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The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery presents Offal, a group exhibition conceived from the subject of offal (ˈôfəl,ˈäfəl) or the culture of consuming innards.
Of all cultural taboos, those related to food are the most difficult to dispel. Food represents deeply rooted sets of ideas and beliefs — particularly with respect to self-identity and community. Offal is no different. In some cultures, offal is stigmatized for its socioeconomic and racial implications, while others treat and eat offal as an everyday means of survival or a delicacy. In keeping with this anatomy of offal, the exhibition seeks to expand the traditional parameters of cultural identity: raw, refigured and, in some cases, delightfully grotesque.
The exhibition features a variety of work from forty-three Los Angeles-based contemporary artists who use traditional and unconventional techniques and media in their approach to the five overlapping themes that feed into the exhibition: labor, discard and waste, transcultural idioms, cultural retention and shame, and the abject. Notable works include Jim Shaw’s Dream Object (Digestive tract sculpture), a mixed media sculpture exploring their “inner” unconscious psyche; Victoria Reynolds’s oil paintings and charcoal drawings that give life to disemboweled organs while simultaneously serving as a memento mori of unfamiliar culinary cuts/organs only found in specialty “ethnic” markets; Danial Nord’s Sleeper, a video-driven sculptural fountain in the form of a translucent sculpture molded from his own body that examines the individual and societal consumption and digestion of today’s political rhetoric – on exhibit for the first time in Los Angeles; and a video collaboration between Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfatmanesh that explores émigrés food traditions that can often outlive language through sanctifying ceremonies and family bonds.
At its heart, the exhibition seeks to unpack and celebrate the city of Los Angeles’ relationship to diversity and food in all of its forms — ultimately speaking to the offal in all of us.
Artists participating in Offal were selected from an open call for entries by a jury comprised of Ron Finley, proponent of urban gardening and South LA community leader; Julio César Morales, artist, educator, and curator; and Genevieve Erin O’Brien, artist, culinary adventurer and community organizer. The selected artists include Panteha Abareshi, Edmund Arevalo, Phoebe Barnum, Andrea Bogdan, Johanna Breiding, SoYun Cho, Heisue Chung-Matheu, Ciriza, Debra Disman, Alexandre Dorriz, gloria galvez, Natalia Garcia Clark, Matt Hollis, Sara Hunsucker, Grace Hwang, Sarah Julig, Shannon Keller, Sydney Mills, Leo Mondor, Flavia Monteiro, Albert Natian, Alex Nazari, Jim Newberry, Dakota Noot, Avital Oehler, Labkhand Olfatmanesh, Abel Olivieri, Elisa Ortega Montilla, Carolie Parker, Antonia Price, Colin Roberts, Larisa Safaryan, Gazelle Samizay, Stephanie Sherwood, Emilia Ukkonen and Reed van Brunschot.
In addition, a selection of artists were invited to participate in the exhibition, including Bonnie Huang, Robert Karimi, Mark Mulroney, Danial Nord, Victoria Reynolds, Jim Shaw, Jeannine Shinoda and Jeffrey Vallance.