The Santa Monica Museum of Art is one of the true treasures of the LA art world, consistently selecting top-flight talent that often flies under the radar. I’m yet to be disappointed by any of their shows.
Their current exhibition is NY/LA, an innovative program that diversifies SMMoA’s curatorial voice through an all-new, annual exhibition series. Developed by New-York-based independent curator Jeffrey Uslip and SMMoA Deputy Director and curator Lisa Melandri, NY/LA connects emerging contemporary artists on the East and West coasts.
“Both Los Angeles and New York are known for their innovations—their ability to spark new movements and cultivate new thought and action through art,” says Melandri. “Our goal is to bring the best of both coasts together and elevate the conversation.” For the inaugural exhibition, Melandri and Uslip each chose one artist to feature and gave them the theme “scientific inquiry” to focus their exploration.
Melandri selected Adam Berg’s Endangered Spaces, a new, multi-dimensional video, sculpture and photo installation that explores the relationship between man-made environments and displaced wildlife. In this work, Berg identifies a parallel between the threats to endangered animals and to storied architectural spaces. Taken all together, the sculpture and photography connect structural geometry, primitive habitats and perceptions of place.
Uslip is curator of Georgi Tushev’s Strange Attractor, which presents a series of paintings and works on paper that investigate the effects of oil paint exposed to extreme magnetic fields. Tushev’s work subverts the traditional medium of painting, allowing viewers to consider the cellular cycle of life and the material possibilities of paint.
If this first first show is any indicator, the NY/LA program promises to foster a stimulating dialogue between these two cultural centers.
To learn more about The Santa Monica Museum of Art, please visit www.smmoa.org
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