In February and March of 2003, LACE presented a series of performances, concerts, readings, and video/film that documented performative activity entitled The Rebirth of Wonder. The series featured a diverse group of artists working in a variety of time-based media, with the use of the body as a key component of much of the content of the work. This project was organized by Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions’ Director/Curator Irene Tsatsos.
The Rebirth of Wonder accompanied an exhibition entitled High Performance: The First Five Years, 1978-1982. The exhibition, organized by guest curator Jenni Sorkin, consisted of documentation of and detritus from performances that were documented in High Performance, the first international performance art magazine. Interestingly, many of the artists whose performances were included in the High Performance show presented work at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and of those performances half actually took place here or under our auspices.
The performance series and the exhibition reflected each other well — one being historical and retrospective, the other a forward-looking series of fresh work and new ideas by artists who are emerging and based in Los Angeles.
Below the Belt
15 February, 7-9 pm, $5
An audio/clash/performance with Juan Capistran, Ricardo Espinoza, Carlos “Ghetto Blasta” Mendoza, and Mario Ybarra
This evening was a vibrant, dynamic melding of sound, music, and live action by four artists who employ (among other things) a DJ sensibility in their work. The presentation/live action/sound melded high- and low-tech, featuring eclectic elements including instruments made from materials as diverse as old Atari computers and plastic cups, turntables (old and new), sampled sound, spoken word, and more.
The Girl Was Saved
22 February, 7-9 pm, $5
Durational performance by Lauren Hartman and Curt LeMieux
In “The Girl Was Saved,” Hartman and LeMieux combined living tableaux with formal drawing and sculptural elements to dissect the four words that comprise the work’s title. These still, contemplative installations delved into language to retrieve buried images, stimulating the viewer’s curiosity and luring one into the work’s suggestive narratives.
26 February through 8 March
(reception Saturday 1 March 6-8 pm)
Video projection by Trisha Donnelly
A black-and-white video projection that documents an attempt to produce rain in a distant Canadian forest. The viewer is presented with a picture of the artist enacting a beat sequence that creates rain in Canada. Also on display was a piece entitled “Blind Friends,” a photograph of Trisha’s blind friends on the beach. The artist told them to walk into the wind and then away from the wind. The subjects felt as though the wind surrounded them and became disoriented. They began walking as if they were wandering on the beach
A story written and read by Derrick Jefferson and…
8 March, 7 pm, $5
My Dear Sweet Organs Cords, Violet Adjustment After Kusama, Livers in My Belly, and Descriptive Memories
Stories written and read by Pam Strugar
Derrick Jefferson offered a hilarious yet painful account of an apparently regular but ultimately delusional guy who happens to be sitting next to Tom Cruise in a diner on La Cienega. The guy awkwardly discloses personal information and, under the assumption that by sharing counter space they have become confidants, he expects Tom Cruise to do the same.
Pam Strugar offered a shocking series of autobiographical, poetic/prose narratives about surgical procedures, violence, sex, defiance, and social questions.
15 March, 7-9 pm, $5
Multi-media concert performance by Dude Dogg with Gerald Davis, David Deany, and Charles Irvin (pictured above)
The members of Dude Dogg are visual artists that wear dog costumes as they perform rock ‘n’ roll covers in a style that is excitingly sloppy, exuberant, raw, and energetic.
Butterfly of the Mountains
19 March through 30 March
(reception Thursday 20 March 6-8 pm)
screening times: 6:00, 6:45, 7:30
Video projection by Alicia Beach
“Butterfly of the Mountains”, shot on black and white, super eight film, documents the painting process for Alicia Beach’s Psychosomatic Epiphanies Series (to be shown at Rosamund Felsen Gallery from 22 March through 19 April 2003). In it, the painter, debilitated by a broken leg, uses a rope and pulley contraption to create 10′ by 13′ paintings, in the form of Rorschach ink blot drawings, on the floor. She applies paint between two sheets of paper, while one is suspended above her. This half, she then lets down, compresses, and hoists up and open, like a sail, to reveal an abstract, symmetrical image. The grainy and silent film, while stylistically reminiscent of performance and action painting work from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, characterizes her style of painting as a delicate, sensual, internal, balancing act. Yet, her endeavor, given the physical challenge and presence of mind necessary (to avoid ripping the paper or letting the paint dry) also likens to a one-legged mariner’s risky and treacherous sea voyage. And, by virtue of its scale, the psychological test assumes a daunting task for the abstract painter, imbuing her romantic, soul-searching and spiritually transcendent ideals with the egotistically humbling psychoanalytic process.