Wasteland

March 12 – July 17, 2016

Wasteland was a group exhibition curated by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division)’s Director and Curator, Shamim M. Momin, at two parallel venues in Paris: the Mona Bismarck American Center and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Pantin. The exhibition was on view from March 11 through July 17, 2016. Wasteland featured many of the most exciting contemporary artists based in Los Angeles, including Edgar Arceneaux, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Math Bass, Mark Bradford, Sam Falls, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Jon Pylypchuk, Fay Ray, Ry Rocklen, Amanda Ross-Ho, Analia Saban, Shannon Ebner/Erika Vogt, and Brenna Youngblood. 

This unprecedented collaboration between LAND, the Mona Bismarck American Center, and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac presented a unique opportunity to expand the reach of each institution’s audience, particularly that of LAND with this ambitious exhibition being the organization’s first international endeavor. Furthering the dialogue between two of the most dynamic art cities in the world, LAND and its partners presented curated programming that took place in both Paris and Los Angeles throughout the run of the exhibition.

Drawing on T.S. Eliot’s seminal modernist poem, The Waste Land, as the thematic thread between the 14 participating artists, the exhibition presented a reflexive, complex, multi-dimensional conversation about the poetics of despair, the search for true connection, the tenuous state of morality, and the uncertainty, yet necessity, of the future. The original text was published in 1922, written at a moment of disturbing parallel to the present, one of great disillusionment with the state of the world politically (post WWI) and culturally (the modern urban landscape) and individually (the increasing loss of true communication, connection, and faith).

Beyond the literary referent, the title also evokes other definitions and connotations — whether the old chestnut (long disproven but still present) of Los Angeles as a “cultural wasteland,” or a more literal reading of the word applied to the physical geography of both the city and the natural landscape of Southern California. It additionally calls to mind resonant images of the post-apocalyptic, the post-human, the potential future, largely created through the image magic of Los Angeles’ greatest export, Hollywood.

Diverse in nature and practice, the artists in Wasteland, who are all connected to Los Angeles, work in many different media and modes of presentation — a kind of “expanded practice” in which all aspects of their oeuvre are considered equally important; a performance as much as a sculpture, an interactive installation as much as a painting, a music group as much as a photograph. In keeping with this approach, this exhibition was an opportunity to additionally consider site — both the specific venues, as well as the city of Paris itself — as part of the work presented. In every case, the artist created a newly commissioned work or recombined works to create a conversation with and between the two venues, as well as the two cities.

Furthering the idea of Los Angeles of a wasteland, the exhibition highlighted a number of techniques, materials, and themes, examples of which include Edgar Arceneaux’s sculptural labrynthe library of crystallized books and scrolls engaging notions of the trajectiory of Art History and African American identity; Lisa Anne Auerbach’s pairings of her political and provocative knitted panels and matching garments; Mark Bradford’s cascading sculptural painting in the staircase at the Mona Bismarck American Center of shreds of paper strips caked with paint and other debris edited from another work, referencing Bradford’s material and artistic waste; and Jon Pylypchuk’s anthropomorphic and otherworldy sculptural figures made of castaway objects such as cigarettes and old tennis rackets.

A catalogue was published on the occasion of the exhibition, with an overall thematic text by Shamim M. Momin. Los Angeles-based writers, art historians, editors, and curators were selected to contribute one essay specific to each of the fourteen artists on view. The writers include Andrew
Berardini, Carol Cheh, Trinie Dalton, Cesar Garcia, Suzanne Hudson, Laura Hyatt, Jamillah
James, Kristina Kite, Sharon Mizota, Julian Myers-Szupinska, Claire de Dobay Rifelj, and
Kate Wolf.



PAST PUBLIC EVENTS:

Opening Receptions

Mona Bismarck American Center
34 Avenue de New York, 75116 Paris

March 11, 2016
7-9pm

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Pantin
69 Avenue du Général Leclerc, 93500 Pantin

March 13, 2016
2-6pm

Roundtable Discussion
Mona Bismarck American Center

March 12, 2016
3pm

Lisa Anne Auerbach’s WMEW Live FM Radio Broadcast

June 7, 2016

1-5pm

LAND HQ: 6775 Santa Monica Blvd. #5 Los Angeles, CA 90038

Join us in the parking lot of the LAND HQ from 1-5pm on Tuesday, June 7th (CA Presidential Primary Election Day) to tune in to artist Lisa Anne Auerbach’s live broadcast of WMEW as she reads voter information, electoral facts, and constitutional quotes.

A sign with the specific FM channel will be outside of the LAND HQ on June 7th. Channel only audible within approximately 200 feet of the LAND HQ.