This week: As part of the Art Los Angeles Contemporary art fair, which took place January 27-30 at the Barker Hanger of the Santa Monica Airport, the crew from Art Practical produced “In and Out of Context: Artists Define the Space between San Francisco and Los Angeles,” a series of conversation that imagined the two cities as “a continuously evolving constellation of dialogues, shared interests, and overlapping approaches.
In this episode Patricia Maloney and Art Practical editor Victoria Gannon chatwith San Francisco-based artist Luke Butler, again in the parking lot of the Santa Monica Airport, as part of their ongoing quest to find a quiet spot away from the bustle of the fair. Butler reflects on his longstanding admiration for Captain Kirk while Patricia and Victoria wonder if he’ll suddenly start speaking in Klingon. Later, Patricia and AP editor Tess Thackara speak with artist Sarah Cain about her years living and working in the Bay Area before relocating to Los Angeles, her working process, and the oases she finds in LA.
Luke Butler received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2008. Heworks in paintings and collage; much of his imagery comes from pop culture, most often from television and movies of his childhood including Starsky and Hutch and Star Trek, along with other iconic images, such as that of former U.S. presidents. Butler’s work was included in the 2010 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum, Newport Beach, CA. He is represented by Silverman Gallery in San Francisco, CA.
Sarah Cain received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001 and her MFA from the University of California Berkeley in 2006; she attended Skowhegan in 2006. Her work has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum; the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; KN Gallery, Chicago; and the Seiler + Mosseri-Marlio Gallery, Zurich. Cain received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2007 and a SECA Art Award in 2006. She is represented by Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco and Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles.
Also check out last weeks show with Lisa Anne Auerbach and Michael Parker/a> if you didn’t catch it, they have a great conversation on torn porn and being one’s own bumper sticker to the Shakers and how artists can make change in the work. Airport parking lots, who ever thought so many interesting conversations were going on at them?
December 22, 2010 · Print This Article
It snowed the night before. The morning was bright and sunny and I missed the idea of mountains.
We went to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, pausing just inside to take off coats. The green interior made me blink. Some plants looked familiar, others unusual, still others boughed under the weight of themselves, with signs reading, Please don’t touch the fruit.
This 20th Century building houses ancient plants; plants older than dinosaurs. One fern, I read recently, was planted in 1891. Imagine all those root systems, dug deep in the ground, older than any of us, housed in what they once called “Paradise under glass.” The steel/iron vestible, rife with foliage evokes nostalgia. I couldn’t help reconstructing some phantom of an American past. Add to this the Florasonic wall card, explaining the conservatory was named after the late president shortly after his assassination; or that once there was a cemetery on the park grounds–because of health concerns the city tried to relocate it when the Chicago fire burned the city. Records of those unmoved corpses were lost.
Annie Feldmeier Adams uses this site to create “Requiem (for Lincoln Park Conservatory)” with Steven Hess–a four-channel installation that loops about every 20 minutes.
We sat on a bench to absorb the sound. My coat felt bulky in my lap. I drank tea, relieved to be warm and imagining old ghosts snoring beneath our feet.
A heart beat kept the pulse of the room, in addition to a regular, though light, mechanical clacking–it sounded like a whirring fan but could have been a clock. Underneath those time-keepers lay ambient, changing waves of synthesized tones. Sometimes it sounded like there was a voice in the room, though I couldn’t place it. The bench was small, but we nevertheless fell into silence, trying to discern that voice, to parse its ethereal location. Visitors came and went, adding to our sonic landscape. While watching a large group of tourists gather and peer at some leaves, I felt very still by comparison. I smiled and my friend laughed. Sometimes we heard the crunch of gravel. We looked at each other. “Is that the recording?” she asked. “I can’t tell,” I answered. “I think so?” The more we concentrated the more difficult it became to distinguish the sound of the installation from the sounds of our environment. “Maybe this is what it’s like to be psychic,” I thought. There would be an inevitable flattening of experience, where the common reality was somehow crowded by a psychic one–difficult to discern ghost-sounds with living ones. The plants seemed complacent–happy even. Perhaps because they grow vertically, distinctions of past, present and future are irrelevant. A passing helicopter broke the spell. “That’s a helicopter,” my friend said. “Yes,” I agreed. “I wasn’t sure at first, but now that you say so, I think it’s above us.”
We left soon after, walking back through the plants and out to the shock of a city in snow.
At home, I thought of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, San Francisco–a smaller replica of the Paris Legion of Honor, the San Francisco version houses a private art collection that opened in 1924. In 1867 the city purchased the property from what used to be a cemetary. The bodies were moved to another location–or at least, the markers were moved. They converted the property into a golf course, and then The Legion of Honor. It all seemed pretty straight forward. Nevertheless, “in the summer of 1993, during renovation and expansion of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, about 300 corpses from the Gold Rush era—two of them still clutching rosaries, others were wearing dentures and Levis—were unearthed from what appears to be an old pauper’s graveyard. Some experts say another 11,000 bodies might lie underneath the museum grounds’ according to a Los Angeles Times article (12 November 1993, A-23).” In both instances, at the Lincoln Park Conservatory and at the Legion of Honor, a direct alchemy seems to occur; the bodies of predessors remain below ground, while above public houses exhibit creative expression like tents against the uselessness of mortality. I’m not even sure what it means exactly; I’m not sure where to position myself in history’s continuum, or how exactly it is continuous. But the effort of production, its fruit: I can comprehend that. I can comprehend my position between the ground and the sky. I know what it is to sit with a friend on a bench. And while listening to Requiem, I had an experience of history, one nevertheless difficult to put into words.
The Experimental Sound Studio has been working with the Chicago Park District since 2001, using the Fern Room as a site for exhibition. It’s an amazing curatorial project about partnership and symbiosis. The experience of Requiem uses that foundation, and particularly during these dark days of winter, getting a dose of greenery is good. If you’re in town for the holidays and need to escape or entertain get a hot drink and walk into the conservatory, take a bench in the Fern room and listen.
This week: Brian, Patricia and Duncan get into the mind of Lindsey White. They discuss the challenges of being a photographer in an image saturated-culture, light, magic, and the intimate details of White’s studio practice. Lindsey White is a San Francisco based photographer and video artist born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is the third interview in our series recorded at Baer Ridgeway Exhibitions as a part of Chris Duncan’s Eye Against Eye exhibition.
This week: Brian, Patricia, and Duncan engage in a round table with Julio César Morales about collaboration, curation, pedagogy, and his recent exhibitions. Julio César Morales is an artist, educator and curator currently working both individually and collaboratively.
Morales utilizes a range of media including photography, video, and printed and digital media to make conceptual projects that address the productive friction that occurs in trans-cultural territories such as urban Tijuana and San Francisco, and in inherently impure media such as popular music and graphic design. This is the second in our series of interviews conducted at Baer Ridgeway as part of Chris Duncan’s exhibition Eye Against Eye.
This week: Duncan talks to “super G” certified genius artist Camille Utterback.
Camille Utterback is an internationally acclaimed artist whose interactive installations and reactive sculptures engage participants in a dynamic process of kinesthetic discovery and play. Utterback’s work explores the aesthetic and experiential possibilities of linking computational systems to human movement and gesture in layered and often humorous ways. Her work focuses attention on the continued relevance and richness of the body in our increasingly mediated world.
Her work has been exhibited at galleries, festivals, and museums internationally, including The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The American Museum of the Moving Image, New York; The NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo; The Seoul Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Netherlands Institute for Media Art; The Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art; The Center for Contemporary Art, Kiev, Ukraine; and the Ars Electronica Center, Austria. Utterback’s work is in private and public collections including Hewlett Packard, Itaú Cultural Institute in São Paolo, Brazil, and La Caixa Foundation in Barcelona, Spain.
Awards and honors include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2009), a Transmediale International Media Art Festival Award (2005), a Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellowship (2002) and a commission from the Whitney Museum for the CODeDOC project on their ArtPort website (2002). Utterback holds a US patent for a video tracking system she developed while working as a research fellow at New York University (2004). Her work has been featured in Art in America (October, 2004), Wired Magazine (February 2004), The New York Times (2009, 2003, 2002, 2001), ARTnews (2001) and many other publications. It is also included in Thames & Hudson’s ‘World of Art – Digital Art’ book (2003) by Christiane Paul.
Recent public commissions include works for The Sacramento Airport, The City of San Jose, California, The City of Fontana, California, and the City of St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Other commissions include projects for The American Museum of Natural History in New York, The Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, The Manhattan Children’s Museum, Herman Miller, Shiseido Cosmetics, and other private corporations.
Utterback holds a BA in Art from Williams College, and a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives and works in San Francisco.