CURRENT:LA Food Features CalArtian Works

Editor’s note — this post has been updated to reflect the addition of work by CalArts alum Christopher Reynolds.

CalArtians are among the artists participating in CURRENT:LA 2019, Los Angeles’ public art triennial. This year’s edition presents a delectable theme: food.

CURRENT:LA is realized by a partnership between the Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (ICA LA) and the city of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA). The DCA commissioned 15 artists to explore issues food accessibility and equity for the 2019 edition, which includes 75 events free and open to the public.

Contemporary artist, sculptor and former CalArts visiting faculty Ry Rocklen (Art 98) presents Food Group: The Body Palms, a theatrical presentation and sculptural installation located in Palms Park in West LA. Rocklen’s bronze sculptures were made by full-sized 3D scans of live performers, costumed in food items like pickles, tacos and orange soda cans. Food Group: The Body Palms is an extension of Rocklen’s previous work inspired by American fast food. 

Multidisciplinary artist Adrià Julià (Art MFA 03) showcases A Very White Flower, a series of works including two films screened at LA State Historic Park in Chinatown. The series continues Julià’s exploration of popcorn and its links to Hollywood, the corn industry and Mexican culture. In addition to A Very White Flower and an accompanying foldout poster, audiences can enjoy a screening of Popcorn (2012), which presents slowed, high-definition footage of a single corn kernel popping.

Photographer and installation artist Jazmin Urrea (Art MFA 17) explores urban food deserts in Imperishable, a series of site-specific minimalist structures at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in South LA. The structures, which are transparent and stand about 8 feet in height, are filled with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to display the ubiquity and harm posed by artificial additives and dyes. Imperishable hearkens to much of Urrea’s recent works, notably her CalArts thesis show Red40.

Herb Alpert Award Winner in the Arts Michael Rakowitz ushers the past into the present with Beneath the Date Palms. The installation recreates Room F of the Northwest Palace of Nimrud, an Iraqi heritage site. The piece pays homage to Iraq, a nation once credited as home to the best dates in the world and more recently invaded by the U.S. Beneath the Dates Palms is located in Pan Pacific Park in Fairfax District. 

Former School of Art visiting artist Michael Queenland unveils the metal sculpture Untitled, a fusion of East and West at the Exposition Park Rose Garden. The piece features a traditional hand-knotted rug of Pakistani-Afghan weaving traditions, with various breakfast cereals scattered on top. The combination of a time-honored craft and a perishable, mass-produced food item urges the viewer to consider the socio-political implications of such an interaction.

Sculptor, performance artist and past School of Art visiting artist Shana Lutker presents Contemporary Museum of Temporary Containers (CMTC), an installation of single-use containers, located at the Valley Plaza Recreation Center in North Hollywood. Lutker utilizes single-use containers donated by community members, carefully arranged by size, color, material, volume or prior contents to offer a new life to objects afforded one use only. CMTC invites discussions of sustainability and recycling as it elevates mundane materials to a museum-worthy display. 

For information about events associated with the aforementioned artists, see their individual event pages. And don’t miss other triennial events held across the city, including Performance: Appetite Monument Movement #1 (Suppressant) by featured public programmer Christopher Reynolds (Art MFA 2012), A Thousand Lunches presented by Emily Marchand (Art MFA 17) and Nip and Draw: Feeding Portraits in the Park presented by Babsi Loisch (Art MFA 18).  See the CURRENT:LA website for further program information.

Event Details


Saturday, Oct. 5 – Sunday, Nov. 3
See website for more information about associated events

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