ART AND CAKE
A Breath of Fresh Air in the Season of Art Fairs: The FAR Bazaar
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR IN THE SEASON OF ART FAIRS: THE FAR BAZAAR
BY EVAN SENN
FAR BAZAAR, JANUARY 28-29, 2017, 10AM-10PM, CERRITOS COLLEGE
Wrapping up the season of art fairs, surrounded by big and shiny events with Hollywood celebrities and art stars, name recognition and shock value are wearing thin. Bright and over-sized displays from all over the world have been shoved down our throats hoping to amaze viewers with something new and better. It is rare to actually be impressive and inventive in a world where innovation is commonplace, extraordinary is expected. We live in the dilapidated experience of artistic innovation where masses of art spaces are trying to one-up each other. There is hope. Enter the FAR Bazaar.
The Foundation for Art Resources (FAR) produces the FAR Bazaar, an alternative art fair and art collective festival. This year is the fortieth anniversary of FAR, one of the oldest non-profit arts advocacy groups in Southern California. FAR has helped to produce some of the most significant alternative art events in Los Angeles. From the monthly Art Talk Art lecture series of the 1980s to the massive FAR Bazaars of the 1990s, FAR has dedicated forty years of service to inspiring and supporting innovation and taking chances with passion on the ever-evolving Los Angeles contemporary art community.
The FAR Bazaar, taking place at Cerritos College on January 28th and 29th, is a breath of strange and fresh air in the art fair arena. As a non-commercial alternative art fair, this special event highlights the significant presence that art collectives, artist-run spaces, and local art schools have had and continue to have in the SoCal art scene. The FAR Bazaar aims to get the various art communities that are physically spread far and wide across the Southern California artscape to come together to celebrate and exchange ideas in a creatively conducive environment. The boundary-pushing innovation in non-profit, pedagogical art spaces, and artist-run spaces is of the utmost importance to FAR, which makes the FAR Bazaar even more distinctive. The emphasis is not on sales.
Throughout the two-day event performance art, installations will be activating soon-to-be-demolished spaces in the current Fine Arts complex. The event, open to the public, will engage the temporary physical space and stimulate it one last time, with intention and love. The artists and collectives that are contributing to the FAR Bazaar takes risks. They are hopeful and passionate about art in a way that can transform viewers, reshape outlooks and bring some real emotion and new ideologies into an area and a season that are rife with pretension and dishonesty.
In the digital photography lab, Improvised Alchemy will activate the space by having a three foot tall disembodied floating holographic head called the “Grand Turk” that will interact with visitors exploring issues of artificial intelligence and colonial “othering.” Meanwhile in the journalism classroom, Biomythography will transform the editorial cubicles into confessionals complete with videos exploring blackness in the media and issues of toxic masculinity. Rough Play will feature various artists examining the multiple meanings of a ‘vessel’ from a vase to a ship to the human body—as a container for asoul—in the ceramics lab. The Association of Hysteric Curators will explore the history of gendered pedagogy and the necessity of sustainable living in a project titled #homeeconomics in one of the general classrooms.
In the Cerritos College Art Gallery, Otis MFA students will be hosting an exhibition called ‘”restage/reimagine,” that will consist of 24 SoCal female artists that was actually held at the Cerritos College Art Gallery exactly forty years before the Bazaar, in January of 1977.
Esteemed L.A. artist Devon Tsuno of the Concrete Walls Projects will open two temporary pop-up restaurants in an exhibit called “Dear Jonathan Gold” (consisting of 100 Tacos and Arepa Where Am I) that will host five artists (Pablo Estrada, Juliana Lujan, Phil Nisco, Kristofferson San Pablo and Mick Weldon) that will work together to create the smells, tastes, spaces, and music that Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold says, “In a lot of ways . . . is starting to take the place in culture that rock-and-roll took 30 years ago.”
Some of the evocative performances that will be held at the FAR Bazaar include Claremont Graduate University MFA student Lara Salmon will be doing an endurance performance each day called Blue Lips, where Salmon will walk around kissing the walls of the soon-to-demolished building with blue lipstick, leaving a trail of love behind on the building that helped shape so many young artists’ lives.
KCHUNG will be broadcasting ongoing programming from a room throughout the run of the two-day event. There will also be a group of performers from the FA4 Collective, calling themselves Dragon Rising, will be doing a fire dancing performance on Saturday night. CalArts will be hosting an exhibit with 27 different artists, Otis is hosting live musical performances during the event, and there will be many other special, experimental, and provocative performance and shows going on during this extra ordinary bazaar.
Other participating collectives and artist-run spaces that will be participating in this unique event include: Association of Hysteric Curators, Ave 50 Studio, Biomythography, Boys of Summer, Concrete Walls, D-Block Projects, DH Arts Collective, Durden & Ray, Elephant, FA4 Collective, Finishing School, Hinterculture, Improvised Alchemy, JAUS Gallery, LA Freewaves, Machine Project, Monte Vista Projects, Motherboy, Rough Play, Shed Research, Six Pack Projects, Slanguage Studios, South Bay Contemporary, Summercamp’s ProjectProject, Tilt-Export.
Graduate student artists from universities that will be involved in this event include: Art Center, CalArts, Claremont Graduate University, Otis (Fine Arts and Public Practice), UC Irvine (Critical/Curatorial Studies and Fine Arts), UC Los Angeles (Design Media Arts and Fine Arts), UC Riverside, University of Southern California.
Source: Art and Cake
ART AND CAKE
Channeling Whistler’s ‘Peacock Room’ at Launch LA
September 27, 2016
Without Design or Sketch The Story of The Room, Launch LA (Photo Credit Emily Sudd)
Channeling Whistler’s ‘Peacock Room’ at Launch LA
by Genie Davis
Without Design or Sketch: The Story of The Room at Launch LA through October 1st is an immersive experience. Organized by a trio of curators called Rough Play, the rich and fascinating, fully transformed galley features work by Alex Anderson, Beatriz Cortez, Krysten Cunningham, Ashley Hagen, Carla Jay Harris, Jane Hugentober, Malisa Humphrey, Janna Ireland, Cole James, Shoshi Kanokohata and Taidgh O’Neill, Annelie McKenzie, Thinh Nguyen, Joel Otterson, Christopher Reynolds, Jackie Rines, Emily Sudd, Christian Tedeschi, Elizabeth Tinglof, Kim Truong, Axel Wilhite, Robert Wilhite, Emily Wiseman, and Kim Ye.
Their exhibition is an homage to James Abbot McNeill Whistler and the Aesthetic Movement. To fully appreciate it, a little history lesson is important.
The event that inspired this exhibition took place in 1865, when the Aesthetic Movement in Britain held forth the idea that art should be divorced from any motive other than visual beauty, James Abbot McNeill Whistler was one such artist who fully embraced this concept. In Whistler’s view, the creation and interpretation of art was the responsibility of the artist, and art should improve even upon nature itself. Aestheticism was the precursor of early modern art and Art Nouveau.
Vividly portraying Aesthetic Movement dictums, Whistler’s painting La Princesse du pays de la porcelain was commissioned by shipping magnate Frederick Leyland, for his London dining room. Both Leyland and his home’s architect trusted Whistler, and allowed him to work without supervision. Free of constraint, Whistler created a large work in a blue and gold palette, going far beyond the limits of his commission. Whistler proclaimed he painted without design or sketch, but was sure that his work would please his patron. But alas, it did not, Leyland refused to pay his bill, although he eventually paid half. Whistler’s response was to add another element to his work: a mural of two peacocks confronting each other with coins at their feet. This portion of his work he titled twice, as Art and Money or The Story of the Room. Whistler’s complete dining room artwork itself has subsequently been referred to as Harmony in Blue and Gold: the Peacock Roo
With that in mind the Rough Play turned Launch Gallery into their own version of the room, following Whistler’s lead with the idea of creating without design or sketch. They have even re-painted the gallery walls in blue. It’s an awe inspiring exhibition, packed with gorgeous pieces, including Ashley Hagen’s cabinet constructed of glass and wood, miniature bricks, stuffed animals, foam, and gold leaf, a decadently beautiful piece, I See Myself In You. Kim Ye’s delicate blue Entice to Ensnare also captivates, its pattern mesmerizing, its form a kind of artistic Venetian blind covering an imaginary window. Carla Jay Harris’ blue and white china bowls are mounted on a wall, each featuring images such as a duo of paired guns. Co-curator Elizabeth Tinglof’s gold-leaf covered folding chair sits in perfect juxtaposition to Thinh Nguyen’s delicate pink flowers flowing in strands from the ceiling. Kim Truong’s single-planed portrayal of fine china – an ode to the china Whistler’s patron had envisioned his dining room as holding – is white on one side, blue on the other, creating a wonderful visual dichotomy, and a play on dimension. Encased in Plexiglas topped by light bulbs, Christian Tedeschi’s green plant takes on a whole new dimension, one that implicates time and space.
The installation is both lush and functional. Viewers are invited to go beyond simply looking, and have an involving, interactive experience. They can sit on the gilded folding chair, walk on the rug beneath those delicate pink paper flowers, recline on an embroidered, ornate circular bench.
According to Rough Play’s Tinglof, the artists’ took over Launch – with gallery owner James Panozzo’s full permission – and had“a completely different outcome than that experienced by Whistler and his patron,” she laughs.
“We started with Whistler’s Peacock Room, and the idea of artists’ taking over and not having permission. Whistler really felt that artists could make art more beautiful than reality. He coined the expression ‘art for arts sake,’” she explains. “We are still asking many of the same questions today as those posed in Whistler’s time. Is it okay to make something beautiful, do patrons have valid decisions, is it okay to create a piece of art without permission? Whistler was very contemporary in his ideas.”
Although following in Whistler’s footsteps, Rough Play formed their own aesthetic. “We decided to have many artists, not just one,” Tinglof says. “It was very untraditional to just take over the space, all of us creating, but it was a successful journey. There wasn’t any ego involved. Some of the artists here even arranged each other’s art, they exchanged pieces and put pieces together.”
The warmth and lushness of this exhibition absolutely offers a deeply cogent and winning argument for “art for art’s sake.” Enter this room and engage.
You can still see Without Design or Sketch: The Story of The Room at Launch LA through this Saturday, October 1st.
SOURCE: ART AND CAKE
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-Julie Novakoff, ARTLOG, September 12, 2012
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