18th Street Arts Center presents Commons Lab: Place and Public Life, a series of five new artist commissions anchored by live events, which will consider the roles that institutional architecture and cultural policy play in determining the social life and civic engagement of American communities. Using the Center’s rapidly changing Pico neighborhood in Santa Monica as a test case, the participating artists—The Winter Office (Gro Sarauw, Hugo Hopping, Ida Elisabeth Jensen, Lise Grüner Bertelsen, Camilo Andres Montoya, Sara Armento, Johanna Ferrer Guldager, and Rasmus List Thomsen), Cognate Collective (Amy Sanchez and Misael Gio Diaz), Sara Daleiden, Guillermo Galindo with Postcommodity (Cristóbal Martínez/Kade L. Twist), Renée Petropoulos and Arturo Hernández, and Jimena Sarno—will engage art audiences and local communities in a dialogue about the role art should play in the public sphere. The project is informed by Postcommodity’s “2043” initiative, an ongoing investigation into the U.S.’s postcolonial future in which non-white populations will become the majority nationwide. For Commons Lab, artists will envision new models of cultural institutions that are capable of destabilizing traditional hierarchies between the more informed, “core,” audiences of contemporary art and the larger public—breaking down barriers to broaden participation. The artists’ findings will be presented in exhibitions of drawings, sculpture, installation, social practices, sound art, and digital media, as well as through public programs such as dinners, workshops, and panel discussions with local partners, including the Santa Monica Public Library and Santa Monica High student groups.
THE WINTER OFFICE, Re-wildering holographic weeds, 2019. Courtesy of the artists.
Cognate Collective, MICA (Mobile Institute for Citizenship and Art), 2016-ongoing. Retrofitted fiberglass trailer that houses a research and workshop hub. Marketplaces in South Los Angeles and Tijuana. Courtesy of the artists.
Guillermo Galindo, Echo Exodus, 2017. documenta14. Kassel, Germany. Special thanks to the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the US Artists International, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and New Music USA. Courtesy of the artist.
Postcommodity, Repellent Fence, 2015. Earth, cinder block, para-cord, pvc spheres, helium. Land art installation and community engagement. Installation view, US/Mexico Border, Douglas, Arizona / Agua Prieta, Sonora. Courtesy of the artist.
Renée Petropoulos with Arturo Hernandez, Platforms & Wool, 2018. Studio view. 96 x 222 inches. Courtesy of Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Oaxaca, Mexico.
Jimena Sarno, from sea to shining sea, 2017. Sculpture, sound and video installation. Director of Photography and camera by Alison Kelly. Still photograph by Gelare Khoshgozaran.