Archive for the guest blog posts Category

Art, Education & Justice!—Art school faculty across Los Angeles are organizing. – by Marco Franco Di Domenico

Posted in guest blog posts, reviews and commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2014 by Marco Franco Di Domenico
A solidarity spell led by the Oracle of Los Angeles, Amanda Yates Garcia. Photo: Concrete Walls Projects.

A solidarity spell led by the Oracle of Los Angeles, Amanda Yates Garcia. Photo: Concrete Walls Projects.

On Sunday, October 12, Human Resources in Chinatown was bustling with the energy of solidarity. Art, Education & Justice! brought together all types of art laborers: teachers and students, art handlers and artists, to meet and start a big conversation across Los Angeles and the country. It was both a social event and a short informal conference with several speakers, a few performances, and an endless supply of Chinese food, which was nice. The main purpose of the event was to raise awareness of the poor treatment many art faculty have to live with. Poverty wages and lack of job security has led many to organize with the intention of forming a union with the Service Employees International Union. But the room was also filled with numerous related and allied organizations.

While you are here, sign this petition.

There are a lot of problems in higher education these days. It’s a complicated organism, and each school has its own unique issues, but the general trend is that schools have gradually adopted a corporate operating model. Administrations continue to grow along with their salaries while full-time faculty positions are disappearing. To make up for this, part-time or adjunct faculty have been taken on in droves. In some cases, adjuncts outnumber full-time faculty—a severe irony since “adjunct” means “additional but not essential.” Of course, part-time faculty are paid less and don’t receive benefits, but what is most troubling is that in many cases, adjuncts live from class to class in a state of complete precariousness with no assurances for the next semester.

“In one day—a 24-hour period—I was let go by two schools simultaneously, without any kind of respect,” recalled Jessica Rath. The crowd at Human Resources immediately responded with a chorus of boos. A poignant statement for the first speaker to stand in front of the eight-foot-tall silver letters spelling “UNION NOW.”

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an Evening of Ice Bergs

Posted in Documents on Dance, guest blog posts with tags , , on June 6, 2014 by Chloë Flores
Courtesy of Pieter

Courtesy of Pieter

In January, Governor Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency in California and the exhibition Facing the Sublime in Water, CA at the Armory Center for the Arts closed. The following month Silver Lake residents debated the fate of Ivanhoe Reservoir amid DWP plans to phase out open-air reservoirs, while figure skating and short track speed skating events were underway at Iceberg Skating Palace for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. The icebergs are thawing.

Simone Forti has been “working with news” since the mid-1980s, so it felt natural that these and other concurrent local, national and global newsworthy events came to mind while watching her and Rae Shao-Lan’s dance performance, an Evening of Ice Bergs, at Pieter on February 24, 2014. (Tashi Wada performed the well-accompanied score.)

I watched the performance in various states of enjoyment, even giggling at times—a response that typically makes its way into my experience of Forti’s work. Yet, when I sat down to address my notes, something about my experience troubled me. Continue reading

Studio: Winter 2014, REDCAT, March 23, 2014, reviewed by Maia Lee

Posted in guest blog posts, Institutional Partnerships, reviews and commentary on May 26, 2014 by eunok1
Photo: Maia Lee

Photo: Maia Lee

The sweeping red architectural limbs of the REDCAT theatre ushered in a small audience who hummed with excitement and anticipation. The long history of theatre and its traditions gave in to the setting of something new, something that promised to be refreshing, and dare I say progressive. Maybe it was my own background in theatre that made me keen to the difference in atmosphere, or maybe it was the astonishing amount of young people who were in attendance. I tried to keep from turning in my seat to gawk at actor Danny DeVito, who happened to be in attendance. Guest curators Nick Duran and Anna Oxygen leapt up on stage to introduce the series, a collection of experimental performance works that showcased emerging Los Angeles artists.

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Rafa Esparza on Nick Duran’s every time you are near, performed at Pieter on April 14, 2014

Posted in guest blog posts, reviews and commentary on May 5, 2014 by hechoamano
All photos: Amanda Björn Photography

All photos: Amanda Björn Photography

It’s been a while, but I can still remember reaching into my pocket for my phone to search through my playlists and find that one streaming sound of sweet melancholia. You know the one. That one playlist that makes you cry so hard it causes you to double-tripple-sniff through the sobs, running mucous and seemingly never-ending trail of tears. The heartbreaking music that allows you to go through a necessary deluge of pain, sorrow and loss, spilling it onto your lap so that you can see it, touch it, make sense of it.

Nick Duran’s every time you are near, performed in part alongside Brian Getnick at Pieter Performance Space in Los Angeles, summoned a ritual that sometimes involved a highly self-aware and performed catharsis, yet at other times aroused an intuitive and joyous surrender to the environment that music assembles—in this case, Dionne Warwick’s album Make It Easy on Yourself (both A and B sides on vinyl).

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VOLUME, live broadcast on KCHUNG Radio, Honor Fraser Gallery, April 10, 2014: notes by Geoff Tuck

Posted in guest blog posts, reviews and commentary on May 4, 2014 by geofftuckapi
All photos courtesy Honor Fraser Gallery

All photos courtesy Honor Fraser Gallery

To help me understand my experience of James Allen’s ambient noise set at Honor Fraser Gallery, I googled “listen vs. hear,” thinking that while I might have been “listening” to Allen’s set with intent (as might I look with intent when considering visual art), it is also true that I was hearing more than I could possibly understand.

For what it’s worth, from the website of Waseda University professor Victoria Muehleisen, I found that “Many students use listen and hear interchangeably. However, there is an important difference between them. Listening describes an intentional activity. When you are listening, you are actively trying to hear something. In contrast, hearing is something that happens without any intentional effort. You can hear something even when you don’t want to hear it and don’t try to hear it.”

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E.J. Hill, Complicit and Tacit, Honor Fraser Gallery, April 10, 3014, a response by Claire Anna Baker

Posted in guest blog posts, reviews and commentary on May 2, 2014 by claireannabaker
All photos courtesy Honor Fraser Gallery

Photos of E.J. Hill courtesy Honor Fraser Gallery

The wall of stillness in the room struck me as I entered E.J. Hill’s performance, Complicit and Tacit, 30 minutes into the approximately 120 which would pass. The collective gaze of the audience shot a hundred arrows toward the target of his isolated body. I moved through the silent room toward the front row. Audience heads fallen away, his full stance came into view. A dry circle stained his groin; a faded puddle ran down his right leg. Had he peed himself? Had he lost control, that is? He stood in a face off—his body versus the social expectations of the audience, the structure of the white box stage and his own middle-class khaki and loafer uniform. He fought all resistance in order to remain stuck to his box.

The emotional body of both audience and actor claimed full display. Despair, shame, fear, guilt, sadness and loneliness filled the constrained room. E.J.’s muscles were tense, his weight shifted foot to foot. His eyes roamed high, settling for only a breath before remembering they were not safe, still on the run. Then he looked down, a scarce hiding place. His shoulders subtly sinking, he bent down and rested his arms on his knees, the strain of his static calves apparent. Then he rose again, a defensive confidence. Tears swept over his face. The contortion of sadness compressed the space until blank numbness washed over him and all went slack.

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Sarah Petersen, Washout, Honor Fraser Gallery, April 9, 2014, as experienced by Nate Page

Posted in guest blog posts, reviews and commentary on May 1, 2014 by 6thstbridgedoc
All images courtesy Honor Fraser Gallery

All images courtesy Honor Fraser Gallery

Something seemed wrong as I entered the shiny black lobby of Honor Fraser Gallery to see Sarah Petersen‘s performance, Washout. It was silent and empty except for a large group of shoes that surrounded three wooden benches on the lobby floor. The shoes had a messy-yet-organic order roughly resembling the pattern of a sliced kiwi. Oddly, most pairs pointed inward towards the benches, as if removed by people whose attention was directed at the benches. I removed my shoes and pointed them at the benches too.

There was nobody around. The performance must have already started and I must have been late. I realized I was a half hour late as I walked barefoot down the corridor to an adjacent gallery. I had a fleeting thought that perhaps the shoe bench thing had been part of the performance or even a sculptural prop designed for latecomers.

At the end of the hallway, I saw the silhouettes of a few people blocking a large gallery doorway designed to easily accommodate big crates and paintings. As I got closer, a woman, aware of my presence, stepped aside and motioned for me to get a better view. I accepted and crossed the threshold into the bright gallery and quickly identified who was performer and who was audience.

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