Monday, July 2, 2012

Five Quick Answers To Frequently Asked Questions about 54

1. Where does the title "54" come from? 
It is named after the "54th" Venice Biennale.  The 2011 (54th) Venice Biennale and the surrounding city  is the backdrop of film and referenced in many of the artworks as well.  The number 54 is also significant to the central character in the film's narrative.

2. Why the Venice Biennale for the cinematic intervention, there are so many biennials?
It is considered to be one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. It is the oldest biennial, beginning in 1895.   It is also situated in a beautiful and historically-rich city. Venice as a city and Venice the Biennial both have no shortage of controversy.  Designed as a speculative gesture, the original Venice Biennale organizers attempted attract the affluent to the island city and recharge their tourist economy with the lure of new contemporary art market.  The Venice Biennale has a complex exhibition model that increases the scope of  our critique. The model includes:  1. Nation/State-supported Pavillions (based on the World Fair and Exposition model. 2. A thematically-curated international exhibition. 3. Approved collateral exhibitions situated throughout the city.  4. A healthy history of interventions, demonstrations, and penetrations.  

3. What is the film's narrative about?
The film's dark nonlinear narrative and cast are linked together by a central character wandering through the landscape of Venice, Italy attempting to make sense of the system that has chosen him and the tasks set out before him. In this sci-fi inspired “art world” coded observations, memories, and fantasies intersect with reality. The film’s narrative and related artwork combine relevant La Biennale di Venzia histories and themes with our experiences in Venice during the 54th Biennale.   We want to present it first as an immersive installation, then as a traditional single channel film. The immersive film installation blends narrative, cinema vèrité, improvised experimental cinematic styles and interactive technology. Intervention, homage, appropriation, and collaboration are important tactics in the making of the film. 

4. How will the final installation work?
The installation technology is responsive to the movements, positions, and number of visitors in the space. These variables control the audio and visual and elements of the film including the sequence of the narrative. We want the audience to be positioned as the "editor" of the film and have a different experience each time they engage the work.

5. What are some core thematic concerns?
The project explores the growing global perennial exhibition phenomenon (biennials, triennials, pentennials, etc.). We are especially focused on the socioeconomic and political systems that control them and the effects these exhibition models have on art, artists, audiences and broader culture. As a cumulative project, 54 echoes questions raised by artists, curators, and writers regarding perennials deployed worldwide. Specifically, questions addressing access, perpetuity, communication, desire, power, place, affiliation, and participation. Questions like: Who has access to perennials and conversely who is excluded and why? Should they be doing this again and again? What are the messages communicated at perennials and can they be subverted? What do we really want from a perennial experience? Who controls perennials and how do they benefit?  Is it really one place after another? Can we play too?

Visit for more info about 54

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Venice Beach Biennial

The Venice Beach Biennial (VBB)


The Venice Beach Biennial (VBB), a weekend event that makes tongue-in-cheek reference to the “real” Venice Biennale in Italy, will treat the famed Venice Beach boardwalk, Ocean Front Walk, as an outdoor exhibition venue. Over the course of the weekend over 50 fine artists will set up vending stands alongside veteran boardwalk artists, exhibiting new bodies of work, collaborating with the veterans on new projects, displaying site-specific sculptures or installations, and presenting live performances. Directed by Hammer curator Ali Subotnick.
The famed Ocean Front Walk is a promenade along Venice Beach with a rich history and undeniably funky atmosphere—and it’s also an ideal, if unconventional, location for a large-scale interdisciplinary outdoor exhibition. The boardwalk is officially recognized as a “Free Speech and Expression Zone” and there is a regulated system, which aims to allow performers, entertainers, and free expressionists to exhibit and sell their own original and constitutionally protected merchandise, in over 200 spaces marked along the beach side of the boardwalk. A recent city ordinance has fine-tuned the definition of “art” and nominal works that are permitted in the vending spaces, which has brought back many artists that had previously been driven out by commercial vendors.
VBB takes artists accustomed to showing in galleries and museums out of their comfort zone, and encourages them to consider their work in a new context. The veteran boardwalk artists will play an active role in this weekend event, and all artists will be working under the same conditions and regulations. Artists may also collaborate with shop owners and restaurateurs to present site-specific projects, interventions, murals, and wall projects. This exhibition will instigate new connections and dialogue between disparate artistic communities and audiences that could potentially sustain itself and deepen over time. Projects will be presented on the boardwalk proper as well as in the Recreation and Parks area near Windward Plaza (adjacent to Muscle Beach and the Graffiti Wall).
Projects in formation include:
• Ceramicist 
Matthias Merkel Hess will show handmade ceramic versions of items often sold on the boardwalk and everyday objects, such as sunglasses, towels and six-pack rings.
Evan Holloway with Julian Valdivieso will present a performance collaboration with the bodybuilders at famed Muscle Beach.
Barbara Kruger poses existential questions in the form of stickers adhered to the ground.
Cara Earl will sell miniature sculptures inspired by popular Mexican saint figurines, which she has created in the guise of the world’s most wanted terrorists.
Nick Herman turns to the tradition of scouring the sand with metal detectors and plans to display his treasures in a vending space.
Jason Meadows is constructing a two-headed bicycle, a bit like a push-me pull-you, two bikes sharing one front wheel.
Carter Mull will set up a photo booth on the boardwalk in which visitors may have their photo taken in the manner of obituary photographs.
Drew Heitzler and Sam Sharit will debut a new video animation in an Ocean Front Walk tattoo parlor.
Jennifer Rochlin will present ceramic tiles inserted into recesses on the facade of the public restrooms.
Veteran boardwalk artists include:
Arthure Moore’s best-selling painting, Funky Pussy, features a cat giving “the finger,” and is the main identity for VBB. Moore also makes “funky” paintings of iconic figures such as the Mona Lisa and Muhhamed.
Albert Culbertson and Indira Burgos make paintings and boxes with imagery burned into wood using a magnifying glass and sunlight.
RA Superstar shows vibrant paintings mixing abstract expressionism and Pop Art.
Giles Williams creates inventive sculptures using palm fronds.
Flewnt makes mixed media assemblages using found metal, wood and other everyday material.
Vlada Stanisavlevic a.k.a. Danny Z produces lifelike portraits in airbrush as well as surreal landscapes populated by imaginary creatures.
Mr. TV presents a vaudevillian, satirical performance viewed through an open-air TV set.
Winston the Portraitist draws exquisite charcoal portraits in under ten minutes.
* = Boardwalk artists
**= Artists that are also in Made in L.A. 2012
Lisa Anne Auerbach
Robby Herbst
Loretta Ayeroff
Chelsea Beck
& Kurt Mueller
Larry Bell
Edgar Bryan
Jed Caesar
Timothy Caldwell*
Matt Chambers
Claude Collins-Stracensky
Liz Craft
Rip Cronk*
Albert Culbertson
& Indira Burgos*
Nathan Danilowicz
Dave Deany
Cara Earl
Marc Fichou
Finishing School
with Devon Tsuno
Eve Fowler
Abel Galindo*
Scott Grieger
Katie Grinnan
Mark Grotjahn
Mark Hagen
& Scott Benzel**
Drew Heitzler & Sam Sharit
Nick Herman
Roger Herman
Matthias Merkel Hess
Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle*
Evan Holloway with
Julian Valdivieso
Charles Irvin
Alex Israel
Albert Culbertson & Indira Burgos*
Louis Jean-Paul*
Matt Johnson
Barbara Kruger
Joel Kyack
& Michael Decker
Nery Gabriel Lemus*
Chris Lipomi
Burton Machen
Lauren Marsolier
Anna Mayer
Jason Meadows
Jean Joseph Monfort*
Pentti Monkkonen
Arthure Moore*
Mr. TV*
Carter Mull
Renée Petropoulos
RA Superstar*
Jennifer Rochlin
Ry Rocklen*
Alexis Smith
Gary Soszynski*
SKY (Stacey Kai Young)*
Vlada Stanisavlevic
a.k.a. Danny Z*
Monique Van Genderen
Venice Beach Pothead*
Erika Vogt*
Giles Williams*
Winston the Portraitist*
Brenna Youngblood*
& Eamon Ore-Giron
Ocean Front Walk
The Venice Beach Biennial is made possible by the Teiger Foundation.