Art & Life with Alexandra Grant
Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexandra Grant.
Alexandra, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I’m a painter that explores language and narrative as image. I began my career making large-scale works on paper that map out short poetic texts by the hypertext-fiction pioneer Michael Joyce, first exhibited at MOCA Los Angeles in 2007. In these pieces the words are backwards or in “mirror writing.” I wanted to challenge the idea of how we “read” a work of art. When your brain can’t make sense of words, it begins to look for other clues for how to interpret them: are the words in Helvetica or handwritten? What information can be gleaned from the context of a word or phrase? What emotions and intent are conveyed by graffiti as opposed to a billboard for dandruff shampoo?
While studying for an MFA in Painting and Drawing at the California College of the Arts (from where I graduated in 2000), the main question I asked myself was “what are the ideas that will interest me in the long term?” I knew that being an artist would be challenging and wanted to determine what themes I would want to engage when no one cared about my work (alone in the studio) or when everyone did (in the case of success). I realized that it had to be the same thing.
For me that “thing” was writing, the literary and poetic voices that resonated with my own experience. My father was an immigrant to the US from Scotland and I grew up with my Californian mother in Mexico, the US, France and Spain, so I didn’t have a sense of being “from” a specific place. I spoke Spanish as a toddler, French as a teenager. My interest in language and visual communication comes from a childhood spent crossing borders and switching languages and cultural codes, understanding how they both define and differentiate us as humans.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
The literary theme I’m exploring right now is the Greek myth of Antigone. In the Sophocles version of the play, Antigone stands up to her uncle Creon, the king of Thebes and says, “I was born to love not to hate.” Creon has refused to bury Antigone’s brother Polynices, calling him a traitor.
Antigone insists that he be buried. “I was born to love not to hate” is powerful because she’s a young teenage girl challenging the king and state, asking that equal rights be conferred on her brother. She’s also claiming a moral stance that there is a law – in this case, love – that’s higher than the law of the state. My paintings quote this “quote” from Antigone but also the language of abstract painting – lines and stripes that conflict and dance with more organic spills of color. These compositional elements represent the tension between these two forms of law.
When I began this work about Antigone in 2014 I was thinking about the role of the individual in relation to the state. Then, with the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, I saw the tragic image of his unburied body in relation to Polynices, which made the myth of Antigone relevant to many again. With the election of President Trump in 2016, standing up to the state saying “I was born to love not to hate” has taken on even more unexpected significance, given the many protests happening in this country from the Women’s Marches, the #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements, and young people organizing against gun violence. These are all “Antigonal” moments.
Outside of the studio, I am committed to exploring the word love in a more hands-on way with my grantLOVE project, where I collaborate on and fabricate limited edition sculpture, prints and jewelry to raise money for various arts non-profits in Los Angeles and beyond. We’ve supported, over the years, the Love House, 18th Street Arts Center, Heart of Los Angeles (Visual Arts), Project Angel Food, and the Union for Contemporary Art (among others). I believe that arts education is a civil rights issue and that exposure to art-making and creativity can have massive impacts on communities in need and young people.
In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think the biggest challenge facing artists today is fear. I began this interview by describing my early work with Michael Joyce and then my current series on Antigone.
When you look at the images above – of “she taking her space” (2007, in the collection of MOCA Los Angeles) and my current paintings – you’ll see that I believe in gradual and constant change as an artist, in evolving style.
Who knew that the introduction of a ruler to my work would be the most radical thing I did in mid-career? So my advice is this: that in the face of pressures to remain, static artists, embrace change, confront their assumptions of what they think art can be and evolve to face the challenges of today, whether in relation to climate change, civil rights issues or self-care.
If there is any lesson that I wished I learned earlier it’s that as a female-identified artist, sexism is real in the arts. I now know that the lack of opportunities I’ve experienced has little to do with my value and worth as an artist, but because of institutionalized and naturalized gender-based biases. I have been told “not to show up pregnant” at exhibition openings by other professionals and that my “work has less (market) value” because I’m a woman.
And so, I relate to Antigone, because through art we can transcend the tests we’ve experienced in life and stand for the values we have in common as people: that we were all “born to love not to hate.”
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Please follow me on Instagram to hear about the past and future projects and exhibitions. And join my mailing list.
For the grantLOVE project, we have a neon sculpture in the bookstore of the Underground Museum. You can also purchase prints on our online store to benefit X-Tra Contemporary Art Journal.
Last year I co-founded a small press called X Artists’ Books. The press came about in large part because I wrote The Artists’ Prison, a Sartre-esque story where the Warden is being deposed about all the prisoners interned there – some are artists who committed heinous crimes and some criminals sentenced to art.
Los Angeles-based poet and artist Eve Wood created darkly humorous images representing each prisoner. You can find this book and our other titles on our website (www.xartistsbooks.com) or from local bookstores like the MOCA bookstore, Otherwild and Arcana Books.
Images: Portrait of Alexandra Grant by Manfredi Gioacchini. Paintings: Alexandra Grant, she taking her space (after Michael Joyce’s “he taking the space of”), 2004 and Alexandra Grant, She said to Creon (1), 2016.
The Artists’ Prison signing by Eve Wood and Alexandra Grant
Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 2pm
X Artists’ Books table at Acid-Free
Blum & Poe, Culver City, CA
The Artists’ Prison, with text by Alexandra Grant and drawings by Eve Wood, imagines the art world in a Kafkaesque future state, where creativity can be a criminal offense and art making, a punishment.
Eve Wood is a visual artist, poet, and critic whose drawings and paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries such as Susanne Vielmetter, Western Project, and Ochi Projects.
Alexandra Grant is a Los Angeles–based artist who uses language, literature, and exchanges with writers as the basis for her work in painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography.
For more info, click here.
April 27 – May 20, 2018
Opening: Friday, April 27th, 5 – 9pm
The mecca, California
Saturday, March 17th – Saturday, April 7th, 2018
Opening Saturday, March 17th, 6-9pm
Eastern Star Gallery in partnership with The Lodge
The Eastern Star Gallery of the Archer School for Girls and The Lodge are pleased to present The mecca, California, an installation exploring the relationship between enlightenment, spirituality, and humanism in Southern California.
For years, dreamers have traveled west to Southern California in search of its magic. California promises direction, empowerment, and great spiritual illumination: those who journey here embrace the beauty of the now and the opportunity to find, or lose themselves. California’s free spirited aura creates the sense that anything is possible and that limitless hope drives us to pursue new horizons. The sun is at the forefront of life in California, shining brilliantly and reawakening the collective Californian spirit. Waves of change have propelled California’s history forward through vast and visionary ideas. Although Los Angeles is always moving through the environments of beach, freeway and desert, it was a sleepy town in the 1960s and 70s. California comes alive through the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water, and artists have been moved in varying modes and degrees by all four over time.
This show includes the work of 15 California artists including Chad Attie, Alexandra Grant, Shane Guffogg, Tim Hawkinson, Bettina Hubby, Soo Kim, Alice Könitz, Friedrich Kunath, Johnston Marklee, Fawn Rogers, Ed Ruscha, Allison Schulnik, Samantha Thomas, Richard Louderback, and Eric Yahnker.
Fredric Snitzer Gallery
40th Anniversary Exhibition: Still Crazy 1977-2017
February 16 – March 31, 2018
Opening February 16, 7-10pm
1540 NE Miami Court, Miami, FL 33132
Please join us to celebrate Fredric’s 40th anniversary on February 16. Grant will be showing a new work on paper from her Antigone 3000 series.
Galerie Gradiva, Paris
November 3rd – 29th
Opening November 2nd, 6-9pm
As part of the Photo Saint Germain Festival, Galerie Gradiva is pleased to announce Shadows, a collaboration by Alexandra Grant and Keanu Reeves.
“Alexandra Grant’s drawings first came into dialogue with Keanu Reeves’s poetry in Ode To Happiness, published by Steidl in 2011. Five years later, the artists renewed their collaboration with Shadows (Steidl, 2016), in which photographs and poetic writing meld in a single work of art.
Shadows is a photosensitive encounter between an artist-photographer and an actor-poet. In a ritual dance, he offers up to her gaze his feelings, failures, wounds, and raw power. His shadow is born from light. Rather than obscuring the light he moves incessantly around her and her camera’s lens. His shadow shapes and reshapes itself, taking the form and telling the story of an ancient deity, an errant ghost, a beast and an eternal source of light, warmth and protection.
In Shadows she allows us to see his body’s double, his soul, which cannot be captured otherwise. Shadows are truths from beyond our present moment, from time immemorial, the time of myth. They are a subtle presence which invite us, as viewers, to understand that the hereafter is here and now; they provide us a possible telepathic link across the depths of what we fear encountering most, our desire.
His shadow never ceases moving or lets itself be caged or trapped in one pose or another. His hands are those of a earth-bound magician, one who transforms clay into tiny figures that become men when he breathes life into them. There is neither darkness nor guile in the shadow; it emanates white or colored light, auguring only possibility. From the perspective of her lens, his shadow doesn’t haunt or glide by like a ghost; it flickers like a fire full of life, a crackling force. As an image, it doubles upon itself, superimposes one iteration upon another as an optical illusion, a game, the trace of an apparition.
His shadow reveals itself to be fragile, wavering across the liminal bounds of our present, ready to disappear at any moment. To capture this vulnerability the artist stays open and aware, but at a safe distance, ready to tame, assuage, and reassure the shadow with her camera and her self that he won’t become prey, that she will preserve his liberty to come and go at any moment.
Seeing Shadows is like hearing a long poem recited in the dancing of two bodies, one tangible, the other ethereal. The lyrics are delivered like a prayer from the depths, a prophetic song filled with light that reveals what we, as humans, do not know yet.”
— Valérie Fougeirol, Curator of the exhibition.
Image: Shadow (11), after Keanu Reeves’s “I can’t say all I want to say,” 2016. Acrylic pigment printed on Arches velour paper rough, 60” x 40”. Edition of 2 with 1 AP. Printed in Germany by Gerhard Steidl.
Signing: The Artists’ Prison
Saturday, September 23, 2017
NY Art Book Fair, MoMA PS1
X Artists’ Books, Booth N24
Launch and signing of The Artists’ Prison by Alexandra Grant and Eve Wood.
The Artists’ Prison looks askance at the workings of personality and privilege, sexuality, authority, and artifice in the art world. Imagined through the heavily redacted testimony of its warden, the prison is a brutal landscape where sentences range from the allegorical to the downright absurd. In The Artists’ Prison, the act of creating becomes a strangely erotic condemnation, as well as a means of punishment and transformation. It is in these very transformations—sometimes dubious, sometimes oddly sentimental—that the book’s critical edge is sharpest. Juxtaposing word and image, The Artists’ Prison represents a unique visual and literary intersection, in which Eve’s drawings open spaces of potential meaning in Alexandra’s text, and the text, in turn, acts as a framework in which the images can resonate and intensify in significance.
Alexandra Grant is a Los Angeles–based artist who uses language, literature, and exchanges with writers as the basis for her work in painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. Eve Wood is a visual artist, poet, and critic whose drawings and paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries such as Susanne Vielmetter, Western Project, and Ochi Projects.
X Artists’ Books publishes courageous, beautiful books for curious readers. X is a connector, a multiplier, a kiss, a proxy. X is a signature, a mark for uncharted territory, the core of infinity. To join their mailing list and to order a copy of The Artists’ Prison please visit www.xartistsbooks.com.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
1:00pm to 8:00pm
REDCAT Theater (map)
This durational performance of The Words of Others (Palabras Ajenas), set in the REDCAT Theater, will be the first staging of the full work by Léon Ferrari.
The Words of Others (Palabras Ajenas) is a Vietnam-era antiwar piece written in the form of a dramatic script. The Argentine artist Léon Ferrari created this “literary collage,” one of his essential political statements, by cutting and assembling text from various sources, including news agencies, history books, the Bible, and speeches by such political and religious figures as Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Pope Paul VI and Adolph Hitler.
The September 16th durational performance in the theater at REDCAT will be the first full staging of the work. Partial readings took place at the Arts Lab in London (1968) and in Buenos Aires at the Larrañaga Theater (1972). A cast of thirty readers will give a contemporary voice to the text and constitute a tribute to him as an artist and defender of culture, democracy, and civil rights. Ferrari’s literary collages share the experimental impulse of figures such as Julio Cortázar and Bertolt Brecht in literature and theater, as well as the political unrest of the counterculture movement of the 1960s.
This durational performance is free and open to the public (people can come and go as they please).
Readers: Edgar Arceneaux, Camila Ascencio, Rafael López Barrantes, Samantha Bartow, Nao Bustamante, José Luis Blondet, Ashlyn Delaire, Carlo Figlio, Jessica Fleischmann, Andrea Fraser, Charles Gaines, Alexandra Grant, Jen Hofer, Ashley Hunt, Rett Keeter, Daniel Lavery, Mireya Lucio, Michael Ned Holte, Roberto Martin, Fernando Mitre, Paige McGhee, Alyxaundrea Munson, Silke Otto-Knapp, Mac Rasmus, Christopher Rivas, Juan Rivera, Connie Samaras, Hannah Trujillo and Kristin Wetenkamp.
More about the exhibition and performance at REDCAT here.
To order a copy of X Artists’ Books’ The Words of Others (Palabras Ajenas), please visit their website.
Galería Marco Augusto Quiroa en Casa Santo Domingo
July 15 – August 17, 2017
Opening: Saturday, July 15, 6-9pm
Casa Santo Domingo is pleased to announce the acquisition of ghost town, Alexandra Grant’s large-scale participatory drawing made for the 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz in 2016 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. For ghost town, Grant invited over 600 members of the public to join her in illustrating a series of poems by the Guatemalan writer Vania Vargas titled “Cartografía de un pueblo fantasma” (“Cartography of a Ghost Town”), which map out dreams, real and fictive, across the urban landscape of Guatemala City.
Now in the permanent collection of Casa Santo Domingo, ghost town is a historic record of several generations of Guatemalan artists and non-artists that worked side-by-side with Grant as an extension of her studio practice. This exhibition of the work, a year after its creation, celebrates the spirit of hospitality, collaboration and exchange in which it was made.
Creado con la participacion del publico — lista de nombres adjuntos — durante la 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz.
X Artists’ Books launches in Los Angeles
Announcing X Artists’ Books, a small press focusing on artists’ books and collaborations. XAB’s books are works of art; portals to imagined worlds; treasured companions; the fabric of a community. This year will see the release of our first four projects, which demonstrate the range of our interests as well as our core commitments to emotional courage, intellectual rigor, and aesthetic and material integrity:
The Artists’ Prison, with text by Alexandra Grant and drawings by Eve Wood, imagines the art world in a Kafkaesque future state, where creativity can be a criminal offense and art making, a punishment.
High Winds is an adults’ picture book for sleepless nights. Text by Sylvan Oswald and imagery by Jessica Fleischmann combine to chart a phantasmagorical road trip through kaleidoscopic Western landscapes and vivid emotional terrain.
The Words of Others (Palabras ajenas) is the first full English translation of Argentine artist León Ferrari’s literary masterpiece (1967), an uncompromising critique of military aggression in the context of the Vietnam War. The text is edited by Ruth Estévez, Miguel A. López, and Agustín Diez Fischer, and translated by Jen Hofer, Román Luján, and Tupac Cruz. The editors are also the curators of an exhibition centered on this important work by Ferrari, opening September 16, 2017, at the gallery at REDCAT as part of Pacific Standard Time’s LA/LA initiative. A reading of the full text will be staged in the theater at REDCAT, September 16, 1–9 p.m.
(Zus), by French photographer Benoît Fougeirol, explores the harsh paradoxes of the marginalized suburban zones of Paris, reflecting on their stubborn vitality and their dereliction—and the failures of collective imagination that they represent. The publication of (Zus), which includes an essay by Jean-Christophe Bailly, will coincide with the appearance of Fougeirol’s work in a major exhibition of photography exploring the changing landscapes of France at the Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, opening October 24, 2017.
Become a subscriber and receive the full complement—save money, join our community, and help bring books into the world. The X Artists’ Books 2017 subscription includes The Artists’ Prison, High Winds, The Words of Others (Palabras ajenas), and (Zus).
To learn more about XAB and our books, to join our mailing list and let us know what books are to you, please visit: www.xartistsbooks.com.
Agatha French, “Books as an Artistic Proposition,” LA Times, www.latimes.com/books/la-ca-jc-keanu-reeves-artists-books-20170719-story.html
Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND)
“Frame Rate” – Alexandra Grant presents “Taking Lena Home”
Thursday, June 29, 7pm
Blue Roof Studios
7329 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90003
Los Angeles Nomadic Division is pleased to present the West Coast Premiere of “Taking Lena Home,” Alexandra Grant’s 2016 documentary about the return of a stolen tombstone to rural Nebraska.
“Cixous: Corollaires d’une signature / Corollaries of a Signature”
Paris, Maison Heinrich Heine, Cité internationale universitaire
June 14, 15 and 16
The conference “Cixous: Corollaires d’une signature / Corollaries of a Signature” about the work of French philosopher Hélène Cixous will take place at the University of Paris June 14, 15 and 16. Artist Alexandra Grant will speak Friday, June 16 about the “Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest” and a “Cixousian Methodology for Participatory Art Projects”
Alexandra Grant and the grantLOVE project are pleased to support Angel Art and Project Angel Food. Grant created a unique color way of her LOVE neon in pink and black for Angel Art, which benefits the work of Project Angel Food, a non-profit in Los Angeles that provides food and assistance to those who are too critically ill to take care of themselves.
Online bidding for the LOVE neon is live on Paddle 8 until June 9th and there will be a live auction during the Angel Art event.
Saturday, June 10
7pm Cocktails & Viewing
8pm Live Auction
6121 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Tickets available here.
Flaming June VII (Flaming Creatures)
Gavlak Gallery Los Angeles
June 8 – August 5, 2017
Opening June 8, 6-8pm
Gavlak Los Angeles is pleased to present a group exhibition entitled Flaming June VII (Flaming Creatures). This is the seventh iteration of “Flaming June,” a series of exhibitions curated by Sarah Gavlak that began in 1997. The title of the show is attributed to English Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Frederic Leighton’s famous classist painting Flaming June (1895) which portrays a sleeping woman in a vibrant orange gown.
Artists featured include Lisa Anne Auerbach, Judie Bamber, Amy Bessone, Andrew Brischler, Zoe Buckman, Willie Cole, Mike Davis, Lecia Dole-Recio, Judith Eisler, Alexandra Grant, Keith Haring, David Haxton, Nir Hod, Timothy Horn, Elisabeth Kley, Kelly Lamb, Bovey Lee, Michael Manning, Maynard Monrow, David Mramor, Yuval Pudik, Dean Sameshima, Tabboo!, Betty Tompkins, Marnie Weber, T.J. Wilcox, and Rob Wynne.
The Artists’ Prison is an artist book created by Alexandra Grant and Eve Wood, both artists based in Los Angeles. Known for her collaborations with writers, Grant is a painter who transforms language into large-scale textual landscapes in painting and drawing. Wood is a visual artist, poet and art critic who equally works between visual and textual formats. The Artists’ Prison is Grant’s first collaborative exchange as a writer, where she invited Wood to illustrate her words.
The Artists’ Prison is a brutal Kafka-esque landscape where prisoners are both condemned for their creativity as much as punished with inventive penalties. These penalties are not always in keeping with the crimes committed and it is this ambiguity that drives the narrative forward. In The Artists’ Prison, the act of creating becomes a strangely erotic condemnation and a means to punish and transform those sentenced there. It is this very transformation — sometimes dubious, sometimes oddly sentimental — that becomes suspect.
The Artists’ Prison represents a unique visual and literary intersection wherein Wood’s 44 images do not so much as illustrate Grant’s text, but serve as visual “flourishes” that allow the text to expand out from its original meaning. Similarly, the text does not ground the imagery, but is a point of departure where the visuals continue to spin out and intensify its significance.
The Artists’ Prison was published by X Artists’ Books in 2017.
An exhibition of The Artists’ Prison drawings by Wood opens at Ochi Projects on June 3rd, from 6-9pm. A book signing by Grant and Wood will take place at the gallery, June 10th, from 4-6pm.
Image: Eve Wood, “Prisoner #42: The Broken Plate Artist,” 2015. Mixed media on paper, 7 1/8 x 7″.
The World of Alexandra Grant
Rancho Mirage Public Library
May 16, 2017 2:00 p.m.
Artist Alexandra Grant will share her painting and social practice in relationship to the Palm Spring Art Museum’s Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibition. Alexandra Grant is a Los Angeles-based artist who uses language, literature and exchanges with writers as the basis for her work in painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. Grant’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), among other museums and galleries. Grant is also recognized for her philanthropic grantLOVE project, which produces and sells original artworks and editions to benefit artist projects and arts non-profits.
Moderated by Leonardo Bravo, Director of Education and Public Programs, Palm Springs Art Museum.
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
Antigone is you is me
Eastern Star Gallery at the Archer School for Girls
January 18 – February 18, 2017
Opening February 2
The driving quote for this project is from the original story of Antigone: “I was born to love not to hate.” The final piece, with over 400 participants, captures a particular moment in time from the perspective of teenage girls, from the historic Women’s Marches across the globe to the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
The Eastern Star Gallery is a unique art exhibition space located on the campus of The Archer School for Girls, an independent middle and high school in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. On Thursday, February 2, Archer will host a public gallery opening and reception for the artist.
Images by Brian Forrest.
Antigone is you is me: Q&A with artist Alexandra Grant
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.
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
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
BCAM, Level 3
October 30, 2016 – April 2, 2017
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.
TAKING LENA HOME
Screening and discussion
August 16, 2016, at 7pm
Film Streams, Omaha, NE
On Tuesday, August 16, 2016, at 7 pm, Film Streams, Omaha Public Library, and the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society will present a special screening of the documentary TAKING LENA HOME at the Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey Street, followed by a post-show discussion featuring the film’s director, Alexandra Grant.
In 2000, Los Angeles-based artist Alexandra Grant came across a curious object in a Wyoming junk shop: the tombstone of Lena Davis, a baby girl who died in 1880. Inexplicably drawn to the stone, she took it home, where it sat in her studio. Years later, she began a quest to discover the origins of the headstone, a mission that led her all the way to Polk, Nebraska, and an adventure in first-time filmmaking. TAKING LENA HOME documents the marker’s return to its rightful place, as well as Grant’s journey from owner of the stone to its caretaker.
After the movie, Film Streams Deputy Director Casey Logan will moderate a panel discussion with Grant; Cindy Drake, Nebraska History Library Curator and Statewide Cemetery Registry Coordinator, Nebraska State Historical Society; and Julie Middendorf, a genealogy enthusiast who solved the mystery of Lena’s provenance.
For more information: www.facebook.com/TakingLenaHome/
TAKING LENA HOME trailer:
Tickets for this special screening at Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater are $9 general; $7 for students, seniors, teachers, military, and those arriving by bicycle; and $4.50 for Film Streams Members. Advance tickets can be purchased at http://bit.ly/29VrQst or through the Film Streams Box Office, in person or at 402-933-0259 x15. For more information, questions or requests, please contact Patrick Kinney at (402) 933-0259 x 11 or email@example.com.
The screening and discussion are part of Film Streams’ Community Development Program, which facilitates partnerships with other nonprofits and community groups on film-related events that speak to their missions and programming.
Film Streams is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural environment of the Omaha-Council Bluffs area through the presentation and discussion of film as an art form. For more information, visit www.filmstreams.org.
Omaha Public Library strengthens Omaha communities by connecting people with ideas, information, and innovative services. For more information, visit http://omahalibrary.org/.
The Greater Omaha Genealogical Society is a non-profit organization whose purpose is (1) to unite those persons interested in the pursuit and study of genealogy and family history; (2) to encourage the preservation of public and private records; and (3) to promote programs of education which support the growth and development of these fields. For more information, visit https://gogsmembers.wordpress.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.429.0953.
119 Lewis Street
Ketchum, ID 83340
July 2 – August 6, 2016
Opening reception: July 7, 4-7pm
Ochi Gallery is pleased to present Shadows, an exhibition in our project space of photographic works by Alexandra Grant. The work will be on view July 7th through August 6th with an opening reception Thursday, July 7th from 4-7 pm.
For this series Grant collaborated with actor and writer Keanu Reeves, The Lapis Press and Steidl Publishing to produce a striking collection of images that explore the concept of the shadow. Through a series of dramatic photographs, Grant captures Reeves’ silhouette in a sequence of movements where his figure often blurs beyond the point of recognition, causing the final images to border on abstraction. After the shoots with Reeves, Grant manipulated the images to invert the images black for white, making the shadow itself the source of light. Despite their mysterious and elegant qualities, the images are narrative and figurative, supported by Reeves’s poetic texts in the titles and accompanying book. Hauntingly beautiful, the images are also playful, allowing the viewer to sense the intimacy and exchange in the collaborative relationship between subject and artist.
Printed at a large scale on velour paper at Steidl Publishing in Germany, the photos possess a remarkable surface. Also published by Steidl is a book of Grant’s photos accompanied by texts written by Reeves. Additionally, The Lapis Press produced a suite of smaller scale, limited edition color prints.
“Only a Shadow,” Big Life Magazine http://www.biglifemag.com/only-a-shadow/
Image: Shadow (2), after Keanu Reeves’s “I can’t say all I wish to say,” 2016. Acrylic pigment printed on Arches velour paper rough, 60” x 40”. Edition of 2 with 1 AP. Printed in Germany by Gerhard Steidl.
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: email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
February 13 – March 12, 2016
Reception for the artist: Saturday, February 20, 6 – 8 pm
Book signing with the artist: Saturday, February 27, 3 – 6 pm
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.
at UNTITLED, Miami
DEC 2 – 6 | BOOTH C14
12TH & OCEAN DRIVE, MIAMI BEACH
Image: Antigone 3000 (Prelude), 2015, oil on linen, 45″ x 40″
Images: From the Shadows series by Alexandra Grant
…Pero no soy fotógrafo
The 9.99 Gallery
Guatemala City, Guatemala
November 5 – 28, 2015
Opening November 5, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Alejandro Almanza Pereda
Antigone 3000 Prelude (fluo), 2015, 45” x 40”, oil on linen. Photo by Chris Adler.
BLOODY RED SUN OF FANTASTIC L.A.
Curated by René-Julien Praz
November 3-9, 2015
“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.
Doors open at 6:00pm
Screening starts promptly at 6:30pm
Photo credit: Alexandra Grant
Two artists try to portray the indescribable at Pasadena Museum of California Art
Review by Sharon Mizota
“These Carnations Defy Language,” a two-person exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, is a perfect pairing of local artists Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden.
Both have long been inspired by language, often using it to generate colorful, intensely heartfelt abstractions. Side by side in this gently moving show, their drawings and collages have something of a familial resemblance, deploying dense networks of grids, stripes and triangles with vibrant, organic energy.
The exhibition was inspired by both artists’ engagement with the prose poems of French writer Francis Ponge, who described everyday things like flowers, wasps and soap with unbridled jubilation. Still, despite these raptures (or because of them), he found language inadequate: The exhibition’s truculent title comes from him.
Grant’s and Roden’s works might be said to reverse-engineer Ponge: Where he attempted to capture quotidian wonders in words, they transform language into images that blossom.
Roden often uses textual or musical sources as a kind of “score” for generating imagery, and here he uses an issue of the Italian architecture magazine Domus published in the month and year of his birth.
The resulting drawings and collages often incorporate clippings from the magazine and refer obliquely to the sleek contours of modern architecture, although Roden builds his images through accretion and improvisation, which gives them a more relaxed, vernacular feel.
“The sky crying is,” features triangular, peek-a-boo cutouts that reveal spare, architectural imagery behind a surface of drippy, hand-painted, multicolored stripes. The image simultaneously evokes structure and defies it.
Especially intriguing is the video “lines and faces,” in which Roden arranges striped paper triangles over a magazine page depicting three famous writers. As Roden aligns and misaligns the stripes over the portraits, we understand the irreducibility of faces: They are always more than the sum of the lines—whether drawn or written—that describe them.
Grant was inspired by Sophocles’ play “Antigone,” whose female protagonist defies political decrees to honor her dead brother. Five large wall pieces are each titled with a line from the play, “I was born to love not to hate.”
Strong stripes and chevrons provide a structural component that plays against the messiness of Rorschach blots and the words of the title in Grant’s trademark mirrored writing. The blots and the words—both bilaterally symmetrical like a body—flicker between legibility and nonsense.
The juxtaposition of hard, geometric shapes and this more indeterminate imagery is an analog, not only for Antigone’s predicament, but for the way text works. Only hard, black letters on a page, it can evoke, as Ponge knew, so much more.
What Roden and Grant are really getting at is meaning itself: how it is made and transmitted and what becomes of it along the way.
Seeing their works together for the first time, I was surprised by their visionary, almost spiritual quality. Although they appear systematic and structured, there is always a human element that escapes description, defies our attempts to pin it down.
Photo credit: John Millici
Baby girl’s missing headstone returned to Nebraska, 70 years later
by Casey Logan
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.”
Photos credit: Matt Miller/Omaha World-Herald.
The grantLOVE project is pleased to introduce a new collaboration with Los Angeles-based artist Devon Tsuno to support two organizations: Big City Forum and HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles).
Tsuno’s long-term interest and visual interest in bodies of water in the Los Angeles area has been central to his work in print-making, painting, drawing and photography.
grantLOVE x Devon Tsuno Beach Towels are based on Tsuno’s graphic and colorful designs of water. The grantLOVE symbol is Los Angeles artist Alexandra Grant’s trademarked brand for philanthropy in the arts. Both Grant and Tsuno as artists and teachers are dedicated to supporting arts education throughout the Los Angeles region.
3301 W. Washington Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90018
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Devon Tsuno is a Los Angeles-native. His recent abstract paintings and print installations focus on the LA watershed and native vs. non-native vegetation. Tsuno was awarded a 2014 CCF Emerging Artist Fellowship for Visual Art and has exhibited projects at the Hammer Museum Venice Beach Biennial, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (IMOCA), and Roppongi 605 in Tokyo. www.devontsuno.com
Alexandra Grant is a Los Angeles-based artist who uses language, literature and exchanges with writers as the basis for her work in painting, drawing and sculpture. Grant’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LAMCA), among other museums and galleries. www.13d.5cb.myftpupload.com
HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles)
HOLA provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.
HOLA’s Visual Arts Program encourages youth to channel their energy and emotion into creative endeavors in the visual arts, developing their powers of self-expression, instilling self-confidence, and fueling their interest in learning. www.heartofla.org/arts/visual-arts
Big City Forum
Founded in 2009, Big City Forum is an interdisciplinary, conversation-based curatorial research project that explores the intersections between design-based creative disciplines and public space, the built environment, and social change.
Big City Forum’s programs range from small conversational gatherings to collaborations with larger scale institutions such as the Skirball Center, The Santa Monica Museum of Art, The Armory Center for the Arts, Otis College of Art and Design, and Art Center College of Design. Big City Forum’s mission is two-fold: to create ongoing programming with cultural institutions that redefine participatory activities and education/community-based opportunities to engage youth and students around place-making and the role of the arts in transforming and re-engaging communities. www.bigcityforum.blogspot.com
Photos by Devon Tsuno.
Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden: “These Carnations Defy Language”
Opening: Saturday, June 13, 7-9pm
June 14, 2015–November 1, 2015
Pasadena Museum of California Art
Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden: “These Carnations Defy Language” began as a seed, a conversation between the artists regarding an anthology of the French poet Francis Ponge. This exhibition stems from that conversation, which presents new individual and co-created works by Grant and Roden that highlight their use of textual sources and their own conceptual systems to inspire and structure their production.
Grant’s paintings from her new series Antigone 3000 continue her inquiry of literary texts as source material for her imagery. The works in “These Carnations Defy Language” explore and map the Greek myth of Antigone from its original basis in Sophocles’s text to a current exchange on the importance of Antigone to future generations with Pasadena-based poet and artist Kate Durbin. Roden introduces a new body of work titled snowbirds don’t fly. His paintings, drawings, and video respond to various significant childhood images, experiences, and encounters, including Neal Adams’s artistry for issue 85 of DC’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow comic, a group of Domus magazines found in his father’s basement, and a Hebrew prayer book belonging to his great grandfather.
In addition, the exhibition includes a collaborative series of works on paper that explore a text that has inspired both artists: Francis Ponge’s Mute Objects of Expression, a book of poems from which the exhibition’s title is taken. Pushing the artists’ interests in language and systems beyond the gallery walls, “These Carnations Defy Language” will feature a brochure with an essay by Leslie Jones, Ph.D., Curator of Prints and Drawings at LACMA.
Antigone 3000: Re-imagining Antigone in Word and Art
Saturday, June 20, 2015 | 2:00pm–4:00pm
Pasadena artist and poet Kate Durbin and “These Carnations Defy Language” artist Alexandra Grant are in an ongoing dialogue about the importance of Sophocles’s Antigone. Join Durbin in creating your own version of Antigone’s story in the form of a poetic text and a large collaborative collage, culminating in a dynamic group reading. Free with admission. Free for PMCA members. Space is limited. Email RSVP[at]pmcaonline[dot]org
Artists’ Walkthrough | “These Carnations Defy Language”
Sunday, June 28, 2015 | 3:00pm
Artists Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden lead a walkthrough of their exhibition “These Carnations Defy Language.” Free with admission. Free for PMCA members.
In Dialogue: A Conversation with Alexandra Grant, Leslie Jones, and Steve Roden
Sunday, September 27, 2015 | 1:00pm
“These Carnations Defy Language” artists Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden discuss their individual sources and processes as well as their collaborative works. Leslie Jones, Ph.D., Curator of Prints and Drawings at LACMA, moderates. Free with admission. Free for PMCA members.
Images: Alexandra Grant, I was born to love not to hate (2) [detail], 2014. Mixed media on paper backed with fabric, 126 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo credit: Brian Forrest; Steve Roden, the sky crying is [detail], 2015. Acrylic, sumi ink, collage, and magazine images, 65 x 36 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photo: Jeff McLane.
The Offing magazine features:
“Antigone 3000” — Introduction by Kate Durbin
The character of Antigone, an enduring symbol of uprising and resistance to the state and society, has shape-shifted from a tragic mythical figure to a contemporary emblem of the risks and consequences of standing up for what you believe in a hostile world. She has been re-envisioned by Mexican poet Sara Uribe in Antigóna Gonzalez (Les Figues Press, translated by Les John Pluecker) and Jean Anouilh’s Nazi resistance direction of Antigone. Her hold on the collective imagination has not waned.
While the play itself is central to Los Angeles painter Alexandra Grant’s Antigone 3000, this new series of abstract paintings delves beyond the language of Sophocles into the play’s subterranean depths.
Inspired by Rorschach’s psychological tests, which are designed to reveal the viewer’s subconscious beliefs, Grant sees her paintings as “half-Rorschachs,” or stains. The stain is perhaps a perfect representation for Antigone, this figure who never vanishes from a collective history, who keeps reappearing in different forms, wearing different faces, fighting for different causes.
Antigone is a stain we cannot seem to remove, a stain that appears like all stains, completely inconveniently, serving as a reminder of inconvenient truths — like love. Love, the force that builds worlds, has been centered in Grant’s work before, including in the grantLOVE project, which helped fund the Love House Project in Watts. It was Antigone’s claim to Kreon that she “was born to love, not to hate” that incited Grant’s Antigone 3000. It is Antigone’s love that demands she honor her dead; it is love that leads, ultimately, to her death.
When a person is shot in a movie, often there is a moment of total stillness, after which a bloom of red appears on their clothing. Their mouth falls open. Trembling, they touch the red. They are amazed. In that moment, I like to imagine that they are realizing two things simultaneously: that they are alive, oh so alive, more alive than they’ve ever been in their whole dead life. And that, before any of us are able to grasp the significance of that revelation, we die.
What are we born for? Not to hate, but to love.
INDIVIDUAL ARTIST FELLOWSHIPS EXHIBITION
MAY 17 – JUNE 28, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2:00-5:00 PM
The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and
the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
Presents the premiere of new works by the following master artists
Baumgartner + Uriu (B+U)
Alan Hiroshi Nakagawa
Curator: Scott Canty
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
4800 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 12 – 5pm
SAT. MAY 17, 2:30 PM
The Invisible Lake Called Telepathy
Performed drawing by Elizabeth Leister with dancer Samantha Mohr
SAT. MAY 30, 2 PM
Conversations with the Artists
With Harold Greene, Alan Nakagawa, Baumgartner + Uriu (B +U)
SAT. JUNE 27, 2 PM
Conversations with the Artists
Marcelyn Gow Alexandra Grant Sherin Guirguis Barbara Strasen
SAT. JUNE 20, 3 PM
Performance by Elizabeth Leister
No reservations are necessary and art supplies will be provided
SAT. MAY 23, 12-3 PM
Adult Art Workshop
SAT. JUNE 6, I2-3 PM
Family Art and Sound Workshop
FREE ADMISSION TO GALLERY AND ALL EVENTS