This is a blog about fun, interesting, intelligent things happening in art and popular culture.
ARTE: mostly emerging all of the time! And also ARTE:ZINE tumblr, different content/same contemporary view
"She's changing the art world" was the subject line in millions of inboxes this morning as The Coveteur talks about my interview on art x style x and all things LA.
"I'm an art dealer and a gallerist. I run a contemporary art space here in L.A. where I show emerging artists. Part of what I do, and what my specialty is, is that I develop artists and I develop collectors. I find people who are interested in getting into the art world by buying art works and becoming an arts patron, but don't necessarily have a direct connection in doing that. I facilitate that entry point for new people to be in the mix. Same thing for artists: for artists that I think have an immense amount of talent and skill and could be very successful, we help to build a good foundation for them to become the next great art star."
4 Questions: Samuel Levi Jones
There’s something to be said (and held closely) about quietude in a time when shock and volume are firmly aligned with power and value. It’s something more to explore that power and value, in all its systems and intricacies, through a lens of stillness. But Samuel Levi Jones does it and does it well, in a most thoughtful manner, through his brilliant works on canvas that incorporate the covers of encyclopedias and law case text books.
It is this engagement to material, raw and aggressive, that put him in the running for the Studio Museum’s lusted-after Joyce Prize of which he took home along with a cool $50,000 and that brought on solo shows at the Studio Museum in Harlem (opening today) and Indiana’s Museum of Contemporary Art (opening this fall). He’s also in this year’s Mistake Room biennial exhibition. So we caught up with the artist, represented by Papillion, Los Angeles, to discuss his first exhibition in New York, his interest in material, and what that quietude is all for.
This is your first exhibition in New York. Can you tell me about Unbound, how it came to fruition, the work that will be on view, and how it speaks to your practice as a whole?
I’m extremely excited about my first show in New York being at the Studio Museum Harlem. In late 2014, Naima Keith (Associate Curator, Studio Museum Harlem) and I started having a conversation about exhibiting at the Studio Museum. Unbound is a continuation of the work that I have been constructing from encyclopedias, which is about the exploration of systems of knowledge and power. For this exhibit I chose to use law books, as I felt that it was pertinent to current events. This work is site specific, and the three works are much larger than any of my previous works.
Your critical exploration of systems of power and knowledge is the main focus of the exhibition. Can you explain its relationship to materiality and form? Is there a direct relationship to the body?
The relationship of the material to systems of power is very direct. I viewed the source material as the system of power. Encyclopedias in particular, contain a vast amount of information, but it is selective, and much equally important content is omitted. When working with the material I think about how the information was compiled and the methodology. I am ultimately thinking about information that is selectively left out. Much of the material I work with are the covers of the books. I refer to them as skins, and they define, and contain, the body of my work.
I find the evisceration of text in your work interesting given that you employ books as a symbol of knowledge. Can you talk a bit about this deconstruction and quieting of content?
The removal of the text pertains to numerous ideas that are competing for my attention. One thing that I think about are narratives which are not consistent with their contexts and do not fit. Deconstructing the material is a cathartic act as I physically handle these inconsistencies.
You stay within a limited color palette. Is this intentional? What is the significance of color within your practice?
The color is based upon what the material naturally gives me to work with. It is not intentional unless I choose to do some mixing of the source materials. Most of the time, the color palette is based upon the particular set of books with which I am working. Early in my work, I would typically construct a single piece from one set of books. More recently, I have been experimenting more with mixed materials to keep the aesthetic fresh. The color is not as important as the texture and other qualities of the material. I enjoy the challenge of working with a constantly changing source of materials.
Unbound is on view at the Studio Museum Harlem, New York through June 28, 2015. The TMR Benefit Exhibition is on view in Los Angeles through May 9, 2015.
Jones celebrated his first museum solo show last night when he debuted new ambitious works in his site specific installation Unbound big huge congratulations to Samuel and the great effort that went into this show!
Filmmakers Malik Hassan Sayeed and Arthur Jafa make a short film about Adrian Younge's analog universe.
So happy about my new curated art series at Soho House West Hollywood called ART IN 30. Once a month I sit down with an artist, art collective or curator who is helping to push the LA art scene forward. Last month I was thrilled to chat with FriendsWithYou who shared in depth that at the core of their practice is love, spirtuality, happiness and the pure intent on being "friends with you"
This month we had Hugo McCloud who recently took a studio in the city after screening the collaborative short film directed and scored by music maker Melo-X (its really really good) Hugo shared that his work is an investigation of other cultures by absorbing the culture through the process in which he makes things.
Both Kenturah Davis and Samuel Levi Jones are included in The Mistake Room's first biennial benefit exhibition. The opening of The Silence of Ordinary Things is March 28, 2015.
Other artists included in this group exhibition are Korakrit Arunanondchai, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Sadie Barnette, Neil Beloufa, Ed Clark, William Cordova, Petra Cortright, Mario Garcia-Torres, Samara Golden, Sayre Gomez, David Hammons, JPW3, Isaac Julien, Glenn Kaino, Matsumi Kanemitsu, Lucia Koch, Oscar Murillo, Jackie Nickerson, Eamon Ore-Giron, Neil Raitt, Fay Ray, Analia Saban, Aaron Sandnes, Eduardo Sarabia, Melanie Smith, Vivian Suter, Henry Taylor, Diana Thater, Hank Willis Thomas and Liat Yossifor.
Casey Jane Ellison is hilarious! Touching the Art is fantastic for laughing at the way women in the art world are supposed to look and behave. Michelle has starred in an episode, but this one about biennials and triennials cracks us up....
Samuel Levi Jones opens at the Studio Museum in Harlem March 26th with a solo exhibition titled Unbound.
For Unbound, Jones presents four new works that are his largest yet, and utilize law textbooks disassembled into their structural components. Spines and covers form wall-to-wall painting-like works mounted on canvas or adhered directly to the wall (Unbound, Jaded and Don’t Feel Right), and pages are processed and molded into an assemblage (Reformation). In the three wall works, form and materiality are emphasized, while function and value are called into question—the books have been stripped of authoritative identity. These works engage recent criticism of the law and the justice system with respect to human rights and social welfare.
Reformation differs from the other works but displays a similar theme of destruction in service of newly imagined forms. Jones took pages from the books—literally, their content—and processed them in an industrial pulping machine. He then slowly dried the wet, shredded paper mixture in shipping crates, which transformed the pulpy gray matter into a large, solid mass. The weight, illegibility and presence of the installation suggest the metaphorical burden of the law, in which those not educated in legal procedure or jargon must face the impenetrability of the legal system. Jones points out the inaccessibility of some forms of knowledge, and strives to create an inclusive space by rendering indeterminate the authority that such knowledge appears to confer.
Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound is organized by Naima J. Keith, Associate Curator.
Lakwena was recently interviewed by Daily Metal magazine, a snippet is below, click the photo for the full article.
"You keep mentioning a broader audience being attracted by art. Is that what you are trying to do? Get a wider audience to experience art?
Well, I don't think art should be elitist and the idea that only a small group of people would see my work doesn't excite me. It seems boring and narrow. That's why I'm so grateful for every opportunity to paint in a public space. On the other hand, I also like the gallery space. Just before the LA show I kept thinking that it's nice to be able to have complete control over a space. What's exciting about galleries is how clean and clear they are and how you can completely construct an environment. At the same time, despite a gallery’s infinite possibilities, you have to remember that art is never neutral and always has a context. So, even though the gallery might act as a white box, it's still located on a particular street, in a specific neighbourhood etc. In this particular case, the gallery happened to be in LA, the heart of the film industry. Hollywood is the home of cinema, where all those people who are telling stories that get sent all over the world are. It felt poetic that I was showing these pieces in the same city. I like to respond to what's happening around me and not make art in a bubble. I didn't intentionally set out in the beginning to respond to LA, but it seems like the connection slowly unfolded."
Studio Squared is a series of informal art-making workshops aimed at making a wide range of studio practices accessible to adult audiences. Each workshop focuses on a particular theme and creative process inspired by our exhibitions, and explores methods of creative production through an experiential approach.
Exhibiting artist and ninth recipient of the Alexander Wein Artist Prize Samuel Levi Jones will lead a paper pulping and book(un)binding workshop to illustrate the tactile processes he employs in fabricating works for his site-specific project, Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound. In his practice, Jones reworks diverse source materials—from encyclopedias and law books to technical manuals—and literally deconstructs these widely published arbiters of authenticity to challenge the relevance and accuracy of certain historical records. Through this practice of omission and the fracturing of information, Jones is able to forge a more personal alliance with the materials. In this workshop, Jones will work with program participants to examine their own attachments to materials from their personal archives. No experience is necessary, however, please bring your own selection of paper source materials with you to the workshop.
Helping to facilitate the hands-on portion of this workshop will be a group of students from Urban Studio, a collective of artists based in the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fine Arts Department that creates and nourishes professional development through emphasizing participation and collaboration. The students’ knowledge of book binding and paper making will help explore new layers of Jones’s process. They will also lend their own unique perspectives on the art of the book and introduce alternative techniques for consideration.
RSVP to email@example.com to pre-register.
Duro Olowu, has unveiled a new fashion film in support of his recent Spring/Summer 15 collection. It is beautiful.
Emerging London artist Lakwena Maciver has been making a name for herself with her bold, text-based murals. After traveling the globe with her street art, the artist recently touched down in LA for her solo show, “I Remember Paradise,” on view at Papillion Art through March 15.
The large-scale wood relief paintings in the exhibition evoke the vibrance of Maciver’s outdoor works with their contrasting patterns and bright colors. With short messages at the center of each piece, her catchy, design-heavy paintings call to mind contemporary advertising. While appropriating this aesthetic, the artist liberates her slogans from any corporate affiliation and uses them to promote positive thinking.
A sound installation Maciver created in collaboration with musician Abimaro accompanies the paintings in the exhibition. The interactive work explores the harmonious relationship between the first and fifth note on a scale, adding another dimension of experience to the positive vibes of “I Remember Paradise.”
written by: Nastia Voynovskaya
The Los Angeles Times review of Lakwena Maciever's I REMEMBER PARADISE solo exhibition.
The sense of adventure in Lakwena Maciver's universe
by Christopher Knight
Seven recent paintings by London-based artist Lakwena Maciver, who often goes by just her first name, fairly shout. They’re homemade street signs, a deft cross between commercial logos and personal emblems.
Lakwena paints in flat colors on wood panels. The hues are as bright as a Technicolor rainbow.
They’re applied as stripes, checkerboards, targets, giraffe-like squiggles, lightning bolts and zigzags. One painting -- the largest, 16 feet wide and composed from six panels that happily overwhelm the small room -- is adorned with big, dangling sequins. Their shimmer and shine are animated by a pair of electric fans that create an artificial breeze.
Each painting carries a text in raised letters. What links them is their future orientation.
“Imagine eternity.” “Build to last.” “The best is yet to come.” “Faded glory.” “Wake me up.” “I repeat.” In Lakwena’s visually excited paintings, the present urges looking toward tomorrow.
“Just passing through,” blares the big sequined painting in trumpeted lettering. Indeed, we are -- both at the gallery and in life.
These big, jaunty paintings couldn’t be happier or more enthusiastic about the prospect. At a time when so much else seems fraught and troubled, Lakwena’s welcome art advocates for an insistent sense of open-eyed adventure.
Lakwena Maciver will open her solo exhibition next month, January 17th. Get to know the artist a little more in this interview done by Design Indaba.
London-based artist Lakwena Maciver’s huge outdoor murals may be influenced by the exuberant scale of neon signs in Las Vegas but her most recent work, commissioned for the Africa Calling exhibition at London’s Southbank, drew on her African heritage.
Maciver visited family’s home in Uganda for the first time as an adult and her installation for the exhibition is bred out of this experience. During her trip she snapped photos of patterned minibus taxis and the intricate grille work on building facades.
For Africa Calling – curated by Kathy Shenoy of ethical online store Shake the Dust and Liezel Strauss of Subject Matter Art and the My Japan photographic project – she presented three small wooden-panel paintings. Emblazoned with the words “karibu” (“welcome” in Swahili) and “paco” (“home” in the Ugandan dialect of Acoli), they are rendered in striking colours and graphic patterns.
“These pieces are a way of processing what I experienced there and the idea of ‘home’. They’re about understanding who I am and where I come from.”
Her body of work centres on signage, language and social phrases. “Language is really important in what I do,” she told Design Indaba in this interview in London. “Words, typography and language – the meaning and the actual visual look of words.”
She creates work in multiple media that lives inside galleries, on the street and sometimes on apparel and products for brands such as Adidas, Converse, Diesel, Palladium Boots, Red Bull and Toms.
Maciver’s street murals are titanic and painted in brilliant colours reminiscent of early Technicolor films. The first one she ever painted, saying “I Remember Paradise” on a wall in Miami, has lettering that is taller than her.
The London-based designer grew up predominantly in England but she is preoccupied with things that reference her African roots.
Her aesthetic is made up of bold graphics, geometric fields, text and bright colours: “This is influenced by what I saw growing up and what appealed to me – which were the things that referenced my African heritage.”