02 n°65 mar/avr/mai 2013
02 n°65 mar/avr/mai 2013
  • Prix facial : gratuit

  • Parution : n°65 de mar/avr/mai 2013

  • Périodicité : trimestriel

  • Editeur : Association Zoo galerie

  • Format : (210 x 297) mm

  • Nombre de pages : 84

  • Taille du fichier PDF : 11,6 Mo

  • Dans ce numéro : dossier Los Angeles... Mark Hagen, Ali Subotnick, Sterling Ruby, Marc-Olivier Wahler.

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24 Le journalisme de Salazar comparait souvent l’esprit identitaire Chicano à celui de la lutte pour les droits civiques des Africains Americains. La révolte de Watts Tower en 1965 avait révélé des revendications qui ne se limitaient pas à South LA. Le fameux projet de Noah Purifoy « 66 Signs of Neon » en 1966 avait d’ailleurs dépassé les lignes raciales. Comme l’a montré l’exposition du Hammer « Now Dig This ! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980 », les artistes chicano et africains américains partageaient une même invisibilité et étaient, pour beaucoup d’entre eux, engagés dans une forme d’activisme politique qui favorisait les rencontres. Quelle que fût leur situation géographique, les centres d’art alternatifs partageaient une réalité. Dans les années soixante-dix, l’artiste Andrew Zermeño de Mechicano Art Center collabore par exemple avec l’artiste africain américain John Outterbridge qui, à partir de 1975, devient le premier directeur de Watts Art Center. La nature underground et les processus de travail collaboratifs et quasi rituels d’Asco pourraient être mis en parallèle avec les expérimentations du collectif Studio Z qui rassemble notamment David Hammons, Maren Hassinger, Ulysses Jenkins et Senga Nengudi. En 1978, avec « Ceremony for Freeway Fets », cette dernière organise et documente, elle aussi, une cérémonie sur le bord d’une route, ou plus précisément sous un pont de freeway. Malgré quelques images d’archives, la mémoire de cette performance improvisée sous forme de rituel collectif, avec musique et costumes, vit surtout dans la tradition orale. « Los Angeles existe dans un environnement désertique hautement volatil qui a généré des mirages et des mythes absolument séduisants. Mais les freeways créent un effet de spirale étourdissant, où il est encore possible d’entrevoir une vue non stéréotypée ». 2 – 1. Titre Hugo Hopping, 2009.L.A. : …This song makes me want to rob a liquor store 1 Dossier Los Angeles I did not see the exhibition « Los Angeles 1955-1985 » at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 2006. I was in London, as it happens in the process of finalizing my departure forL.A., with the landmarks of a European vision of the city and its recent artistic history in my pocket.L.A. is also Anaïs Nin’s adopted home. She was there in 1956 for the reading of Howl, when Allen Ginsberg took his clothes off to challenge an unhappy spectator : poetry is better read naked. A nakedness that became legendary and kicked off the rumour that that « performance » would be repeated at each one of his university appearances. Los Angeles and the Beat Generation, one of the hubs of the first major movement of the American counter-culture. A liking for experimentation, excess, subversion, immediacy, theatricality, and fiction, which recur like a thread from year to year. How could anyone dream of a more ideal destination for embarking on a career as a young curator ? I am using the « I » here for two reasons. Firstly because, between the postwar period and the present-day, the history of artistic production in Los Angeles has been so dense and so complex that it would be quite impossible to propose a general and critical view of it in a short essay. Secondly, because Los Angeles is often talked about as a dream factory. This city’s capacity to make people dream goes hand in hand with many stereotypes and fantasies which, over the years, have fuelled the vision of this art scene in critical argument, in exhibitions, and on the market.L.A. is often depicted as an extreme duality somewhere between exotic paradise and nightmare. Hollywood, Disneyland,… The Californian myth of a laboratory where everything is possible : a desert turned into an oasis, an overall promise of economic prosperity and individual freedoms. A mind-blowing city, liberated from traditions, which achieves mythical status in Reyner Banham’s description of it in 1971. A fantasy which swiftly finds its aggressive response in « Los Angeles : Ecology of Evil », published by Peter Plagens in Artforum in 1972. To add to this evocative title and not waste words, it will suffice to quote Plagens’s conclusion : « The trouble with Reyner Banham is that the fashionable sonofabitch doesn’t have to live here. » Plagens talks about boredom and depression. One thinks of Bukowski. Images of a hell madeup of congested freeways, racial tensions, criminality, and imminent catastrophes, natural and ecological alike, all recur in Mike Davis’s books published in the 1990s and 2000s. This duality has gone hand in hand with the major exhibitions which have staked out the definition of a specific artistic factor in Los Angeles : « L.A., Hot and Cool, the Eighties » at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in 1987, then, in 1992, « Helter Skelter : LA Art in the 1990s », organized by Paul Schimmel. This latter show borrowed the title of the Beatles’song which Charles Manson used as a reference for his definition of apocalyptic race war, justifying his campaign of, ; 2. Harry Gamboa Jr., in « L.A Stories, A roundtable discussion », Artforum, Octobre 2011, p.242. Wallace Berman Untitled (Shuffle piece), 1960. Verifax collage, 29 × 33 cm, pièce unique. Courtesy The estate of the artist and galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris.
crimes. And, in 1997, « Sunshine & Noir : Art inL.A. 1960- 1997 » at the Louisiana Modern Art Museum. If it is hard to define anything, this is all the more so with Los Angeles. One consequently becomes part of the simplification and distortion of a reality and a history which are constructed in diversity. Discussions about the art produced in Los Angeles have also had to do with an East Coast/West Coast rivalry, itself rooted in an obsolete discourse contrasting centre and periphery.L.A. was for a long time described as a regional school, where the orthodoxy of the New York avant-garde became bleached out with bouts of Californian sun stroke, and a general teenage and dilettante spirit. The stereotype was one of a lack of intellectual seriousness and an intuitive approach to creation. The video East Coast-West Coast (1969) by Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt is a good example of this. In it we see Smithson playing the role of the Oscar Castillo Shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe at Maravilla Housing Projects, Mednik Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue, East Los Angeles, early 1970s. Photographie couleur/Color photograph. The artist. Courtesy UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, Los Angeles. 25 Californian artist : « I never read books ; I just go out and look at the clouds. (He is talking to Holt, playing the New York artist). Why don’t you stop thinking and start feeling ? » This stereotype came into being with the myth of the Cool School defined by Philip Leider in Artforum in the summer of 1964. It is connected with the stereotype of the « Ferus Studs » which, between 1957 and 1966, more or less personified the narrative of the transformation of an art scene in its infancy into an epicentre (« studs », meaning stallions… Jay DeFeo being the only woman officially associated with the group). In it Ed Kienholz rubbed shoulders with, among others, Craig Kauffman, John Altoon, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Moses, Robert Irwin, John Mason, Kenneth Price, Llyn Foulkes, Larry Bell, and the curator-cum-father figure of Walter Hopps. Ferus was the site of Wallace Berman’s only solo show, held in 1957, and the place of his legendary arrest for obscenity. The gallery was also the venue for Ed Ruscha’s first solo exhibition in 1963. With Irving Blum, from 1958 on, the programme spread to the East coast with Frank Stella, Joseph Cornell, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and, in 1962, Andy Warhol’s first solo Californian show, at which he unveiled his Campbell’s Soup Cans. An effervescence chronicled by the young magazine Artforum which setup shop above the Ferus gallery in 1965. If the Ferus artists represented a diversity of voices and symbolized the beginnings of the emergence of an art scene, the critics reduced theL.A. look to the Minimalist movement Light and Space, and to what New York critics derogatorily called the Finish Fetish : Kauffman, Al Bengston, Bell, Irwin, John McCracken, DeWain Valentine, and Doug Wheeler, but also, if rarely mentioned, Judy Chicago, Maria Nordman, and Mary Corse. The term « fetishist » referred to the geometric sculptures with their polished and colourful surfaces, made of materials coming from local state-of-the-art industry (among others, the aerospace and entertainment sectors). The use of Plexiglas, polyurethane resins, fibre glass and plastic tallied with an investigation into techniques, compounded by a pronounced interest in the vernacular culture of Hot Rods, customization, and surfing. The superficial character and attraction to glitz are probably among the most snide stereotypes associated with Los Angeles art. People have forgotten to think about the complexity of this movement in its entirety, as they have neglected to think that what was involved was intentions which had no connection with the regional development of a referent model. The experimental use of materials was aimedat an exploration of light and perception associated with the quest for a tangible experience of reality, be it everyday or metaphysical. Let us come back for a moment to the exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou. In Los Angeles, opinions were divided : on the one hand, an acknowledgement of the historical support of European curators in the face of the absence of any local and national evaluation, and, on the other hand, a frustration caused by the gaps in a presentation definitely focused on works of great quality, but also on the usual stars. People also noted the absence of any clear contextualization revealing the links between artists, microscenes, venues, and the city’s cultural and ethnic diversity. Senga Nengudi Freeway Fets, 1978. C-print, 30 × 45 cm, edition of 5 (+1 AP). Photo : Quaku/Roderick Young, courtesy the artist and Thomas Erben Gallery, New York. 02 n°65 Printemps 2013

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