EventMay 6 - September 3, 2017

CalArtians Included in OCMA’s 2017 California Pacific Triennial

Works from the California Pacific Triennial.

The California Pacific Triennial happening now through September 4, at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) presents work that includes sculpture, installation, photography, drawing and performance-based and socially engaged activities from artists who live in countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. Many of the works are site-specific or are on public view for the first time, and all are related to the topic of architecture and the temporal precariousness of the built environment. Among the issues addressed are the recording of history and preservation; the concept of home and displacement; and the influence of global power, economics and political systems on global construction.

Five CalArts alumni and faculty were selected for the California Pacific Triennial. They are: Beatriz Cortez (Art MFA 15), Critical Studies faculty Ken Ehrlich, Patricia Fernandez (Art MFA 10), Olga Koumoundouros (Art MFA 01) and Alex Slade (Art MFA 93).

Cortez’ sculptural piece in the Triennial is The Lakota Porch: A Time Traveler, which brings together ideas about time travel, cultural diversity and coexistence, labor, the transformative life of a city and the power of imagining another possible future. It is a porch that has come full circle and has crossed lines defined by class, by race, by colonial policies, by histories of gentrification, marginalization, exclusion.

"Time and the march of modernist progress is always a central concern for artist Beatriz Cortez. Her project, The Lakota Porch: A Time Traveler, re-creates a Craftsman vernacular porch originally built by Dan Montelongo in 1914. Its beauty lies in its attention to detail, as well as its statement about cultural diversity as represented by the individuals who have inhabited the house it belongs to. The piece also examines the porch as a historical architectural space that has crossed lines defined by class, race, colonial policies, histories of gentrification, marginalization, and exclusion. The house that bears the original porch is located in what today is a working-class neighborhood in Los Angeles. Once a representation of colonialism and privilege built by an Apache Mescalero master stonemason, today it offers daily comfort to its resident, a Lakota woman. For Cortez, “it is a space that traverses through time and that looks toward the future.” -Cassandra Coblentz, Senior Curator at OCMA and 2017 Triennial Curator #ocma2017triennial #ocmuseumofart #freefriday

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Ehrlich’s project-based works take a critical look at the complex historical relationship between the U.S., the U.K. and Iran in an architectural context. Ehrlich looks at the life of Donald Wilber, an American spy and Persian architecture scholar and one of the key figures behind the 1953 coup in Iran, to show how architectural history can be weaponized. 

Building As Ever by Fernández draws from the artist’s connection to a bookshop in Paris that became a gathering place for artists against fascism in Spain in the 1960’s and ’70’s. Eventually, the bookstore’s place in the history of political activism was forgotten. Fernandez returned to Paris from 2010 to 2016 and began recording her observations near the bookshop. Her work brings to light the importance of the space especially in a time when far-right politics and nationalist ideology are on the rise.

Slade is a multi-media artist working in photography, video and sculpture. For the Triennial exhibition, he produced 10 photographs detailing the recent construction boom in downtown Los Angeles. The language in the titles of Slade’s photographs give viewers important clues to the political and economic background of each building being constructed. There are currently plans for the construction of over 45 new skyscrapers in DTLA, many of which are supported through foreign investments.

Neither liquid nor solid but amorphous by Koumoundouros is a site-specific work about memories that belong to built spaces through the reverberating sounds of storytelling. The artist drew inspiration from oral traditions and the way stories transform over time. From this, she created sculptures that contrast the properties of glass versus metal materials. The three objects are titled, Past, Present, and Future.

OCMA put together a great audio guide from each artist in the exhibition that can be heard by calling the number listed on the exhibition website.

Event Details

2017 California Pacific Triennial

May 6 through September 3
Orange County Museum of Art
850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach

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