urban hymns exhibition

March 6, 2000





Margie Yu
Public Affairs Asst.
(323) 343-3047


of Events

Urban Hymns, March 25 - May 13, 2000

The Harriet and Charles Luckman Fine Arts Gallery, located on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles, announces an exhibition of artworks entitled Urban Hymns. Exhibition dates are March 25 - May 13, 2000. Artists include Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Lucas Reiner, Nina Bovasso, Francis Alÿs, Shane Hassett, Renee Petropoulos, Neil Goldberg, Dennis Hopper, Dean Sameshima, Jonathan Monk, Dave Hullfish Bailey, Ed Ruscha, and Michael Gonzalez. The exhibition is curated by Los Angeles-based curator and critic, Michael Darling. Admission is free of charge.

Urban Hymns features paintings, photographs, sculpture, works on paper and video by artists who are influenced by their particularly urban environments. Rather than being oppressed by the density, decay, and chaos of metropolitan centers, these artists find poetry, meaning and beauty in the urban fabric. In the works of art included, the details of urban life are celebrated, affording surprising perspectives on the environment that are often overlooked in our daily navigations of the city.

Phililp-Lorca diCorcia is a New York-based photographer known for his dramatic portraits of people in the street. Lucas Reiner is a Los Angeles-based artist who makes poignant and heartfelt renderings of the neighborhood surrounding his Pico Boulevard studio. New Yorker Nina Bovasso's paintings and drawings derive their energy from the colorful buildings which seem to reproduce one on top of another. Francis Alÿs is a Belgian artist living and working in Mexico City whose works have simultaneously commemorated the urban cityscape of the capital and investigated surreal situations of his own design. Also factored into his project are the individual styles of a group of Mexican sign painters who often create their own interpretations of his scenarios. The smaller details of city life are examined by Shane Hassett, who trains his eye on such anomalous architectural features as the stone rubble veneers of 1960s-era office buildings. In a similar manner, Los Angeles artist Renee Petropoulos has recorded a wide range of architectural decorations that are later turned into dazzling abstract drawings. New York artist Neil Goldberg makes similar observations in a recent video which documents the daily transformation of Lower East Side storefronts from ugly and characterless to sparkling and attractive personal statements.

Actor, filmmaker and photographer Dennis Hopper has sustained an interest in the unexamined details of urban life. His recent large-scale color photographs coax lyrical, painterly compositions from the most banal sources. Los Angeles-based artist Dean Sameshima records more subtle urban activity in his photographs by commemorating seemingly nondescript sites which at night become well-traveled locations for homosexual trysts. Scottish artist Jonathan Monk also makes visible what is not seen, often bringing forth the social conventions of a city through photographs, paintings, or sculpture that embody them. The overlooked infrastructure of the city is a central theme in the work of Los Angeles artist Dave Hullfish Bailey, who has in the past made work which deals with watershed issues, construction site markers, and land use. His work for this exhibition is constructed with materials largely found on hand on the campus of Cal State L.A. Ed Ruscha is best known for his use of language in his paintings or his wry photodocumentations of the Los Angeles landscape. His most recent work incorporates both traditions, making visual poems from the names and mapped intersections of Los Angeles streets. For this exhibition, Michael Gonzalez constructs his own sort of concrete poetry in abstract compositions composed from the Thai restaurant menus that appear on one's doorknob.

Urban Hymns is curated by Michael Darling, a curator and critic who has written extensively on contemporary art. He has organized numerous exhibitions both here and abroad, including L.A. or Lilliput? at the Long Beach Museum of Art in 1998 and the upcoming The Architecture of R.M. Schindler at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2001.

Urban Hymns coincides with the 30th Annual Conference of the Urban Affairs Association held in Los Angeles (at the Wilshire Grand Hotel) May 3-6, for which the Luckman Gallery will host a reception.

Gallery Hours are Monday through Thursday and Saturday, 12 noon-5:00 p.m. The Gallery is also open prior to and through the intermission of each performance at the Luckman Theatre.

The opening reception for Urban Hymns is Saturday, March 25, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.


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