Millie Wilson / Bari Ziperstein / Vincent Johnson

March 27-April 24, 2010

Main Gallery
I am not here anymore but I am fine

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present I am not here anymore but I am fine, a new solo exhibition by Millie Wilson. An artist who uses installation, her work has primarily sought a relationship between modernist art practices and modernity’s production of deviance, particularly regarding lesbian stereotypes. Wilson has used humor, parody, and beauty as disruptive strategies to insist on a dyke presence in postmodern revisionism, mixing queer girl culture with modernism to intervene critically.

Recently, Wilson has shifted her investigation to a more iconic way of looking, creating a digital archive- or “inventory of consciousness”- comprised of approximately 13,000 family and other vernacular photographs gleaned from the internet. She has  collected and sorted the pictures to allow an array of possible readings ranging from formal qualities, gestures, and normative relations (i.e. “daddy’s girl photographs”) to industry, labor, holidays, manufactured objects,  gender, oddities/anomalies,  “ghosts”, and the telling detail.

For Las Cienegas Projects, Wilson’s appropriated, mostly black and white photographs are presented as 20 small light box transparencies in a darkened gallery surrounding a large chrome cage sculpture. Full of apothecary and other glass objects, the sculpture catches light and refers  to  the Wunderkammer– “cabinets of wonder”. These 17th and 18th century colonial collections were precursors to the modern museum, chosen and arranged by the wealthy. I am not here anymore but I am fine presents one layer of possible relationships in the photographic archive, with formal and aesthetic choices at work, much in the way the Wunderkammer objects might have been constructed, in search of an underlying yet subjective order. Wilson points out that what is shown in the picture and what is not shown but alluded to allows the possibility of something else/the uncanny to emerge upon further inspection.

Millie Wilson has exhibited her work internationally and is Regular Faculty at the School of Art at CalArts. Select exhibition venues include the Whitney Museum of American Art, Matthew Marks Gallery,  the New Museum of Contemporary Art, White Columns, Walker Art Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, SITE Santa Fe/Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Santa Monica Museum of Art and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. She has received numerous grants including an NEA Visual Artists Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship and a City of Los Angeles Artist Grant. Wilson lives and works in Los Angeles.

Millie Wilson would like to thank the Faculty Development Fund at CalArts for its generous support of this exhibition.

Photo by Robert Wedermeyer
Photo by Robert Wedermeyer

Project Space
Decorative Protection<Protecting Decoration

Found advertisements, 1980

Bari Ziperstein’s inventive sculptures explore, through collage aesthetics and the lens of domesticity, America’s love of excess and desire to collect.  For the Project Space at Las Cienegas Projects, Ziperstein will debut Decorative Protection < Protecting Decoration, a pair of forced perspective domestic window frames which transform a 33’ wall into a perceptual haven of uncanniness. While her previous work has been primarily concerned with the nature of domestic objects and the absurd culture of collecting, she now turns her attention to the domestic house itself, which protects those collected objects.  Here, Ziperstein’s windows are treated as sculptural portals between the private and public world – concerned with the economy and security of domesticity.

Influenced by a 1980’s decorative metal gate advertisement urging Los Angeles residents to buy ‘non prison-looking bars’ for a key to their own security, Ziperstein’s mutated tableaux depicts a pair of skewed windows transposed with a photographic view of a lusciously overgrown domestic garden in L.A., decades of debris collected and scattered about including lamps, cars, shoes, rotting wood, and stage sets.  This would-be future site of an archeologist’s dig on American culture is seen through a domestic curtain featuring hand-drawn security bars and offering sporadic views of the garden.  Two altered slip cast ceramic figurines adorn the windows, equally protected with decorative armor hats shielding their faces.  Engaging and fanciful, what initially appears as a celebration ultimately critiques the politics and economy of protecting ones security and domestic space.  Ziperstein asks us who, what, and why are we protecting ourselves from modern living if only to feed into a paranoid American culture?

Bari Ziperstein is a site-specific sculptor, photographer, collage, and ceramic artist who is interested in activating space through intervention and organization. Her artistic practice is engaged with the architectural history of Los Angeles and can be read as an investigation of how urban landscapes are defined by consumerism. A selection of recent solo shows includes Project Space, Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art at Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga (2010); Perk, See Line Gallery, Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles (2009); and (This Isn’t Happening) Popular Hallucinations For Your Home, Bank, Los Angeles (2007). Ziperstein holds an MFA from CalArts and double majored at Ohio University to receive a BFA in painting and a Women’s Studies Degree. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Back Room
Cold War Photomontages

Abomb (2nd Version), 2008. Photo montage, 30 in. X 40 in.

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Cold War Photomontages, a solo exhibition by Vincent Johnson. Johnson’s work is a form of sustained cultural mining that engages both significant and neglected historical and contemporary cultural artifacts and is based on an intensive research of his subjects. Recent photographic works delved into architecture as fantasy, from the vernacular architecture of Los Angeles to that found throughout the American West. He has documented several of the no longer extant commercial vernacular structures in both South Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley that came into existence during the birth of long distance family travel by car.

Johnson’s newest photographic works, presented in the Back Room at Las Cienegas Projects, are large-scale photographic montages, each of which confronts significant cultural figures and several dramatic signal events of Cold War era Western cultural history, including the advent of television, the launch of Sputnik and the Soviet space program, the American home-based bomb shelter program, and the war in Vietnam.  Gathering hundreds of found images from online sources, Johnson selects, juxtaposes and shifts in scale those images which best index the particular moment, personage or event.  A series of contrasting and rewarding visual modulations results in a flood of historical information, becoming a rigorous and relentlessly informative yet also poetic record.  Considering his use of found photography as a game that investigates both spoken and quiet language systems, Johnson also places emphasis on the human connection present in the work—that of the original photographer.

Vincent Johnson’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally including at LAXART, the Santa Monica Museum of Art; the P.S. 1 Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the SK Stiftung, Cologne; the Adamski Gallery of Contemporary Art, Aachen; the Studio Museum in Harlem; 18th Street Arts, Santa Monica; and the Boston University Art Gallery. Johnson received an MFA from Art Center College of Design in 1997 and BFA in Painting with studies in Avant-Garde Film History from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986.  He lives and works in Los Angeles.


Phelps, Calvin. Millie Wilson/Bari Ziperstein/Vincent Johnson at Las Cienegas Projects. The  New Gay, April 1, 2010

Tuck, Geoff. Notes on Looking, from the Fellows of Contemporary Art, April 22, 2010

One response to “Millie Wilson / Bari Ziperstein / Vincent Johnson

  1. Pingback: Harlem18th century | AlmeriaCity

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