For lack of a better term, Yates simply refers to them as "works on canvas," but whatever they're called, they sustain attention and engage the viewer much more than your average 2-D object. Each mixed-media artwork features a multitude of elements such as different fabrics, whimsical patches, odd stickers, and hand-drawn art that Yates may or may not have re-appropriated. Together, the seemingly disparate components form a type of visual narrative that tells a darker story in a way that's cute and fun, at least on the surface.
Yates' intentional misappropriation of "cuteness" comes from one of the conversations he used to have with the late Mike Kelley, himself known for incorporating stuffed animals into his own art practice. He says Kelley believed stuffed animals were always cute, but Yates found himself believing otherwise. "I don't have a problem with the cuteness of a particular object," he explains, "But if I can bend its meaning, if I can subvert its cuteness to open up to a larger critique, commentary, or conversation, I'm going to attempt it. Cuteness is often a tool for manipulation. That's when it becomes more interesting to me: when 'cuteness' is a weapon."
The artist says he hasn't had this much fun making art in years. Still, he acknowledges that working on the exhibition helped him work through his own issues, among them, the increasingly disenfranchised role of the artist in the face of creative entrepreneurship. In many ways, his show is about the death of the artist and the notion that in today's art world, people are dangerously close to valuing success over ideas.
"There's been a great deal of talk about the 'creative entrepreneur' of late," Yates says. "There doesn't seem to be much room for error in this business model. When an artist makes a mistake, that's really exciting to me. I want error. I want to see the 'good' work and the 'bad' work. The creative entrepreneur is about business, about having a career, selling a product, a lifestyle -- preferably both together -- throwing great parties and hash-tagging the shit out of everything."
To Yates, the change is especially palpable in Los Angeles, where he feels the art scene was more interesting before the importance of the commercial aspect of it came into the fray. "The galleries that are now huge powerhouses were just more charming," he says. "Blum & Poe was more charming when they had their shitty little space in Santa Monica, you know?"
With a show coming up in France this Fall, Yates is thinking of taking his family and moving there for the summer, where he can work on his art instead of making it here and then shipping it abroad. But if the past is any indication, he'll be back in Los Angeles, and maybe that's not so bad.
"Ever since I came here, LA -- the community -- wanted to be recognized as an internationally relevant place to be. The problem is, they always were. They always have been," he says. "But it's exciting for younger artists to be here and there's a lot to do... That's a good thing."
About the Author
Tanja M. Laden is a writer, editor, and producer born and raised in Los Angeles.
(Why Sleep, 2015. Photography courtesy of Josh White)
Artillery Magazine / Pick of the Week
Jason Yates: did i stutter did i ever.
By Eve Woods Posted February 12, 2015
Jason Yates is preternaturally disposed to emulate, extrapolate and thoroughly and passionately investigate anything that relates to pop culture, therein creating his newest foray into the simultaneous realms of sculpture, paintings, installation and collage at C. Nichols Projects in Venice. Some might think this a tall order, but Yates is certainly up to the task. At the core of this work is a fervent and unstoppable curiosity about our culture, about how people interact (or don’t in most cases), but most of all about how art can begin to address these ideas conspicuously and without judgment.
Play: In Three Acts highlights the work of three artists - Joe McKay, David Rokeby, and Nina Waisman. Each artist explores various modes of interaction within their work: Waisman and Rokeby incorporate sound and embodied interaction; McKay incorporates playful interaction around competition and cooperation.
Meet the Artists at the Opening Reception: Saturday, February 7, 2015 - 2pm-5pm - Free and Open to the Public.
Note: Nina Waisman will incorporate performances by professional dancers during the Opening Reception:
2:30 p.m & 3:45 p.m. Performance by Flora Wiegmann, LA-based dancer and choreographer.
3:15 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. Performances by UCI dancer Gunta Liepina, choreographed by UCI Professor Lisa Naugle.
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By Michael Aushenker Published December 17, 2014
The banter of the feisty sisters from northern England belies an intellectual rigor and distinctive vision behind their art. Issues of identity and marginalization occupied their focus early on; their 1995 film Normapaths, for instance, which featured stunt doubles of the twins walking through fire and breaking down doors, played up the uncanny aspects of twinness.
Their interest would later shift to deserted architectural spaces bearing the residues of state power, such as the Russian cosmonaut training facility at Star City, the subject of a four-channel video installation that premiered at New York’s 303 Gallery in 2000. In these works, which have a much weightier feel, the twins are, for the most part, absent or figure only as shadowy apparitions.
Such historical and psychological excavations via film and photography have become the Wilsons’ trademark. The sisters often present their still and moving pictures within immersive, large-scale installations incorporating multiple screens and sculptural elements, enhancing viewers’ feelings of claustrophobia and unease.
“Their work is uncomfortable because it’s about memory and places, about loss and abandoned spaces,” says Isabel Carlos, director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Center of Modern Art in Portugal, who curated “Suspended Time,” the Wilsons’ exhibition there in 2010. The fact that the sisters often delve into episodes in countries’ histories that their citizens would rather forget compounds that sense of discomfort.
Since receiving their master’s degrees from Goldsmiths College, London, in 1992, the pair has exhibited across Europe, America, Japan, and the Middle East, and have been included in such international group shows as “Out of Time” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the 1999–2000 Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, and “Moving Pictures” at the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Tate Modern is currently showing their otherworldly photographs of Nazi bunkers erected along the Normandy coastline in the group exhibition “Conflict, Time, Photography” that runs through March 15.
Also on view until mid-January at London’s newly revamped Imperial War Museum is the Wilsons’ video installation Undead Sun (2014), commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella to mark the World War I centenary. Avoiding familiar depictions of trench warfare and fighter-jet battles, the work instead shines a light on early decoy and surveillance techniques that developed as the sky became a combat zone. “Suddenly you could be spotted from the air. Moving up into the sky is what defines modern warfare; it’s the beginning of aerial photography and surveillance and drone technology,” says Jane.
The Wilsons re-created curiosities they found in the war museum’s archival footage—a dummy horse’s carcass used by snipers, the wooden skeleton of a decoy tank, early prosthetic facial parts—and reconstructed scenes of women camoufleurs sewing khaki netting and molding decoy heads. These arresting images are set against the backdrop of a gigantic disused wind tunnel, which serves as a metaphor for the passage of time, its huge blades propelling mankind backward and forward between past to present.
The film closes with the stark image, based on a true incident, of a conscientious objector ripping his uniform to shreds and arraying it on a barbed-wire fence before walking off into the night, naked. “For us it’s important that there is this element of an individual’s protest against war,” Louise notes.
As twins, the Wilsons have a heightened sense of individuality. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1967, they were put in separate classes at school so they would not be forced to compete with each other. Their father was a naval architect, their mother a school secretary. The sisters trace their interest in snooping around buildings to weekends spent at their grandmother’s house, which had no television but nooks galore.
They came of age as Margaret Thatcher’s government was closing down mines, shipyards, and steel plants in the north of England. “It was brutally draconian and totally depressing. You couldn’t help but get politicized,” says Jane. The political climate abroad in the last decades of the Cold War also fed into their later work.
The Wilsons did their undergraduate studies separately (Louise at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Jane at Newcastle Polytechnic), but for their degree shows, they presented identical photographs of a staged double suicide in their parents’ garage. From that moment, they say, collaboration was inevitable.
Graduating from Goldsmiths at a time when the Young British Artists’ phenomenon was in full swing, the sisters were included in several YBA shows, perhaps because their work of the time was seen to share the self-aware tone and gothic sensibilities of other members of the group.
For instance, their playful 1995 film Crawl Space, in which the camera prowls around a building whose peeling walls pulsate and drip blood, quotes horror-movie classics. In Hypnotic Suggestion 505 (1993) they filmed themselves identically dressed, yielding their conscious will to a male hypnotist.
The latter work had a profound influence on Scottish artist Christine Borland when she participated in a 1993 show with the Wilsons. “I loved the way that they went about meeting the hypnotist and going through this process of building trust. It was so generous and nobody was being exploited,” she says. “They were completely at ease with interpreting truths and narratives to suit themselves.”
A performative element has always pervaded the Wilsons’ work, whether they are on camera or staging participatory installations. Sharing a studio apartment in the red-light district of King’s Cross in the early ’90s, they incorporated their seedy surroundings into films and photographs evoking menacing domestic scenes. Life and art merged bizarrely when a man tried to smash down their door and two weeks later left an apologetic note explaining he had a psychiatric illness. Naturally the note materialized in a series of photographs called “Construction and Note” (1992).
The Wilsons won the Barclays Young Artist Award in 1993, which broadened their profile and brought welcome cash. But their real break came with the award three years later of a German government scholarship in Berlin.
Until that point they had set their work in alienated spaces such as bordellos and motels, but in Berlin tangible traces of history confronted them everywhere. “It became so apparent you were living somewhere where architecture wasn’t something that was neutral,” says Jane.
Their 1997 film Stasi City, documenting the labyrinthine headquarters of the East German secret police, marked a seismic shift into a more politically engaged art. In installations presenting the film, they re-created the interrogation rooms of the Stasi prison with their padded doors and paper-thin walls so viewers could physically experience the theater of the regime’s intimidation techniques.
“Their work is very dramatic and often sinister, but most of all very powerful. It combines the personal, the political, and the poetic,” says Britain-based art patron Delfina Entrecanales, whose Delfina Studio Trust offered a lifeline to some 400 artists, including the Wilsons, between 1988 and 2006.
Given the Wilsons’ interest in the physical remnants of state power, it is perhaps not surprising that after Stasi City, they turned their attention to Greenham Common, site of violent battles between female anti-nuclear protesters and British police. Gamma (1999), their film of the disarmed base, earned the sisters a Turner Prize nomination and was shown at London’s Serpentine Gallery in 1999.
Chernobyl, the site of what is still the worst nuclear-power-plant accident in history, proved similarly alluring. But as is characteristic of the way they work, the artists approached the subject obliquely, eschewing the obvious. Rather than the plant itself, their haunting film The Toxic Camera (2012) takes as its starting point Vladimir Shevchenko’s camera, which was used by the Ukrainian filmmaker to document the aftermath of the 1986 explosion and which itself became radioactive. “It seemed that there was a much more interesting narrative around this artifact, the camera, which is of course all about the act of looking and documenting and dark tourism,” says Louise.
Likewise, their photographic series “Atomgrad (Nature Abhors a Vacuum),” 2010, examines the deserted Soviet showcase town of Pripyat, built for Chernobyl workers, eloquently conjuring the shattered Communist dream in images of the town’s derelict swimming pool, abandoned amphitheater, and empty classrooms.
In a new departure, the Wilsons recently began to create collages by superimposing images of yardsticks onto their own and archival photographs of Pripyat. Yardsticks have featured in the artists’ sculptural work since 2009, functioning as markers of scale, Duchampian readymades, and monuments to obsolescence—the yard being an outdated standard of British measurement. Photographed in situ at nuclear testing sites or power stations, they allude to the unreliability of official measures of radioactivity.
“I’m very interested in these black-and-white collages, which are incredibly successful and which explore the same territory—the abandoned laboratories, architectural spaces that have some sinister resonance—but on a smaller scale using a different technique,” says Ann Gallagher, head of British art collections at Tate Britain, who has followed the Wilsons since curating them in a British group show at the 1995 Venice Biennale.
“Jane and Louise carve out a utopian space in places that others would regard as failures,” says Maria Balshaw, director of the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, which hosted a survey show of the sisters’ work in 2012. She highlights the Wilsons’ “steely feminism” that is never explicit but underpins their dissection of patriarchal structures.
The Wilsons have come a long way since sneaking around their grandmother’s house but their shared interest in transgression and challenging authority has not diminished. As Louise points out, at the core of their work, the question persists: “How, by being a collaborative duo, do you confront the institution?”
Elizabeth Fullerton is a freelance writer based in London. She is working on a history of BritArt to be published by Thames & Hudson.
A version of this story originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 74 under the title “Double Take.”
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By Carolina Miranda
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2014
A show that’s all about surf, a noise rock band downtown and an artist’s view of L.A. as told by installation. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is quiet, but there are still things to do. Here’s what we have in the Datebook:
February 27, 2014
By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times art critic