New grantLOVE x Alisa Ratner prints to benefit X-TRA

Above: LOVE (multi), 2017, letterpress on Shikishi paper, 9 ½” x 11″, edition of 35

Alexandra Grant and the grantLOVE project are teaming up again with master printer Alisa Ratner on a new series of grantLOVE prints to benefit X-TRA Contemporary Art Journal.

The grantLOVE symbol is Alexandra Grant’s trademarked brand for philanthropy in the arts. The grantLOVE project is an artist-driven philanthropic project that produces and sells original artworks and editions to benefit artist projects, arts non-profits and art education. www.grantlove.com

Alisa Ratner is a master printer based in Los Angeles who works with letterpress. She has collaborated with artists such as Sam Falls, Alexandra Grant and Emily Mast.

A percentage of the profits from the sale of these works goes to benefit X-TRA Contemporary Art Journal. X-TRA’s mission is to provoke critical dialogue about contemporary art. Founded in 1997, X-TRA is the longest running art journal in Los Angeles. Edited by a collective of artists and writers, X-TRA presents expansive features, historical essays, commissioned artist’s projects, interviews, columns, and substantive reviews. X-TRA is published in print and digital-reader format, and the complete archive is available online. www.x-traonline.org

Above: LOVE (purple), 2017, letterpress on Shikishi paper, 9 ½” x 11″, edition of 35 www.grantlove.com/collections/frontpage/products/grantlove-x-alisa-ratner-love-print-purple

Above: LOVE (white), 2017, letterpress on Shikishi paper, 9 ½” x 11″, edition of 35 www.grantlove.com/collections/frontpage/products/grantlove-x-alisa-ratner-love-print-2017-white

Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest Catalog

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Published in 2016 by 18th Street Arts Center and designed by Jessica Fleischmann, the catalog documents the Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest, a multi-faceted participatory project organized by Los Angeles-based artist Alexandra Grant in collaboration with the French writer and philosopher Hélène Cixous.

A book launch will be held at 18th Street Arts Center on Sunday, December 4th, 2016, from 2-5pm. Please RSVP here.

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Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest were two exhibitions that took place in 2013 at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA and Mains d’Œuvres in Saint-Ouen, France. Structured as a residency and an exhibition at each venue, Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest extended Grant’s studio practice into the arena of public engagement. The exhibitions included public drawing sessions to translate Cixous’s novel “Phillipines” into a large-scale work in each gallery via reading groups, artist collaborations, lectures and performances. The twin exhibitions were co-curated by Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Isabelle Le Normand, and Ann Stouvenel. The Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest catalog includes essays by Alexandra Grant, Robert Nashak, Pilar Tompkins Rivas, a public conversation by Alexandra Grant and Hélène Cixous, and a letter from Hélène Cixous.

The Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest catalog is available at Arcana books: www.arcanabooks.com

Michael Barnard’s “Interior Forest by Alexandra Grant” is a 13 minute film that documents the creation of this unusual communal artwork over the period of several months at the 18th Street Arts Center Main Gallery in 2013. The film includes an in-depth interview with Alexandra Grant, the creator and lead artist of the project. It also includes interviews with several of the participating artists, including Steve Roden, Renee Petropoulos, Channing Hansen, and Annelie McKenzie/Tina Linville.

L.A. Exuberance at LACMA through April 2, 2017

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

BCAM, Level 3

October 30, 2016 – April 2, 2017

www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/la-exuberance-new-gifts-artists

Since LACMA’s establishment, living artists have played an instrumental role in understanding the museum’s encyclopedic collection through a contemporary lens. L.A. Exuberance: New Gifts by Artists features a selection of works given to the museum for its 50th anniversary, as part of an unprecedented campaign led by artist Catherine Opie. Featuring over sixty gifts, the exhibition includes additions to the collection by Edgar Arceneaux, John Baldessari, Uta Barth, Larry Bell, Tacita Dean, Sam Durant, Shannon Ebner, Charles Gaines, Ken Gonzales-Day, Alexandra Grant, Glenn Kaino, Friedrich Kunath, Sterling Ruby, Analia Saban, James Welling, Mario Ybarra Jr., and Brenna Youngblood. This exhibition marks the culmination of LACMA’s 50th anniversary year, one that began with historic gifts to the museum represented in 50 for 50: Gifts on the Occasion of LACMA’s Anniversary.

1502-194 -¬ Don MiliciI was born to love not to hate (5), 2014, mixed media on paper backed with fabric, 116” x 72”. Permanent collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

grantLOVE x RISK

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new grantLOVE x RISK collaboration

Sur Le Mur art is happy to present a new, limited edition HPM print collaboration between the Los Angeles artists Alexandra Grant and RISK. Each of the 15 unique pieces is screen-printed and spray-painted on paper, 30 x 24″.

Kelly Graval, the graffiti artist and illustrator known as RISK, has been a central figure in the Los Angeles street art community for decades. With a career spanning 30 years, RISK pioneered the painting of freeway overpasses, signs and billboards, dubbed “heavens.” From his days as a student at the USC School of Fine Arts to gallery and museum exhibitions around the world, RISK is a legend in the graffiti world and a rising star in the contemporary art world. www.riskrock.com

The grantLOVE symbol is Grant’s trademarked brand for philanthropy in the arts. The grantLOVE project is an artist-driven philanthropic project that produces and sells original artworks and editions to benefit artist projects, arts non-profits and art education. www.grantlove.com

A percentage of the profits from the sale of this work goes to benefit The Union for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE. The Union for Contemporary Art is committed to strengthening the creative culture of the greater Omaha area by providing direct support to local artists and increasing the visibility of contemporary art forms in their community. In every endeavor, we strive to unite artists and the community to inspire positive social change in North Omaha. The organization was founded on the belief that the arts can be a vehicle for social justice and greater civic engagement; we strive to utilize the arts as a bridge to connect our diverse community in innovative and meaningful ways. www.u-ca.org

For more information and to purchase, please contact Megan Phillips: mjphillips.mc@gmail.com or 310.429.0953.

www.surlemur.com/main

ghost town at the Paiz Bienial of Guatemala

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ghost town is a participatory drawing project that will take place during the 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Curated by Alma Ruiz, the Bienal, called “The Ordinary/Extraordinary: The Democratization of Art or the Will to Change Things” features artists from Guatemala and abroad such as Carlos-Cruz Diez, Magdalena Fernández, Alejandra González Escamilla, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Kimsooja, and Lawrence Weiner.

As part of the 40th year of the Bienal de Arte Paiz, Alexandra Grant’s ghost town will be an invitation to the public to join the artist in illustrating a series of poems by the Guatemalan writer Vania Vargas. For the purposes of this collaboration, Vargas created an anthology titled  “Cartografía de un pueblo fantasma” (“Cartography of a Ghost Town”), that maps out memories, real and fictive, across the urban landscape of Guatemala City. For ghost town Grant will use Vargas’s “Cartografía” as a linguistic plan or guide to create a collaborative drawing over 90 feet in length over a period of 17 days. The main theme of “Cartografía” is love—familial and romantic, lost and found—across a solitary or various subjects’s lifetime. At it’s essence ghost town is a collective memory mapping project, with “ghosts” familiar to those who live in Guatemala City, are fans of Vargas’s poetry, or have experienced heart-ache or break. Both ghost town and the text that informs it are democratic in their invitation to explore and co-create a shared imaginary landscape.

The hospitality and the communal dream of ghost town are informed by Grant’s work with the French philosopher and writer Hélène Cixous. In 2013, Grant collaborated with Cixous to complete a twinned-city drawing project in Los Angeles and Paris called “Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest” based on Cixous’s book “Philippines.”

If you or your group would like to participate in ghost town, please email: mediacionxxbienalpaiz@gmail.com

Please join our community on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ghosttownpueblofantasma/

Dates for the 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz and ghost town

The 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz will take place from June 2nd to July 3rd in the historical center of Guatemala City. The public will be invited to join Alexandra Grant in illustrating ghost town beginning May 25th, with a separate celebration for all participants on June 10th.

Vania Vargas

About Vania Vargas

Vania Vargas is a Guatemalan writer and poet, born in Quetzaltenango in 1978. After receiving her university degree in literature at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, she worked as a journalist in both Quetzaltenango and Guatemala City. Her published works of poetry include “Cuentos infantiles” (“Children Stories”) y “Quizás ese día tampoco sea hoy”  (“Perhaps today isn’t that day either”) published in 2010 by Catafixia editorial and Editorial Cultura respectively. She also wrote “El futuro empezó ayer: apuesta por las nuevas escrituras de Guatemala” (“The Future Started Yesterday: Betting on New Writings from Guatemala”) with Catafixia editorial and UNESCO in 2012. Her most recent work in poetry “Señas particulares y cicatrices” (Particular signs and scars”) was released by Catafixia editorial in 2015. Her collection “Cartografía de un pueblo fantasma” (“Cartography of a Ghost Town”) is a collection from three of her books of poetry and put together in 2015 for her collaboration with Alexandra Grant in the project ghost town. Vargas published a book of short stories in 2016 called “Después del fin” (After the end) published by Ediciones del Pensativo.

About Alma Ruiz

Alma Ruiz is Senior Fellow in the Center for Management in the Creative Industries, Latin
American Specialist, Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Claremont Graduate University. She holds a
B.A. degree in Art History from the University of Southern California and a M.A. in Italian
Literature and Language at Middlebury College in Vermont and the University of Florence in
Italy. A former Senior Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, Ruiz
has curated numerous exhibitions focusing on the postwar period in the United States, Italy, and
Latin America with artists such as Alighiero Boetti, Mauricio Cattelan, Lygia Clark, Magdalena
Fernández, Carlos Garaicoa, Gego, Kcho, Ernesto Neto, Marco Maggi, Ana Mendieta, Piero
Manzoni, Hélio Oiticica, Gabriel Orozco, Damián Ortega, Rosângela Renno, Mira Schendel, and
Francesco Vezzoli. In addition to having served as a guest curator at La Fundación/Colección
Jumex, Mexico City; the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; the Art Museum of the Americas,
Washington, D.C., the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, and Fundación Telefónica,
Buenos Aires, she has acted as a juror for numerous biennials in Latin America, including the V
Panama Biennial, the Tamayo Biennial in Mexico City, and the Second Exhibition of Central
American Emerging Artists in San Jose, Costa Rica. Ruiz has also been a panelist for The Paul
& Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, Creative Capital Foundation in New York, and the
U.S. Fund for Culture in Mexico City, and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the
Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation in Miami.

Bienal de Arte Paiz

About the 20th Paiz Bienal — The Ordinary/Extraordinary: The Democratization of Art or the Will to Change Things

The 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz celebrates 40 years of supporting the Guatemalan visual arts by the Fundación Paiz for Art and Culture. The twentieth edition aspires to greater inclusiveness by bringing the public closer to contemporary art, through the promotion of a simple and direct dialogue as a first step for a better understanding of the art of our time. In the historic center of Guatemala City, the Bienal de Arte Paiz will endeavor to close the gap that exists between the public and the work of art through participatory works and other works inspired by the idea of art and life. Created by national and international artists, the works of art included span from the sixties to the present and explore the notion of the everyday through various themes: Object: Deconstructions, Obsessions, and the Exercise of Collecting; Observation of Space and Place; Individual and Social Identity; Politics and Activism; and the Everyday Unconscious.

Shadows opens at ACME. on February 13

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Image: Shadow (9), after Keanu Reeves’s “Til death do us part,” 2016, acrylic pigment printed on Arches velour paper rough, 40 x 60 inches, printed in Germany by Gerhard Steidl.

Shadows

February 13 – March 12, 2016

ACME.

Reception for the artist: Saturday, February 20, 6 – 8 pm

Book signing with the artist: Saturday, February 27, 3 – 6 pm

http://www.acmelosangeles.com/exhibitions/2016-2-alexandra-grant/?view=images

ACME. is pleased to present Shadows, a solo exhibition of new photographic works by Los Angeles based artist Alexandra Grant. The show is an exciting culmination of Grant’s collaboration with actor and writer Keanu Reeves, The Lapis Press, and Steidl Publishing.

This new collaborative series by Alexandra Grant and Keanu Reeves explores the nature and qualities of the shadow as phenomena, image, and metaphor. Grant photographs Reeves’ shadow in various movements, capturing mysterious silhouettes to haunting traces of light as Reeves and the camera move together. Grant then reverses light for dark and makes the Shadows themselves the source of light, creating an x-ray effect. These intimate black and white images, a record of a private performance, are printed by Steidl on large scale velour paper giving the photographs a velvety matte surface. The exhibition will feature a sequence of Grant’s Shadow images creating an overall cinematic effect or visual language.

Grant’s Shadows project also includes a suite of smaller scale limited edition color prints produced at The Lapis Press, as well as a book published by Steidl, where Grant’s photographs are accompanied by texts written by Reeves. A selection of Grant’s color prints will be on view in the small gallery, and a book signing with Grant and Reeves will be held at the gallery during the exhibition.

“Taking Lena Home” at the Bemis Center

Taking Lena Home poster 5aug15

“Taking Lena Home”, a work-in-progress documentary film about the return of a stolen tombstone to its home in rural Nebraska, will be screened by Bemis Center Visiting Artist-In-Residence Alexandra Grant on Thursday, September 10, 2015.  It will be followed by a discussion with the artist and Deputy Sheriff Bob Carey of Polk County who worked the case of the missing tombstone.

http://www.bemiscenter.org/get_involved/event/2015/09/10/film-screening-alexandra-grant-taking-lena-home-

Doors open at 6:00pm
Screening starts promptly at 6:30pm

Photo credit: Alexandra Grant

Omaha World-Herald on “Taking Lena Home”

Grant_World-Herald1

Baby girl’s missing headstone returned to Nebraska, 70 years later

by Casey Logan

www.omaha.com/living/baby-girl-s-missing-headstone-returned-to-nebraska-years-later/article_a8a9b7da-d1ce-51cd-93bd-18219e54216a.html?mode=story

In the beginning were the words.

Alexandra Grant stood in an antiques store in Buffalo, Wyoming, staring at the headstone of a baby girl named Lena Davis, 8 months, 5 days old.

“Died July 19, 1880,” read the inscription.

It was Grant’s third trip to the antiques store. Something about the headstone kept luring her back. At first she thought it was the aesthetic. Grant, a Los Angeles-based artist whose work often involves language, admired the design and text on the piece. She liked the look of the words.

She paid $125 for it — more than she could afford at the time, but there was just something about the headstone that pulled her into its sphere.

Fifteen years later, it still pulls.

Today, Grant toils away in an Old Market artist studio, poring through hours and hours of footage for a project called “Taking Lena Home.” The documentary will tell the remarkable story of the headstone’s return to the Nebraska cemetery where Lena is buried, a place called Pleasant Home. One by one it will introduce the other people who have found themselves pulled into the headstone’s sphere, people drawn together by something that sounds like coincidence but feels bigger than that.

The challenge is not in telling the linear story of what happened, Grant said, “but where and how it enters the symbolic realm.”

Because none of this really should have happened. For years, nothing did.

After buying the headstone in Wyoming in 2000, Grant returned to California and resumed her life as an aspiring artist. And things started to go her way. Her paintings, drawings and sculptures appeared in gallery show after gallery show. In 2007 she scored her first museum show, and in 2011 landed her first group exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, one of the most important arts institutions in the country.

All the while the headstone “was always just sitting there,” Grant said. She kept the marker at home for a few years, until something about it unnerved her — “It just had a lot of energy” — and she moved it into her studio.

Eight years it stayed there, waiting. Then, as Grant prepared to move into a larger studio, she felt a sudden, overwhelming sense of obligation.

It wasn’t right to keep it, she thought, and she set out to learn where it really came from.

Eleven years earlier, in Wyoming, the antiques store owner had pedaled a story Grant never really believed — that the headstone was removed from a nearby property. But she didn’t know where to turn for answers. She decided to put the headstone for sale online, pricing it unrealistically high, with hopes an expert would find it.

The timing — what Grant now calls “this psychic alarm clock” — was eerie.

Right around that time, in Scotia, Nebraska, a genealogy enthusiast named Julie Middendorf was reading an account of a 19th century headstone found at a garage sale. Middendorf found the idea “incongruent” — this idea that people buy and sell memorials that should be in cemeteries. She decided to search online for such sales. Almost immediately, she discovered Grant’s post.

With a little digging, Middendorf learned that Lena Davis wasn’t from Wyoming at all. She was from Nebraska. Lena’s resting place, just outside Polk, Nebraska, was less than 80 miles from her own front door.

She learned some things about Lena, too. She likely died of diphtheria or scarlet fever. Her father was 26; her mother, 19. She had a 3-year-old brother and 2-year-old sister, and both sets of grandparents.

Middendorf also learned there were people looking for the headstone, even if they didn’t realize it. The theft of Davis’ headstone in 1945, along with two other markers, was considered the oldest unsolved crime in Polk County. Within two days of Grant’s online post, the Sheriff’s Office contacted her. Grant knew right away what she needed to do.

A week later, she loaded up the headstone and drove from California to Nebraska.

Along the way she stopped in Colorado to meet a man named Chuck Doremus, first cousin to Lena Davis, who still recalled the day more than 60 years earlier when he and his father noticed the markers were missing.

Grant opened her trunk to show Doremus the headstone, and Doremus reached out to lay a hand on the monument, and in that moment Grant felt her role change. She was no longer possessor of the headstone. She had become its caretaker.

Grant delivered the headstone to the man suddenly in charge of the cold case, Polk County Chief Deputy Sheriff Bob Carey, who kidded her about being in possession of stolen property. She visited with others who had become part of the story, including Middendorf, and the kind volunteers from the Polk County Historical Society.

She returned the following year, in 2012, for a ceremony to reinstall the headstone in its proper place. About 80 people showed up, including Grant’s sister from London, brothers from Wisconsin and a friend from California. A minister read from an 1878 hymnal. The historical society volunteers showed up in matching neon shirts. Carey, in full uniform, thanked Grant for bringing such an unusual gift to the community. Middendorf spoke of the act’s significance.

“Oftentimes these tombstones are the only tangible evidence that a life was ever lived,” she said.

Grant spoke, too, describing her decadelong relationship with the headstone and how relieved she felt now that it was home.

“I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined a place so lovely,” she said.

After the memorial, all went their separate ways, their good thing seemingly done. It would seem like the logical end to the story, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

“I didn’t expect to come back every year,” Grant said.

The invitation in 2013 came from the historical society, which asked Grant to serve as an artist-in-residence, working with grade-school students on a book about the grasshopper infestation of 1874.

The invitation in 2014 came from Carey, who asked Grant to attend his wedding.

The invitation this year came from a staffer at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, who learned that Grant had been filming the headstone’s journey all along and urged her to finish the project in Nebraska.

So here she is now, combing through 30 hours of footage for the right clips to tell the story, and finding herself reflecting on what it all means.

Why did she buy that headstone in Buffalo, Wyoming?

Why did she wait 11 years to do anything with it, and how did it turn out to be the exact right moment to do so?

What will bring her back to Nebraska the next time?

“I’m going to be open to the unexpected,” she said. “This forced me to realize my life was going to be different than I imagined it.”

It’s what she means by the “symbolic realm.” It’s why Grant describes the story as a series of concentric circles, with Lena in the middle and then her immediate family closest, and then her extended family, including Chuck Doremus, and further out whoever stole her marker, and then whoever bought it, and the antique store owner, and Grant, and Middendorf, and Carey, and the historical society volunteers in their neon shirts, and everyone who took part in the headstone’s return to Pleasant Home.

There are all of the people who have somehow been pulled into the sphere of Lena Davis and now circle it, in orbit together. Some of them speak about it in the terms of their religious convictions, finding their meaning in God.

Grant has found herself looking, once again, to words — specifically those of the British novelist and poet Lawrence Durrell.

“Journeys, like artists, are born and not made,” he wrote. “A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will — whatever we may think. They flower spontaneously out of the demands of our natures — and the best of them lead us not only outwards in space, but inwards as well.”

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Photos credit: Matt Miller/Omaha World-Herald.