do we surf the wake?

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Concord is pleased to announce its first show... 

…”do we surf the wake?” re-reads the Birth of the LA Art Scene and our local history through the notion of communities of difference. The curatorial impulse follows suit, by presenting artists that identify both with Los Angeles and its art history, as well as places more further afield including Palestine, Iran, Denmark, New Zealand, Haiti and the Ukraine.

featuring new work by:

Ramak Fazel
Yung Jake
Jumana Manna
Michala Paludan + Amy Howden-Chapman
Andy Robert
Sean Snyder

Curated by Arjuna Neuman

The museum-history complex too often determines its stories through protagonists. The obvious agenda is fiscally motivated. Like a Hollywood celebrity – a big name artist returns big bucks as museums strive for blockbuster shows, all the while satisfying the collector elite at the top of the art food chain. But this isn’t a lament for the way the art world is, nor the real world at large. No, this show, Concord’s first show is an attempt to read its own history and to put forward an interpretation of “The Birth of the LA Art Scene”. Afterall, each artist in do we surf the wake? works within the lineage of the artists and schools that the Pacific Standard Time initiative represents.

In reading our own history, against the grain of the Institutionally Authorized History Writers (The Getty et al), we look to the place itself, Los Angeles as foundational of its own art scene. What about Los Angeles led to such a rich and diverse art scene, current and passed? 

The very genetic nature of the city is a short answer, its de-centralized topography and sprawling infrastructure – at least this is what makes LA different from other metropolises. Once we step outside of the protagonist-led-paradigm of history, we see that the LA art scene was and still is dense with micro-communities, schools of similarity that preserve their integrity despite being radically different from their neighbours. This quilt-like quality of Los Angeles as it appears through the diversity of its art movements is a reflection of the city’s structure. In the way LA preserves community integrity through buffer zones between neighbourhoods (the suburban model of space between houses versus New York’s stacked, cultural bleed). 

Gang territories (see also the CalArts Mafia) typify this genetic quality of the city, where opposing yet integral communities exist within the larger, unified fabric of Los Angeles. The plurality of the LA art scene was/is composed through multiple close-knit schools of thinking (feminism, Chicano art, video art and institutional critique etc), which when considered as a unified whole, as the Los Angeles art scene, it becomes a community made up of difference. A collective of distinct micro-communities that together celebrate diversity in a way that only a city as dysfunctional as Los Angeles could produce.

In opposition to the protagonist led reading of Los Angeles’ art history – do we surf the wake? celebrates the birth of the LA Art Scene by re-reading our local history as defined by communities of difference. The curatorial impulse follows suit, by presenting artists that identify with LA and its art history, but at the same represent places more further a-field including Palestine, Iran, Denmark, New Zealand, Haiti, America and the Ukraine.

1010 N San Fernando Rd
Los Angeles CA 90065

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