Editorial: LA Art
profile July 07 LACDA - Publication: Downtown News
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LACDA - New
Melding the worlds of
art and technology , Los Angeles Museum Of Digital Art has pioneered a slew of
innovations as a privately owned gallery since its inception in 2003
From rare show of cell
phone photography that eventually found it s way to renowned Pompidou Center in
Paris to hosting an annual art competition for thousands of hopefuls from around the nation.
Himself an artist, owner/gallerist Rex Bruce
reveals the core of the gallery’s creative agenda, "When
creating LACDA I brainstormed everything that could be unique to a digital
gallery. We always operate hand in glove with the internet, our open calls and
our competitions are global.
We have artists from
abroad ftp files, a recent one was from Poland for instance, and print them
here for exhibition. We find the artists in virtual space by communication on
the internet and it is like beaming in their images and materializing them
physically in the gallery. "
Nestled on the corner of
5th and main street in downtown LA, the LACDA is housed in a building
originally constructed in 1914, known as the Rosslyn Hotel.
Later converted to
become to Rosslyn Lofts, the checkered history of the 1,200 square feet space
saw it also play host to a Mexican restaurant, called Casa Maria which
eventually closed in the 1990's.
After being introduced
to the vacant space by downtown gallerist Bert Green, of namesake gallery Bert
Green Fine art, Bruce transformed the space where a bare bones approach. “We
built it into a nice gallery at breakneck speed to save money in about one
month and opened our first show there in December 2003.”
Now with an international list of client list and exhibitors , the LACDA is a
popular stop for monthly attendees of downtown’s increasingly popular downtown
art walk. “The space is in our forth year and we are very successful and
solvent,” says Bruce.
Prior to starting the
space Bruce founded the digital program at Artists Television Access (San Francisco)
for which he curated exhibits and created a curriculum.
Bruce received his
masters from SFSU in Interdisciplinary Art where he also taught and
developed curriculum for many years. His work has been shown
internationally for over twenty years. Rex's video
"Widescreen,” was featured with a handful of artists within the Georges Pompidou Center in
Paris during the three day run of The
Forum des Images "Festival International des Films
Réalisés avec Téléphone Moblie this year, otherwise known as "Festival
This video was also
screened for the Silverlake Film Festival "Fringe Fest," at the L.A.
Center for Digital Art, as well as the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery.
Bruce says the video
short is the first cinematic version of his series of digital stills that
involve experimentation with a variety of low resolution digital
cameras, “using them as a starting point for inverting the
conventions of photographic art and digital imaging”.
"I am interested in
the artifacts that each camera I have generates under
certain lighting conditions. I only adjust and use print settings to
bring these elements to the foreground. As opposed to 'correcting'
images, I 'incorrect' images,” he says
“I do everything
'wrong,' but keep visual pleasure and a social narrative on my agenda.” While
maintaining his work with these skyward cropped still images printed onto very
large stretched canvases, he is now embarking onto an exploration of
"experimental film" and intends to create more single and multi-channel
looping installations as well as much longer.
Another unique facet of
the LACDA is its annual art competition which serves as a forum for
international artists to exhibit their work. Unlike conventional galleries, the
process is immediate in that images can be sent and viewed within minutes from
anywhere around the globe.
Bruce explains, “Every
year for 50 years the L.A. Municipal Gallery has held its "Open Call"
exhibit where any artist can show up with their art and an entry fee (to
benefit gallery programs) and the piece is shown.
“The LACDA decided to
launch an international experiment of the same nature where the artists upload
images that are printed and hung by the gallery. The hundreds of works are
displayed in a grid like installation, reminiscent of postcard art shows of the
1980's where every work submitted is exhibited. “
“The usual, less than
democratic) selection process where only the precious few are chosen is turned
on its head in a curatorial anarchy where everyone gets to participate and the
viewer is literally left to be the judge,” Bruce says.
“The show represents a
snapshot of a current moment in art history when digital imaging has reached
the hands of the many, an age where culture belongs to the
"mobloggers" around the globe.
From Thailand to
Texas,amateur to academic, beautiful to banal and beyond the monumental
quantity and variety of "Snap to Grid" becomes an aesthetic
experience where each individual piece adds to an agglomerative effect that has
a life of its own.”
Digital artist August
Highland provided a glowing endorsement for the LACDA and the effectiveness of
its regular group shows and
competitions. “LACDA's recognition and support of my work has been an
invaluable source of inspiration to me In the bizarre and wonderful
power-industry of the art world, it's always a gift when an artist finds a
curator like Rex who takes a genuine interest in and plays a supportive role in
the career and personal life of one of the hundreds of artists that are lucky
enough to be able to list LACDA on their resume."
The next LACDA show is
by Mary Bates Neubauer running from August 9-September 1, 2007. Reception Thursday August 9, 7-9pm.
Neubauer's current work uses visual information obtained through digital
processes to create and record 3D data.
Written by Craig Stephens