Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mie Olise Kjaergaard "Bastard Monuments" (Review) at Samuel Freeman, Culver City, California

Mie Olise Kjaergaard's latest solo exhibition "Bastard Monuments" at Samuel Freeman Gallery explores the tension between stability and collapse. Architecture, as it is known and it's basic essence, is about the creation and building of shelter. The shelter can be home, a work place, or a place of social interaction and activity. The work in "Bastard Monuments," stylistically recalls both early 20th century German Expressionism, and Neo Expressionism of the 1980s. Kjaergaard employs these styles to explore both the past and current economic and political structures that have both collapsed or on the brink of collapse; a chaos that contradicts the idea of stability.

In her paintings, Kjaergaard explores DW Griffith's movie "Intolerance." "Intolerance" was a box office failure, despite being a movie created after Griffith's box office successful and racist "Birth of a Nation." "Intolerance" becomes a monument to both success and failure. Thus the tension between the stability of a successful venture, and the collapse and failure of redemption becomes evident in Kjaergaard's work. The paintings show imaginary cityscapes of columns with elephants on top and ancient buildings. These were part of the dream and imagination of Griffith. Kjaergaard employs conceptual strategies to make connections between the stable and unstable. To the viewer familiar with Hollywood, the paintings look like the Hollywood and Highland shopping center. Instead of exploring a current monument of commerce and tourism in the heart of present day Hollywood, Kjaergaard is examining a chapter of film history where attempted redemption turns into a monument of failure.

In looking at recent history, Kjaergaard did an exhibition and residency in Venezuela, where the economic, social, and political situation is actually on the brink of chaos. Kjaergaard explored abandoned skyscrapers, which were never completed and left to deteriorate. Instead of leaving them to decay, the people in Venezuela reuse these abandoned skyscrapers as places to live despite no running water or heat. The image of the pineapple plays a prominent role in the exploration of these abandoned and reused buildings. Thus the title of "Bastard Monuments"  and the work takes the skyscraper from being a monument to progress to a monument of collapse.

Kjaergaard's "Bastard Monuments" is an excellent exhibition of painting, sculpture, and installation. Relying on tensions, dichotomies, and by making connections between the past and current conditions, Kjaergaard gives the viewer a thought provoking look into a thinly veiled illusion of stability.

On view until February 25,2017

Samuel Freeman
2639 South La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034


(310) 425-8601
Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm

Monday, January 23, 2017

"The Collectivist" Brand Library & Art Center, Glendale, California

The Brand Library & Art Center features an exhibition of six of Los Angeles’ leading art-collectives in a show conceived and organized by curator Kara W. Tomé. The exhibition, titled The Collectivists, marks a moment in time in which a vast number of artists are joining together to take greater control of their means of production and presentation. By prioritizing the group over the individual, self-promotion and publicity function as collective forms of power. This current surge of standout artist-run spaces has become a democratic movement; and en masse, artist collectives are challenging the established hierarchy of how the gallery system and commerce function in the art world. The influence of the group, uplifts the individuals involved and ultimately offers new pathways for the success of both.

Exemplifying this zeitgeist are the six collectives and artist-run spaces featured in the exhibition: Durden & Ray, Eastside International, Manual History Machines, Monte Vista Projects, Tiger Strikes Asteroid and the Association of Hysteric Curators. Each group will curate and display their members’ work, or present public programs in keeping with their missions. Over sixty artists will be represented in the show and nearly a dozen public events will be presented.

Durden & Ray is comprised of artist/curators who work together to create exhibition opportunities at their Downtown Los Angles space as well as in concert with gallery spaces around the world. Durden & Ray concentrate on small, tightly curated group shows at the space, organized by the members, as well as the hosting of international artists as part of their commitment to global exchange and alternative networks. The Durden & Ray model expressly overlaps multiple strategies, including the commercial potential and visual I.D. of a gallery, the democratic structure of an artist's group, the potential to create collaborative works of art in the manner of a collective, and the shared fiscal support of its programs by group members and partnering organizations similar to a non-profit. Durden and Ray was founded in 2010.

Durden & Ray exhibiting artists: Shiva Aliabadi, Jorin Bossen, Gul Cagin, Sijia Chen, Dani Dodge, Tom Dunn, Lana Duong, Roni Feldman, Jon Flack, Sean Michael Gallagher, Ed Gomez, Jenny Hager, Ben Jackel, Brian Thomas Jones, David Leapman, Alanna Marcelletti, Chris Mercier, Ty Powell, Max Presneill, Nano Rubio, David Spanbock, Curtis Stage, Jesse Standlea, Steven Wolkoff and Alison Woods.

Eastside International (ESXLA) is an artist-run contemporary art exhibition space and international artist residency based in Los Angeles, California, directed by artist Jason Ramos. Founded in 2014 by Ramos and artists Michelle Carla Handel and Molly Shea, Eastside International’s artist in residence program hosts up to five artists to live, work, and immerse themselves in the Los Angeles art community. ESXLA’s parallel exhibition program in the gallery space on site features the work of local, national, and international emerging and established artists in a non-commercial alternative venue.

Eastside International (ESXLA) exhibiting artists: Sarah Burwash, Bruce Ingram, Robin Tarbet, Stacy Wendt and Min Wong.

Manual History Machines is a curatorial collective that was founded in 2013 by artists and friends Bessie Kunath, Daniela Campins, Rema Ghuloum and Tessie Whitmore. Manual History Machines’ focus is to curate projects that create a dialogue with other artists and their work.

Manual History Machines exhibiting artists include collaborations between its members: Daniela Campins, Bessie Kunath, Rema Ghuloum and Tessie Salcido Whitmore and artists Andrea Marie Breiling, Michelle Carla Handel, Jill Spector and Suné Woods.

Monte Vista Projects (MVP) is an artist-run space based in Highland Park. Through exhibitions, lectures, events and performances, MVP serves as a space to share ideas and cultivate exhibitions articulated in experiments and play. MVP is a self-determining space; a space that speaks to the ways in which we are scripted to produce as artists and creatives. Since 2007, MVP has collaborated with artists and practitioners in and around the greater Los Angeles arts community. MVP is especially interested in working with under-represented artists and minorities. In addition to curated shows organized by board members, exhibition proposals are accepted year round.

Monte Vista Projects exhibiting artists: Rebecca Bennett Duke, Michael Lewis Dodge, Danny Escalante, Roberta Gentry, Melissa Huddleston, Jay Lizo and Chris Miller.

Tiger Strikes Asteroid (TSA) is a network of artist-run spaces with locations in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Each space is independently operated and focuses on presenting a varied program of emerging and mid-career artists. TSA’s goal is to collectively bring people together, expand connections and build community through artist-initiated exhibitions, projects, and curatorial opportunities. TSA seeks to further empower the artist’s role beyond that of studio practitioner to include the roles of curator, critic, and community developer; and to act as an alternate model to the conventions of the current commercial art market. The first TSA in Philadelphia was founded in 2009. TSA Los Angeles opened in 2014.

Tiger Strikes Asteroid exhibiting artists: (from TSA Los Angeles) Carl Baratta, Vanessa Chow, Erin Harmon, Brittany Mojo, Liz Nurenberg, Brian Porray, Jonathan Matthew Ryan, Laurel Shear and Christopher Ulivo, (from TSA New York) Alex Paik and Andrew Prayzner, (from TSA Philadelphia) Mark Brosseau and Megan Biddle, (from TSA from Chicago) Zachary Cahill and Michelle Wasson.

The Public Programming Partner for The Collectivists is the Association of Hysteric Curators (AHC) who will present a number of programs and events throughout the duration of the show in keeping with their collective mission. All events will be free and open to the public including discussions, panels, performance and workshops.

Association of Hysteric Curators (AHC) is a fluid, evolving, trans-generational collective of women artists who gather biweekly to discuss contemporary feminism and the historicity of the term. AHC produce exhibitions and public programs related to feminist theory and ideas. Current artist members are: Virginia Arce, Malado Baldwin, Chelle Barbour, Lili Bernard, Carolyn Castaño, Angel Chen, Armando Cortes, Cherie Benner Davis, Rachel Finkelstein, Nat George, Christine Dianne Guiyangco, Hazel Handan, Emma Kemp, Isabelle Ludderodt, Meg Madison, Mary Anna Pomonis, Cindy Rehm, Kim Russo, Diana Sofia-Estrada, Allison Stewart, Guita Tahmassebi, Michiko Yao, and Alice Yoon.

Kara W. Tomé is an independent curator, arts educator, writer and arts administrator with 25 years of experience both in Los Angeles and South Florida. She has created and implemented education programs for all ages while on staff at museums and non-profits. Kara has curated dozens of art exhibitions in all media, in venues including formal galleries and alternative settings such as hotels, storage facilities and laundromats. She has lectured extensively about art, and was a staff writer for the Art Economist Magazine, writing profiles on world-renowned artists and selecting and writing features on “Artists to Watch.” In 2013 Kara created the podcast radio show GYST DO IT! for GYST-Ink, a company run by, and for, artists. She has interviewed over 70 artists (and counting) in Los Angeles who have diversified their careers by starting an artist-run space, an artist collective, a non-profit, or a business. Kara is an MFA graduate of CalArts and is currently the Co-Chair of the CalArts Alumni Chapter of Los Angeles.

Public Programs

Saturday, January 21, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
The Collectivists: Opening Reception
Members of each collective will be in attendance.

Saturday, February 4, 3:00pm
A panel discussion with artists from each of the participating groups on the why’s and how’s of working collectively and running a gallery space. Moderated by exhibition organizer Kara W. Tomé.

Thursday, February 16, 6:30pm
Haptic Language: Contemporary Collage & Feminism
Panel discussion moderated by Claire de Dobay Rifejl of Sprüth Magers Gallery, Los Angeles. With artist panelists Nancy Buchanan, Carole Caroompas, Cindy Rehm, Jessica Wimbley and Suné Woods. Program organized by Association of Hysteric Curators.

Saturday, March 4, 3:00pm
Shifting Hierarchies in Galleries Today
A panel discussion with participating artists running independent spaces and select commercial gallery owners in Los Angeles. Moderated by exhibition organizer Kara W. Tomé.

Sunday, March 12, 10:30am
Closing Day Event: Resurrecting Matilda Workshops
Feminist collage making and photo booth project, led by Mary Anna Pomonis and Allison Stewart and a workshop led by Rachel Finkelstein. Program organized by Association of Hysteric Curators.

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