Exhibition - Archive Machines

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

Los Angeles, CA 90027

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The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG), and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation (BAPF) are pleased to announce an open call for artworks for ARCHIVE MACHINES, an online-only juried exhibition that brings together recent works by Southern California artists. Due to the rapidly shifting nature of present events, this exhibition is conceived as a response in both form and concept to the COVID-19 crisis and the uncanny experience of collective life on pause that the Safer-at-Home directive has initiated.

The current crisis upended routine daily life. This sudden interruption brings a rare opportunity for many to pause, and a cultural institution is not different, and can pause as well. At LAMAG, curatorial staff took this period of rumination to archive over sixty years of artistic activity that  impacted Los Angeles. Revisiting the 1979 group exhibition “The Artist as Social Critic” curated by LAMAG’s inaugural trailblazing director, Josine Ianco-Starrels (1926-2019), LAMAG’s current curators found inspiration in a past exhibition supporting practices of social critique and presenting diverse voices challenging issues of their time.

Limiting the selective revisiting of the past, the curatorial team examined the archive as a conceptual vehicle and is inviting today’s Southern California artists to submit works in response to themes of critical histories, peoples’ archives, memory, and institutional critique. Through this new exhibition, LAMAG will engage with various modes of artistic production to explore the ways in which archival structures and materials are interpreted, appropriated, and interrogated.

Artists will be selected from an open call for entries by a jury comprising of Olivian Cha, Curator and Collections Manager, Corita Art Center, Los Angeles; Kerstin Erdmann, Director, Galería OMR, Mexico City; and Rita Gonzalez, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head Contemporary Art, LACMA, Los Angeles.

The ARCHIVE MACHINES virtual exhibition will debut a format unique from LAMAG’s typical web content. The virtual exhibition page will feature highlights of individual artists’ work, as well as organizing artworks into four thematically curated sections to further engage with artworks and concepts. In further dialogue with archival discourses and the aim to revisit and rethink contexts, the curatorial framework for the presentation of artworks will follow the structure of “living archives”, with the exhibition taking a cumulative course, growing throughout the duration of the show. The developing nature of the exhibition will also introduce opportunities for visitor participation through the launch of a new salon-style series of topical prompts as a source for community interaction and virtual convening.

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