The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) are pleased to present a series of four solo exhibitions featuring newly commissioned work by Los Angeles artists Panteha Abareshi, Alexandre Dorriz, Tristan Espinoza, and Maru Garcia. These series of exhibitions reimagine the role of the gallery experience for our current times by presenting research-based artists outside of the white box. Each respective exhibition engages a variety of interdisciplinary themes, with Tristan Espinoza’s activation of machine learning; Panteha Abareshi’s relationship to epidemiology; Maru Garcia’s creative approach to experimentation, cellular evolution, and collaboration; and Alexandre Dorriz’s investigative research into the mechanics of transactions, public policy, and water rights.
Tristan Espinoza: Index, Interiors, January 14 — April 22, 2021
Index, Interiors features the new, site-specific, web-based artwork titled perennial, a project archiving the artist’s personal and cultural histories associated with Southern California’s ubiquitous citrus heritage. At its root, perennial is an index of recorded and rendered approaches in Espinoza’s (in)visible labor—from the hand-made artistic medium of cyanotypes to an obscured second-hand comprehension derived from artificial intelligence—poetically cultivating a discourse around societal relationships and distances to material experiences, memories, and their proxies.
Panteha Abareshi: Tender Calamities, February 4 — April 22, 2021
Tender Calamities examines the tensions between the impermanence of the human body and the intimate objects (both biological and synthetic) that our bodies leave behind after ceasing to function. Human prosthetics act as the object of focus in Abareshi’s two new films and installations featured in the exhibition, further activated through a series of mechanized positions and movements by the artist’s own body to explore the proposition of prosthetics as objects and ideas beyond their function. In complicating traditional notions of memento mori, Tender Calamities reassesses and normalizes the diseased, malfunctioning and otherized body as a natural phenomenon—normal, inevitable and an object of life.
Maru Garcia: membrane tensions, March 4 — April 22, 2021
Transforming the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery into an active laboratory, membrane tensions features a constellation of new, site-specific works composed of cellulose. The cellulose (produced and harvested on-site at the Gallery) is used as both an intervention in the Gallery’s balcony windows and an installation of sculptural objects and light projections, alluding to the beginning of life where the delineation between internal and external was essential for life forms to first emerge. In using and placing cellulose (literally and figuratively) as the medial, membrane tensions anticipates future exchanges through reimagining the basic building blocks of primordial relationships.
Alexandre Dorriz: Public Sculpture 001-C, March 18 — April 22, 2021
What is a sculpture to an arts institution? It is this question that propels Alexandre Dorriz’s research-based work that investigates the politics and power networks often unnoticed behind the facades of public essentials such as space, land use, and water distribution.
The performative and hypothetical exchanges to finance the Gallery’s debt of speculative water used by the gallery for this conceptual work stems from public funds received from the City of Los Angeles. In doing so, Dorriz adeptly manipulates systems that allow for transactions of speculative and immaterial commodities, systems based on perception of public trust, reinforced by laws and regulations, but often adulterated by power and legal loopholes. Within this query, Dorriz examines exchanges assumed to be for the public good, including the limitations of public trust in government institutions, and questions our individual and collective complacency in perpetuating systems for whom these systems ultimately serve.
Dorriz’s research-based process unfurls these bureaucratic obfuscations to issue a space for vital conversations in creative production, such as the monetization of creative labor, complicated discrepancies in funding, and the dynamics behind transactions such as donations and public acquisitions—ultimately revealing the liquid nature of transactions that determinately shape and shift the materialized and fabricated value structuring a commissioned public work.