Beyond the Classroom: Metta World Peace Exhibition Opens

‘Metta World Peace’ opens Thursday. | Image: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection. Drugstore in Little Tokyo. Herald Examiner. March 5, 1942.

By Nicholas Katzban/Special to 24700

There’s an opening reception, release party and exhibition at CalArts on Thursday (Oct. 4) to celebrate the publication of Metta World Peace, a collaboration among MFA Students, alumni, two School of Art faculty members and the Women’s Center for Creative Work. The project includes works of photography and theoretical texts all crafted by a diverse group of graphic designers, writers, photographers, artists, videographers and more, all begging the question,“When is war ‘war’ and peace ‘peace,’ and how might we understand our relation to these terms as cultural producers?”

Metta World Peace began with a course last Spring titled, The Work of War in Times of Art. Led by Photography and Media visiting faculty member Michelle Dizon, students were encouraged to think about their own personal definitions of war, and—in light of the protracted American presence in Iraq—how has the contrast between times of war and times of peace blurred?

In the book, Dizon quotes writer Paul Virilio, “There’s no State of Peace, for peace is just war pursued by other means.” Furthermore, as Ashley Hunt (Director, Photography and Media) adds in his contribution, “one must first answer what one’s relationship is to war in the first place; and not abstractly (what is your position on the war), but concretely (what is your position within it).”

The book’s images span genres as varied as documentary journalism, video stills and found and archival photographs. Some of the imagery bridges a startling juxtaposition between our current political climate (The War in Iraq, the Occupy Protests) and the Atomic Age of World War II. Jonathan Takahashi’s (Art MFA 12) piece focuses on Bronzeville, a temporary African American neighborhood in Los Angeles which replaced Little Tokyo while it was left vacant by America’s forced internment of Japanese citizens during the war in the South Pacific.

The exhibition runs from Oct. 2-6 in CalArts’ A204 Gallery. At the opening event on Thursday, there will be a laser printer running off copies of Metta World Peace for attendees to assemble and bind themselves, an act of interactivity that mirrors the collaborative nature of the work itself.

If you can’t make it to the exhibition, visit the project’s website at where a free PDF of the book will be available for download.

Metta World Peace
CalArts Gallery A204
Oct. 2-6
Opening Oct. 4, from 8-10 pm

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