The Art World We Deserve
The art world loves to decry it’s own condition, to mourn the distance between it’s over-capitalized self and our disinterested ideals of art making. And yet the art world remains, in some measure at least, no more or less than what we make of it. We called on five individuals: curator-art writers, Bob Nickas and Alison Gingeras; Karma founder and publisher, Brendan Dugan; and 356 Mission cofounders, Laura Owens and Wendy Yao; figures who have each, in their practices, reimagined an art world they (and we) can live in.
A critic and independent curator based in New York, Bob Nickas has organized more than ninety exhibitions since 1984. Nickas was the Curatorial Advisor at P.S.1/MoMA, New York, between 2004-07, where his exhibitions included “Lee Lozano: Drawn From Life”; “William Gedney—Christopher Wool: Into the Night”; “Stephen Shore: American Surfaces”; and “Wolfgang Tillmans: Freedom From The Known”. He served on the curatorial team for the 2003 Biennale de Lyon, contributed a section to Aperto at the 1993 Venice Biennale, and collaborated with Cady Noland on her installation for Documenta IX in 1992. His books include Painting Abstraction: New Elements In Abstract Painting (2009), Theft Is Vision (2007) and Live Free or Die: Collected Writings 1985-1999 (2000). This past fall White Columns, New York, mounted “30/130: Thirty Years of Books and Catalogs, etc.”, a survey of his books, catalogues, ‘zines, editions and records produced over the past thirty years. Nickas will be signing his new collection of writings, The Dept. of Corrections (Karma, New York. 2015) on Sunday, February 28th at 3 PM at Stories Books in Echo Park.
Alison Gingeras’ curatorial track record ranges from posts at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the National Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Palazzo Grassi, Venice, to a stint master minding the short-lived East Village storefront gallery, Oko, where she programmed a mix of new talent (Alex da Corte, Borna Sammak, and Ella Kruglyanskaya), and timely rediscoveries (early Julian Schnabel; the Polish Pop artist Jurry Zielinski). Gingeras currently serves as an adjunct curator at the Dallas Contemporary, Dallas. Notable museum exhibitions include: “Dear Painter, Paint Me: Painting the Figure Since Late Picabia,” (2003), “Daniel Buren Le Musee qui n’existait pas” (2002) (Both for Centre Pompidou), and, with Jack Bankowsky and Catherine Wood, “Pop Life,” (2010; Tate Modern). Most recently, her two part exhibition, “The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up: Cobra and its Legacy”, was seen at Blum & Poe in New York and Los Angeles, and “Black Sheep Feminism: The Art of Sexual Politics” opened at the Dallas Contemporary this January. Gingeras’ writing appears regularly in Artforum, Tate, Etc, and Mousse.
Brendan Dugan (KARMA)
Brendan Dugan founded KARMA, an independent publisher, bookstore and gallery, in New York City in 2011. The project-oriented venture has sponsored collaborations with both emerging and established artists. Recent exhibited artists have included Collier Schorr, Laura Owens, Brice Marden, Carroll Dunham, Robert Grosvenor, Wade Guyton, Duane Hanson, Ray Johnson, Julian Schnabel, Piotr Uklanski, and Stanley Whitney. Additionally, KARMA has also organized off-site exhibitions, including “Love for Three Oranges” at Gladstone Gallery, Brussels (2015) and “Flat World” at David Kordansky, Los Angeles (2015), and collaborated on publishing projects with institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, Printed Matter, the Swiss Institute and White Columns.
Laura Owens and Wendy Yao (356 Mission)
Los Angeles-based painter, Laura Owens, first attracted notice for her work in the late 1990s. In 2003, she became the youngest artist ever to be honored with a survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Most recently, Owens’ paintings and handmade artist’s books were exhibited at Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2015); Secession, Vienna (2015); and Zona Maco, Mexico City, D.F. (2015). She was awarded the 2015 Robert De Niro, Sr. prize and was nominated for the 2016 Hugo Boss Prize. Her work will be shown at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in Spring 2016. Owens teaches at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena and runs the exhibition space 356 Mission Road in Los Angeles with Gavin Brown and Wendy Yao.
Wendy Yao founded Ooga Booga, a shop specializing in artist books, music, design, and independent culture, in 2004; she also publishes books and records under the Ooga Booga imprint. In addition to hosting performances, talks, film screenings, workshops, and exhibitions at her shop, Yao has organized projects for off-site locations, including a reading room for the Swiss Institute NY (2009) and a micro-fair for independent art book publishers at ALAC in 2010. From 2004 to 2012, she co-organized an annual Art Swap Meet with her sister Amy in Joshua Tree at High Desert Test Sites, where artists were invited to sell and exchange wares in a free-form market. In 2008, Yao launched an online database of art book printers, a resource free to the public. In 2013, she opened a second shop inside 356 Mission, an exhibition space she runs with painter, Laura Owens and art dealer, Gavin Brown.
The Graduate Seminar at ArtCenter College of Design is a forum for graduate students, members of the ArtCenter community and the general public to enter into dialog with internationally recognized artists, critics and art historians. The Seminar—a core component of Art Center’s Graduate Art program—takes place Tuesday evenings throughout the Fall and Spring terms. Admission is free and open to the general public.
Graduate Art at ArtCenter College of Design is based on intensive studio practice and rigorous academic coursework. The program is distinguished by its low faculty-to-student ratio that provides students with the attention and feedback they need to refine and achieve their artistic goals. Faculty and students are artists working in all genres—film, video, photography, painting, sculpture,performance and installation. A significant number of alumni have achieved national and international acclaim, and often return to share their insights and expertise as visiting faculty and guest lecturers.
Pictured: Laura Owens, painter and cofounder of 356 Mission Rd. Photo: courtesy of the artist.