Every two years, the CURRENT:LA Public Art Biennial will focus on an issue affecting Los Angeles and other global cities to inspire civic discourse and use contemporary art to deepen connections between people. Putting a new spin on the international biennial, CURRENT:LA democratizes the way people access art by featuring temporary art projects and public programs at outdoor locations, taking art out of the museum environment and into LA's diverse neighborhoods. This citywide cultural event is presented by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. The first presentation of the CURRENT:LA Public Art Biennial in 2016 is funded by DCA and Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Public Art Challenge initiative.
Initial curatorial oversight and selection of the artists was provided by artist and curatorial advisor Marc Pally and a committee of esteemed LA-based curators with experience in issues-based public art and biennial presentations. Ongoing curatorial support is by the following curators:
RUTH ESTÉVEZ is a writer, curator, and stage designer. She is currently the curator and director of the Gallery at REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater. Between 2007 and 2011, Estévez served as the chief curator at the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in Mexico City. She co-founded LIGA-Space for Architecture in Mexico City in 2010, an exhibition platform dedicated to experimentation in architecture and spatial practice. Her work at REDCAT has included various group exhibitions such as Agency (Assembly: Before and After the Split Second Recorded) and Hotel Theory, co-curated with Sohrab Mohebbi, among others. Forthcoming projects include new works by Pedro Barateiro and Quinn Latimer; a group exhibition in collaboration with Jose Luis Blondet that will consider relationships among gesture, meaning, and spectacle in performance art and theater; and the re-staging of a historical performance piece by Argentinian artist Leon Ferrari in collaboration with The Getty Institute. Estévez has written for numerous exhibition catalogues and art publications, and has independently organized exhibitions in Belgium, France, Mexico, Spain, and the United States.
RITA GONZALEZ is Curator and Acting Department Head in Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) where she has curated "Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement"; "Asco: Elite of the Obscure" (during the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time festival); "Lost Line: Contemporary Art from the Collection"; and "Agnès Varda in Californialand", among other exhibitions and programs. Forthcoming exhibitions include a presentation of artist gifts to round out LACMA’s 50th anniversary year and "A Universal History of Infamy", a group exhibition of contemporary Latino and Latin American artists scheduled for fall of 2017 during Pacific Standard Time LA/LA. Gonzalez’s curatorial collaboration with filmmaker Jesse Lerner, "Mexperimental Cinema", was the first survey of Mexican experimental film and video. It traveled to museums and film festivals internationally and resulted in the first bilingual publication on the subject. Her essays appear in "Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography" (Duke University Press), "Recent Pasts: Art in Southern California from 90s to Now" (JRP|Ringier Zurich), and "California Video: Artists and Histories" (Getty Publications).
KAREN MOSS is an art historian, curator, and educator who has organized exhibitions, artist residencies, performances, and public projects. Moss is an adjunct professor at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, where she is co-curator for "Talking to Action", a major exhibition of LA and Latin American artists for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time LA/LA initiative. She also teaches in the MA Curatorial Practices and the Public Sphere at the Roski School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California. Previously, Moss was Deputy Director of Exhibitions/Curator at Orange County Museum of Art, where she curated exhibitions including "State of Mind: New Art from California Circa 1970", "Illumination: The Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe", "Agnes Pelton, Agnes Martin and Florence Pierce", and the California Biennials. Her areas of expertise include conceptual, performance and intermedia art since the 1960s, public and social practices and experimental pedagogies.
IRENE TSATSOS is Gallery Director / Chief Curator at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, and she has held this position since 2010. With a background as a visual artist, Tsatsos is recognized as an artist-centered curator with a practice that is oriented toward artistic collaboration and production. Originally from the Chicago area, Tsatsos moved to Los Angeles in 1997 to serve as the director/curator of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), a position that she held until 2005. Prior to LACE, Tsatsos worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, where she coordinated their 1997 Biennial, an exhibition noted for its uncharacteristic abundance of LA-based artists. Additionally, between LACE and her appointment at the Armory Center, Tsatsos established an independent curatorial and writing practice that includes collaborations with individual artists and renowned institutions. She continues this independent practice today, alongside teaching and her work with the Armory.
As a leading, progressive arts and cultural agency, DCA empowers Los Angeles’ vibrant communities by supporting and providing access to quality visual, literary, musical, performing, and educational arts programming; managing vital cultural centers; preserving historic sites; creating public art; and funding services provided by arts organizations and individual artists.
Formed in 1925, DCA promotes arts and culture as a way to ignite a powerful dialogue, engage LA’s residents and visitors, and ensure LA’s varied cultures are recognized, acknowledged, and experienced. DCA’s mission is to strengthen the quality of life in Los Angeles by stimulating and supporting arts and cultural activities, ensuring public access to the arts for residents and visitors alike.
DCA advances the social and economic impact of arts and culture through grantmaking, public art, community arts, and strategic marketing and development. DCA creates and supports arts programming, maximizing relationships with other city agencies, artists, and arts and cultural nonprofit organizations to provide excellent service in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.
In June 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies selected the City of Los Angeles as one of four cities to receive up to $1 million as part of the Public Art Challenge, a program aimed at supporting temporary public art projects that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships, and drive economic development. Bloomberg Philanthropies has a history of supporting innovative public art projects in cities around the world.
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Government Innovation, Environment, Education, and the Arts.
Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving.
For more information, please visit bloomberg.org
CURRENT:LA Water is produced by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the
Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti
Graphic and Web Design by Still Room
Web development by El Bug Farm
Historical Photos Courtesy of Los Angeles City Archives, Public Works Right of Way Collection
All Other Photos Courtesy of City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Public Art Division unless otherwise noted.
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