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November 6, 2020 – January 16, 2021

Recent Pasts

ArtCenter Exhibitions announces the launch of Recent Pasts, a two-part project to be presented online and at ArtCenter DTLA.

Recent Pasts considers the changes and perpetual re-calibration in arts education and institutions in the 21st century; and in the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts they are situated within. Looking to the recent past, the project reflects on where we have come, while questioning and offering possibilities of moving forward. Moreover it reconsiders how we produce and present exhibitions—a process rooted in planning—in a future that is increasingly difficult to predict.

Part 1: Recent Pasts, Tomorrow’s Archives

November 6, 2020 – January 16, 2021

Recent Pasts, Tomorrow’s Archives comprises a series of online programs from November 2020 through January 2021, accompanied by an online platform through which workshop leaders, participants, and others may contribute to an ongoing conversation. Focusing on issues of access in institutions today, the program series poses the question: How can attention to accessibility take on a central role in the production and presentation of cultural programming and display?

Works created through these programs are presented in a digital "flat file" that also provides access to project materials, references, and working documents to be added throughout the Recent Pasts project. The public is welcome to access and contribute to the flat file materials building onto the digital archive of the project.

ArtCenter DTLA
114 W. 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Please note: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, exhibitions in ArtCenter's galleries are currently unavailable for visits by the public.

Related Links

ArtCenter Exhibitions Presents

View artist video works, talks and panels from current and past exhibitions.

Online Programs

Alt-Text as Poetry with artist Shannon Finnegan November 13, 2020

An essential part of web accessibility for people who are blind, low vision, or have certain cognitive disabilities, alt-text is often overlooked altogether, or understood solely through the lens of compliance. This workshop centers alt-text as a writing practice to be approached and embraced with creativity and care.

A Book is a Flat File is a Butterfly, a lecture-workshop with artist Chang YuchenDecember 4, 2020

Combining conversation and hands-on exercises, this lecture-workshop will address the metaphorically “heavy” aspects of artist books such as the archive, administration and inventory; as well as the “light” aspects of dream, memory and imagination.

Collage Thinking, Collage Doing with Maternal Fantasies December 6, 2020

Based on creative methods used by the art collective Maternal Fantasies, the workshop proposes a broader sense of translation between thinking/discourse and practice/performative visibility, looking at ways collage can be performed collectively.

Faded but Not Forgotten: A workshop with artist Hagar Cygler January 9, 2021

An extension of Cygler’s project Faded but Not Forgotten, this workshop in collaboration with Christina Niazian is an invitation to engage book making as a life practice with an emphasis on the process of exploring the common variables one faces when assembling a book: instinct, archives, decisions, sequence, and binding.

Distributed Web of Care with artist, writer, and organizer Taeyoon ChoiJanuary 16, 2021

Choi is a co-founder of the School for Poetic Computation whose initiative, Distributed Web of Care presents a critical perspective on technology, ethics and justice through lecture and interactive performances. In this workshop participants will learn about alternative social networks that are open source, free, and non-oppressive. For beginners without prior experience of coding.

hand holding note card that reads artists for alt-text
Image courtesy Shannon Finnegan
illustrations on note cards, left card reads Distribution Instead of Decentralization, right card reads Care Instead of Control
Image courtesy Taeyoon Choi

Organized by the Southland Institute, with support from ArtCenter DTLA and the College’s Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), these free public workshops aim to provide tools and structure to an ever-shifting response to a tenuous present, an uncertain future, and a rapid sequence of recent pasts in which the fragility of our present moment feels especially pronounced.

Dorit Cypis, The Sighted See the Surface
Image courtesy Dorit Cypis, The Sighted See the Surface

Part 2: Recent Pasts, Revisited

September 20 – October 23, 2021

Recent Pasts, Revisited will feature a group exhibition of works by artists with a connection to Los Angeles and an interest in making invisible institutional structures viscerally visible with care and criticality.


  • Nick Angelo
  • Neha Choksi
  • Dorit Cypis
  • Katie Herzog
  • Janna Ireland
  • Ruben Ochoa
  • noé olivas

Recent Pasts is organized by Aurora Tang, independent curator in collaboration with Love’s Remedies (ArtCenter DTLA Residency Project 2020), the Southland Institute, and ArtCenter DTLA. Recent Pasts is supported in part by ArtCenter’s Exhibitions and the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.