The Propeller Group at The Guggenheim Museum
10 January 2013
NO COUNTRY: CONTEMPORARY ART FOR SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIA OPENS AT THE GUGGENHEIM ON FEBRUARY 22
First Exhibition in the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative Presents Works by Artists From Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam
Exhibition: No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia
Venue: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York
Location: Annex Level 2 and the New Media Theater
Dates: February 22–May 22, 2013
Media Preview: Thursday, February 21, 9:30 am–12 pm
(NEW YORK, NY, January 9, 2013) – From February 22 through May 22, 2013, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York will present No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, the inaugural exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. The exhibition features work by 22 artists and collectives representing some of the most compelling and innovative voices in South and Southeast Asia today. Focusing on the region’s shifting spectrum of creative practices, the exhibition traces networks of intellectual exchange and influence, and considers the various impacts of ethno-nationalism, colonization, and globalization on national identity. The exhibition features painting, sculpture, photography, video, works on paper, and installation, the majority of which will be on view in the United States for the first time. All works have been newly acquired for the Guggenheim’s collection under the auspices of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund. Following its presentation in New York, No Country is expected to travel to venues in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The exhibition both expands the Guggenheim’s global dialogue and significantly increases its holdings of art from these dynamic communities. Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, stated: “With No Country, we begin to take local, regional, and global audiences into a deeper, more rewarding, and we hope more nuanced cultural exchange. As the exhibition’s title suggests, we have tried to take nothing for granted—including the concept of ‘country’ itself—in thinking about the art that is now being made, in adding to our mutual knowledge and understanding across borders, and in building a vital area of the Guggenheim’s collection.”
“The beauty of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative is that it allows us to spotlight regions which have so far been rather underrepresented in the largely Western-centric international art scene” said CEO of UBS Wealth Management Jürg Zeltner. “We recognize the immense economic potential, which these regions have, and they are high on our own list of priorities. But their importance will not only be measurable in business terms. They are challenging the Western world’s virtual monopoly in many disciplines. Art is something which many of our clients are very passionate about, and our collaboration with the Guggenheim makes an ideal fit with our long-term objectives: the promotion, education and collection of art among a wide audience at an international and local level.”
Launched in April 2012, the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative is a multi-year collaboration that charts contemporary art in three geographic regions—South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa—and encompasses curatorial residencies, international touring exhibitions, audience-driven educational programming, and acquisitions for the Guggenheim’s permanent collection. Conceived to engage a range of audiences, including artists, curators, and educators, Guggenheim UBS MAP seeks to stimulate dialogue and creative interaction both regionally and globally, fostering lasting relationships among institutions, artists, scholars, museum-goers, and online communities. The program builds upon and reflects the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s distinguished history of internationalism.
No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is organized by June Yap, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, South and Southeast Asia, with assistance from Helen Hsu, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and Joan Young, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, provide curatorial oversight for the entire initiative.
Drawn from the opening line in W.B. Yeats’s poem “Sailing to Byzantium” (1928), which was later adopted by Cormac McCarthy for his novel No Country for Old Men (2005), the exhibition title No Country evokes the concept of a culture without borders. Investigating the diversity of contemporary artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia through the work of a cross-generational selection of artists and in the context of the region’s problematic borders, the exhibition traces the complex relationships and cultural influences that connect the area’s people to each other and the rest of the world.
Among the works’ themes are: concepts of nation, identity, and religion; cross-cultural encounter and negotiation; and historical interpretation and narrative. Many make use of cultural appropriation and emergent media.
Of the works chosen for the exhibition, Yap notes: “There is a tremendous range of artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia, and certainly more artists and artworks than any single project can accommodate. In this exhibition, the intention is both to present the range of aesthetic developments and subjects of interest to contemporary artists, and at the same time to challenge the privileging of nation and national narrative as the basis for understanding aesthetic practices from different countries. The hope is that these artworks will contribute to a deeper and more critical understanding of the region, both for audiences in the United States and those in Asia. Accompanied by programs for engagement with different local and international audiences, No Country is more than an exhibition alone, it is a platform for discussion and exchange, and for the undoing of barriers to mutual understanding.”
The artists in the exhibition are:
• Amar Kanwar (b. 1964, New Delhi, India)
• Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (b. 1957, Trad, Thailand)
• Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo (b. 1978, Bandung, Indonesia)
• Aung Myint (b. 1946, Yangon, Myanmar)
• Bani Abidi (b. 1971, Karachi, Pakistan)
• Ho Tzu Nyen (b. 1976, Singapore)
• Khadim Ali (b. 1978, Quetta, Pakistan)
• Navin Rawanchaikul (b. 1971, Chiang Mai, Thailand)
• Norberto Roldan (b. 1953, Roxas City, Philippines)
• Poklong Anading (b. 1975, Manila, Philippines)
• Reza Afisina (b. 1977, Bandung, Indonesia)
• Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976, Mumbai, India)
• Tang Da Wu (b. 1943, Singapore)
• Tayeba Begum Lipi (b. 1969, Gaibandha, Bangladesh)
• The Otolith Group (est. 2002, London)
• The Propeller Group (est. 2006, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Los Angeles, California)
• Tran Luong (b. 1960, Hanoi, Vietnam)
• Truong Tan (b. 1963, Hanoi, Vietnam)
• Tuan Andrew Nguyen (b. 1976, Saigon, Vietnam)
• Vincent Leong (b. 1979, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
• Wah Nu (b. 1977, Yangon, Myanmar) and Tun Win Aung (b. 1975, Yalutt, Myanmar)
• Wong Hoy Cheong (b. 1960, George Town, Malaysia)
Following its debut at the Guggenheim, No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is expected to travel to venues in Singapore and Hong Kong. Guggenheim staff will collaborate with curators and educators at the Asian venues to adapt these presentations to the specific interests and needs of audiences in Singapore and Hong Kong. These distinct presentations of the exhibition may include a number of artworks not originally shown in New York but acquired for the Guggenheim’s collection through the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund.
Expanding the Dialogue, On the Ground and Online
As part of its mission to encourage cross-cultural dialogue about contemporary art and cultural practice, the Guggenheim is presenting an extensive and innovative series of discussions and commentaries, accessible both on the ground in South and Southeast Asia and New York City, and online on the Initiative’s website. The Guggenheim staff has engaged in a far-reaching professional exchange with the artists, the project curator, and other colleagues from participating institutions to develop a series of public, academic, and family programs in conjunction with No Country, with accompanying resource materials. These programs were launched on November 28, 2012, with a conversation titled MAP: Regarding South and Southeast Asia, at the Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok, Thailand. Hosting the conversation were Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; June Yap; and Gridthiya Gaweewong, Artistic Director, The Jim Thompson Art Center. Transcripts in English and Thai will be made accessible through the Asia Art Archive, as well as on guggenheim.org/MAP, in late January 2013.
The Initiative’s online platform features written texts, audio, and video by curators, art historians, artists, and regional experts. Items posted to date include in-depth essays on aspects of the region by artist and art historian Iftikhar Dadi, who shares his perspective on contemporary curatorial practice in South Asia, and by Patrick D. Flores, Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the University of the Philippines at Diliman, who writes on the complexity of art in Southeast Asia both historically and today. Other contributions include a conversation between Roger MacDonald, Deputy Director of Arts Initiative Tokyo, and Indonesian sound artist Duto Hardono; an article about politically infused Indonesian street art by writer and graphic designer Leonhard Bartolomeus, and a piece about the changing relationship between the Asian and Australian art scenes by Russell Storer, Head of Asian and Pacific Art at Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. Also featured are writer and filmmaker Aung Min’s personal history of documentary filmmaking in Myanmar, and artist and curator Veronika Radulovic’s look at the recent flowering of public performance art in Vietnam. New contributions will be added to the online platform throughout the project, and readers are invited to respond to the provocative “Sound Off” questions appended to each.
About June Yap
In spring 2012, a committee of five esteemed experts in South and Southeast Asian art selected June Yap as the first curator appointed in the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. Originally based in Singapore, Ms. Yap has been an independent curator since 2008, working with artists throughout the region. Most recently, she organized an exhibition of the work of Ho Tzu Nyen for the Singapore Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale. In 2010, Ms. Yap curated You and I, We’ve Never Been so Far Apart: Works From Asia for the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv for the International Video Art Biennial.
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The global network that began in the 1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was joined by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has expanded to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997), the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin (1997–2013), and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (currently in development). Looking to the future, the Guggenheim Foundation continues to forge international collaborations that take contemporary art, architecture, and design beyond the walls of the museum. More information about the Foundation can be found at guggenheim.org.
UBS draws on its 150-year heritage to serve private, institutional, and corporate clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland. Its business strategy is centered on its global wealth management businesses and its universal bank in Switzerland. Together with a client-focused Investment Bank and a diversified Global Asset Management business, UBS will drive further growth and expand its wealth management franchise. Throughout its history UBS has actively supported cultural and artistic endeavors across the world, with a focus on promotion, collection, and educational activities in the world of contemporary art. Longstanding commitments to the internationally renowned art fairs Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, the UBS Art Collection, and the UBS Art Competence Center offer a comprehensive and varied platform for art enthusiasts, students, and UBS clients to participate in the art world. Regional partnerships with organizations such as the Swiss Institute in New York, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland, and Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, and numerous exhibition sponsorships at leading museums around the world, testify to the passion for contemporary art which UBS shares with its clients.
Admission: Adults $22, students/seniors (65+) $18, members and children under 12 free. Admission includes an audio tour of the current exhibitions in English, in addition to an audio tour presenting highlights from the Guggenheim’s permanent collection and information about the building, available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
Museum Hours: Sun-Wed, 10 am-5:45 pm; Fri, 10 am-5:45 pm; Sat, 10 am-7:45 pm; closed Thurs. On Saturdays, beginning at 5:45 pm, the museum hosts Pay What You Wish. For general information, call 212 423 3500.
For updates on the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, follow #GuggUBSMAP on Twitter.
For the press release, go to guggenheim.org/pressreleases.
For publicity images visit guggenheim.org/pressimages
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January 9, 2013
Betsy Ennis/Keri Murawski
212 423 3840
Polskin Arts & Communications Counselors
212 715 1551
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212 882 5692
+41 44 234 83 16
UBS Asia Pacific
852 2971 8200
The Propeller Group at Asia Pacific Triennial 7
8 December 2012
The Propeller Group’s ongoing project, Viet Nam The World Tour, has unveiled a new canvas this weekend as part of the Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane Australia. El Mac of Los Angeles and Shamsia Hassani of Kabul come together in Viet Nam to collaborate on this amazing mural together which is on view 8 December 2012 — 14 April 2013 | Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) | Free admission | Exclusive to Brisbane.
From The Propeller Group, “This collaboration began with our interest in migration and current migration and immigration issues that are related to war. Both Mac and Shamsia have very unique knowledge and personal experiences on these issues and through this process of creating a mural, along with The Propeller Group have been able to share and begin a dialogue that we hope will continue and expand to include other people and projects.”
Six Lines of Flight: Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art
22 October 2012
“In a remarkable perversion of host and hosted—and one of the strongest pieces in the show—The Propeller Group from Ho Chi Minh City presents Cu Chi Shooting Range: Black Echo (2012), a single-channel video that places the spectator in the position of the target at a shooting-range-turned-tourist-attraction featuring vestigial weapons from the Vietnam War.”
The Propeller Group @ Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands
12 October 2012
Opening:Thursday 11 October, 20 – 24:00h
With music by D.V. Grammofoon at 22:00h
12 till 23 October: Tue-Fri from 11.00 till 17.00h and on Saturday and Sunday from 13.00 – 17.00h.
Wednesday 24 October: from 11.00 – 19.00h.
Thursday 25 till Saturday 27 October: 11.00 till 21.00h.
Sunday 28 October: 11-1900h
The exhibition The Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography shows a dialogue between artists, designers, and anonymous authors of the digital universe. The exhibition space itself, is a navigatable setting inspired by retro-futurist geometries and the informal spaces of glocalized culture, with themes ranging from alternate histories to imagined futures. The various themes of real, imaginary and emerging worlds unfold as visitors move through histories, geographies and networks. The exhibition’s style is designed to refract and magnify the concerns of its featured artists as shown in their video and installation works.
AES+F – ‘Allegoria Sacra’
AES+F is a group of four Russian artists: Tatiana Arzamasova (1955), Lev Evzovich (1958), Evgeny Svyatsky (1957), and Vladimir Fridkes (1956) who live and work in Moscow. The video for “Allegoria Sacra” (Sacred Allegory) is based upon the medieval Giovanni Bellini painting of the same name, and re-interprets an Italian artist’s mystical scene of purgatory as a futuristic international airport terminal, replete with zoomorphic dragon airplanes, blurred cultures and dreamlike logic.
SOPHIA AL-MARIA – ‘Sci-Fi Wahabi’
Sophia Al-Maria is interested in that which is coming. Her work as a writer, filmmaker and artist focuses on Gulf Futurism and the inkling that the state of the contemporary Arabian Gulf is a premonition of our global future. She is based in Doha, Qatar. Her project “Sci-Fi Wahabi,” as illustrated by videos and essays, is an epic deep-dive into a displaced futurism that can only be glimpsed through the contemporary-surrealism of the Gulf States.
CHTO DELAT? – The Russian Woods
Chto Delat? are a group of Russian artists, philosophers, and writers who fuse art, political theory and activism.
The theatrical performance and associated designs of “The Russian Woods” (first was largely provoked by political developments in Russia this past winter, and the number of mythical images and mythological rhetoric used both by the authorities and the protesters. Chto Delat? seeks to analyze the events in the form of a fairytale story that would “not only reflect the totality of our country’s sociopolitical structure, but also help us and our audience think about ways of overcoming and transforming it.”
DOUBLE FLY ART CENTER – ‘Who cares about the future?’
Double Fly Art Center was established in 2008 as a collective of 9 recent graduates from the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, and have subsequently become the holy fools the Chinese art scene so desperately needed. Their music videos such as “Who Cares About the Future?” and “Contemporary Business” are masterpieces of low-brow prank meets high-concept critique. Executed with the crappiest of low-budget Youku (Chinese Youtube) aesthetics, the videos draw on the dynamic visual culture of contemporary Chinese reality (both on and offline) while mocking the systems of the art-world and adulthood itself.
FOUNDLAND – ‘Journey to Ard al Amal’
Foundland is a young art, design and research practice based in Amsterdam. Foundland investigates the re-appropriation of Internet imagery borrowed from a Western context and transformed as propaganda and protest imagery for the Syrian Revolution. For Impakt Festival 2012, they will focus on the use of children’s animated videos as appropriated by the Syrian opposition for the purpose of protest propaganda.
PAULO NAZARETH – ‘For Sale’
Paulo Nazareth who works from Belo Horizonte, Brazil is an artist often described as a shaman – he employs photography, sculpture, performance and language in his ritualistic artworks. The photographic series ‘For Sale’ which is featured in the exhibition, deals with transformation, ideological change and development in South America and comments directly on the south-south geopolitical axis – that is, Brazil’s spiritual and trade relations with the Middle East and China.
MICHEAL MACGARRY – ‘Chocolate City’ and African futures
Michael MacGarry is a visual artist and film-maker based in Cape Town, South Africa. His project “Chocolate City” is self-described as “a sort of Luddite film” focused on the once-large African Diasporic / Merchant population living in Guangzhou, China coupled with 4 short stories disconnected from the images: one set on the Afro-Sino Space Station in 2043, another witnessing the birth of the 8 billionth human in 2024, in Gondar, Ethiopia.
MEHREEN MURTAZA – ‘The Dubious Birth of Geography’
Mehreen Murtaza is an artist based in Lahore, Pakistan, whose work focuses upon subjects as conspiracy theories, religious cult, and supernatural speculations. Her series “The Dubious Birth of Geography” draws attention to the way personal histories reverberate with overdetermined historical narratives. Murtaza believes narrative can ultimately critique cross-cultural representation and geopolitics through the retelling of the mundane as it intersects with the imaginary.
THE PROPELLER GROUP – ‘The History of the Future’
The Propeller Group is an art collective composed of Phunam, Matt Lucero, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Los Angeles.
Impakt will showcase the European premiere of “The History of the Future,” a 3-part project which consists of a unique science-fiction phaser rifle intricately carved in a tradition that dates back to the 16th century in Southeast Asia. It is then hidden from human civilization somewhere in the world only to be revealed 100 years later.
APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL – ‘Primitive’
Apichatpong Weerasethakul is known for his cross-media films and art-works that draw heavily on the traditions and extra-temporal modernity of Thailand.
“Primitive” is a multi-platform project that arose from his research for the feature film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” in the rural region of Nabua near the Laotian border, and was inspired deeply by local mythology. The two-channel video installation presented by Impakt is a luminous slice of village life as an unlikely site of post-futurist development: the technology of dreaming itself.
LENG WEN – ‘Desktop’
Leng Wen was born in 1990 in Qingdao, China, and graduated from the China Central Academy of Fine Art in 2012. She lives and works in Beijing.
Her “Desktop” series presents portraits of Chinese youth as seen by the omniscient gaze of their computer screens – a “screenshot” of the layered digital identity of a complex new generation.
LU YANG – ‘Wrathful King Kong Core’
Shanghainese artist Lu Yang (b. 1984) explores the borders of bio- and new media-art, often stirring controversy in the process. Mixing ancient Buddhist cosmology with Western science, “Wrathful King Kong Core” interrogate the nature of human emotion – she describes it as “a foolhardy attempt to superimpose religious concepts of wrathful deities onto scientific theories of the brain’s anger response mechanisms.” Featuring a soundtrack by renowned Chinese noise musician Yao Dajuin.
GAME: Virtual Jihadi, Wafaa Bilal (Iraq/New York)
Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal is known internationally for his on-line performative and interactive works provoking dialogue about international politics and internal dynamics. The piece “Virtual Jihadi” was inspired by mass-marketed videogames that adapted the “first-person shooter” format to contemporary terrorist themes – here hacking into an Al-Qaeda version of the game to put his own nuanced spin on the conflict.
GAME: Tofu Go, Francis Lam (HK/China)
Francis Lam (a.k.a dbdbking) is a new media artist and technologist based in Shanghai. Recently, he’s been keen on making iPhone apps that make people smile under the moniker “db-db-db”.
“Tofu Go” is a deceptively simple game that combines Chinese food culture with retro pixelated graphics – can you save the adorable tofu from the evil chopsticks?
GAME: Nekh : نخ, Egypt, Ahmed El Shaer (Egypt)
Ahmed El Shaer is a multi-disciplinary artist (installation, photography, sound, video) based in Cairo, Egypt.
The word “Nekh” is a term that camel drivers use to command their animals to sit down, and here is the title of a retro-styled PC computer game that allows players to re-enact the “Battle of the Camel” from the Egyptian revolution of 2011.
GAME: Adventures of Nyangi, Wesley Kirinya (Kenya) *
“The Adventures of Nyangi” has been called “the first African 3-D videogame” and was created by Wesley Kirinya, a young Kenyan computer programmer based in Nairobi.
Drawing on traditional mythology, the game casts the player in the role of Nyangi, a hero who must seek out African artifacts to discover their secrets and advance through 10 levels of striking rural landscapes.
MADE IN L.A.
1 October 2012
LOS ANGELES “Made in L.A.,” the ambitious biennial co-organized by the Hammer Museum and LAXART, provided undeniable proof (should any be required post-PST) that the city has arrived as an international art center. The exhibition boasted five curators: Anne Elle-good and Ali Subotnick of the Hammer, and Lauri Firstenberg, Malik Gaines and Cesar Garcia, all of LAXART. Although the Orange County Museum of Art has hosted the California Biennial since 1984, “Made in L.A.” is the first biennial to exclusively feature artists who live in Los Angeles. The 60 artists range in age from 20 to 80 (though most were born in the 1970s) and work in video, sculpture, painting, photography, installation and performance.
The prevailing sensibility, particularly at the Hammer, was one of fragmentation and disarray, which perhaps reflects a crumbling economy. Most of the works were groupings of odd and inscrutable objects cobbled together and/or found. Notable among these was a mixed-medium table by Joel Otterson. Tableau Vivant: Burned and Scarred (2008-12) has spindly green legs on wheels and an ornately shaped wooden top that is carved with graffiti. Kathryn Andrews offered a more minimal assembly. Simple yet deeply compelling is her Rainbow Successor (2011), a clown suit hung at a rakish angle within a metal cage; the duel between play and imprisonment serves as a mirror of the city, where the spectacle of Hollywood glitters alongside one of the most infamous prison systems in the nation.
Pieces that were less sprawling and disjunctive tended to attract attention at the Hammer. Roy Dowell and Ruby Neri each displayed sculptures that playfully poke at modernism—the former with paper, cardboard and acrylic abstractions and the latter with ceramic figuration. Other standouts were Morgan Fisher’s brightly elegant minimalist painting on an exterior wall of the museum and Meleko Mokgosi’s multi-canvas painting fusing imagery from the U.S. and Africa.
At LAMAG, the curators took advantage of the historic public gallery’s large spaces and high ceilings, exhibiting larger works and video projections. Viewers were greeted by Trance Plant (2003), a Suessian tree by Ry Rocklen made of copper pipe “branches” set in cement and draped with leafy ribbons of audiocassette tape. Videos were some of the strongest works here, including Michele O’Marah’s charming and poignant piece that explores the life of fashion icon Isabella Blow, and Michelle Dizon’s Civil Society (2008), which investigates memory, power and subjectivity through her experience as a teen during the 1992 L.A. riots. The Propeller Group (Phunam Thuc Ha, Matt Lucero and Tuan Andrew Nguyen) showed a two-part project titled TVC Communism (2011), for which they collaborated with an advertising firm (TBWA/Vietnam) to rebrand communism in a positive light for U.S. audiences. Five flat screens installed in a circle presented the ad team’s brainstorming sessions at the agency’s offices. Also on view, here and at the Hammer, was the feel-good commercial itself.
Overall the curators tended to neglect the eclecticism characteristic of art in Los Angeles in favor of an esthetic that could be called “global contemporary.” One hoped to see a wider breadth and depth of perspectives. The inclusion of the collective Slanguage, founded in 2002 by Mario Ybarra Jr. and Karla Diaz, countered this inclination. The grassroots group has been empowering youth through art in the underserved area of Wilmington for the past 10 years while simultaneously bringing international artists to their storefront space. Their truly community-based endeavors give agency to the participants rather than themselves. At LAXART, in addition to presenting a survey of their past work, Slanguage held various workshops and painted a mural on the facade.
Although the full range of L.A. artists’ cultural and economic diversity was not represented, this biennial offered one view. And in two years another will surface. In the meantime, the Hammer and LAXART provided plenty of public events and panels to address these issues.
Photos (right) Partial view of the Propeller Group’s TVC Communism (foreground), 2011, five-channel video installation, 5¾ hours, with (background) Nery Gabriel Lemus’s Until the Day Breaks and Shadows Flee #2, 2012; at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.