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Art Department's News and Events

Young Joon Kwak

UCR Lecturer Young Joon Kwak has an exhibition at Commonwealth and Council Gallery in Los Angeles. 

Spartan Ruin

Young Joon Kwak

Commonwealth and Council presents Spartan Ruin, a new exhibition of sculptures and prints by Young Joon Kwak stemming from their term as 2020-21 Artist-in-Residence in Critical Race Studies at Michigan State University. Kwak recast the campus’s iconic statue of The Spartan—itself a bronze replica of Leonard Jungwirth’s 1945 terra cotta original—in cold-cast metal as a way of working through, and beyond, the familiar iconography of the Neoclassical militant. Kwak’s exhibition stages a recuperative reinterpretation of the affectionately-dubbed “Sparty” through different techniques of material transmutation, fragmentation, reproduction, and shifts in scale and orientation. Transposed to Los Angeles, Kwak’s works meld impressions of Sparty with those of the artist’s own body, further dismantling the idol in ways that are as disorienting as they are erotic.

Kwak created silicone molds of the statue to produce reverse-cast “skins” that capture the slightest surface details and textures on the statue, affording an intimate view of its construction and other human interactions with the statue. Marks made by the original artist’s hand in modeling the statue, the ritual of pennies being glued to different parts of its body by athletes praying for good luck, and signs of its wear at the hands of time and the elements all shed light on its vulnerability and liveness, and with it, the potential for its reimagining and reconstruction.

While faithful to their subject, these fragmentary skins comprise a vivid, seductive ruin which we replenish with our own desires. Kwak teases moments of camp from Sparty’s body, further destabilizing whatever staid and stoic masculinity might yet remain among these dissociated vestiges. Kwak zeroes

in on Sparty’s buttocks, on its hand gathering its skirt to the groin as it appears to sashay forward into battle. Sparty’s idealized washboard abs now read almost like drag hyperbole on macho athleticism. A larger-than-life-size breastplate (made using a cast from Sparty’s chest) glimmers in the gallery, bejeweled in holographic crystals—an iridescent skin that shifts in form and color. Emerging from the shattered disarray of Sparty’s shed skins as a psychedelic portal of multivalent hue and beguiling texture, this twinkling, buxom armor celebrates a glorious, queer state of being—prevailing in constant becoming, fierce and formless, born of light and nascent shape. 

The monumental scale of Kwak’s monoprints invite viewers to lose themselves among inchoate marblings and striation—diffuse intimations of body parts loosely held within the blast radius of Kwak’s inky reimagining. Pools of sticky blots, perhaps tracking Kwak’s fingers dabbling sensually across the sculpture’s naked contours, anchor the bits of limbs and torso in configurations both evocative and provocative.

Accompanying the exhibition is Spartan Ruin: A Reader. Available as a free takeaway booklet and an online pdf, the reader is edited by Jeanne Dreskin and contains texts by art historian Karin Zitzewitz, a piece co-authored by Dreskin and Kwak, and a roundtable with members of MSU’s Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community.

Kwak would like to extend a special thanks to the following people for their support in creating this body of work: Marvin Astorga, Lauren Batdorff, Jeanne Dreskin, Michael Earl, Nicolei Gupit, Michael McCune, Los Medina-Diaz, Walter Peebles, Gala Porras-Kim, Charlie Roses, and Karin Zitzewitz.

Young Joon Kwak (b. 1984, Queens, New York; lives and works in Los Angeles) received an MFA from the University of Southern California in 2014, an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2010, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. They are the founder of Mutant Salon, a roving beauty salon/platform for experimental performance collaborations with their community of queer, trans, femme, POC artists and performers, and lead performer in the electronic-dance-noise band Xina Xurner. 

Solo exhibitions have been held at Union Gallery, Michigan State University, East Lansing (2021); Cerritos College Art Gallery, CA (2020); Cloaca Projects, San Francisco (2019); Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Canada (2018); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, CA (2018); and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2017, 2014). They have performed at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2019); Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa, India (2018); Art Museum of the National University of Colombia, Bogotá (2018); Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2018); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); The Broad, Los Angeles (2016); and Le Pavillon Vendôme Centre d’Art Contemporain, Clichy, France (2016). Selected group exhibitions have been held at Hauser & Wirth, New York (2021), Tufts University Art Galleries, Boston (2021); Lyles & King, New York (2021); deli gallery, New York (2020); Antenna Space, Shanghai (2019); Gas, Los Angeles (2018); 47 Canal, New York (2018); Anonymous Gallery, Mexico City (2018); and Smack Mellon, New York (2016). They are the recipient of a Korean Arts Foundation of America (KAFA) Artist Award (2020), Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Emerging Artist Grant (2018) and Artist Community Engagement Grant (2016), and Art Matters Foundation Grant (2016). Their next solo exhibition will be held at the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles in November 2021.

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Lynne Marsh

Lynne Marsh: Who Raised It Up So Many Times?

September 25, 2021–January 9, 2022

Opening reception: Saturday, October 16, 2021, 5–9 p.m.

UCR ARTS

Culver Center of the Arts, Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Art Gallery

3834 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92501
USA

UCR ARTS is pleased to present the first comprehensive U.S. solo exhibition of work by Canadian artist Lynne Marsh. Who Raised It Up So Many Times? will be on view from September 25, 2021–January 9, 2022 at UCR ARTS’ Culver Center of the Arts, Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Art Gallery in downtown Riverside, California.

 

Who Raised It Up So Many Times? presents video installations and screenings by Marsh that explore labor and production in the realms of television, live performance, and 3D capture. A German TV news station, the Berlin Philharmonic concert hall, an English opera house, and a Southern California mixed-reality capture studio are all tapped to reveal the orchestrated, yet invisible, labor that underpins cultural production. Marsh’s works highlight the gestures, tools, and specialized skills that cultural workers of all kinds mobilize every day, inviting us to consider the manufacturing of images, sounds, and events. Utilizing up-to-the-minute technology while maintaining a historical view of mediated imagery, Marsh prompts us to reflect upon our roles, complicities, and pleasures as we create and consume images.

Her newest work, Ninfa Atlas (2021), debuts as a 5-channel video installation. For this piece, Marsh composed a 72-image score animating historical feminine figures from Western art and culture mined from the famous archive of art historian Aby Warburg. She collaborated with five Los Angeles-based performers who interpreted the score through gesture and movement, and then captured their performances in 3D. Ninfa Atlas manifests a translation process that carries the human figure from historic archive through embodied performance to digital asset. Marsh tracks the lives of these figures and their gestures as they adapt across technological eras, social contexts, and historical situations. Her approach highlights the complexities and problematics of cultural categorization and visual legibility.

“Marsh’s work is generous to us, its viewers. It elicits our perceptual abilities, rewards us with the pleasure of art appreciation, and prompts us to consider humanity in relation to mediation, technology, and the symbolic realm,” says independent curator and cultural producer Kimberli Meyer, who organized the exhibition. Meyer was formerly director of the University Art Museum at Cal State University Long Beach and director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, at the Schindler House.

The exhibition is supported by UCR CHASS, City of Riverside, Kathy Wright & Dwight Tate, and Ann DeWolfe. The artist acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts; UCR Academic Senate; and Metastage, Los Angeles.

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Jim Isermann

Professor Jim Isermann has just released a survey monograph published by Radius Books

ABOUT THE BOOK

“The domestic heart of Isermann’s design-oriented paintings, sculptures, and installations beats in ways not always immediately evident but nonetheless essential to the art’s success. Sometimes it sneaks up when least expected.”

-Christopher Knight

A comprehensive monograph spanning the forty-year career of Palm Springs–based, queer artist Jim Isermann (born 1955), this title shows the artist’s first twenty years of extensive, chronological research of postwar art and design filtered through popular culture and consumerism, followed by twenty years of site-specific public projects and a studio practice of labor-intensive painting, sculpture, and the occasional product design project. In 1980, there were no guidebooks to California design or what we now call Midcentury Modern. Isermann constructed his own timeline, object by object, from thrift stores, flea markets and swap meets, making bodies of work that included latch hook rugs paired with painting, stained glass window panels, and handsewn fabric wall hangings. By 1999, Isermann had his first computer, and so began the second twenty years of his career, with complex digitally designed patterns that found their form in commercially manufactured modules. Isermann continues to be inspired by the unpredictable, serendipitous moments that breathe life into his work.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Jim Isermann (b. 1955) is an American artist based in Palm Springs, California. Since receiving an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1980, his artistic output has chronicled the conflation of postwar industrial design and fine art through popular culture. From functional installations to discrete objects, Isermann has maintained an unflagging belief in the beauty of utilitarian design. His current work is in formal dis- course with its site-specific architectural setting addressing pragmatic issues of function and materials.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Knight is art critic for the Los Angeles Times. He received the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, after being a finalist in 1991, 2001 and 2007. Knight also received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Art Journalism from the Rabkin Foundation in 2020, and the 1997 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism from the College Art Association, the first journalist to win the award in more than 25 years. Knight has appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” PBS’ “NewsHour,” NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” and CNN and was featured in the 2009 documentary movie, “The Art of the Steal.”

RADIUS BOOKS

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Julie Sadowski

Julie Sadowski Body Blocks
August 8 – September 4, 2021

Born: Boston, MA
October 25, 1987 10:15 AM

Sun: Scorpio 1° 40’
Moon: Sagittarius 8° 15’
Venus: Scorpio 18° 23’

It was not home and yet, in Julie Sadowski, she was. Born in Boston, MA in autumn of 1987, the maple trees on the eastern edge of the country had already caught flame with color, a stamp of decay that would deliver each leaf back into the earth. The sun, still low in the sky, had just crossed over into the sign of Scorpio. A nurse steadied Julie as she pressed one painted foot assuredly onto her birth certificate, leaving the other tucked deeply into the fold between worlds. There was no doubling back and no bowing out on the mysteries that crowded in before her arrival. Based on the omens at birth, it is likely that her life will be marked with startling synchronicities and inscrutable metaphors as these two worlds repeatedly attempt to make contact with one another. 

Julie’s creative impulses come like swift moving arrows shot from all different directions focused on the same target. These assorted aims stem, to a certain degree, from an unconscious desire to cultivate greater intimacy with the most remote parts of herself. Her engagement with the world is a dynamic conversation and, now and then, an interrogation. Sometimes she is the one in the hot seat. Frequently, however, she angles the light back into the shadowy corners of the external world. The truths she illuminates are often unsettling reminders of what exists in spite of and sometimes as a consequence of our attempts to render them invisible. 

As ‘Body Blocks’ opens on August 8th, the Sun, Moon and Mercury come together in the Sun’s sign of Leo. Despite the absence of visible light at a new moon, this configuration suggests that there will be no shortage of epiphanies, new awarenesses or solidifying truths. Through the set of images Julie presents, viewers find a similarly elucidating presence. Her message may be received the way the ear accepts the ringing of a bell— as the original sound fades away it leaves an even louder clarifying silence in its wake.

No Moon LA

 

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Yunhee Min

Vitreous Opacities, an exhibition of new works by Professor Yunhee Min, is on view from July 3 – August 14, 2021 at Vielmetter Los Angeles. The exhibition consists of new paintings on glass alongside standing works that explore Min’s interest in the interaction of poured paint on glass. The show’s title references an optical condition of ghost like flutters in ones’ field of vision as a result of floating objects in the vitreous body of the eye. Similarly, the shapes of the paint applied to the surface of glass create an illusion of floating forms in space generating its own optics with the likeness of the lens.

Vielmetter Los Angeles

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Lisa Williamson

Sculpture Lecturer Lisa Williamson has her first solo exhibition up at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in Los Angeles. For Amplifier, Williamson brings together a series of wall-based works that compress landscape and portraiture, architecture and time. The exhibition runs through July 17, 2021.

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

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Charles Long

Professor Charles Long’s solo exhibition is up at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Los Angeles through May 28, 2021. In WORKLIGHT, a title obtained from a scrap of plastic the artist found while crossing an intersection on his daily bike ride to the studio, Charles Long presents a new body of assemblage works playing with the openness of consciousness (light) against the seeming limits of physical material (work).

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

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Anna Betbeze

Assistant Professor Anna Betbeze has an exhibition up at Nina Johnson in Miami though May 29, 2021. Forms Like Dreams is Betbeze’s third solo exhibition with the gallery and her first exploring photography. Through photographs and works on paper, paintings, drawings, and sculpture, Anna Betbeze probes the limits of images and experience.

Nina Johnson

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Jim Isermann

Jim Isermann Hypercube is up at Praz-Delavallade Los Angeles through April 10, 2021. Technically, a hypercube is an attempt to represent the 4th dimension. In these new works, Isermann sets out to describe the position of 2, 4 or 8 stripes on opposite sides of a cube in a rigid system of divisions and colors that result in asymmetrical compositions.

Praz-Delavallade

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Mark McKnight

Mark McKnight is opening a two part, two venue exhibition at Park View / Paul Soto, Los Angeles and Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery, New York, February 2 – April 24 and February 26 – April 3 respectively. Hunger for the Absolute comprises a selection of works from his recent monograph, Heaven is A Prison. In these photographs, the artist revisits the high desert landscape of his youth to depict a sexual encounter between two men. Shot with a large-format camera, his protagonists physically echo McKnight himself, and one an- other — Latinx, hirsute, and outside conventional European standards of beauty so often idealized even in the queer community. In McKnight’s visual world, natural landscapes and urban backdrops serve as lively stages for queer and Brown friends and intimates.

Paul Soto

Klaus Von Nichtssagend

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