Love in a Cemetery

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January 23- March 26, 2010

Opening Reception: January 23, 2009 7:00-10:00 pm

Robert Sain, LACMAlab founding director, and LA based visual artist Andrea Bowers, were commissioned to organize this unique visual arts laboratory with young artists from the Otis MFA Public Practice program, involving projects reaching out into the greater Los Angeles community.

This expansive collaboration between artist, curator, graduate students, and community organizations will transform 18th Street’s gallery into a participatory ‘laboratory’ that sponsors community dialogues, public presentations and interventions, exhibits of artworks and project data to explore the social and political dimension of art organizations. Guest artist, Olga Koumoundouros, will create a special sculptural installation. By transforming its exhibition space into a laboratory and classroom, 18th Street Arts Center’s main gallery becomes a space for civic engagement, experimentation, presentation and discourse.

Referencing Allan Kaprow’s quote: “Life in the museum is like making love in a cemetery,” Robert Sain investigates the opportunity and obligation for arts organizations to be socially responsible and responsive in an age of diminished resources and uncertainty. To do this, he is provoking a community-wide dialogue about the role, function, and fundamental purpose of LA’s arts organizations. He has invited over 100 artists and arts leaders to answer four basic questions; 1) Do cultural organizations have responsibilities to address social issues such as class, ethnicity, gender, and politics? 2) Can a cultural organization impact the life of the community in a meaningful way? 3) What are the roles for artists within cultural organizations? 4) What should cultural institutions look like today and in the future? These four questions will be answered and explored during the three-month period as Sain’s and Bowers project evolve.

As an integral part of the project, Bowers is working with Pauline Kanako Kamiyama and the Otis program to organize numerous discussions between cultural and community organizations. This collaborative team is testing Sain’s premise with projects and interactions involving the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, Surfrider Foundation, the Pico Youth and Family Center, My Friend’s Place, (a center for homeless youth), Homies Unidos, Berda Paradise Thrift Store, and Norco Rehabilitation/Medium Security Correctional Facility.

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