Mar 022019
 

Derek Fordjour, Two Party System, 2019

 

JRRNNYS, Derek Fordjour’s solo exhibition at Night Gallery, includes new paintings and sculptures that “advance explorations of earlier works, returning to the subjects of crowds and athletic competitions to illustrate the entrenchment of power relations, capital flows, and racial inequality within the economic and social systems of the United States”. The paintings are made of multiple layers of painted cardboard and newspaper that are then scored and sections are removed.

This interview with the artist from artnet goes into more detail on his fascinating process and the reasons behind it.

Signing Day, 2019

Signing Day detail

 

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the installation STOCKROOM Ezekiel.

From the press release

…The work takes its name from the 1884 letters of Ezekiel Archey, an 25-year-old unjustly held as a prisoner sent to labor at the Pratt Coal Mines in Birmingham. Archey’s letters, sent to the Alabama inspector of prisons, are among the most prominent primary-source documentation of the ravages of the convict leasing system, acknowledging the stark preponderance of black prisoners and the gruesome treatment of the laborers by their supervisors. Fordjour’s installation responds to Archey’s letters by creating a walled-in structure comprised of over 1,000 individually constructed compartments – cells, as the artist calls them – painstakingly organized with a variety of found and handmade objects, though by a logic that is never explicated to the viewer. Lights in individual cells blink on and off variously, while small speakers let forth bursts of music by the dictates of a rigid but similarly inscrutable pattern, luring the viewer in the eye-popping manner of the carnival game or game board. The intermittent sounds of music range from the early field recordings of 20th century ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax to 80s- and 90s-era drug dealer anthems to modern day Trap music, a largely Southern genre of hip-hop inspired by the illegal drug trade. The viewer has entered a gamelike arena whose rules remain obscure. With time, the objects that populate the shelves come into focus. Some cells contain familiar items – balls extracted from various sporting contests, the lottery and billiards, cameras, hood ornaments from luxury sports cars, decommissioned prison uniforms, and hundreds of hand blown glass balloons, among others. Others are closed off with metal grating, while still more are lined with the ubiquitous fabrics of luxury designers, invoking the aspirational quests of poverty-stricken urban communities. Finally, many cells contain small busts of the same expressionless figure, molded from resin, copper, metal, plaster, dirt, and salt – materials which stand in for the most prominent products from the era of convict leasing, including the coal mines and steel plants of of Alabama and the molasses distilleries of Florida. Taken individually, the contents of these cells suggest luxury and labor, surveillance and displacement, strategy and competition; as a whole, the work suggests the laws of chance taking place within the confines of a framework that is as unknowable as it is oppressive. From the era of Pig Laws to our current three-strikes mandatory sentencing, educational lotteries to modern day sporting empires, Fordjour’s installation points to the tragic persistence of unjust structures that define American life, employing contemporary commodities while invoking history. At once mournful and flickering with possibility, the installation conjures notions of personal loss and gain within the macro-scale context of the inscrutable systems that have determined the fates of black and brown people through the nation’s history.

Derek Fordjour, STOCKROOM Ezekiel, 2019 image via Night Gallery

This exhibition closes 3/2/19.

If you are in NYC you can see one of Fordjour’s new works, Half Mast, as a public art installation for the Whitney Museum. The large vinyl reproduction of his painting can be seen at the intersection of Gansevoort and Washington Streets, directly across from the Whitney and the High Line.

Derek Fordjour, Half Mast. Image via Whitney Museum

Dec 172015
 

Vince Staples- Señorita

Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (12/17-12/20/15)-

Thursday

Thee Oh Sees, Fuzz, and WAND are playing A Holiday Homeless Charity Event at Teragram Ballroom with proceeds going to LA Kitchen. It’s sold out, but there are always ways to find tix.

The Center for the Arts at Eagle Rock is hosting The Winter Solstice Sound Bath, which “offers audience members the opportunity to achieve a deep meditative state through the experience of pure sound” ($25)

For some different, less meditative sounds, EDM DJ Dillon Francis is at The Shrine with T-Pain, Valentino Khan, Anna Lunoe & Neo Fresco (or see him Friday with ILoveMakonnen)

Friday

Vince Staples is worth taking a trip to Santa Ana for, where he’ll be playing at The Observatory

At the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA) gallery they are having the opening for the exhibit Molybdomancy followed by a Holiday Party with Night Gallery which will have performances, DJs, and hot cider

Get in the holiday spirit with The Music Center’s free outdoor Holiday Sing-along (tickets are distributed to the line at 6pm)

J Fernandez is playing at the Bootleg Theater

Can’t get enough of Star Wars?- you can participate in Light Saber Battle LA 2015 in Pershing Square (if you have one- they have sold out) or just check it out (free)

Fishbone are playing at The Roxy

Pity Sex are at The Echo with Colleen Green and Eskimeaux

Friday and Saturday

At REDCAT, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts is having its annual Winter Dance Concert

Saturday

Artists Risk and Axis are live painting from 3-5pm at Buckshot Gallery

Moving Units are playing at The Roxy

The Aero Theatre in Santa Monica has a holiday double feature showing of Elf and Bad Santa

The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood is showing National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Scrooged as its double feature

The Bots are at The Echo with Buttertones and Thee Commons

Sunday

Dan Harmon and Jeff B. Davis are hosting Harmontown at Nerdmelt in Hollywood

The Aero Theatre and the Egyptian Theatre are both showing holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life

All weekend

Check out the recreation of Seinfeld’s apartment on Melrose from 10am- 7pm (free)

Oct 292015
 

 Vulkano- Choir of Wolves

Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (10/29-11/1/15)-

One quick note before the list- check out my Halloween and Día de Los Muertos post for what there is to do around town for those holidays

Thursday

The Night Gallery downtown is screening Zara Hayes film about painter Derek Boshier “What Do Artists Do All Day?” followed by a Q&A with her, Boshier, and Christoper Finch

Mexican artist Astrid Hadad’s cabaret performances begin at REDCAT (through Sunday 11/1)

Israeli photographer Adi Nes is speaking at Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Bergamot station

Dr. Piotr Naskrecki, nature photographer and entomologist, is speaking at the Annenberg Space for Photography (free)

Friday

Swedish band Vulkano are opening for British band Cheatahs at The Echo

Machine Project is teaming up with CAFAM for a night of pumpkin carving and “some exciting and ghastly chemistry experiments“, $20 includes the pumpkin

Ska orchestra Western Standard Time are playing a free show at One Santa Fe downtown

A Club Called Rhonda is having a pre-Halloween event called Death Becomes Her at the Globe Theater downtown with a lot of indie-electro DJ fun ($35 pre-sale/$50 at the door)

Lot 1 Cafe is hosting “A Nightmare Before Halloween”, a free show with Dante Elephante headlining

Friday through Sunday

Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo is back at the LA Convention Center. Stan Lee, Carrie Fisher, Elvira, William Shatner and more will be in attendance

Saturday (not too many non-Halloween events- for Halloween go here)

Hard Day of the Dead EDM festival begins- Deadmau5 is headlining Saturday with Hot Chip, Future, Flying Lotus, Nero and more; on Sunday Skrillex headlines with A$AP Ferg, Glass Animals and Groove Armada among the many other performers

Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine are playing along with Fartbarf and others at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach (also Friday)

Melvins are headlining a show at The Echo

Sunday

Johnson Hartig, founder of the clothes label Libertine, is in conversation with famous clothes designer Bob Mackie at LACMA for Hartig’s book Libertine: The Creative Beauty, Humor, and Inspiration Behind the Cult Label  (free)

Artist Molly Barnes is speaking at Rosamund Felsen Gallery downtown

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Flea Market is back at the Regent Theater ($2- or free if you eat next door at Prufrock Pizzeria)

Kristen Hersh is in conversation with LA Weekly’s Andy Hermann at Book Soup for her book Don’t Suck Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt and playing later at The Echo

Feb 222014
 
samaragoldennightgallery

Samara Golden- Mass Murder

nightgalleryportraitsjessemockrin

Jesse Mockrin- Midnight Sun

When you walk into Night Gallery it will take your eyes awhile to adjust. When they do you will see a car parked in the center of the gallery. The next room holds Jesse Mockrin’s paintings, styled after traditional master painters, lit with one light each. The next rooms are filled with odd aluminum covered furniture, a sunset projection on one wall, stuffed animals, pianos, keyboards and more. These objects (and the car) are all part of Samara Golden’s Mass Murder. What does it all mean? Here’s a bit of the press release:

It’s Mass murder. It’s the world and then the reversal of the world. It’s trying to find the beautiful inside of a horrible world of hypocrisy and contradiction. It’s personal. It’s optimism and pessimism in a dead lock. It’s two stories. It’s bad blood. It’s a caged thought. It’s a purple light giving a performance. It’s our living room 1975-1988. It’s an airport convention room, it’s a bank, a hospital, a hotel. The wall, a dance club, a parking lot. It’s a flight simulator that makes you believe you’re in the sky when you’re actually crashing into nothing-miles away from real life. It’s the disillusionment of the Vietnam generation, it’s my parents. It’s keyboard lessons, gymnastics, those flowers my mom loves, Vivaldi the four seasons, Pink Floyd, The Ramones. It’s a room that was both my sister’s place and my grandma’s. It’s the records, the boom box, Detroit “wheelz” radio, the two cockatiel birds, Rudy, and heavy metal. It’s the black and white TV, the alcohol, the reading, the neon knitted Afghans, the curly grey hair, the heart problems, the smoke, and the cigarettes. It’s also the matchboxes, the taste, the piano, the white carpet, the abalone box in the ladies room, the jewelry. It’s a highway underpass. It’s sleeping in the street. It’s train hopping. It’s April, it’s her amputated leg. It’s a big mess, seriously. It’s a place to think about it. It’s the fog and the mist. It’s asking why-it’s hoping for a peaceful place. It’s a broken heart for the world.

Worth checking out to draw your own conclusions. It closes 2/22.