Archive for the noteworthy Category

Places to Check Out, Things to Do

Posted in noteworthy, upcoming events with tags , , , on May 3, 2012 by Carol Cheh

Hot off the presses today is my long LA Weekly feature article, 25 Alternative Art Spaces to Check Out Now. (The Weekly has even helpfully provided a Google map.) This is a list of the more “underground” spaces that I like to frequent to see current work. Even though there are 25 spaces listed, it is still by no means comprehensive, and of course subject to my own personal tastes, preferences, and ability to remember the dozens and dozens of places I tend to visit. I await the volumes of hate mail complaints from places that I left out. Such is the writing life!

This coming weekend is also a really big one for performance. Starting tonight, two Paris-based artists will present Felix Goes to Hollywood at Human Resources, a lecture/performance inspired by the work of theorist Felix Guattari.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons, you can pop in on Emily Lacy’s Corpor, one of the final events to be held in Machine Project’s Transdimensional Hallway. Also spanning the weekend with performances is Andrew Berardini and Dave Muller’s Three Day Weekend at Public Fiction, capped by She’s Not There, the opening reception on Friday night. Also on Friday night, be sure to stop in and support Signify Sanctify Believe’s Spiritual Fundrager, a massive festival of enlightened activities held to finance a planned holy pilgrimage.

Image courtesy of Danielle Adair

On Saturday night, I’m excited to see one of my favorite artists, Danielle Adair, presenting new work at Monte Vista Projects, which has been truly jammin’ lately with awesome events.

Sunday you can recover from it all but still get an IV feed of good art/performance, and at the same time support an organization that really needs your help right now, by tuning in to the Art21 Telethon. Two New York artists that I’ve recently been super impressed by, Debo Eilers and Georgia Sagri, will be hosting.

Peace out Los Angeles!

Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival Launches Tonight!

Posted in noteworthy, upcoming events with tags , , , on January 19, 2012 by Carol Cheh

Niki de Saint Phalle

The art world has gotten off to an uncharacteristically early and eager start this year. I’ve barely had time to catch my breath since getting off the plane from my vacation—and that was on New Year’s Eve.

As I write this, we’re only a couple of hours away from the official launch of the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival. Like all things PST, the festival, which runs through January 29 (with a few events continuing past that date), seeks to overwhelm. During a preview event at SoHo House last month, organizers Glenn Phillips and Lauri Firstenberg even said that they purposely overloaded the program so that people would have to choose between amazing events that conflict with each other. Evil, I tell you! Luckily the hardworking folks at ForYourArt have thoughtfully organized a team of correspondents, including yours truly, to report on the festival as it happens. This will include blog posts, reviews, live tweets, and so on.

I’ve already done a practice run of live tweeting to make sure I can actually use my new smartphone (yes I know, I was really late to that table). Check out my coverage of Tuesday night’s Kim Jones / Barbara Smith talk at LAXART, complete with photos, on my Twitter page. Last night I even downloaded Twitvid so that I can post videos of some events as they happen, woo!

There are a lot of great events coming up, but probably the one I’m most excited about is Tirs: Reloaded, a recreation of Niki de Saint Phalle’s shooting paintings organized by Yael Lipschutz. In 1962, Virginia Dwan invited de Saint Phalle to Los Angeles to create the first Tirs series outside of Europe. Enacted in Malibu and the Sunset Strip, the LA Tirs performances, which involved many artists and even Jane Fonda, were popular and emphasized the social and communal aspects of the piece.

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An Artist Speaks Out About the MOCA Gala

Posted in noteworthy on November 21, 2011 by Carol Cheh

This morning I decided to take down my post on the recent MOCA Gala. Basically, I concluded that commenting on Twitpics and gossip rag accounts was bullshit and a waste of space. I’ll never know how I would have felt if I had actually attended the gala – whether I would have been moved by Abramović’s actions, or thought they were stupid, or something in between – and that’s just the way it is.

I am happy, however, to see that Carrie McIlwain, one of the artists who participated in the gala, has stepped forward and provided a thoughtful, detailed account of her experiences, via Geoff Tuck’s Notes on Looking blog. This is a huge breath of fresh air after the deluge of shallow, celebrity-oriented coverage from the mainstream media. McIlwain is also brave enough to cut through a lot of the bullshit behind Yvonne Rainer’s protest.

Some highlights:

“Having experienced sexual harassment and emotional and physical abuse in more than one art studio work place, I took Rainer’s allegations very seriously, wondering if my history of abuse from employers made it impossible for me to recognize the conditions that foster abuse. Ultimately I concluded that a group of educated, willing performers do not need to be spoken for; we need to be spoken with.”

“Though I did not recognize any of the people dining at my table, I commend them now for the respectful and intelligent art patrons they revealed themselves to be. Callousness can come from any class, but I truly believe it is important to offer people the opportunity to reveal their nature.”

“If the aim of Rainer’s critique sought to discredit the museum system of funding it was sloppy and hollow. In the end it was an attack on the proposed work of a single artist.”

Although McIlwain had a positive experience at her table, she does not discount the fact that others did not have such a great time with their guests, and gives substantial air time to their stories as well. Throughout, her commentary is clear, well-reasoned, and most important, free of the hysteria and sometimes ungrounded rhetoric that was generated by the pre-gala “scandal.”

ADDENDUM: I’ve now been made aware of this very earnest tale from E.J.Hill, this deliciously bitchy account from Dorian Wood, and this full-blown Facebook pow-wow started by Macklin Kowal.

Sprechen Sie Hi Fashion?

Posted in noteworthy, video footage on August 22, 2011 by Carol Cheh

I’m on a writing deadline but I can’t stop watching these videos. The latest uploads are footage from Hi Fashion’s EP release party, which happened at Mustache Mondays nearly a month ago (and that I missed due to the fact that my friends and I are officially too old for shows that begin at midnight).

I can’t get over how AH-MAZ-ING these guys are—and continue to be, in spite of the tragic loss of the brilliant “$9.99” price tag from their name (boo!). You can download their new EP on iTunes.

Chain Letter, organized by Christian Cummings and Doug Harvey, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, July 22–August 26, 2011

Posted in noteworthy, photo essays with tags , on July 25, 2011 by Carol Cheh

The end of the line to deliver/install artworks

Chain Letter was a pretty nutty, sometimes euphoric affair. Check out my blow-by-blow account on the LA Weekly Style Council blog, and see below for pictures and additional details that I couldn’t squeeze into that article. There are also tons more postings from various peoples on the Facebook event page. And, check out the brand new Chain Letter international website.

Eamonn Fox's contribution

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Queering Sex showcases Sphinx, Jack Smith, and much more at Human Resources

Posted in noteworthy, upcoming events, video footage with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by Carol Cheh

Sphinx performs at Human Resources, accompanied by imagery from Jack Smith's Normal Love

If you’re not spending time at Human Resources these days, you’re really missing out. Since reincarnating themselves at their new space on Cottage Home in Chinatown, their programming has become noticeably more ambitious, dynamic, and diverse. I’ve been seeing an imaginative cross-section of experimental/underground music, good performance art by people I’ve never heard of, cool dance acts, screenings of important film and video works (like Chris Kraus’ entire, rarely seen oeuvre, shown a few weeks ago with Kraus and Sylvère Lotringer in attendance), and interesting guest curators, like Kathryn Garcia and Sarvia Jasso, who had the infamous Brooklyn Is Burning on their resumes before moving on to Queering Sex. Perhaps the improved feng shui of their new digs has helped to take HR to the next level; that huge, single, open gallery on the ground floor of an old kung fu theater is a spectacular space that never gets old.

Last night, the third night of Queering Sex, was a fun time that started with a screening of Jack Smith’s pioneering film Normal Love; moved through a selection of video work by Martha Wilson, Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Lars Laumann, Bruce La Bruce, and Gordon Flores; and finished off with a stunning set from the goth-fetish-metal band Sphinx. Below is a bit of crappy video footage that I took; hopefully better versions will appear on the webs soon.

Even though they’re a ragtag little collective that doesn’t have either nonprofit or gallery status, Human Resources’ savvy programming choices are making them an important force in the LA art scene. Be sure to Facebook them or join their mailing list. The final Queering Sex event will be a performance by Dawn Kasper on July 2. HR also has a project with Outfest lined up for mid-July and plans to bring in performance artists from all over the world later in the year.

Tori Wrånes at Human Resources, March 24, 2011

Posted in noteworthy on March 28, 2011 by Carol Cheh

A few weeks ago, at Night Gallery’s one-year anniversary party, I was crushed when I learned that I had missed a brief but stunning performance by Tori Wrånes, a very cool Norwegian artist who was visiting LA on a residency at Skylar Haskard’s studio. She had gotten into costume and performed a song, and the people who saw it raved about it, though they had a hard time describing it exactly. Even though I knew nothing about Wrånes’ work at the time, my brief chats with her told me that she was an awesome and unique human being whose work was most likely commensurately awesome.

Luckily, life does throw you second chances once in a while, and so it was that I went to Human Resources (now luxuriously appointed at the former Cottage Home space) last Thursday night to check out an evening of experimental music, and was treated to an impromptu performance by Wrånes. The artist did a recital of an avant-garde work by a Norwegian composer; this consisted of passages of song punctuated by expressive noises, sighs, and motions. Wrånes’ clear, soaring, and eccentric delivery was breathtaking, and the four-minute song brought the house down when it was over. The next day, Wrånes was scheduled to fly back to her native Scandinavia, much to my sorrow; if she had been here longer, I would’ve put her on a double bill at Human Resources with Renée van Trier, who is in the LA area for another two weeks, and whose practice also utilizes costume, song, and a wild, go-for-broke quality.

Wrånes told me that her practice mostly consists of performance, and that originally, her background had been in acting. Thursday night’s recital was quite a departure from her own work, which tends to be more “mystical and Surrealistic.” I’m hoping that she’ll find her way back to LA someday. In the meantime, please check out her website—the performance stills alone will blow you away (playing a piano on the side of a mountain and then setting it on fire?? wtf???). There are also several videos of her performances on YouTube.

Tori Wrånes , Everyone Got Something Great, performed at Nationaltheatret, Oslo, 2010

Let Them Eat Volano Flambé

Posted in noteworthy on January 12, 2011 by Carol Cheh

Just when Marina Abramović jumped the shark is a matter for debate; some might say it happened with Balkan Baroque, the lugubrious genealogical exploration she composed after her crushing breakup with Ulay. But after seeing this piece from today’s New York Times, my vote goes to the day she composed a $20 dessert for an upscale Park Avenue restaurant. The Times helpfully remarks that it “may be her most ephemeral” work.

Welcome back, Engagement Party

Posted in noteworthy, reviews and commentary on October 10, 2010 by Carol Cheh

Last Thursday night (October 7) was the long-awaited re-launch of MOCA’s Engagement Party, an innovative program of artist residencies that was temporarily suspended during MOCA’s period of financial fallout. Now things have been sorted out and the Party is back on. A press conference was gamely held to kick off the re-launch, followed by an evening with Ryan Heffington and various dance groups, the rejuvenated program’s first resident artists.

Sadly, the conference portion was a bust. Attendance was microscopic and director Jeffrey Deitch’s “remarks” consisted of a few warmed-over, phoned-in statements of the obvious. Besides being a horrible public speaker, he just seemed distracted, out of place, and not especially invested in what was going on around him. I am counting the days until this out-of-touch idiot moves on to his next gig and from what I heard that night, this sentiment is pretty much universal. Deitch hastily handed the mic over to EP founders and steering committee members Aandrea Stang and Liz Jordan, who announced the artists committed to the next year of EP programming (Heffington, the League of Imaginary Scientists, Neighborhood Public Radio, and Los Angeles Urban Rangers).

Lame director notwithstanding, the important thing to note here is the quality and significance of the Engagement Party concept. Founded in 2008 by a particularly energetic and visionary group of MOCA staff members, EP focuses on the participatory work currently being done by a wide variety of artist collectives throughout Los Angeles, seeking to give it a visible central platform at MOCA. EP’s internal structure is also inspired by these collectives, as it bypasses the usual curatorial channels in favor of a grassroots steering committee composed of mid-level staff personnel from every department at the museum. Props must be given to Stang and Jordan, two of the driving forces behind the project who convinced former director Jeremy Strick of its value and secured a major grant from the James Irvine Foundation to support it.

The first year of programming was pretty terrific and included Executive Order karaoke with Finishing School and a World Cup re-enactment with Knifeandfork, among other memorable events. Last Thursday night featured group dance lessons from Heffington, whose “goal is to inspire everyone to dance,” along with various dance performances and video collaborations. I’m looking forward to more collective fun over the next year, whether the guy at the top has a clue about what’s going on or not.

Event listings and other delights

Posted in noteworthy, upcoming events on July 1, 2010 by Carol Cheh

A few noteworthy events this weekend. Human Resources has put something together for Friday night to coincide with the big CalArts MFA show happening in Chinatown; from 9pm to 1am, you can check out music by Native Fauna and Learning Music, along with a performance by Matt Fielder and Rachel Kessler. Saturday from 12pm to 5pm is the second installment in the Torrance Art Museum’s ZOOM2 series; a whole bunch of sound and media artists will get together for a massive five-hour jam. Also happening Saturday at 3pm is River Bridge Rainbow: A Celebration Declaration for An Other LA, organized by Llano Del Rio Collective. Participants will weave a fabric bridge across the LA River and share their visions for “an other LA.” Meet in the river at Crystal Street off Fletcher Drive.

The event of the weekend will no doubt be Mike Bouchet’s Flat Cola Pool Independence Day Celebration (preparatory drawing above), the culmination and closing event for Bouchet’s very cool show at The Box gallery. The celebration will take place at a private residence in 29 Palms on the 4th of July at 4pm. An entire swimming pool will be filled with 100,000 liters of flat cola (the largest volume of cola in the world) and guests will be invited to take a swim in it. Booze and BBQ will be provided. If interested, contact The Box to get the address: or (213) 625-1747.

18th Street Arts Center has put out a call for artist proposals for their 2011 season. The theme for the year will be “Legacy,” and they are “particularly interested in artists who worked in Southern California between 1960 and 1990 in the areas of performance, durational and ephemeral work, or in media with a performance aspect. We are also interested in proposals from younger artists who are re-performing or interpreting works from this period, or whom are interested in collaborating with artists still working from that period.” There is so much unmined history from that period that is ripe for engagement!

Finally, I was really excited this past week to learn that Alex Segade of My Barbarian has launched a new blog, Performance Art World, whose mission is to explore “performance art, self-identified and cross-referenced.” Segade uses a set interview format, kind of like a Proust questionnaire, to talk with a variety of artists working in performance. Interspersed amongst the meaty artist-generated texts are quick notes on predecessors like Nancy Buchanan and Guillermo Gómez-Peña. This is a great new resource for getting more in-depth perspectives on artists’ practices alongside some briefings on the history of the medium.