dayoutlast is a record of my direct engagement with mostly contemporary art, mostly Los Angelean.

As this blog has evolved since its 2010 inception, so has my perspective. What I once perceived as central within the investigation was what was central, literally, within the photographic frame that I shared here. While still an important consideration, such thinking has also given way to more peripheral considerations, ones also accompanied occasionally by text (written manifestation of thought) and the oscillations between them. What's missing here are larger unknowns surrounding issues of presentation and representation; the amount of time and space it actually takes to accomplish such first-hand observations; and the quandaries between documentation and interpretation.

Despite my attempt to communicate here with image and text what is essential in some respect about the artwork, neither representation should ever be considered a substitution for the primary viewing experience. Of course, occasionally there are exceptions.

Most of the time, these posts are merely remnants---residual fragments---from my last day out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Part 1 of 3: A conversation with Michael Ned Holte about Made in L.A. 2014 @ Hammer Museum

As a slight departure from its typical form, dayoutlast is pleased to host and share an in-depth conversation with Michael Ned Holte regarding the most recent iteration of Made in L.A. 2014 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California.  The first of these three conversations took place on Sunday, August 17, 2014.  Each session was conducted via email in real-time over a single day.  In so doing, the conversation instantly became the transcript. Because of the breadth and depth of the exhibition as well as the dialogue surrounding it, we also decided to post our conversation here on this blog in three parts. As such, part two will appear later this month and part three in December. Further, due to our level of familiarity in life, there is no formal introduction here.

Justin Lowman (JL): I know how you like beginnings, and certainly we won't be going that far back today, but it does bear good sense in my mind to disclose in the interest of transparency in this context (a conversation for an artist's blog about a major west coast exhibition) just how complicated relationships can be, and, perhaps, how such thoughts might eventuate towards the end of our conversation, conversation that I suppose, officially started sometime around 1990.  So, for the benefit of the viewer/reader, you and I grew up in the same hometown (Janesville, Wisconsin) on the same side of town, and certainly could have run into each other sooner by proximity having also attended the same junior high school, but didn't until high school Art classes. Then there were the undergraduate years where late night discussions ensued as roommates as well as infrequent collaborations, your film projects with others and myself as willing participants.  Not to give the whole history, but, again, it does seem valuable to disclaim, that our past twenty to twenty-five years of conversation has taken many shapes and forms (cross country road trips (both of our moves to LA) as well as visits to Spiral Jetty and Lightning Field, for example, and from the latter, if I remember correctly, it contained a nine-hour, more or less continuous conversation from the front seat of a motor vehicle (of course, I'm sure we stopped for gas/food)).  The point here is that you and I have seen a lot together and discussed why we should care to look again and keep looking, seeing, thinking, conversing...

To make matters even more complex and again to disclose the nuances of relationships, we as temporary museum professionals crossed paths for the making of Made in L.A. 2014 (you as curator, me as preparator). Elsewhere and most of the time, we are artist/writer and art educator/admininstrator among other things.  So, this seems as good a places any to dive in.

The outline I have prepared is malleable.  To understand my initial rationale for this conversation, upon starting work on Made in L.A., I was really enjoying the kind of questions that were popping into my head sequentially as I started to wrap my head around this project.  So, to begin with the questions were in literal order of my thinking process. Then I began to organize them around several loose groupings/categories, as follows:

Personal History, Exhibition Background, Technical (Formal), Big Picture/Ideas (Conceptual), Specific Artists/Collective/Works, Critical Reflection, and Final Thoughts

Mind you, this system is not so rigid to anticipate the organic conversation to ensue.  As such, I suspect that some questions will anticipate others, others will fall out of order, and, when we are "done," there will be some semblance of understanding about just such a construct as biennial, specifically one focused on Los Angeles proper and its multivalent views from a wide range of perspectives (institution and artist in this instance).  While there are so many things that could be said and so many ways to approach/address such a showing of artworks, let's start somewhere. Yes, the beginning (again)...

Of course, the most obvious initial question is how this show was an instant opportunity to answers one's own criticism. Before you officially accepted the role as co-curator for Made in L.A. 2014 in September 2012, you deliberated the invite from the Hammer, partly because I know that you are just that thoughtful about your decisions and also because the timing was a bit canny. For, your Artforum review was coming out within the same week or so as the Hammer announcement of the biennial's next team of curators.  Remind me of the exact timing of things, more for the record, and then, subsequently share something about your initial response and just how much that has changed nearly two years later (I hope this latter concern will re-emerge and evolve throughout our conversation as we consider how things have changed start to finish).  So exciting and such a rare opportunity to answer ones own criticism so immediately!

Michael Ned Holte (MNH): This is a good place to start, and indeed, you could paint a really big contextual backdrop for this conversation. I received the invite to co-curate the show from Annie Philbin, the Director of the Hammer, on September 6, 2012. I accepted that offer on September 11. Between those days I had conversations with a few people, including Karin Higa, who was at that point my invited co-curator, and Tom Lawson, my dean at CalArts who happened to be in the 2012 edition of Made in L.A. I knew the show would be a ton of work, and the hardest thing to decide was whether I could take the opportunity and continue to teach full-time at CalArts, which is ultimately what I did. A lot of the work on the show, including the bulk of studio visits, happened during my summer “break” in 2013.

I had written and filed my review of Made in L.A. 2012 for Artforum in June 2012--early on in the run of that show. (And, to add another layer, I actually hesitated to take that review because I knew all the curators and so many of the artists--but obviously I was willing to be critical and forthright despite my proximity to those players.) That review has been mentioned in so many reviews of the 2014 exhibition, and the review I wrote has even been described as "infamous." I'm not sure that's the right word. In his review for the LA Times, Christopher Knight called it "less than laudatory," which is perhaps more fitting. The review didn't appear in print until October 2012--a week after I had been announced as co-curator of the 2014 edition. Some people have assumed the Hammer asked me to curate the show because of my review of the last one. That is not the case. But I did share my review with Annie Philbin before accepting the offer. I told her she should hold her invitation to me until she read it. Annie read it and called it "tough but fair," and it was the inevitable starting point for the way I began to think about the show, and how it might be different from the first edition.

By the time the show closes on September 7 it will have been an active two-year process. I'm still very involved with the show and its programming, so I'm not sure I'm fully able to reflect on the experience. Maybe we can do some of that here.

JL: While it takes me perhaps even longer than a closing to critically reflect "properly," dare I say digest, it does seem fair to start here, also because some of this while specific to Made in L.A., will also register more timeless, generally speaking. So, this will not have been your first moment to reflect on similar conditions, but not to gloss over important particulars. Speaking of which, and time (timing), I appreciate your outlining the transition from critic to curator in this instance. It's a reminder of just how such processes work, necessarily, and how what things seem are not often what they actually are.  I suppose it's also worth noting that your review of Made in L.A. 2012 happened more quickly in relationship to your viewing of the show(s), as opposed to how you are processing this one.  Perhaps you could comment on this. For example, how is it different to critique another's meal than one you have prepared yourself? While I acknowledge analogy is inherently weak, it also seems fitting as a way to think about consumption, certainly more in visual/thoughtful terms, for several reasons.  I'm assuming it's also not a secret that your artful approach to food as both producer and consumer is known. So, then the question, is whether or not it's possible to evaluate a meal while you're still eating or when, and, moreover, how is it different whether you have made it or someone else has?  I realize that this is a bit of an unwieldy, awkward question (and perhaps it's premature for such depth as I was anticipating we would get there eventually in this conversation) but maybe a quick thought about this?

MNH: The food metaphor somehow seems appropriate, given that I just wolfed down some red curry cauliflower after answering the previous question. Most of us, whether curator or chef or artist, are not our own best critic. Certainly not the most objective. Criticism is, at a basic level, a public service. That a critic relies on her or his own subjectivity or taste is a given, but typically there's also a sense of an audience one is writing for--an audience which may coincide, at least in part, with the audience who saw the show or will eat the food in question. There is generally some overlap, like a Venn diagram.

I have worked alternately as a critic and a curator, and whenever I have acted as a curator I have been excited and eager to read any and all reviews of the show I put together. And, I'm fortunate to have received some thoughtful--even provocative--criticism for almost every show I've done. I'm the guy who wrote a tough review of the last Made in L.A. and now I'm the guy eager to read the reviews of the current edition.

When I reviewed the 2012 biennial--and let's just say for the record most biennials seem to get more heat than praise--I spent a lot of time with the show, visiting both of the major venues (Hammer and Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery) twice each, and watched all the videos. I'm guessing that I spent more time with it than most visitors did. I read the catalogue essay. I feel like I gave it a fair amount of time to render a judgment, which is hopefully true whenever I write reviews--or when anyone does. Then again, there was far more I could have said if I had been given more space--my review was set at 800 words, which isn't a lot of space to appraise a show by five curators with 60 artists at three venues. A certain amount of complexity has to give way to bold strokes in the translation from the viewing experience to the critical account--it's a kind of abstraction. That's just the nature of the art magazine business. So, my consumption of the current show, which has been unfolding for two years, is inevitably different. How I digest it remains to be seen--this conversation is one answer--and will undoubtedly take place over a long period of time. (Manny Farber's termite comes to mind. *) But I'm also happy I'm not the one reviewing it.

[* See M. Farber, ‘White Elephant Art vs Termite Art’, Negative Space, op. cit., p.135; originally published in Film Culture, vol.27, Winter 1962, pp.9—13.]

JL: As I was awaiting your response to this last question, I had to laugh out loud at how it's going time wise.  So much more time is required to be thoughtful than what certain systems want (but I'm getting ahead of myself a bit here, because I want to be thorough and take a few smaller steps).  This conversation is definitely rearing its head as a longer haul.  Hence, my laughter to imagine it to be anything other than that.  You have also beat me to the "Venn Diagram" moment of this conversation, which I had prepared for a slightly later segment.  And I, too, think a lot about the Manny Farber termites and didn't realize you did as well. This we haven't really discussed.  I'm glad we're on board with the food metaphor.  It seems apropos in many ways, not the least of which was the enjoyable dinner out I was having last night with my wife when we were finalizing plans to initiate this conversation. Such is the world we love and live in, perhaps getting back to the point about immediacy, criticality, time, and history.  I, too, beyond my work installing portions of the show, have repeated my visits, to catch things I missed, in particular to absorb the time-based media works, ones hardly possible to digest at an opening or even in one sitting. So, much to say here... I've never heard you discuss "audience" and "public service" before: your film-making and Poli Sci backgrounds are suddenly getting re-contextualized for me.  But to the present, it's interesting to think about exactly what audience we are talking about for this biennial perhaps any of them (local/regional/global whatever).  Upon my most recent visit to the show, a glutton for punishment, I went on a Saturday assuming it to be congested, congested with many people I know from around our world.  Don't get me wrong, I love to stop and chat, but I was going with just a few hours to give. I was pleasantly surprised that I was right about my first assumption and wrong about the second. I did not run into one person I knew but shared the show with so many attentive and willing viewers. As such, I met new people and gained broader insights. So, how is museum audience the same or different as the critical one in the way you are suggesting? Further, in the process of digestion, I suspect certain answers are easier than others. It's no surprise that we immediately have gone for the bigger, deeper ones.  I have some simpler, technical ones, when you're ready. So, audience...

MNH: Well, I gave a lot of thought to audience. It's my first show at a museum, and that's a very different audience than those who might have seen shows I've done at commercial galleries. I was aware that the audience was bigger than an "art world" audience, even if that's the audience we know best. It's a bigger, more diverse audience--and attendance for the last edition of the biennial was huge. The Hammer's new free admission policy meant more people would come, but it also meant we could offer a lot of programming and realistically hope that a number of viewers would return to see the show more than once. There are also a number of projects in the show--e.g. Public Fiction's six episodes and Piero Golia's sculpture "studio"--that are changing over time, which reward returning visitors. KCHUNG's television programming has brought in a very diverse audience, from Pokemon trainers to porn stars to Jennifer Moon's life coach.

Thinking about a broader audience was certainly part of the motivation for bringing small artist-run organizations--what I've been calling microinstitutions--into the context of the show. Public Fiction, KCHUNG, and Alice Konitz's Los Angeles Museum of Art are all examples of this--and I think it's fair to say each of them has been negotiating a leap from their usual constituency to the larger one provided by the Hammer Museum and the biennial context.

JL: I too was thinking about the free-admission and how this is shaping an audience, and, more importantly, just what an important gesture that is for a public at large.  I can only imagine that those on the fence about seeing the show or going to an art museum at all, for the first time, might be inspired. Of course, you have me thinking I may need to go again, and I like the ease of going without having to show my Hammer ID.  Perhaps others like this aspect of the open-door policy as well. Your response here segues nicely to one of my prepared questions, and toward what I hope will guide us back to the script a bit.

It's difficult not to think about the Hammer's egalitarian move to admit all for free, forever. In the graffiti show at MOCA I was critical of its timid approach by not simply unhinging the doors and welcoming all artists inclined to engage the space as the street. This move on the Hammer's part and the conflation of artist’s studio and museum gallery is clear in many instances in this show as well.  How can we think about this apparent reflexivity, perhaps also in terms of private and public senses, interiority/exteriority, and so on?

There is such a thin line between artist, institution, artist as institution, and the free-admission policy somehow seems complicit, but I'm much more interested in these fine lines and how you are seeing them in this show.

KCHUNG/Public Fiction
Photo appears courtesy of Michael Ned Holte
MNH: Yesterday I was a guest on KCHUNG TV--and not for the first time during this exhibition--which occupies the Hammer lobby, and neighbors Public Fiction, which is situated in the Lobby Gallery. KCHUNG is headquartered above a Pho restaurant in Chinatown; the Museum of Public Fiction is based in a storefront in Highland Park. There is a weird energy with the two of them next to one another in the Hammer's lobby. After my TV appearance, I watched the KCHUNG taping from the stair landing above, and was amused by the wavy dotted lines taped on the floor demarcating a space for KCHUNG's project and temporary audience. I took a picture of it.

Speaking of thin lines! The thresholds--between KCHUNG and Public Fiction, between KCHUNG and the Hammer, between public and private--seemed so precarious, and this imbrication seemed so appropriate to the show and the way it might represent the Los Angeles art community at this moment. James Kidd Studio's stage in the courtyard has had a similar dynamic: It's much more public than Jmy Kidd's performance space Pieter in Lincoln Heights, but the dancers using it have, from what I've observed, found a way to make their performances somehow intimate--which is to say finding and developing connections with an audience of friends and, inevitably, strangers.


KCHUNG/Public Fiction
JL:  So, the individual and the collective? The headful visionary and the headless organization, granted a different kind of vision? Head without a body... Riffing here, and I take your points well. My photo from a similar POV last Saturday reveals a slightly different mise-en-scène (speaking of head and headless), and when you were talking about repeat visits, I realize that I had glossed over Public Fiction I am embarrassed to say.  I really like what Lauren is doing. She and I have been in contact on occasions but somehow the timing has never quite fit.  This happened Saturday as things were quiet at Public Fiction as far as I could tell.

Yes, this frisson between the two adjacent installation/performance spaces seems important to consider on so may levels starting with siting.   I have a number of interrelated questions about technical background stuff, in this instance between KCHUNG and Public Fiction it seems as good a time as any, perhaps using the two institutions as the model for all questions... We'll see. (This is getting richer the more I think about it and in relation to a few other more conceptual questions to come later. 

Public Fiction
So, audiences love behind-the-scenes stuff, and not quite sure how to order the series of questions...

1. How much were you involved with the architectural design and exhibition layout--particularly during the planning phase?

2. Exhibition layout. Art fair or stations or what's the difference? Because the way most of the spaces are partitioned (except maybe this KCHUNG/Public Fiction ambiguity, not to mention Harsh at the periphery though somehow central publicly), I couldn't help thinking about an art fair vibe (discrete agendas overall), stations (not unlike Newman's painting series), and probably, more importantly, back lots all over the Southland.

3. What kind of unexpected, institutional limitations did you encounter that shaped or possibly rescaled plans, at any point along the way? (In any part of the show?)

4. How much involvement with artists in the development of the show? In the installation process? How much were you and Connie involved with the realization of artist's works in conception and more particularly ones that would not reach initial fruition until their installation at the museum. Once at the museum, how much did your input shape the work and its placement? As you know, I was involved with installing KCHUNG, but I can't speak to Public Fiction. One can't help thinking, again, about artist/institutional contingency/complicity and, moreover, if this four-part question wasn't enough, a fifth part may wonder out loud about your show at Cottage Home "Support Group" and how it has evolved here.

MNH: Connie Butler and I devised the initial floor plan for the show, working with givens both budgetary and architectural. This is the first show either one of us had done at the Hammer, so learning how that museum works was part of the process. Peter Gould, the Hammer's exhibition designer, was instrumental in turning the plan into shop drawings and pricing things out. There are always budgetary limits, and surely for good reason.

Of course this is all happening as the artists developed their work for the show--and most of them made new work for the show, and in many cases work was made with specific spaces in mind. We invited the artists or groups based on what we saw in 2013 and remained in close contact with the artists as they realized new projects for the show. This follows from a paradigm established in the late 1960s by curators such as Marcia Tucker and Harald Szeemann: one invites artists into the show rather than simply choosing works for the show. When the list of artists was announced in the spring of 2014, several people I talked to assumed my work was done! In some ways, choosing the artists is easier than the nitty gritty of realizing the show. In some cases the results were hard to predict.

For example, we worked closely with KCHUNG--which is to say the steering committee of a huge organization--as their project developed. They're a pirate radio station that decided to make television programming for the first time! I don't think they knew what the exact results would be. Some amount of anarchy is inevitable, but also very dynamic in a show like this. In the case of KCHUNG, Public Fiction, LAMOA, and James Kidd Studio, we tried to cede programming as much as possible. What Alice put in the LAMOA show was her checklist, not ours, though the museum certainly helped realize some of those loans. Likewise Public Fiction: we tried to facilitate what Public Fiction wanted, as much as budget or other institutional concerns allowed. Part of the challenge of putting some of these smaller, artist-run organizations into the show is helping them adjust to institutional protocol--working with registrars and preparators, having to reconsider bringing food or live animals (!) into the museum, and working on the museum's schedule rather than a DIY schedule.

This is the first time the Hammer has given over all of its exhibition space (including the lobby, the courtyard and mezzanine, and the windows on Wilshire and Westwood used by Harsh Patel) to a single exhibition. We had an opportunity to use and redesign Gallery 5, which usually houses the Hammer's permanent collection. The Hammer is allowed to take down the collection once every three years.

Early in the planning process we were looking for a balance between the number of artists--we invited 35 artists or entities to be in the show--and the amount of space allocated. For the most part we wanted each artist to have her or his own space. There are some exceptions to this, and places where artists are paired up. Unlike the previous edition, we also wanted to make sure artists working primarily in performance were given actual real estate in the show. The James Kidd Studio stage is an example of this, as is Emily Mast's all-of-the-above solution that includes video, sculpture, and unannounced performances.

Biennials are often very dense. Too dense. This was true of this year's Whitney Biennial and the last Made in L.A., in my opinion. So, we were determined to make sure each artist had some autonomy, and we were determined to leave a few walls blank. Giving artists more or less discrete spaces allows the logic of that particular artist--particularly a spatial logic--to reveal itself, and important differences reveal themselves too. (Not for nothing is my essay for the catalogue titled "Microclimates.") For example, Harry Dodge's installation is very dense or--to use his term--profuse, and Samara Golden's installation is almost claustrophobic, but between them the pairing of Kim Fisher and Gabriel Kuri is quite spare. That's owing to how each artist thinks about space and installation. This sometimes happens in an art fair, but not so intentionally. Matthew Marks isn't taking into consider what David Zwirner is showing, or vice versa. Whereas the collisions and transitions in Made in L.A. 2014 are highly intentional, and one of the intentions is to reveal difference or heterogeneity. Art fairs are, frankly, organized according to the logic of money and power. Our show isn't; it's curated (to use that neologism). Most art fairs are exhausting; there's a point of overload. We tried to make a show that one could consider as a whole, if not fully absorb in one go.

Kathryn Andrews installation for Support Group
You mentioned my 2010 show Support Group, and certainly there is a relationship. For that show at Cottage Home (now Human Resources), a former movie house in Chinatown, I invited three artists to be in the show, and one of those artists, Mateo Tannatt, who was running an occasional gallery called Pauline from his apartment at the time, invited 16 other artists to be in the show--beyond my immediate jurisdiction. This was built into the premise, which had already set the stage for a kind of antagonism between the three artists rather than a cooperative effort. Which of course made the show's title ironic: It was a knotty situation, to say the least. Perhaps it's not a surprise that Mateo appears in Made in L.A. 2014, though at the invitation of Public Fiction rather than me.


JL: This object to artist shift seems significant alongside so many other transitional, momentous moments of the late 60s.  In fact, we (those concerned with history, art history, very generally, humanity) still wonder about the past forty or fifty years, and, hopefully, not solely due to our own individual ages and wondering how we fit into this larger puzzle (but then again, why not?).  I suppose we are wondering about our age (read: the conditions of our time), more importantly, when we start to consider a specific, constellation of 35 artists. Does this number have any significance?  Also, with this Tucker/Szeeman model in mind then, how much are we to think about the artist and how much are we to think about the works? Again, we might be pushing up against this thin line that I predict will continue to emerge in this discussion for both specific and very general reasons. I have a lot more to ask about intent, but I like this example you brought up here as something I hadn't predicted.

Photo appears courtesy of Brian Forrest
I think where individual or paired artists are concerned, the generous amount of space allowed certain works to breathe while also conversing within said spaces.  Where this breaks down for me a bit, for example, is with Emily Mast's back stage of props across from Channing Hansen's paintings. Our initial introduction to her work (if we decide to enter the museum from Wilshire) sets up a kind of in-between, interstitial sense for her work, [a position that is mostly consistent wherever her work is found].

If so, then the aforementioned pile up across from Hansen's work seems inconsistent [with the rest of her exhibition in the show]. What also happens for me is that I can't stand back to look at some of Hansen's works without stumbling over hers (his really seem to be about scale perception); this goes for Devin Kennys' area as well, though not so much because longer views are achieved from over his table works, if you want to.  Regardless, of how near or far we need to see Hansen's, that space is tight, and seemingly inconsistent with what I initially liked about Mast using the vestibules throughout various parts of the building.  This wall was an opportunity, in my opinion, for some of that empty, white space you were mentioning.  Generally speaking, and more importantly, this kind of detail might also point to how one might start to address systems, logics, themes for the show.

Foreground: Devin Kenny
Background: Channing Hansen
As you know, I tend to be a big-picture thinker. So, I am looking for connections, commonalites, and through-lines more than I am thinking intensely about any one work.  That being said certain examples are really strong, and perhaps, serve in my opinion, as touchstones for larger themes. Of course, I am assuming this is not just a smorgasbord where we are meant to consume whatever we want in whatever amount we want. A less sprawling, fewer showing of artists within more discrete display areas suggests something else.  Because I also know your deep interests in food, what kind meal metaphor might we have been served?
In some ways, this question seems premature to our discussion, but its timing is relevant in terms of how it recognizes just how nice the show looks overall and your generous and informative discussion about the technical process.

Toward my question regarding art fair/stations, it was more an interest to think about successive/continuous steps between spaces that would also set up dialogue as much as point to themes and shared relationships, particularly between adjacent spaces (cf. KCUNG and Public Fiction again, as paradigm, perhaps).  Whereas Marks and Zwirner next door to one another may be non sequiturs academically speaking, one does have to move from one to the other and, potentially, such change in viewing experience may have surprising effects, if one can actually see anything (to your point about overload to be sure) So, my question has more to do with the peripatetic art-viewing experience. As you know, I am biased toward such perspectival considerations in the view.

In regards to "money and power" I might disagree with you a little bit, and in a few different ways. Certainly, a non-profit's acquisition of money and power is very different from raw commerce. In fact, the latter might be more transparent despite what we often presume.  Haacke comes to mind very quickly as someone who started to tease this out in the late 60s/early 70s (there's that time period again).  His "Germania" piece at the Venice Biennale 1993 also comes to mind, perhaps more so because I have also been wondering how your viewing of the Venice Biennale 2013 has influenced your work for Made in L.A. whether from a practical view or perhaps thoughtful connections and reflections. (Funnily enough, when the Hammer redid the plaza level a few years ago, moments of transition looked a lot like "Germania" which suggested a similar, foundational, institutional shfit). If this hasn't been enough of a digression, I would also add that we may want to discuss the power of art via some of the stronger works in the show, grant you in our own opinions, but not just yet. For now, let's agree to disagree about how power and money perform for this show. I believe there are actually more interesting ways to go about this.

MNH: Well, I think I can say we didn't intend for the show to be a smorgasbord or a 35-course prix fixe tasting menu. Maybe I'm not able to commit to a dining analogue here because there are some works or artists that demand more time than others--I'm thinking about performance works that come and go, that one might not even see, but also about Sarah Rara's 65 minute video The Pollinators. Which leads me to think a farm or a community garden might a better metaphor for a show that demands continued attention. By now I'm hungry again.

Harsh Patel
I think there is a kind of assumed "order" to the show, but also ways in which that order is easily subverted or dismissed. For example, someone might come in the back door rather than through the lobby; or someone might go to galleries 4 and 5 before 1 and 2--and there are forking paths offered when one arrives at either set of galleries. The works in the courtyard might be encountered peripherally first and foremost. And Harsh Patel's work in the exterior windows is, as you've noted, highly visible--as "public" as it gets--but in relation to the rest of the show it might be the most elusive. This seems rather fitting given his critical approach to the expectations of design and mass communication.

There are places where the spatial logic of "one artist after another" is interrupted or intruded upon--Emily Mast's "accumulation station" butts up against Channing Hansen's knitted paintings in that way, perhaps in an awkward way, as you've noted. I think we were interested in tension as much as egalitarianism. Emily's occasional performances throughout the museum, not to mention the way the sound from her two videos carries through space, also function as a kind of intrusion in the routine.

Brian O'Connell
I'm really excited about the way that Channing's work intersects with Devin Kenny's installation which leads to or from Brian O'Connell. There's a way in which all three of them are thinking about technology and material histories of technologies--obsolescence, in a nutshell--that provides a kind of cohesion despite the vastly different material or aesthetic outcomes. There are some definite thematic motifs running through the show, either threaded together or acting as punctuation marks. I've been thinking about the connection of Max Maslansky to Barry Johnston to Mariah Garnett on the other side of the show as the "masculine anxiety corridor." 

Foreground: Max Maslansky
Background: Barry Johnston
Photo appears courtesy of Brian Forrest
There are also obvious political threads, sexual threads, a recurring interest in the spectrum, and many more [in the overall]. Some of these were legible in the planning of the show, some might be the result of intuition and a collaborative process. (As noted earlier, we didn't always know exactly what the work would be until it was made--after the floor plan was largely determined.) And needless to say, a show organized by more than one person will generally open up multiple readings, if not myriad possibilities.

I find different works have a different gravitational pull on me on different occasions seeing the show. I'm curious which works have been pulling on you.
Mariah Garnett
Patrons viewing Barry Johnston



*All photos appear courtesy of Justin Lowman unless otherwise noted.
**Made in L.A. 2014. Works by Emily Mast, Channing Hansen, Max Maslansky, and Barry Johnston are installation views at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. June 15-September 7, 2014. Photography by Brian Forrest

Part 2 of this conversation will appear here on dayoutlast later this month. In the meantime, in order to view more images from Made in L.A. 2014, see the following links: