Ken Gonzales-Day/Dorit Cypis

March 5-April 2, 2011

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present 2 new solo exhibitions including Ken Gonzales-Day: PROFILED and Dorit Cypis: A Symmetry.

Main Gallery

Ken Gonzales-Day, Untitled, (Pierre-Jean David d’Angers, Bust of Ann Buchan Robinson, Museum of the City of New York; Joseph Nollekens, Venus, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Malvina Hoffman, Japanese Woman [337087], The Field Museum, Chicago; Malvina Hoffman, Eskimo Woman [337060], The Field Museum, Chicago), 2011. Lightjet print,  43 x 120 in.

A professor is arrested for breaking into his own home in Cambridge, MA. He is black. A traveller in a turban is detained and searched by airport security. A man is pulled over and questioned by police on suspicion that he may be undocumented. A 13-year-old boy kills himself after years of anti-gay bullying.  Gleaned from recent events, of which we can find countless similar examples daily, this is the backdrop against which PROFILED, a solo exhibition by Ken Gonzales-Day, emerged.

While each of these cases appears to have been directly influenced by the appearance, dress, or behavior of the victims, their acts of violence, mistreatment, injustice, and cruelty are reminiscent of the positivist claims of eighteenth century authors like Petrus Camper, Kaspar Lavater, and George-Louis Leclerc, who argued that inner qualities determine outward appearances. In the decade since 9/11, “profiling” is once again at the center of political debates on everything from sexual orientation to terrorism and immigration reform, at a time when scholars and scientists have increasingly come to believe that sexual orientation is more than a “choice” and that race has more to do with culture than biology.

For this exhibition, Gonzales-Day clusters and combines large photographs of historical sculptural works that reflect the idealization of whiteness, the emergence of racial typologies, and the latent sensuality found in so many museum collections. The intermingling of collected 19th and early 20th century photographs of same-same sex couples with his own large-scale photographs of historic sculptures of satyrs, hermaphrodites, an Apollo, or a Venus, offers a timely response to debates about same-sex unions; the placement of a satyr with a wooly chapped cowboy helps to playfully reframe such obvious displays of masculinity, while an ancient hermaphrodite is set along side 19th century images of cross-dressing men and women.  Using works he photographed from The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Getty Villa, École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and the Field museum in Chicago (where he photographed the Malvina Hoffman Collection of sculptures from her 1933 exhibition, The Races of Mankind, in which Hoffman was commissioned to sculpt 104 distinct racial types as a permanent display), Gonzales-Day reconsiders the complex history of racial formation and gender normativity, providing a new perspective on what it means to be profiled in our own time.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be publishing Gonzales-Day’s monograph Profiled in June of 2011, as its second artist’s book in the PAC Prize Series.

Ken Gonzales-Day lives and works in Los Angeles. His interdisciplinary and conceptually grounded projects consider the history of photography, the construction of race, and the history of representational systems ranging from the lynching photograph to museum display. He received an MFA from UC Irvine, MA from Hunter College (C.U.N.Y), and was a fellow at the Whitney Museum’s ISP program.  He has shown extensively both nationally and internationally.

Select solo exhibitions include UCSD Art Gallery, San Diego; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles; LAXART, Los Angeles; CUE Art Foundation, NYC; Susanne Vielmetter Projects, Los Angeles; Deep River, Los Angeles; and White Columns White Room, NYC.  Select group exhibitions include How Many Billboards, MAK Center, West Hollywood; Phantom Sightings, LACMA, Los Angeles; Encuentro Hemispherico, Bogota; Under Erasure, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin; Under Pain of Death, Austrian Cultural Forum, NYC; ArtMediaPolitique, DIX291, Paris; Crimes of Omission, ICA Philadelphia; Exile of the Imaginary: Aesthetics, Politics, Love, Generali Foundation, Vienna; Civil Restitutions, Thomas Dane Gallery, London; Log Cabin, Artists Space, NYC; Made in California, LACMA, Los Angeles, among others.

Further reading and press:

Holly Myers, In the Studio: Ken Gonzales-Day, Los Angeles Times, Feb 13, 2011

Sharon Mizota, Art Review: Ken Gonzales-Day at Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2011

Peter Frank, Haiku Reviews: Peter Frank and George Heymont On Theatre And Painting, Huffington Post, April 8, 2011

Project Space
A Symmetry
Dorit Cypis, A Symmetry (Europe), 2011

What do a letter by Lord Byron, a letter from King George V, a Weeping Beech tree in Hyde Park, London, a silver box engraved with Arabic text, pre-biblical urns and vessels, post enlightenment European porcelain, and a tree in Yosemite National Park have in common?  Each item plays a part in the asymmetrical time-line narrative of A Symmetry, a philosophic exercise on making sense, or non-sense, of unfathomable collective cultural-political histories via personal objects that confound as they illustrate.

A Symmetry continues Dorit Cypis’ exploration of the psycho-physical-social aspects of history, knowledge and experience, drawing on details revealed in her recent performance The Artist and Her Archives, which was presented at the conclusion of a research residency, FabLab (looking for patterns), at 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, California. A Symmetry, a further iteration developed for Las Cienegas Projects, is a time line of photographs charting when the seven objects (named above), chosen from the artist’s personal archive, were created, sighted, and/or obtained. What confound the linear indexing of these objects are the stories behind each one that weave a labyrinthine path of personal, historical, and political dimensions.

Dorit Cypis has used performative strategies, photography, and social sculpture to explore identity as psychophysical and political since the 1980’s. Her work has been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, International Center of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Orange County Museum, Walker Art Center, Musee d’Art Contemporain/Montreal, Musee desBeaux Arts/Bruxelles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Orange County Museum of Art, in addition to international galleries and artist spaces. Cypis has taught on the topics of identity, representation, social relations, and conflict transformation at universities and colleges across the USA as well as in Canada, Holland, France, Switzerland, and Israel.  She is currently teaching at Otis Center for Art and Design.

Cypis has designed and directed public programs including Kulture Klub Collaborative, Minneapolis, 1992-1998, (artists working with homeless youth to develop their capacity for creative expression) and Foundation for Art Resources, FAR, Los Angeles, 1979-1982, (assisting artists to work collectively and to situate art in the public domain). She earned an MFA (1977) from Californian Institute of the Arts, and after completing a Masters of Dispute Resolution (2005), Cypis founded and currently directs Foreign Exchanges, developing tools of engagement across personal and cultural differences.

Cypis has received numerous awards and fellowships, i.e. National Endowment for the Arts, Japan Foundation, Bush, McKnight, Jerome, Ordway and Durfee Foundations, City of Los Angeles Cultural Arts, and Fellows of Contemporary Art.  She is Chair of the Middle East Initiative, Mediators Beyond Borders.


Peter Frank, Haiku Reviews: Peter Frank and George Heymont On Theatre And Painting, Huffington Post, April 8, 2011

Photography © Fredrik Nilsen


THE ARCHAIC REVIVAL Curated by Dani Tull

January 29-February 26, 2011

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to announce The Archaic Revival, a group exhibition curated by Los Angeles-based artist Dani Tull.

The term Archaic Revival is a reference to Terence Mckenna’s 1992 book The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History, which hypothesizes that civilization’s current state of distress has resulted in a grappling into our collective memory and the “morphic resonance” of our past 3.5 million years for steading metaphors that reconnect us to the entelechy of the planet: the Gaian mind. Terence Mckenna (1946–2000) was an American writer, philosopher, ethnobotanist, mystic and prophet who advocated paths of shamanism and the use of plant-based psychedelics as a means of increasing many forms of human awareness.

The Archaic Revival incorporates a wide array of cultural models and technologies such as shamanism, pantheism, pagan ritual, alchemy and magic as well as the 20th century avant-garde art movements of jazz, surrealism, and cubism (with its glorification of the primitive, modern anthropology). More recently, the expanding power of the internet and new media technologies have also become powerful tools that infuse and ignite ancient and contemporary understandings of tribal connectivity, inspiring a sense of global coherence, along with a brewing notion of a new cyber-mystical domain of “infomysticism” and “techgnosis”. Furthermore, indigenous ceremonial medicines once misused as “psychedelic drugs” have become re-contextualized in Western culture as sacramental “entheogens”, while tribal festivals, ecstatic dance, and a flourishing awareness of critical environmental issues and sustainable living have reawakened our traditional attitudes toward nature. Perhaps most interestingly, Mckenna’s Archaic Revival signifies the eventual breakdown of the pattern of male dominance and hierarchy based on “animal organization,” and takes us back to the ideal of a vegetational “Earth Goddess”.

The Archaic Revival features 31 established and emerging artists and performers from Los Angeles, Portland, and Rotterdam whose works can be considered as manifestations of a burgeoning dialogue from within the collective subconscious of contemporary art. The artists in the exhibition use allegorical code, sacred plant knowledge, magic and an untethered glossolalia, while their works intuit mysticism, alchemy, fetishistic processes, prophecy, and even humor.

The artists of The Archaic Revival call upon their ancestors to find their footing into the future, a future that is undoubtedly becoming stranger and more uncertain. And as humanity ponders the possibility of its own extinction, we find ourselves reaching back through history and mythology to find a greater affinity with our own genesis.

–Dani Tull

The exhibition will also feature special musical performances
and ceremonial happenings:

Saturday Jan 29
“Mujical” performance
by featherbeard during opening reception

Friday Feb 4, 7:30 pm
Oracle readings by Maja D’aoust and “Spectral Psychography”
by Christian Cummings and Michael Decker

Sunday Feb 13, 1:00 pm
Ceremonial Earth Acupuncture Dream Journey
by Urban Shaman Eric Baumgartner

The Entrance Band


***See THE ARCHAIC REVIVAL promotional commercial***
on Vimeo

on YouTube

The Archaic Revival, review by Doug Harvey, Modern Painters, February 10, 2011 (on
Sarah Cromarty, Ka-dinh and Mia, 2011. Mixed media on panel, 8 x 4 ft.
Liz Craft, I’m #1, 2010. Ceramic, 10 x 6 in.
Installation view. Left to right- Brian Randolph, Arc, 2009, ink on paper, 38 x 20 in.; Wreath, 2011, ink on paper, 29 x 30 in.; Trinity, 2010, ink on paper, 30 x 20 in.; (Jim Shaw and  Amy Sarkisian  works, see below)
Amy Sarkisian, The Gods, 2004. Foam, beads, adhesive, paint. 54 x 9 x 7 in. ea.
Jim Shaw, Devil is in the Details, 2011.  Airbrush and ink on panel, 24 x 24 in.
Installation view.  In foreground, left- Mindy Shapero, Totem Vision, 2010.  Wood, steel, glass mosaic, 10′ x 15″ x 12″; center- Stephen McCarty, Sacred Canometry, 2011. Steel cans, rivets, wire, coconuts, 24 x 24 x 8 in.
Pentti Monkkonen, Mill, 2010.  Cotton, 42 x 50 in. and Erie Canal, 2010.  Cotton, 40 x 49 in.
Sandeep Mukherjee, Untitled (Oblique 1), 2011.  Acrylic and embossed drawing on duralene, 60 x 54 in.
Installation view.  Left to right-  Anna Sew Hoy, Ghost Table, 2011.  Glazed ceramic, wood, and fabric; Michael Decker, The Night When All Cows are Black…, 2011. Found and altered wood, 64 x 55 x 4 in.; Francesca Gabbiani, Gold Rush, 2009. Colored paper, gouache on paper, 55 x 58 in.
Wendell Gladstone, Life Cycle, 2010.  Acrylic on canvas, 65 x 45 in.
Marnie Weber, The Earth Became the Sun and We Rejoiced As Beings of Light, 2010. Collage and acrylic paint on paper, 40 x 26 in.
Left to right- Thaddeus Strode, Commencement, 2011.  Mixed media on canvas, 20 x 16 in. ea.; Stephen McCarty, Sacred Canometry, 2011. Steel cans, rivets, wire, coconuts, 24 x 24 x 12 in.; Marnie Weber, The Earth Became the Sun and We Rejoiced As Beings of Light, 2010. Collage and acrylic paint on paper, 40 x 26 in. (rocks: foam, foamcoat and acrylic acrylic paint, dim’s variable)
Pearl Hsiung, Kabloom, 2010. Oil-based enamel on canvas, 40 x 30 in.
Allison Schulnik, Sad Hobo, 2010.  Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 in.
Alia Penner, Window #3, Window #2, Door, and Window #1.  All 2010, oil on panel
Landon Wiggs: Vanity, Unknown Drama, 2009-2011. Mirror, wood, steel, iron filings, charcoal, urethane, vermiculite, rice flour, glass, taxidermy, 86 x 58 x 30 in.; Fry We Buy You, 2008-2011.  Glass, wood, LED, 85 x 42 x 13 in.; As Is, Time-Space Capsules, 2010-2011. Volcanic ash, vermiculite, rice flour, glass, urethane, wood, 53 x 13 x 11 in. and 33 x 20 x 24 in.
Installation view.  Left- Chromium Dumb Belle, various works (Sun Arrows and Cocoons; Lady Vesuvius; Sunbonnet; Archeaon; Aurora Goddess of Dawn; and The Virgin of Heliopolis) 2010-11, mixed media, dim’s variable; Chromium Dumb Belle, Sun Testament, 2011. Video, 3 min.  Right- Landon Wiggs,  various works (see above)
Charles Irvin, Truck Nutz Project Part 1, 2010.  Mixed media, 75 x 53 x 12 in.

Simon Leung/Nils Schirrmacher/Yvonne Rainer

December 17 – January 22, 2011
Main Gallery
Simon Leung
Simon Leung, POE. 2007/2010.

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present POE, Simon Leung’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles since 2002. Thinking of and with Edgar Allan Poe’s writing, life, and influence in relationship to a wide range of issues around political/aesthetic life, Leung essays a palimpsestic video and spatial response to Robert Smithson’s 1968 provocation that “Poe’s Narrative of A. Gordon Pym seems to (him) excellent art criticism and prototype for rigorous ‘non-site’ investigations.”

POE is Leung’s investigation of this legacy of the “site/non-site dialectic,” one of Smithson’s primary concepts that proposed a methodological realignment for artists from the 1960s onward. For Leung, who first encountered Smithson’s quotation in the ‘80s from Craig Owen’s theorization of the allegorical impulse in postmodernism, a re/turn to Poe was also prompted by the central position Poe holds in psychoanalysis and literary theory. Filmed in New York City, Poland (Poe Land), and Southern California, and addressing topics such as the 21st century American presence in Iraq; the congruence between historical, architectural, and psychic repression; and instability between “primary” and “secondary” orders of information, POE features performances by Yvonne Rainer, Warren Niesłuchowski, Hong-an Truong, Michael Ano, Marcus Civin, Sandy de Lissovoy, Kristine Thompson, Lara Odell, Grant Komjakraphan, and the late Gregory Poe.

This presentation of POE is the first time the work has been shown in its three-part form, with each channel containing a looped video segment that addresses a multivalent picturing of the non-site from within, not as irreducible entities that exist only in relationship to an originary “site,” but as transitions between registers. Each transitional passage, consisting of text (a quotation), image (a static scene), or story (a “secondary” narrative) is then repeated in the two segments that they border, acting both as anchors and exposed seams for the “primary” stories. This filmic distanciation, achieved through editing, is then repeated in visual terms in one of the segments when Leung uses the video green screen as a drawing machine, highlighting ways in which “picturing” is itself a site of struggle; and in spatial terms through the design of the viewing apparatus. Central to Leung’s thinking is how the video “green screen” and figures such as the “green zone” in Baghdad can be analyzed as parallel structures in which incommensurate realities are pushed up against each other to create the illusion of a seamless whole.

For the design of the installation, Leung returns to Poe’s description of the chasms in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym that so intrigued Robert Smithson. Toward the end of the novel, Poe resorts to using drawings, rather than language, to describe the gigantic chasms that the narrator cannot decide definitively as either geological formations or human compositions. In constructing the architectural viewing apparatus, Leung bases the design of the structure, conceived to flip between inside/outside/darkness/light, on one of these illustrations. After the design for the apparatus was determined, Leung commissioned artist Dewey Ambrosino to make the seating for POE. Working in collaboration with artist/designer Brendan Sowersby, Ambrosino and Sowersby designed the viewing lounges based on an interpretation of motifs described in Poe’s essay The Philosophy of Furniture and “the macabre and neurotic nature” of his other writings. The music accompanying the first of Yvonne Rainer’s dance sequences is by composer Mark Behm; the choreography is Rainer’s own.

Simon Leung was born in Hong Kong and studied at UCLA, Columbia University, and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. He has presented solo exhibitions at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Pat Hearn Gallery, and the Huntington Beach Art Center, and has also exhibited at NGBK (Berlin), Generali Foundation (Vienna), Sala Mendoza (Caracas), 1a Space (Hong Kong), the Munich Kunstverein, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles). He participated in the Guangzhou Triennial (2008), the Luleå Summer Biennial (2005), the Venice Biennale (2003), and the Whitney Biennial (1993). In 2008, he received a Guggenheim fellowship as an artist, and the Art Journal Award from the College Art Association as the author of his essay “The Look of Law.” He has taught in the Studio Art Department at UC Irvine since 2001.

The presentation of Simon Leung’s project POE was supported by a Durfee Foundation Artists’ Resource for Completion Grant.

Press                                                                                                                                                Jenny Lin, Simon Leung: POE, Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles. X-tra Magazine, Vol 13, Number 4, Summer 2011 

(installation photos by Nicolas Marques)

Project Space
Nils Schirrmacher
Nils Schirrmacher, Bungalow 1, 2008. Inkjet prints, acrylic on illustration board,                         30 X 40 inches

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Nils Schirrmacher. Underlying Schirrmacher’s work is an interest in the attempts of cultures and individuals to place consciousness within the contexts of meaning and purpose, and the factors that can undermine such endeavors. Comprised of 4 photomontages, the work involves the artist’s comparative study of two extreme ideologies: the utopianism that flourished in Californian colonies during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the totalitarianism of Nazi Germany. The structures depicted here are conflations of buildings that pertain to this history.

The artist uses a multi-step process to construct his images: reconstructing the subject matter in miniature, documenting the model with photographs, dissecting the photos, and then reassembling the image using collage and retouching. Architectural sources include a portable chicken coop designed by Charles Weeks, founder of two utopian colonies, and the sole architectural remnant of German Town, a group of structures replicating German housing that were built to test incendiary bombs during World War Two. While investigating the drives that are common to both utopian and totalitarian impulses, Schirrmacher uses architecture to mark the intersection of landscape and the perceived cultural destinies of groups engaged in utopian and fascist regimes.

Nils Schirrmacher is a Los Angeles artist who uses scale models, photography, and collage to explore historical responses to the dilemma of consciousness. He received a BFA in Sculpture from California College of the Arts, and an MFA from UC Irvine. Recent exhibitions include “Glue, Paper, Scissors” at Cal State LA’s Luckman Gallery.

Back Room
Yvonne Rainer
Not Much To Look At

Yvonne Rainer’s “Not Much To Look At” is a 25-minute sound installation consisting of a comfortable couch, two headphones, and a CD player. A collaboration between Rainer and electronic composer Quentin Chiappetta, it comprises the soundtrack of her latest dance for six people, “Assisted Living: Good Sports 2”, which will have its world premiere at the Pompidou Museum in January 2011.

Koki Tanaka & Naotaka Hiro / Kaz Oshiro / John Tottenham

November 12 – December 11
 Taft, Catherine.  Koki Tanaka and Naotaka Hiro, Las Cienegas Projects.  Artforum International, February 2010.
 Taft, Catherine. Catherine Taft’s Top 10 Shows In Los Angeles: December 2010.  Saatchi Online Magazine, December 1, 2010.
 Grundy, Gordy. Laughing at the Artwork of John Tottenham., December 3, 2010.
Schad, Ed. Deceiving the Eye: Kaz Oshiro and Steve Wolf: Part 1. ArtSlant, Los Angeles (, December 13, 2o1o.

Main Gallery
Koki Tanaka: Random Hours, Several Locations
& Naotaka Hiro: Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain
(2-person show)
Koki Tanaka, still from Everything Is Everything, single channel version, 2006/2007. HDV transfered to DVD, 6 minutes and 21 seconds

Koki Tanaka: Random Hours, Several Locations

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Koki Tanaka’s new video/sculpture installation, Random Hours, Several Locations. Here, Tanaka takes 5 of his short performative videos, never shown in Los Angeles, and sets them amidst a sparse array of ubiquitous second hand furniture. The video works, which essentially ask us to consider looking from multiple viewpoints at universally basic actions such as how we use utilitarian objects or operate within our physical surroundings, are made all the more reflective set here amongst the articles, where Tanaka directs the viewer’s attention to bookshelf, bed frame, bench, table, and rack, and in the process imbues them with a more phenomenal presence.

Everything is Everything (2006-7), shot in several locations around Taipei city, consists of accumulated images of varied ways to use daily items: a mop is rotated by an arm, toilet paper flies by a fan, and a roll of aluminum foil is thrown from the stairs. Each and Every (2004) examines the complexities and essential nonlinearity in a day’s work of a Japanese cook. How to Draw a Line on the Road (2007), Turning the Lights on (2007) and Rooftop, Going up and Step down (2009) all look for alternative ways to approach, define or interpret the simple actions their titles imply. 

“Criss-crossing the personal with the universal is Tanaka’s style. He also happens to have an intuitive awareness of the energy of an everyday object, like an old lamp with its inherent memories, matched with an ability to shift that charge just by noticing its presence. He seduces us to pay attention as well.” (Amarie Bergman, from Turning the Lights On: Koki Tanaka at Centre A, White Hot Magazine, January 2008)

Koki Tanaka (b. 1975 in Tochigi, Japan) works primarily in site-specific video and installation, often taking a conceptual approach to explore everyday commodities and surroundings and create a visual sphere that challenges the mundane and rational embedded in the minds of viewers. He has shown widely in and outside Japan and the United States, including at the Mori Art Museum,Tokyo; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the Taipei Biennial, Taipei; the Asia Society, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. Tanaka was selected for the prestigious International Artist in Residency program at Palais de Tokyo in France in 2006, and is featured in Ice Cream: Contemporary Art in Culture, a selection of 100 of the most significant emerging artists today (PHAIDON Press, 2007). He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Naotaka Hiro: Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain

Naotaka Hiro, production still from Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain, 2010.            Mixed media

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Naotaka Hiro’s Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain. Hiro’s work is firmly grounded in the concept of the unknown, including the world of one’s own body parts, which we are–in most circumstances– unable to see and thus unable to confirm. In all of his works, this dilemma of the unknowability of the body serves as a creative point of departure; a place “of unknown, blind, awe”.

Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain is a continuation of Hiro’s previous Night and Fog series of video/sculpture, which dealt with disjuncture and the immortality of the body and was originally inspired by French filmmaker Alain Resnais’s gruesome Holocaust documentary Night and Fog (1955). This new installation consists of a video along with two bronze sculptures with gold patina, which are additionally used as sound instruments for the video.

Whereas in the previous pieces, Hiro composited a landscape comprised of various plastic stand-ins for body fragments, in this new work, Hiro now serves as a puppeteer of tube-stuffed meat, manipulating its movement as if it is an extension of the body and conjuring up images of wriggling intestines, extended genitals, and even unending excrement. The movement is recorded with a high-speed video camera at 210 frames per second. “His work, about bodily disconnection, is not subtle, nor does it spell out its “meaning.” It is poetic, difficult, and as unsettling as an earthquake of the three-to-four range on the Richter scale.” (Kathryn M. Davis, from Los Angeles: Capital of Contemporary Art?, THE Magazine, July 1, 2008)

Naotaka Hiro (b. 1972 in Osaka, Japan) currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He was educated at the Universitas Gadja Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 1996, and additionally holds a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Hiro’s most recent solo exhibitions include: Naotaka Hiro, The Box, Los Angeles (2008); Wrong Person, Misako & Rosen, Tokyo (2008); Knows Nothing, Misako & Rosen, Tokyo (2007); and Tokyo Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (1999).

Project Space
Kaz Oshiro
Home Anthology 2
Kaz Oshiro, Dumpster (Yellow with Blue Swoosh), 2010. Acrylic on stretched canvas over panel and caster wheels, 43″ x 75 1/2″ x 33 1/8″ inches

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Home Anthology 2, an installation of new painting works by Kaz Oshiro. Consisting of both an abstract and a representational painting, including a ‘Dumpster’ painting done at actual scale and volume, Oshiro’s acrylic and bondo, trompe l’oeil style works are done on box-shaped stretched canvases, and although sculptural, deal with the abstract qualities of surface and other traditional issues of painting: scuff marks, scratches, dust, finger prints and gooey marks on specific surface finishes, where, according to Oshiro, “All kinds of emotions are going on there and I’m attracted to painting them.”

Often 3-dimensionally depicting familiar objects or American subcultural artifacts such as Marshall amps, sticker-laden car bumpers, public garbage containers, and kitchen cabinets and appliances, Oshiro still insists on the importance of painting– as opposed to sculpture– in his practice and typcially reveals to the viewer the back side of the canvas on its stretchers as a reminder. Nonetheless, there is a coexistence of painting with sculpture, realism with abstraction, rational with emotional, pop with minimalism, and façade with reality that embodies these objects.

Kaz Oshiro (b.1967), has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 1986. He has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris; Yvon Lambert, New York; and Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica. His work has also been exhibited at the Tate St Ives, Cornwall, UK; the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinati; the Asia Society and Museum, New York; the Orange County Museum, Newport Beach; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 2008 his work was included in the Prospect.1 New Orleans. He holds a BA and MFA from California State University, Los Angeles.

Kaz Oshiro, Untitled Still Life (Abstract Painting in Turquoise, Duct Tape), 2010. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 20 1/2″ x 75 1/4″ x 19 1/2″

Back Room
John Tottenham
Paintings and Drawings
left- Passing Happy Hours, 2010.  Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches;  right- Walker #4, 2007.
Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches

Las Cienegas Projects is delighted to present a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by British artist and noted contemporary poet John Tottenham. Though mainly celebrated for his writing, Tottenham has quietly maintained a painting practice centered on figurative painting. This will be the first time these works have been shown in a contemporary art setting.

On display, set against elements of a Victorian salon-like environment, will be a series of small works on canvas inspired by early 20th century postcards: vulgar parodies of Victorian romantic scenes which hint at commentary on sexual politics; as well as a series of ‘walker’ paintings depicting female nudes holding prosthetic devices in sun-drenched rooms. A third series, entitled The Women in my Life, is composed of over a thousand bookmark-sized ink drawings on paper.

“Tottenham’s paintings and drawings of women with walkers are vulnerable characters searching merely for the strength to go on”, states artist and long-time friend Marnie Weber. “His ‘hand in mouth’ couples are smothering speech-filled hours in an attempt to create moments of silence, his thousands of drawings of women all carry a heartfelt beauty in the untrained manner in which they are rendered.” Weber adds: “I have both admired and been inspired by his outpouring of poetry, fiction, drawings and paintings over the course of time. I have witnessed firsthand his striving for acute honesty in perfectly aligning both language and pictorial imagery in order to create works of poignant beauty.”

After graduating from London’s worst art school in the mid-80s Tottenham moved to the United States and has resided here ever since, focusing mostly on literary endeavors, including art and film criticism. After many years of resistance, he finally sold out to the lucrative, fast-paced world of poetry, producing The Inertia Variations, an epic and ever-expanding poetic cycle on the subject of work-avoidance, indolence, failure and related topics. It was hailed as “a terrific collection” in the Guardian, “quiescent genius” by Mojo Magazine, and “comedy gold” in 3AM Magazine. A multi-media interpretation of the Inertias by English musician Matt Johnson (otherwise known as The The) is currently in production and a series of short 16mm films based on the work, directed by actor Adam Goldberg, will soon be making the rounds at film festivals.


The Road to Hell is Paved… (Group Show) / James Benning / Isabell Heimerdinger

October 9 – November 6, 2010

Main Gallery
Group Exhibition Curated by Biddy Tran

The Road to Hell is Paved… considers the impact of hegemonic practices on societies, cultures, and individuals that result in marginalization and subordination. In this exhibition, various artists explore these issues, exposing and articulating the resultant fallout that this practice leaves in its wake.  Artists deal with issues of colonialism and hegemony by investigating the underpinnings of conventions of representation, as well as utopian or colonialist ideals that perpetuate or produce economic and cultural oppression.

Dennis Adams appropriates two iconic gestures from the 1960 French film Breathless and reworks them to reflect the radical political context of that time. Using digital editing techniques, Adams calls attention to actress Jean Seberg’s real world affiliation with the Black Panthers, and the racial and political tension that culminates in the Algerian War of Independence.

Interview with Betty Ann extends Andrea Bowers’ interest in storytelling. But this time she turns the camera on herself, recalling her correspondence with a woman bead artist that she met at the Arctic Village, in Alaska. In this video Bowers wrestles with issues of the subaltern in a problematic relationship with predominantly Eurocentric environmentalists’ attempts to collaborate with locals to fight against climate change. The work additionally examines her personal struggle as an author attempting to present biographical material relating to another woman unfamiliar with the language of power.

Michelle Dizon‘s work focuses on questions of postcoloniality, globalization, migration, social movements, human rights, and historical memory. Filmed at a Philippine gold mine, her two-channel video installation explores the transformation of raw material into value, the liberalization of third world economies, and the imperial specter that lives-on in the contemporary processes of globalization.

Charles Gaines attempts to reveal the political underpinnings of experiencing art by focusing on the linguistic structures that result in our ideas and feelings.

Joaquin Segura’s flag piece, Untitled (Flags of our Fathers, U.S Confederates-Angola), is part of a continuing series that is the result of a rigorous investigation on the heraldic elements that conflate the identities of an assortment of radical groups, ranging from the extreme right-wing to violent leftist organizations. Color patterns of the flags in which the US has exerted open or veiled military influence were also integrated into the various designs of the works. The work scrutinizes the “absurdity of absolute ideologies,” and the manipulation of “heraldic elements” that create conformed identities.

With Untitled (MP5K PDW), Nate Young explores a cultural obsession with violence, collapsing opposite poles into a single gesture and opening a space in which the binary opposition must be questioned in relation to cultural construction.

Stills from A Study of Gratification and Restraint No. 2 are a documentation of a collaborative video, in which Nery Gabriel Lemus and Nate Young further illustrate issues of racial tension, violence and gratification through the gradual and painstakingly literal consumption of weapons.

Back Room
John Krieg Exiting the Falk Corporation in 1972
James Benning, still from John Krieg Exiting the Falk Corporation in 1971, 2010.  HD video, tinted black and white, 71 min.

LCP is pleased to premier John Krieg Exiting the Falk Corporation in 1971, a new video by James Benning.  Benning has been making films and videos since 1970.

Project Space
Selling Chinese Cabbage
Isabell Heimerdinger, still from Good Friends, 2010. 35mm film shown on video, 4:30 min.

Selling Chinese Cabbage is an installation and ongoing series of works by German artist Isabell Heimerdinger. Comprised of three elements– Heimerdinger’s new film Good Friends; an artist book-making installation; and a postcard piece– the work was initiated during a recent trip to Beijing.

In Heimerdinger’s short film Good Friends, premiered earlier this year at Art Basel, a minimalist performance unwittingly takes place in a crowded Beijing restaurant, as two men swap tables during their meals and continue to eat as if nothing unusual has happened. The film’s highly decorative setting contrasts its open-ended plot, turning it into a dense visual experience. In Hidden Location II, a snapshot taken by the artist during a visit to the Great Wall of China is hidden within a series of postcards she purchased there. And for the exhibition’s opening reception, Heimerdinger will photocopy, fold and bind copies of her Chinese Cabbage, an artist book containing 23 drawings that narrate the gradual diminishing of a pile of cabbage during the course of a working day. At the same time, the drawings illustrate a rather contemplative daily life, contrasting the accelerated economic growth and power currently taking place in China. The book will be on sale throughout the exhibition.

The central theme in Heimerdinger’s practice has been the penetration of the cinematographic world and everyday reality, in which she concerns herself primarily with the figure of the actor. In photographic as well as cinematic testing setups, she plumbs the depths of the partly subtle differences between acted and authentic behavior, between role and identity, between posing and genuine expression. In doing so, she often uses strictly analog technologies, such as slides, Polaroid photography, and 16mm film.

Heimerdinger (b. 1963, Stuttgart, Germany) holds dual MFAs from the Academy of Visual Arts Düsseldorf, and CalArts, Los Angeles. She has held solo shows extensively both internationally and in Germany, including Hollywood ist ein Verb, Kunstverein Medienturm, Graz, Austria (2008); Anfang der Nacht, Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin (2007); and Trailer, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles (2004). Her film work has been screened in such notable venues as the Camden Art Center, London; the Arsenal, Berlin; and Centre Pompidou, Paris. A former Los Angeles resident (1993-1999), she currently lives and works in Berlin.

Matthias Merkel Hess / Annetta Kapon / Assemblage (Group Project)

September 4 – October 2, 2010

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present 3 new exhibitions including Matthias Merkel Hess: Devils Tower-LA (Main Gallery), Annetta Kapon: The Measure of Value (Back Room); and Assemblage (Project Space), a group installation organized by Steven Hull including work by Dewey Ambrosino, David Galbraith, Bill Komoski, Stefan Lochmüller and Marilyn Lowey.

Main Gallery
Devils Tower-LA
Devils Tower-LA Posters, 2010. Ink on paper, each poster one Merkel wide by 44 1/2″ tall

Devils Tower, America’s first official National Monument, makes its Los Angeles debut as Las Cienegas Projects presents Devils Tower-LA, a solo exhibition by Matthias Merkel Hess. The exhibition includes a sculpture, posters, and the Devils Tower-LA Trading Post.

Visitors to the show will see a massive, unfired clay sculpture of the Wyoming rock tower, a form of the monument popularized by the character Roy Neary in the 1977 Steven Spielberg film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Also on display will be ink-on-paper posters advertising the show and the Devils Tower-LA Trading Post, a gift shop set up within the exhibition. During the run of the show, the Trading Post will feature a variety of objects and small sculptures for sale, including an unlimited edition of small, glazed ceramic Devils Tower-LA Sculptures, and limited edition ceramic Devils Rocks that evoke the geometric, igneous rock columns of the Devils Tower. The Devils Tower-LA Trading Post accepts cash or check.

Matthias Merkel Hess (b. Iowa, 1978) is a Los Angeles-based artist. His work has been shown in the LA area at Steve Turner Contemporary, the 18th Street Arts Center, as part of the Design Loves Art program at the Pacific Design Center, and at the UCLA New Wight Gallery. He received an MFA from UCLA and a BA from the University of Kansas.

Back Room
The Measure of Value

Workers of the World, 2010. Steel, 24K gold, 122  x 1 ½ x 1 ½ inches (detail)
Annetta Kapon’s installation The Measure of Value incorporates photography, video, sculpture and silkscreen printing. The work aims to provoke thought about value, labor, globalization and internationalism.  Materials used in the installation, including steel, gold, and linen, reference historical, aesthetic, symbolic and relative value, while photography and video call into question the function and value of representation itself.

Setting up a dialogue in the exhibition between “actual” things and pictures or video of things, a number of questions are engaged: How do we measure value and how do we represent it? How does one define “actual” and what is the relationship between actual and represented? One could say that everything is a representation, or, conversely, that representation is impossible. The work considers the nature of such binaries, including the transactions and transformations between production and consumption, between one locality and another.

Born in Athens, Greece, Kapon lives in Los Angeles and has exhibited in the United States and abroad since 1982. Her work has been featured at Side Street Projects, Jewish Museum in Greece, the University of Chicago, LACE, Exit Art, RED CAT, Barnsdall Municipal Art Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, and the Biennale of Sydney among others. She has had solo exhibitions at Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Armstrong/Schoenheit, Institut Français and Zefxis in Greece, Carnegie Mellon University, U.C. Riverside, Southern Exposure, and the Numismatic Museum in Athens. Kapon received a BFA from Otis College and MFA from UCLA. She is the recipient of numerous artist residency fellowships, as well as WESTAF, Art Matters, Pollock/Krasner and California Community Foundation grants.

Project Space
Group installation organized by Steven Hull and including work by Dewey Ambrosino, David Galbraith, Bill Komoski, Stefan Lochmüller, and Marilyn Lowey
Artist Steven Hull has asked five other artists who work in various mediums and locations to come together to make a large-scale assemblage in the LCP Project Space. Featuring Dewey Ambrosino, David Galbraith, Bill Komoski, Stefan Lochmüller and Marilyn Lowey, this collaboration glues together the artists’ work to create an assemblage of different forms and mediums, creating a new and exciting whole. The artists’ practices range from painting, sculpture, and drawing to video, animation, sound and light.

Dewey Ambrosino‘s multiplicity of practices reveals an unbiased engagement of the fine and applied arts similar to that in the Bauhaus and Eastern tradition. Ambrosino’s work can concurrently be seen in LCP’s “Reception Barrier” and “Reading Lounge” installations. For Assemblage, Ambrosino has created a light sculpture as a hovering part of the show’s curious aggregation.  Ambrosino lives and works in Los Angeles. 

David Galbraith is a media artist and composer who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Galbraith explores the couplings between art, music, technology and the body through his installations, compositions, sound works, and performances featuring custom electronics and video animation software. Galbraith’s work has been presented internationally at P.S.1/MoMA, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and KW Institute of Contemporary Art (Berlin), among others. Assemblage will include Galbraith’s Double Square (2009), a digital animation transferred to DVD that was created in part by extending a 1968 Philip Glass work for two flutes into an audiovisual score used by custom software to simultaneously generate a grid-based animation and microsonic, multichannel sound.

Bill Komoski‘s work is concerned with a shifty, unsettled experience, about order and disorder, structures that hold only to a point, where one layer or element is eroded or consumed by another–taking pleasure in the tangle of things. A number of motifs have emerged that are employed in various ways. Bits of information are transmitted from a lexicon suggesting cartoony blips, computer graphics and mapping software. Komoski lives in New York. For Assemblage, he will present a large-scale wall painting.

Stefan Lochmüller‘s practice includes abstract painting and figurative drawing. His recent drawings pull from cubism and invoke figurative images of space age monsters. This is his first American exhibition. Lochmüller lives and works in Cologne, Germany.

Los Angeles-based artist Marilyn Lowey works with light as a material to create phenomenological pieces where light becomes the form and interacts with the viewers perceptions. Her works use a full range of tools from technologically advanced lights, mirrors, and haze machines to store-bought lamps and hand made light bulbs. Lowey has also worked on large productions as a lighting designer for concerts, touring shows, ballet and Broadway performances.


Alexis Hudgins and Lakshmi Luthra

August 5 – August 8, 2010

LCP Special Project
Reverse Cut

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Reverse Cut, an LCP Special Project by Alexis Hudgins and Lakshmi Luthra.   The second of two summer projects which utilize the gallery space and building architecture in a non-standard way, Reverse Cut will convert the gallery into a fully functioning reality television set for three days of filming.  For this event, LCP will be open to the public twenty four hours a day. Gallery visitors can step into the control room and see professional crews at work behind the scenes, or be escorted onto the set by a production assistant to watch the cast being filmed. The cast living space will be rigged with surveillance cameras and microphones that transmit to the control room. Camera operators will be in the house at all times, ready to catch any “story” directed from the control room via walkie-talkie radios.

Within the frame of the gallery, the viewer will be given access to a system of production that usually remains carefully concealed. The title of the exhibition derives from the 180-degree rule, a filmmaking convention which dictates camera position within a scene along a 180-degree line parallel to the stage. This line establishes continuity in the filmic space, and functions as a sort of “fourth wall,” creating a stable position from which to view or be viewed. This stability, in turn, helps viewers emotionally identify with those on screen. Crossing the 180 degree line, referred to as a “reverse cut”, disturbs the viewer’s relationship to the filmic space. The 180-degree rule is one of the many formal, material and psychological mechanisms used in the reality television production process to narrativize experience. The director and the crew, the cameras and microphones, and the scripted space of the set in which the cast lives are all a part of the apparatus ensuring that reality unfolds in an image-ready fashion.

In the reality TV production process, technology becomes the medium through which all social interaction occurs. As the cast performs for the camera and the microphones, their interactions amongst one another become a kind of secondary effect to this performance for the machines. The crew and cast are simultaneously separated and connected by a wall of technology. Using the reality television production process as a medium, this exhibition explores the relationship between experience, image, and the performance of identity, as well as the mediating role of technology in our lives.

Alexis Hudgins is a Los Angeles based artist who also directs, produces and production manages for reality television and films.   Additionally, she is the co-founder of the non-profit organization Voices for Umoja, (, which works collaboratively with Kenyan youth in video and photography. Hudgins holds a BA in art history from Emory University and a BFA in photography from the California Institute of the Arts. She is currently an MFA Candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited recently at the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles and her videos were included in a screening at the Woodmill Gallery in London.

Lakshmi Luthra is a Los Angeles based artist and teacher. Her work uses documentary and fiction strategies to explore where different kinds of histories -cultural and economic, personal and social- intersect. Her current project Still Life explores the relationship between industrial and cultural production in Los Angeles. She graduated from California Institute of the Arts in 2009 with an MFA.  Luthra’s work has been exhibited recently at the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles and at 110 in Philadelphia. She has an upcoming solo show at the Drury Gallery in Vermont. Next year she will be teaching photography at Marlboro College in Vermont.