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REST AREA: a collaborative installation

16 Sep

As part of the LA ROAD CONCERTS – Catalysis Projects’ Core Artist Kim Ye and collaborator Christine Wang give CP a sneak peak of their REST AREA project proposal. The project itself will be performed SUNDAY, 9/18/11 from 11am-2pm @ the intersection of Portia & Sunset in Los Angeles.

Abstract
In Los Angeles, where cars are a near necessity and filters many a person’s perception of the world around them, drivers and pedestrians often experience the city completely differently. Often more than just a mode-of-transportation-choice, this split may trace real differences in the social/economic/geographic position between individuals. How can we navigate this difference in a way that can generate a sort of shared experience?

In this experimental installation, we would like to explore options for a public space that unites the comfort and shelter of the car, with the public social space of sidewalks, parks, and bus stops. Through the creation of a temporary shared oasis at the boundary between sidewalk and street, we hope to propose an alternative function for the automobile, while simultaneously modifying the bodily experience of the pedestrian. Through this act we hope to explore how the unit of the automobile may create new relational possibilities for the interaction between human bodies.


Christine Wang & Kim Ye, REST AREA (test), 2011

Installation
Two identical Toyota Sienna minivans are parked directly across the street from each other at either ends of a pedestrian crosswalk. Both side doors are open on the vans, and a ramp runs through the middle of each van; this creates a tunnel that pedestrians must pass through in order to cross the street. As pedestrians pass through the inside of the vans, there will be music, air-conditioning, and refreshments offered to them. They can rest in the back of the van for any amount of time they wish, before proceeding on to their destinations.

Location
This installation was originally conceptualized for the crosswalk at Sunset and Portia in Echo Park, but can work anywhere with significant foot traffic and a crosswalk that can be parked in without obstructing traffic.

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Blocking the Exits: The Slowpocalypse is Here

11 Aug

Notes from the Studio: Catalysis Project’s Resident Artist Isaac Schankler talks about his recent collaboration with video artist Christopher O’Leary, Blocking the Exits (currently on display at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions).

What is the nature of our culture’s fascination with the apocalypse? This dystopian thread connects so much of our literature, our films, our popular consciousness. There’s something riveting about the spectacle of it all, something that seems to mask a hidden desire, or at least conflicting impulses. What does it mean when you take something horrifying and render it beautiful? What are the aesthetics of the apocalypse?


These are some of the pointed questions implied by video artist Christopher O’Leary’s Blocking the Exits. In his words, the project “depicts an apocalyptic world where four characters have the final experience of crumbling pillars of civilization: water, food, energy and communication.” When Chris asked me to supply a soundtrack to this quasi-narrative video, I jumped at the chance (since I too am not immune to the fascination of the apocalyptic).

The visual aspect of Blocking the Exits consists of still photos that are then animated through morphing algorithms. Chris’s images are extremely stylized; there’s no attempt to disguise or apologize for the influence of comic book art. For a composer like me this is wonderfully inspiring; his images are so evocative that when he first showed them to me I had almost immediate sonic “images” come to mind.

There’s also a mesmerizing slowness to the morphing animations, and this led me down some musical paths that are a bit unusual for me. I composed four electronic musical vignettes, one for each “character” in Chris’s video. Each vignette follows a very simple process from one sonic place to another (e.g. low to high, sparse to dense, and so on). Each process is drawn out so that the development is almost imperceptibly slow, and the video also dynamically cuts between characters, making the processes even harder to track from beginning to end.

Usually when I’m working out a composition I feel compelled to subtly shade these processes, to round off the edges and hide the seams — or if I’m feeling more antagonistic, to disrupt and complicate these processes with even more processes! But in this case it seemed to fit the project to doggedly pursue something to its bitter end. Here the end of the world doesn’t happen with a bang but as a dull, persistent roar. It happens while we’re not looking or listening: an ongoing, inevitable, eternal moment.

Blocking the Exits is on display in the Speculative exhibit at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028) until August 28th.

The Life of Objects

9 Aug

NOTES FROM THE STUDIO – Catalysis Projects’ Core Artist Kim Ye gives a sneak peak of her proposed project THE LIFE OF OBJECTS for High Desert Test Sites

Background / Abstract

This project started as an exercise in processing the leftovers of family tradition. In January 2011, I cruised the streets of Los Angeles, picking up curbside Christmas trees in my minivan. Some pick-ups were planned, involving prior communication with the owners. Others were more spontaneous, where I pulled over upon spotting a tree trunk sticking out between a mass of pine needles, sometimes wrapped nefariously in an overgrown plastic bag. All in all, I collected 58 Christmas trees over the course of a month.

I am fascinated by the process by which the Christmas tree falls from preciousness to worthlessness. A symbol that takes its place at the center of family gatherings and acts as such a loaded, often sentimental, representation of religion and relationality is discarded in the same manner as common household waste, dust, and dirt. The trees I rounded-up were completely used up—abandoned unceremoniously by the very family units that had chosen them.

Why does the becoming of a Christmas tree involve such a degree of pomp and circumstance, while its ending is treated with the irreverence of a chore like taking out the trash? Does this say something about a larger tendency to avoid facing the material consequences of our culture’s socially meaningful—but economically and ecologically impactful—traditions? In an effort to confront these questions, I reorganized and modified the trees in stages, giving them a newly collective physical presence.  The first two configurations can be seen below. The third and final configuration is planned for the Wonder Valley desert in the vast stretch of land behind The Palms.

Kim Ye, The Life of Objects (Installation #1), 2011

Kim Ye, The Life of Objects (Installation #2), 2011

Installation / Location

For the desert installation, the trees are coated with strontium aluminate glow-in-the-dark pigment, and then fastened together in an organically chaotic arrangement. This configuration results in an object that is reminiscent of an overgrown radioactive tumbleweed—its size and luminosity confronting and activating the viewer’s body. The placement of the sculpture at The Palms puts it within the range of human contact—fitting since the sculpture’s conglomerated form mirrors the function of the restaurant, which acts as a rhizome that generates social activity and interaction.

As part of the Homestead Act, Wonder Valley has a history of being a site for new beginnings, redefinitions, and unavoidable endings.  Within this uncanny setting that is at once magical and unforgiving, hopeful and terrifying, is it possible for these glowing tree parts to embody the affective motivators that pattern human behavior? To realize the final stage of The Life of Objects in this landscape is to postulate a new function for the material byproducts of networked human relationships.  Perhaps these discarded symbols can act as a beacon that encapsulates the resonant activity inherent in all endings.


Noah Purifoy and the psychology of bricolage

11 Jul

NOTES FROM THE STUDIO – Catalysis Projects’ Core Artist Kim Ye makes a visit to the desert and muses on the psychology of found objects in art.

A couple weeks ago, I ventured out to the Mojave desert with friend/artist Thinh Nguyen for a visit to fellow CP’er Deborah Martin home/studio. While scouting possible locations for a project proposal for High Desert Test Sites we made a visit to the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture. Off a poorly marked dirty road, we pulled up to 2.5 acres of sculptures and installations suggestive of a post-apocalyptic amusement park. Giant monuments, stage sets, and elaborate scenarios fashioned from toilets, old clothing, scrap metal, foam, and other discarded, scavenged, and generally devalued materials haunt the arid landscape; wandering through, between, and into the structures, I had the eerie feeling of being alone in a crowd, as if my body were being displaced by the collective force of a culture’s material products.

In reading about Purifoy’s work, much of its conceptual underpinnings are traced back to Dadaist ideals of assemblage and the readymade, and the folk art aesthetic of using cheap, everyday materials to make works that are tied to the maker’s personal history. Accordingly, much of the discourse surrounding Purifoy contextualizes his work by emphasizing its relationship to natural processes of erosion and decay, its attempt to break free of modernist straight-line aesthetics, the artist’s political choice of using junked and scavenged materials, and his personal history as a African American artist and art educator in Los Angeles.  While all these factors may be relevant to a historical/contextual reading of the work, linking Purifoy’s formal choices to a commentary on inequality and urban blight seems like a neat and easy place to stop—conveniently collapsing the work onto the body of the artist. As an artist working with found and scavenged materials myself, I wonder if a more psychological reading of the bricolage process can be generative for thinking about works like these, allowing meaning to be made without having to rely on Dada or revert to romantic old hat like “art is all around us”.

According to an essay by Anna Dezeuze, the word bricolage was first theorized by anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss in 1962. Referring to a DIY process of making objects out of odds and ends or with quick-n-dirty solutions, bricolage comes from the verb “to tinker” or “to fiddle”—and the figure of the bricoleur can be likened to that of the mad-scientist, amateur, or hobbyist. The term is also used in biology and information technology to talk about structures that are cobbled together or built from the bottom up, such as biological organisms and strategic information systems. Like Levi R. Bryan I believe that bricolage is a type of methodology, a model of engagement with the world, rather than a formal category within the visual arts. The idea of using pre-existing materials acquired through collecting and scavenging mirrors for me a kind of mental process which depends on, glens from, and recombines (both consciously and unconsciously) information disseminated via cultural memes and direct interpersonal contact. It is an acknowledgement of the real material constraints that shape our desires, and behaviors.

In an era of increasingly dematerialized art practices, it may seem regressive to use the discarded remnants of corporate, mass-produced materials. Perhaps such a material-based practice can be read as being complicit with the structures of advanced capitalism, producing beauty out of its products even as they no longer serve their original function. Or even more cynically, that the artist–through an act of diversion–is literally turning trash into gold, aligning him/herself with the position of the industrialist.

But something doesn’t feel right about this reading. Not only does it give no consideration to the experience or position of the scavenger, but it also denies the existence of any imprint that previous owners leave on the object in question after it leaves the factory. As in the case of many scavenged items, there is a long period of time after its original purchase that it slips out of the commodity state and becomes a physical component of a person or family’s life. It functions as a domestic object, fulfilling a need or desire for the home in which it resides, but at some point, it no longer fulfills the desires, or somehow fails to contain the needs or expectations placed upon it by its owner, and is cast off into the street, where someone like me picks it up.

It is this string of desire/non-desire, and the evolution from preciousness to worthlessness that I find most interesting about the role of found objects in my current practice.  In a sense, objects are abandoned when there is the sense that no one can project onto it, that it is so used up and broken that it is impossible for anyone to identify with it at that point. The item is not taken to a donation center or even a junkyard, it is simply left outside—as if an immediate split had occurred which quarantined it from the rest of the home. I find something deeply psychologically compelling about this exchange of abandonment and salvage—almost as if one person’s shame corresponded perfectly with another’s fetish. In this way, the process of re-appropriating found materials is not about chance, it is about the negotiation of individual fantasy within shared material landscapes.

    Kim Ye, Gold Digging, 2011

Kim Ye, Surrogacy, 2011

Narrow Lands Production: Deborah Martin Notes from the Studio

21 Jun

This NOTES FROM THE STUDIO column features CP Core Artist Deborah Martin,  a contemporary realist painter, fine art photographer and curator. Visit her work online here.

 

The Drawer 36 x 36″

Oil on Canvas

I am in a painting frenzy working on 10 paintings that will be shipped out to Cape Cod, MA in mid July. While I attended the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, I used to frequent Provincetown. Duirng one of my visits to Provincetown, I spent the night in the very house that several of the paintings and poems from this exhibit are based on. The house has since been abandoned. I actually had forgotten that I had slept in the house-with a gang of girls (strewn about on the floor.) The memory came back to me later while working on the selection of images for this series. I have made a complete circle.

NARROW LANDS is an ongoing multidisciplinary collaborative project between CP Core Artists Quintan Ana Wikswo and Deborah Martin. For any one living on the East Coast anywhere near Provincetown-I hope you will have a chance to see this exhibit.

Here’s a note from the press release:

Martin’s sea bleached and dusty-colored paintings exist in intimate conversation with Wikswo’s spare, sensual prose poems, yielding poignant and often enticing portraits of Provincetown buildings and the women who live and love within them.

Together, the works inhabit a uniquely Provincetown landscape, forming a powerful meditation on human erosion, transformation and renewal, and a powerful encounter with the Cape itself.

The fine art book NARROW LANDS: Paintings and Prose Poems has been published by CATALYSIS PROJECTS, and will be available in hardback and paperback.

Here is a preview of one of Quintan Ana Wikswo’s Poems that will be part of the upcoming exhibition and Narrow Lands Book.

THE DRAWER

by Quitnan Ana Wikswo

The veins on the back of her hand a delta, veins swollen and exposed. Under the nails – dulled and chipped – oyster shells nibbled in hopes of reaching the meat.

On her wrist, split blood vessels hunched and sharp as sea nettles.

Her nose arches over her long neglected mouth, and a dangling brown braid locked tight against the salt and moisture of the coast.

She wishes she’d been born looking like this, some fierce seafaring Venus sprung from a whale, split asunder and screaming on the shore.

But instead she’s grown this way, and slowly.

Slow enough to notice.

Hamper 36 x 36″

Oil on Canvas

This is a painting I am working on titled Hamper. I  have yet to tackle this hamper which is still outlined here in Pencil.

All three of the images included in this blog post are based on the house in Provincetown I made reference to. I hear that the house is owned by Penny and Chuck who are residents of Provincetown. My dear friend Linnie relayed that she ran into Penny and Chuck and had told them about these paintings coming to Provincetown. I wonder if they will come to the opening. As I write this I am thinking how strange this all is and how somehow we are all connected…

The Narrow Lands exhibit opens August 5th -24th, 2011 (opening reception  Friday August 5,  6-9pm) at The Patty Deluca Gallery in Provincetown, MA (courtesy of The School House Gallery.)

The work will be on display at The School House Gallery opening Labor day weekend September 2-21st, 2011 (with an opening reception on Friday Sept 2 7-10pm.)

Hanger 36 x 36″

Oil on Canvas

The Ultimate Match

7 Jun

New Work by CP visual artist Kim Ye in collaboration with director Jeff Jenkins

What are the ideological underpinnings that govern romantic attraction and partner selection, and who is in the position to influence such personal preferences? In The Ultimate Match, a collaborative project between commercial director Jeff Jenkins of ContagiousLA and myself, we attempt to prod at this question with a 60-second satirical commercial. Some of the issues we were thinking about during the creation of this video include the redirection of personal desire,  construction of “the power couple”, Asian fetish, whiteness, eugenics, fetishism, politics of reproduction, implicit vs. explicit, and the economics of pairing.

The Ultimate Match from kim ye on Vimeo.

ARTIST INTERVIEW: Ichiro Irie on paperclips, artistic discomfort, and interdisciplinary portraiture

22 Apr

REVIEW BY RACHEL MATOS. Introducing our first in a series of articles by CP guest blogger Rachel Matos. An exhibited artist, educator and professional performer, Rachel studied at the School of Visual Arts and Columbia University, and has since worked for LACMA, Norton Simon Museum, The Guggenheim, The Met, The Bronx Museum, Montclair Art Museum, Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt and thePhiladelphia Museum of Art.  

Ichiro Irie

Have you been to the Torrance Museum of Art lately? The museum is in the midst of its first in a series of international exhibitions representing artists with similar cultural backgrounds. The first is Gateway Japan, where I had the privilege of viewing works by Japanese and Japanese American artists. The show ran the gamut of disciplines from three-dimensional portraits atop of mobile phone canvases to sumo-wrestlers creating footprints on a clay fighting ring.

As I entered the gallery, I noticed black canvases that evoked a series of emotional range. From afar, I could see a monochromatic portrait of a woman singing and a man laughing. Up close, I noticed the portraits were all made with staples on blocks of wood transforming the illusion of representational work into abstraction.

Interested in Ichiro’s interdisciplinary approach to portraiture and his participation in Gateway Japan, I asked the artist a few questions about himself, his work and what’s next.

CP: You were born in Tokyo, raised in Los Angeles, but you don’t consider yourself Japanese or American. You say you feel ‘Angelino’. What does being an Angelino mean to you?

IRIE: Technically I’m both Japanese and American.  I was born in Japan from Japanese parents.  I was brought to L.A. when I was 2, but I spoke Japanese at home, ate Japanese food at home everyday, and went to Japanese school on Saturdays.

Ichiro Irie

Ichiro Irie

On the other hand, outside of the house, I’ve lived my life mostly like any kid in L.A., my friends and acquaintances from all walks of life.  Well, I grew up in West L.A. and Brentwood, went to middle school and high school in Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara.  Most of my peers were Caucasian with a sprinkle of other races and ethnicities.  My connection to the Japanese and Japanese American communities here outside of family and a handful of friends had been limited at best.  I should also mention that I just became a U.S. citizen last year.

Nevertheless, because of my appearance, people who see or meet me here for the first time see me as the other.  Heck, I even saw myself as the other, and perhaps I still do.  My favorite movies, my favorite bands, my favorite actors and actresses, people on T.V., girls I liked, my best friends… nobody looked like me.

In Japan, I look, more or less, like everyone else, but after a few minutes of conversation, it becomes pretty obvious that I’m not completely one of them.  Often in a good way, because, when I visited Japan as a child or as a young adult, people were curious to get to know me, kind of like the exotic strange animal at the zoo.  I didn’t mind that for some reason.  In short, I’ve always been the token Japanese kid here, and the token Gringo Japanese in Japan.

I feel like an Angelino, because my identity and my outlook towards the world have been totally shaped by my experience here.  For all its politically correctness, progressive thinking, yoga, and health consciousness, life in Los Angeles is defined by racial politics.  I’m not saying anything that’s hasn’t been said 1000 times before, but just go to any restaurant in Brentwood, Melrose, Beverly Hills or Santa Monica… 90% Caucasian.  The busboys, dishwashers, housekeepers, gardeners, and day laborors… Latino.

Ichiro Irie

I have a son in grade school now.  Investigating which public schools have the highest level of education, the highest standardized test scores are in predominantly White and Asian communities.  The school in the bottom half are all Black and Latino.  This reality is not only sad, it’s criminal, although I’m not exactly sure who to blame.

I’ve read a couple statistics, one that Asian men are the most single (as in available) segment of the population, and another that they have the highest average income.  In what kind of f’d up society is the richest guy considered the least desirable?

Los Angeles is also home to Hollywood.  There are an unusual amount of people who want to be famous here.  There are an unusual number of people with cosmetic surgery.  Los Angeles is home to the San Fernando Valley, the porn capital of the world.  Los Angeles is a city where people are very isolated.  I visited New York for the first time since 2005 this year for a show.  I was shocked how random people actually walk up and talk to you.  It made me uncomfortable, and I liked it.

So, as I hope you can see, my relationship to the rest of the world, I believe, is measured against all of my experiences here in Los Angeles.  I’m a product of this city.

CP: Was there a pivotal moment that brought you awareness about the self importance and the over-glorification of oneself as an artist? Are the mediums you choose a reflection of those feelings? 

IRIE: I think those were the words of Heather Jeno Silva who wrote about my work.  Although I don’t necessarily disagree with her, I don’t make work in order to prove some point against self-glorification either.  I just try to do what comes the most naturally at any given moment.  Even when I’m being ironic from time to time, I simply try to do what feels like a sincere pursuit of my artistic concerns.  My work is diverse, dispersed, and spans media and disciplines, because of this.  I get bored easily.  I’m interested in a lot of different things.  I want my body of work to reflect an expanded definition of identity without being didactic.  I can only accomplish this within my means and my limitations, both economic and personal.  It is certainly not the most efficient strategy towards achieving commercial success or branding my self as an artist.  Maybe this is being humble, or maybe I’m trying to bite off more than I can chew.

Ichiro Irie

The materials I choose, and the images I create are a result of questioning to my self, why a person like me or just people around me in general would end up in a place like this, at this particular age.  When you are surrounded by these materials and images, they become normal, and almost invisible.  For example, with my accumulations series, I observe, depict, accumulate, and transform everyday objects such as paperclips, staples, screws, poster putty, and hair clips.  By bringing these entities to the foreground, I’m trying to show how unusual these things really are.  Imagine landing in the world today from, say, just 200 years ago.  All of these things would seem so bizarre.

This idea of transformation and humor has been particularly important to me recently, because it allows the possibility for subtle defiance, active participation and pleasure within a set of parameters, even if it is only within my tiny corner of the world.

CP: Have the tragic events in Japan changed or influenced the direction of your work in any way?

IRIE:  Yes, in 2009, I did a series of ink drawings of two adolescents, one boy and one girl, surrounded in the aftermath of some catastrophic event.  In spite of the bleak environments depicted, I believe they were hopeful pictures.  I wanted to expand on this series by doing larger drawings and paintings of a similar nature.

Because of these recent events in Japan, I’ve decided not to continue this series anymore, because I’m worried that people will think that I’m doing these works as a result of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami.  I’m worried that the works would now seem opportunistic.

CP: Can you share what you are working on and what we can look forward to?

IRIE:  I’ve been teaching at Santa Monica College and Oxnard College the past 4 years.  I feel a little bit like the catcher in the rye, trying my best to not let these kids and adults slip through the cracks.  Several of the more fortunate ones are doing remarkably well.  It’s a very rewarding process to see your students evolve.

I’ve invested so much energy in the teaching process, and with many of my students, a relationship emerges that is beyond academic or professional.  I’ve been reading up a little on the concept of transference and counter transference in relation to psychoanalysis, and playing with the idea that most of these students are trying to transfer to a 4 year university, MFA program, or simply to the next stage of their lives and careers.  My most current work revolves around these ideas of transfer and transference.

I’ve been in 5 shows in L.A., New York, Mexico City and Frankfurt in the last 4 months, and I feel a little spread thin in terms of exhibiting, so I probably won’t be showing my own work again until August.  I will be showing work at Gallery Lara in Tokyo at the end of the summer, and will be participating in the Sur Biennial curated by Ronald Lopez this fall.  I’ve also been invited to participate in a show in Berlin called “La Vida es Cruel” curated by artist/curator Florian Heinke.

In the meantime, we will continue our curatorial projects at JAUS, a small artist run space I direct in West L.A.  I’ll have my summer off for the first time since returning to L.A. from Mexico City in 2006.  I’m looking forward to spending more time in the studio, developing new works and getting some much needed R&R.

ABOUT RACHEL MATOS:

An exhibited artist, educator and professional performer, Rachel Matos studied at the School of Visual Arts and Columbia University specializing in painting and the history of modern art. She has worked for LACMA, Norton Simon Museum, The Guggenheim, The Met, The Bronx Museum, Montclair Art Museum, Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt and thePhiladelphia Museum of Art, among many others.  She is often sought to develop educational programs for art institutions and to serve as a guest lecturer and curator. Her works have been exhibited at the Woodmere Art Museum, the Colombian Consulate, the Society of Illustrators, and Rockefeller Center. Learn more about Matos here.

Artists and Escorts: Kim Ye’s Notes from the Studio

3 Mar

NOTES FROM THE STUDIO
This week your friends at Catalysis Projects introduce the second in our series of new columns – brief notes  from the “lost and found” desks of our Core and Resident Artists. In these posts, our artists offer a glimpse into one of their interdisciplinary, collaborative projects, including artifacts from the flotsam and jetsum that litter their creative spaces. This week our Core Artist Kim Ye’s asks whether ARTISTS and SEX-WORKERS hold parallel positions in our current economy?

Below is an excerpt from a discussion I’ve sent to Miwon Kwon as a project proposal. The writing that would result from this line of exploration would be for a seminar called Exchange Rate in which the changing economics of dematerialized art is addressed:

I’m interested in exploring parallels between the artist’s position as a service provider and an escort or sex worker’s position as a service provider. Specifically, I have Andrea Fraser’s Untitled and Art Out Artist Escort Service in mind. In both cases, the artist is taking part in the experience economy, but the experience is of the artist’s body and/or subjectivity. What is the nature of this exchange? What does the client/guest receive and what does the artist receive in this encounter both materially and symbolically?

I was thinking about the interview you did with Andrea wherein she states that while she does have moral dilemmas in regards to selling art work, she does not have any in regards to sex work. In addition, she mentioned that her intimate relationships have helped sustain her financially over the years. While Untitled subverts the client/escort relationship in certain ways, I am thinking about how analysis of artistic practices can be applied to the practices of high-end escorts and vice versa. My hope is that through this comparison, I can answer (or begin to answer) the question of  “What is the nature of–or what is behind–the economic value being added in the experience economy?”

I would start by stating the following:

Sex work in the United States is becoming increasingly professionalized and entered into as a voluntary career path. With this shift, highly-paid escorts start to embody members of Veblen’s cultured class; their clients expect to receive not only a physcial/sexual encounter, but also a “girlfriend experience”–the consumption therefore becomes that of the escort’s subjectivity, and not only of her body. I would argue that this shift from service to experience-production of the sex worker parallels the shifting position of the artist.

Artout (and other works like Andrea’s Untitled, Abramovich’s The Artist is Present, and others?) exchanges the client’s economic contribution and bodily involvement for the opportunity to “experience the artist” both physically in real time/space as a companion for an activity, and psychically/symbolically as a form of cultural capital which augments one’s social position.

What is it that the client is getting out of this type of “intimate” encounter that allows him to pay $250/hour for an artist’s companionship? Perhaps here is where we can draw additional vectors that connect the artist to the sex worker.

On the other hand, it might be interesting to ask what position within the experiential economy do artists occupy? Up to here, I’ve assumed that artists are the producers of the experience, and viewers/participants the consumers. But, in acts of condensation, aren’t artists also transforming the experiences they have consumed (art school, for one) or delineated for themselves (I’m thinking of Helen Molesworth’s mention of Process Art) into art objects? So, in this way, for certain artists, their capital is in their body experiences. Again I find myself thinking of Abramovich (especially in her performances with Ulay), where the strength and intensity of the work is located within the artist’s actual experience.

Perhaps this last section gets a little murky/tangential and perhaps there is a more contemporary practice I can reference there (Francis Alys’ melting ice block perhaps?), but I think there is potential in using sex work as a frame for analyzing contemporary experiential art practices.

Video still from Andrea Fraser's Untitled

For further reading:

Dirty Money on CNBC.com: http://www.cnbc.com/id/26869953

Andrea Fraser’s “What do I, as an artist, provide?”
http://www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu/exhibitions/2350

Confessions of a Client: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/27651436/ns/today-today_people/

The Salton Sea History Museum

17 Feb

by Deborah Martin

NOTES FROM THE STUDIO
This week your friends at Catalysis Projects introduce the second in our series of new columns – brief notes  from the “lost and found” desks of our Core and Resident Artists. In these posts, our artists offer a glimpse into one of their interdisciplinary, collaborative projects, including artifacts from the flotsam and jetsum that litter their creative spaces
This week features our Core Artist Deborah Martin, who works in photography and painting.

I’m immersed in producing an inaugural exhibition for the Salton Sea History Museum. The Museum is located inside the newly renovated Historical North Shore Beach & Yacht Club. If your first reaction is whut? That was my initial reaction too. The last time I visited there were a whole lot of pigeons held up inside there. Here’s an image of the North Shore Yacht Club back in the day.

The building was designed by famed mid-century architect Albert Frey.

Jennie Kelly, Director of the Salton Sea History Museum and Commissioner with the Riverside County Historical Commission, began her journey into ‘history’ with a heroic effort to save the threatened Rancho Dos Palmas in North Shore. During that intense two-year effort, Kelly requested and received cooperation from then Riverside County Supervisor, Roy Wilson.

Through this collaboration, space for a museum was offered to Kelly in the renovated Albert Frey-designed North Shore Beach & Yacht Club. Although Kelly received small grants from Supervisors Benoit & Ashley and the Imperial Irrigation District to get the museum open, it remains otherwise self-funded through memberships and sales.

The inaugural exhibition: Valley of the Ancient Lake: Works Inspired by the Salton Sea is curated by Deborah Martin with Historical works and Memorabilia by Jennie Kelly.

The Exhibit runs April 1-30, 2011 with a reception on April 3, 3-7pm. For those of you who are open for an adventure and a drive out to the Salton Sea, I hope you will Join us!

The Museum is open daily 10-4pm Closed Wednesdays & Thursdays.

Catalysis Projects is publishing a catalog for the exhibition with text by Ann Japenga. Ann is a Palm Springs writer specializing in stories about the California deserts and the West. As a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, she developed a love for tales tied to the Western landscape. After moving to Palm Springs more than a decade ago, she zeroed in on “deserata”–the natural and human history of the California deserts from the San Gorgonio Pass to the Colorado River.

Here is the list of Artist’s with a preview of  some of the work I have chosen for the exhibition and catalog.

BILL LEIGH BREWER
CRISTOPHER CICHOCKI
ANDREW DICKSON
JOE FORKAN
MARY – AUSTIN KLEIN
CHRISTOPHER LANDIS
DEBORAH MARTIN
ERIC MERRELL
JOAN MYERS
KIM STRINGFELLOW

Joan Myers’ photographs span the last quarter of the twentieth century and several locales. She is known for her platinum-palladium prints, a hand-coating process where the image becomes part of the drawing paper on which it is printed. Myers’ work is in the Museum of Modern Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the George Eastman House, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Myers is the photographer of Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California, written by William deBuys Winner of the 1999 Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction and the William P. Clements Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America.

Above Image: Joan Myers Salton Sea Building,  19″x15″, platinum-palladium print with watercolor. Edition of 12 with 3 artist’s proofs

A photographer and historian, Christopher Landis combines art and historic documentation in his visual record of the Salton Sea, begun in 1990. Landis’ dramatic Iris prints focus not on the human presence at the Sea but on the human relics in this desert landscape. The marks left by humans bear testimony to their dreams, enterprise, folly, greed, and that perennial battle for control of the environment. Christopher is the author and photographer of In Search for Eldorado: The Salton Sea published by the Palm Springs Desert Museum in 2007.

Image Left: Christopher Landis, Salton Bay Yacht Club, 1990.

Kim Stringfellow’s projects have been commissioned and funded by leading organizations including the California Council for the Humanities, Creative Work Fund, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the Seattle Arts Commission. Her work has been exhibited at the International Center for Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions among others.

Her photographs are included in the permanent collection at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in Miami. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, SF Camerawork Quarterly, Sculpture, Photo Metro, Leonardo, and Artweek.

Her first book, Greetings from the Salton Sea: Folly and Intervention in the Southern California Landscape, 1905–2005 was published by the Center for American Places in 2005. The website for Greetings from the Salton Sea was featured in Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video in New York City in 2006/07.

Above Image: Kim Stringfellow, Abandoned Trailer, Bombay Beach, CA, 2000, 38″ x 30.5″ Lightjet digital c-print, edition of 10 prints.

I shot a Polaroid in 2006 of the Yacht Club when it had Aces & Spades painted on the outside of it from a previous film shoot. At the time I had no idea this was once a popular Yacht Club. I thought perhaps it had been a bar. Here is an image of the painting I created to document this building. Above Image: Deborah Martin Aces & Spades, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 36″ (2009) The North Shore beach & Yacht Club as it appeared in 2006.

GUEST BLOG: History of a Future by Renée Reynolds

15 Dec

History of a Future

by  Renée Reynolds

Renée Reynolds is an artist and writer, currently based in Shanghai China, who is a longtime collaborator of Catalysis Projects member Veronika Krausas.  This is an excerpt from her forthcoming work on her impressions of China.

Red Lantern - photo by Renée Reynolds

 

Old people walking backward, posing brides in funeral white, swans eating Styrofoam cups, trees growing root-ward, million-dollar watches that don’t keep time, Poverty Chic, mobile phone stock traders on a high-school-bound metro, the art of the copy; the copy of the art, skin whitening lotions next to tanning creams, North South East West, West East South North, poisonous vitamins, a gold-plated beggar’s cup, toxic medicine, hazardous housing, flawless empty eggshells for 10 quai, eco-friendly car alarms, warm baijiou with green tea, death by foot traffic, cloud seeding, overeducated baristas serving undereducated engineers, Awarded Nobel Peace Prizes deemed blasphemous, the terms over-educated and disposable income, Earthworm-scented perfume, flower-pot Rodins, Corporate Social Responsibility of Defense Weaponry Designers, melamine for babies, Nuclear Bomb Health Insurance, Free Money, acrobatic blow-jobs cheaper than a steak dinner, bowling Olympians, a stolen copy of The Economist, carbon credit auctions, heart-shaped birth control pills, Over-capacity, 100% Cotton-free Polyester, A Pure Blend, stylish bikini with matching wimple, A Global Tradition, ‘My other personality is a winner’ reads the T-shirt of a toothless cherry vendor, platinum-plated dildos, accidental assassination, night-shadows sharper than the day ones, Sunday Marriage Market in People’s Park, Muslim-themed Barbie, ‘Gan bei! Want to see our pet Orca now?’

 

Shanghai Tree - photo by Renée Reynolds

Armageddon-themed multi-million dollar blockbusters, Christmas in Baghdad, Luxury Logo Tattoos, Ugly is the new beautiful; Persuasion the new Truth; Green the new Black, Coercion the new Kindness; Disruptive the new Eye-catching, Chaos Theory, Cost of Living, Waking Dreams, Anti-matter, Subject Verb Object, Object Verb Subject, Reverse Psychology, Structural Analogs, Palindromic Sequences, Human DNA.

Shanghai 2010

Shanghai Model - photo by Renée Reynolds