Examining themes of fashion and consumption, we will present durational performances and installation works in this former furniture store's windows. Questions regarding the relationship of art and commerce today are myriad, and while there are no simple answers, most observers agree that there are many troubling implications of the influences of speculation, branding and celebrity on the current climate. Giving away the aesthetic experience through such a temporary event is a return to earlier, more idealistic times, yet placing the work within a shopping district anchors it to the realistic present. We imagine this to be an exciting event which will attract art audiences, as well as provide an unusual experience to passers-by.
Jordan Biren and Corrina Peipon present a tableau/performance, "The Exchange of the Avant-Garde" inspired by quotes taken from a recent Norman Klein discussion of the late Jean Baudrillard:
"...avant-garde strategies are now central to the branding of all products..."
"...The simulacrum was simply the original itself. It had emerged as the glowing center of all global branding...It was simply the mood that sold anything. "
The tableau represents the "look" of a business transaction, while an inner dialogue belies conflicted psychological realities of personal negotiation through a world of branded transactions. With the supporting text contradicting the appearance of the action, only the image of the event remains, an image meant to draw attention to the presumptions, or "branded" recognition, of what is taking place. A search for what defines in what we see that which we are told we are seeing. _
Nancy Buchanan's "3 Fates" sees myth reduced to marketing; throughout cultural history, sacred and mythic women have appeared in threes, sometimes also merging into one mythic figure. In Greek mythology, the three Fates personified destiny and controlled the thread of life from birth to death (and beyond). The Greek word moira (_____) translates as a part or portion—and so, one's fate is the part one is destined to play in life. While their forerunners were draped in white, could the gowns worn by these fashionable "Fates" hint at what lies beyond fashion? Siren-red satin, prison-jumpsuit orange, camouflage (with glitter).
In Ashley McLean Emenegger's "Judgment Day," colorful felt cut out dolls hang in the balance above a miniature, faux mythological environment, the Garden of Eden meets a metaphoric apocalyptic collapse, where the yearning for sincere expression clashes with the expectation and imposition of compliance to the contemporary notion of aesthetics. Beckoned by the allure and idealization of the Promised Land below, the dolls, both identical and unique, are naturally confused by the conundrum of self declaration versus the desire to fit in.
MaryLinda Moss collaborates with Nikii Henry to create a Performative Installation. Through the evening figures moving through space will leave an imprint, a record of the presence of the body in the world. Using gauze and plaster, 'clothing" will be formed on the body. As the body moves on, it's image is left behind to create a record of the journey through time and space
Danial Nord addresses the troubling relationships between art and commerce, and the implications and influences of speculation, branding and celebrity on the current art-making climate. His inspiration comes from Hollywood's historical misrepresentation of artists, and overheard dialogues between dealers and potential clients at recent Art Fairs. Nord's installation centers on a projected clip from the film "On the Town" which shows a ballerina as an artist, described in the film as "the perfect urban woman", making a painting.
Cielo Pessione & John O'Brien create a tableau in which two personages appear in the dark at the center of the space, like a players in a theatre. The female personage will have a pile of rags or fashion magazines under her She could be a Queen, he a Poet. Each has a different style of dress, which means different ways to live and to consider the capitalism of attire.
Astra Price addresses what food we have and what food we use. Inspired by constantly seeing fruit trees that have gone unharvested and unused, this two-part work will repurpose unused domestic fruit in two phases. On night one, she will process this food; juice, simple salad, etc… and serve it to the people on the streets. Given the city of Pasadena's origin having strong ties to citrus production, this work addresses some issues of site specificity, but can just as easily be applied to larger concepts of consumption and waste.
Natasa Prosenc's installation, "Innocence – Dissolved" metaphorically performs the impasse of fast lane consumerism wrapped into the ideology of progress; the discarded toys suffocating in the thickened gooey mass of the past embodied emotional investment, that has nowhere else to go except release into obsession with possession and consumption. As our environment is cluttered with an unprecedented excess of material objects, our culture witnesses a steadily dissolving ability to infuse these objects with emotion. It is this emotional investment that animates our relationship with objects and with materiality as such. Now that this emotional link is loosening, our world is changing. These old-fashioned toys, once brimming with the energy from a child's power of imagination and warmth of her touch are now discarded, as are the imaginative and emotive habits that go along with them.
—Media and film theoretician Maja Manojlovic
Joseph Santarromana & William Roper reprise their 2007 "Malambing Thang in which the artists contemplated the nature of desire and longing and how these emotional states create and/or affect the perception of ones identity. In the current 'Malambing Thang (Live),' these same issues of longing, desire and identity attempt to play themselves out as pure commodity. Viewers on the street will see the backs of a group of people in the video projection and will have to look around the projection to view the live performers.
Evelyn Serrano invites viewers to a session of dysfunctional, mid-air storytelling, where the "truth" is spinned, Serrano has engaged a sign spinner to manipulate a short poem exploring connections between the spectacle of corporate identity, the branding of culture and the contemporary choreography of meaning.
Suzanne Siegel once shopped for chairs at this very furniture store – she recalls that they were expensive and the salespeople had attitude. Siegel's "Shopping Expedition" references memories of shopping trips to the city (Boston) as a child and also nostalgia for a gentler consumer experience.
Kyungmi Shin & Todd Gray will create a performance and a video projection piece for "The Long Weekend" during the performance night, Todd will be installed in the window space and drum for the duration of the evening; this drumming will trigger a random choice of short video projection sequences created by Kyungmi of Kumasi market in Ghana. The Kumasi market is the largest open-air market in West Africa, and the video was shot walking around the market.
About the artists:
JORDAN BIREN has recently resumed his long dormant performance practice to augment over two decades of work in single channel video. In both video and perfomance, his work considers permutations of meaning behind narrative articulation. He teaches Video Art at Cal State University San Bernardino.
Nancy Buchanan addresses issues of power and money in her work, taking the form of video, drawing, collage, and installation. She is faculty of Film/Video at CalArts.
Todd Gray has exhibited his photo based work internationally and is represented in the permanent collections of museums and universities here and abroad. Gray maintains studios in both Inglewood, California and Takoradi, Ghana.
Ashley McLean Emenegger is by tradition an assemblage artist whose work questions established "absolutes", reveres and summons the feminine, and speaks to the tender parts of the soul. Her felt installation work also contends with the issues of absolutes versus personal mythology but in a more humorous manner with vibrant color, child-like media, and less subdued irreverence.
MaryLinda Moss delves into the ephemeral, the transitional, the transformative in ourselves, the vulnerable point from which we come to a new awareness of self. Her sculpture relates to the body and its processes, and has a unique quality in its use of organic matter in conjunction with other materials. Her sculptural and installation pieces are an abstracted embodiment of our emotional and spiritual experiences often relating to the cycles and elements of the natural world.
Danial Nord's work critiques the influence of consumerism and commercial media in our overstimulated environment. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Nord studied at the Tyler School of Art and the NYU Center for Digital Multimedia. This past year he exhibited solo projects at HAUS and Fringe in Los Angeles.
John O'Brien was born in Sagamihara, Japan; he currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California and Umbria, Italy. His work has shown itself to bear an effective confluence of diverse attitudes and disciplines. Installation, video, performance, sculpture, painting and drawing come together in an artistic practice pointed at the investigation of objects and their significance to us. His practice encompasses studio art, public art, art writing and curatorial work.
Cielo Pessione was born in Rome Italy, she currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California and Umbria, Italy. After finishing her art degree at the Liceo Artistico, she completed her University studies with a doctorate in Modern Literature at the Sapienza University of Rome. She works in the visual arts (fiber arts, installation and printmaking) and works with performance in both traditional and experimental settings.
Astra Price is a new media artist interested in exploring the non-static
world in art and life. Currently she gives shape to her explorations through
video in a variety of forms including improvisation, installations and
single channel work and has been recently been focusing on concerns of food
in her kitchen and in her art.
Natasa Prosenc is an internationally acclaimed visual artist whose work challenges the conventions assigned to video art and narrative film. By escaping the categories her visual concepts tap into the preconscious sentient self prior to all thought and theory.
William Roper is an artist working in the disciplines of music, theater and the visual arts. He eagerly awaits the return of The Great Waschbär.
Joseph Santarromana's work is biographical, addressing the perception and construction of identities. His work has been exhibited internationally and he is currently teaching at California State University in Long Beach and the University of California in Riverside, He also runs a video art DVD Publishing company: system-yellow.com.
Evelyn Serrano is a Cuban artist, mother, and independent curator currently living in Los Angeles County, California. She is also the Assistant Director of Programs at the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP). She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. Serrano feels honored to have worked with talented groups of visual artists, writers and actors for several exhibitions and art events she has curated both nationally and internationally.
Kyungmi Shin is an installation artist whose work weaves the language of photoraphy, sculpture, painting and video. She studied at SF Art Institute & UC Berkeley, and currents lives and works in Los Angeles and Ghana.
Suzanne Siegel is an assemblage artist whose work focuses on social/feminist concerns. She has been exhibiting locally and nationally for thirty years.
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