I’m going to make a prediction. The next few years will be instrumental in how we as Angelenos relate to and understand art in our city. The debates and conversations concerning the health and future of our art institutions have begun to reach a critical mass. Personally, the discussion I’ve had over the past few weeks about the “responsibilities” that local museums have to our community is mind-blowing given the fact that the art world has always been reticent to talk about communities or take museums to task for anything. Since I’m the Curator in Residence at 18th Street Arts Center this year, maybe that is a good place to start.
Projects like ArtBound demonstrate that there are more artists and different kinds of art making happening around us than we probably realized. Here we see projects where community and social infrastructures (our environment, our architecture, our neighborhoods) are integral parts of not only art making, but are central axis points in the civic reimagining it provokes. From artists working within the Occupy movement to community-specific collaborations, artists are working in disciplines and with communities that we could not have foreseen a few decades ago. The result of which is an expanding measure of art that is provocatively democratic and increasingly popular. From the Los Angeles Urban Rangers‘ collective safaris through our urban landscape, to Fallen Fruit‘s mapping of our agricultural history – from Suzanne Lacy‘s collaborations with women’s rights advocacy groups to LA Poverty Department‘s performances on homelessness issues, the list of examples is quiet long and growing.