Archive for public art

Mulholland Dérive, organized by Stephen van Dyck, December 9, 2012

Posted in reviews and commentary with tags , , , on December 10, 2012 by Carol Cheh
Christy Roberts belts out "Bohemian Rhapsody" just for me

Christy Roberts belts out “Bohemian Rhapsody” just for me. Janne Larsen’s scentless air freshener hangs on the mirror.

The latest edition of Los Angeles Road Concerts, an annual daylong art/performance/music/literary event that takes over the entire length of one of the city’s iconic boulevards, took place on Mulholland Drive yesterday. It was very cleverly named Mulholland Dérive, after a Situationist strategy for combating the numbing effects of capitalism. In the words of theorist Guy Debord, “In a dérive [people] drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.”

It’s a sexy proposition, and previous incarnations of the Road Concerts (taking place on Sunset Boulevard, Washington Boulevard, and San Fernando Road) have been filled with an exuberant, untamed diversity that reflected the nature of the city and its varied inhabitants. This year’s adventure was markedly different; in place of the gritty, unpredictable urban sprawl that characterizes the other streets, Mulholland is a rarefied, bucolic wonderland of uniform class privilege, closely patrolled by a phalanx of park rangers. The long ridge drive that extends from Hollywood to the Pacific Ocean is populated by wealthy home owners, obnoxious Porsche drivers, and a series of state-owned overlooks that provide stunning views as well as the sting of authority.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Distant Lands, Blowups, Quiet Whispers: the First Five Days of the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival

Posted in reviews and commentary, video footage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by Carol Cheh

The first five days of the jam-packed Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival have passed, and I’ve survived, albeit barely. Since Thursday, it seems like I’ve spent a lot of time driving to the farthest reaches of Greater Los Angeles to watch stuff get blown up, lit up, and shot at. Crowd-pleasing spectacles have definitely dominated the game.

On Saturday, hundreds of people came out to Pomona College to see a trio of “performances” (the pieces by Judy Chicago and James Turrell would be more accurately described as temporary public art installations) that took place at strategic locations on campus. They were all nice, although not exactly mind-blowing. I didn’t quite see what was so nifty about John White’s Preparation F, which made a spectacle out of college football players getting dressed and scrimmaging; modern dance works have done this sort of thing better. Chicago’s ejaculatory fireworks in A Butterfly for Pomona were certainly entertaining, and Turrell’s Burning Bridges was a nostalgic and humorous evocation of his then-developing interest in light and the framing of environments. The most remarkable thing about the whole event, however, was seeing so many people turn out for performance—the most I’ve ever seen in one sitting.

Continue reading