Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
LOS ANGELES — ARCHIVE MACHINES, an online exhibition hosted by the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG), offers one way forward during this time of social distancing. Juried by Olivian Cha, Kerstin Erdmann, and Rita Gonzalez, the exhibition of recent works by Los Angeles–based artists takes the form of a “living archive” of stories, objects, and photographs that expand our understanding of what perspectives have been left out of official records, and how they might reconfigure our relationship to the present.
The show is divided into four thematic sections. The first, “REVISIONING,” reframes and reconsiders our relationship to the past, while the second, “RESISTING,” addresses modes of political resistance. While these frames can feel a bit didactic, they offer helpful ways of considering how archives reflect personal and collective values in ways that are deeply political.
Allison Stewart’s photographs of former Confederate monuments, for example, depict empty plinths covered by graffiti or torn plastic. While one image captures the recent state of a monument once erected by the University of Texas to commemorate Confederate war hero Albert Sidney Johnston, it also has much in common with local histories of Los Angeles.
Johnston himself was once a local resident who enlisted in the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles, a secessionist militia, before becoming a celebrated Confederate general. After he bled out in the Battle of Shiloh, Griffin Avenue, Johnston Street, and Hancock Street in Northeast Los Angeles were named in honor of him and his family members. Just as local monuments to Christopher Columbus have been taken down in recent years, might we also see a reckoning and transformation of place names and streets in the city?
Rachel Zaretsky’s video work takes on a (now) less controversial, if no less fraught, monument: a Holocaust memorial by architect Kenneth Trelster that was once opposed by Miami Beach locals as “too somber” for their town. The bronze sculpture depicts an arm reaching toward the sky, surrounded by immiserated figures representing Jewish victims and survivors of Nazi genocide. Zaretsky, whose own family members are among the names etched into the memorial’s walls, describes the images and captions she finds through hashtags and geotags on Instagram — a gallery of namaste poses, vibrant filters, and sight gags that suggest even remembering the Holocaust isn’t enough to dampen the sunny beach vibes of South Florida.
Boz Garden’s Riotous Folds: Possibilities for the Document series juxtaposes images and quotations about modern architecture, urban riots, and histories of Black dissidents. While architecture might be fascinated by glass as a symbol of progress and modernity, these works are more interested in their destruction — shattered glass as an anticapitalist metonym for the broken storefront and looted commodity. The project documents ways in which architecture reinforces the permanence of commerce and capital: An excerpt from an article about glazier company Giroux Glass recounts the supposedly heroic efforts of glass repairmen boarding up windows to protect businesses against looting.
In each case, the urban fabric presents ways of interpreting the world that are challenged or undermined (either intentionally or not) by people encountering these spaces. Tearing down statues and renaming streets might have great symbolic power, but deeper transformative shifts in how people experience the world or remember the past remain a work in progress. These artist-made archives might give us a sense of what possibilities await in the future.
ARCHIVE MACHINES runs online at the LAMAG website through November 1. The third thematic section, “REWIRING,” launched in September and the fourth, “RELATING,” launches October 1. The exhibition openly invited Southern California artists to respond to archival materials, concepts, and structures. A jury panel consisting of Olivian Cha, Kerstin Erdmann, and Rita Gonzalez selected the final participating artists.
The University of Virginia researchers wrote that the data “provides compelling evidence that these symbols are associated with hate.”
We are waiting for spectacle and when the quotidian, yet incongruous actions occur I wonder whether there is any real payoff coming.
Hear from Holly Jean Buck, Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, Simon Denny, Elizabeth Hoover, Renee Kemp-Rotan, Joseph Kunkel, and more at this free public event.
Tanega’s approach to mark-making comes across as stream of consciousness, as if she’s engaged in a conversation with herself.
Starting Monday, readers can borrow one of 50 rare and out-of-print titles, mailed to them completely free of charge, from Saint Heron Library.
EFA Open Studios offers a portal into the creative habitats of over 65 artists working in Manhattan’s longest-running studio program, including Dannielle Tegeder, Wafaa Bilal, Cui Fei, and Anina Major.
This is Yuskavage’s great gift, turning upside down our settled ways of thinking and seeing and, with ease, transforming the vulgar and ridiculous into the sublime.
51 international publishers and galleries showcase their latest editions in prints and artists’ books at this free public fair, which is fully online this year.
While hardly about the pandemic, or any of the other crises so afflicting us, all are invoked in this exhibition, which is also often tender and profoundly soulful.
These glowing, dynamic artworks reproduce something of Bosch’s chaotic energy, but on an immersive, multi-sensory scale.
This week, addressing a transphobic comedy special on Netflix, the story behind KKK hoods, cultural identity fraud, an anti-Semitic take on modern art, and more.