Installation view of Andrew Freire ex-tradition acts at Riviera Parking, 2021. (Photo: Max Cleary)
Artist-Run Spaces When the Space is Closed:
Alternative Exhibition Strategies for Alternative Venues in a Time of Contagion.
Gabriel Garza, Punto Lairs inc, Los Angeles, CA
Niko Chodor & Alex Heilbron, Riviera Parking, Santa Barbara, CA
Eben Haines & Delaney Dameron, Shelter in Place Gallery, Boston, MA
Moderated by Alex Lukas, Assistant Professor of Print & Publication, UCSB Department of Art.
Additional support provided by the University of California Placemaking Initiative.
Artist-run project spaces, DIY exhibition venues, and apartment galleries have a long history of championing the careers of emerging, marginalized, and less-than-commercially viable practices. Conscientiously rejecting the white cube, these spaces occupy an integral if ever-precarious position in an arts ecosystem. By choice and necessity, these galleries insist upon a confusion between public and private, inviting their audience into living rooms, studios, cars, and garages. Here, viewers are presented with not only an exhibition but an intimate (if occasionally awkward) window into the organizer’s personal space.
The global pandemic removed this possibility, as pre-vaccinated indoor cohabitation carried a substantial risk of contagion. In response, exhibition spaces sprouted in front yards, on flagpoles, within street-facing windows, and in miniature. These innovative display methods presented possibilities for fresh exhibition paradigms and a newly expansive, outward-facing notion of audience. This panel discussion brings together the organizers of several artist-run spaces for a conversation examining these new strategies for presenting artwork during a pandemic, asking what succeeded and what failed, what was temporary, and what methodologies might be maintained post-COVID-19.
Punto Lairs inc was a project in the family home of artist Gabriel Garza in the neighborhood of Silverlake, Los Angeles CA. From July 2020 to July 2021 the yard hosted 10 two-person exhibitions, a workshop for young artists, a day-long musical performance, a film screening, one off-site exhibition, and a final 40 person group show. The exhibitions started by bringing like-minded artists together who wanted to produce work for an outdoor setting, and then shifted to focusing on artists with longstanding understandings of each others’ work, starting with an exhibition of Garza’s parents whose house the project lived at. Garza attended UCLA and received a BA in Art in 2017, and currently works in a sculptural setting of signage in the form of bumper stickers and metal signs derived from drawings.
Punto Lairs inc logo alongside documentation of Ray Barsante’s installation in Punto Lairs inc, 2020
Riviera Parking was a temporary project space located in a two-car garage in the Lower Riviera neighborhood of Santa Barbara. Each artist was asked to present one work, over one weekend, made during the pandemic. This project began as a way to have conversations with artists. We were interested in knowing more about the work they are making and if or how the COVID-19 pandemic had changed their studio practice. Due to the pandemic, video-calling, emailing and phone conversations became a way for us to look and talk about artist work. The notes, texts, and images shared during our conversations became just as important as the final exhibition. The conversations and process from each exhibition is presented on our website.Riviera Parking was run by Niko Chodor and Alex Heilbron. Niko Chodor is a multi-disciplinary artist that lives and works between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Chodor graduated in 2018 from Kunstakademie Dusseldorf and has participated and shown in several international exhibitions. His work combines representations of memory, cultural fragments and personal experiences through sampling and subverting both images and texts. This exposes the dysfunctional aspects of our contemporary society in terms of information circulation and architecture when framed within a globalized, neo-liberal consensus, and extends into structural rethinking of our designed reality. Alex Heilbron’s work addresses how the female body, in physical, psychological, political, and cultural aspects, is perceived in both public and private spaces. Some topics that Heilbron’s work explores include: play and withholding as forms of resistance to expectations of progress and productivity. Heilbron received her MFA from University of California, Los Angeles in 2020 and studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 2014-2017.
Haines and Dameron with Shelter in Place Gallery.
Eben Haines and Delaney Dameron are the organizers of Boston’s Shelter In Place Gallery, a miniature art gallery created to show ambitious solo exhibitions at an accessible scale. The gallery was launched early into the pandemic to counter local artists’ sudden loss of access to studio and gallery space.
CA53776V2.gallery at the Other Places Art Fair, San Pedro, CA, September, 2021
Moderator Alex Lukas organizes CA53776V2.gallery, an exhibition space on the dashboard of his 2007 Ford Ranger. Inaugurated in the spring of 2021, CA53776V2.gallery is rooted in a cultural understanding of car dashboards as a venue for quasi-public, highly personal displays of craft and identity. To date, CA53776V2.gallery has presented work by Kim Beck, Kevin Clancy, E. Saffronia Downing, Madeleine Eve Ignon, Nicholas C. Lowe, Adam Milner, Naomi Nakazato, Misael Soto, Imin Yeh & Kareem Worrell. CA53776V2.gallery participated in the 2021 Other Places Art Fair, and is currently a site for the 2021 Terrain Biennial, a decentralized, international public exhibition platform. The gallery is usually parked on the 300 block of W. Anapamu Street, but moves occasionally for street cleaning and trips to the grocery store. Lukas is an Assistant Professor of Print and Publication in the Department of Art here at UCSB.