Opening of Beta Main with Performance Lessons, LA


Affair: Opening of Beta Main with Performance Lessons

When: Sunday, October 30, 2016 @ 1-5PM

Hot Spot: 114 W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA

Deets: The Main Museum of Los Angeles Art is a new cultural institution dedicated to LA art and artists. Its first iteration – Beta Main – opens on Sunday, October 30 with the inaugural project Performance Lessons: Suzanne Lacy Teaches Andrea Bowers Performance Art. Located in the Old Bank District of downtown Los Angeles, Beta Main is the programmatic testing ground for the museum’s 100,000 square foot complex while undergoing construction. True to its name, Beta Main serves as a space to activate ideas for shaping The Main’s future programs, including residencies for LA artists. Throughout all phases of the institution’s development and specifically during Beta Main’s exhibitions, residencies, and public events, The Main will continue to refine its vision and methods as it learns from the public that it serves.

Beta Main’s first commissioned project, Performance Lessons: Suzanne Lacy Teaches Andrea Bowers Performance Art, centers on the profoundly influential trajectory of performance art in California between 1968-1980, reanimating and contextualizing this rich artistic history through contemporary performance, conversation, and pedagogy. Performance Lessons follows the artists’ nine-day durational installation at The Drawing Center in New York in 2014, where Andrea Bowers taught Suzanne Lacy how to draw. Using the practice Lacy was foundational in forming, roles are reversed this time and Lacy teaches Bowers the principles of performance art.

Lacy and Bowers will live in Beta Main’s two artists’ studios and work in its street-level gallery from October 30 - November 8, 2016. Each day, Bowers will be assigned lessons, develop performances, and undergo the formal critique process art students undertake as part of their education. The lessons, crits, and conversations with Lacy and invited performance artists and scholars – including Jerri Allyn, Eleanor Antin, Ed Bereal, Nao Bustamante, Dr. Meiling Cheng, Simone Forti, Anne Gaulden, Cheri Gaulke, Micol Hebron, Amelia Jones, Leslie Labowitz-Starus, Dr. Karen Moss, Barbara T. Smith, and others - are free and open to the public. Conversations will delve into topics including relationships, daily life, sexuality, and politics. The project will culminate with a communal viewing of election night returns on November 8. A library of related texts that focus on performance art will be available alongside an active archiving project that will develop over the course of the project to document performance artists in Los Angeles. Visitors are encouraged to add to the growing list.

The historic and still raw space of Beta Main acts as an animating context for Performance Lessons and its exploration of the experimental terrain of Los Angeles performance art, which unfolded in similar raw, ad hoc venues. On large temporary walls constructed during the opening in this museum-in-progress, Bowers and Lacy will begin to map their experience, grounded in the history of performance in Los Angeles, drawing on this relationality as it continues to permeate contemporary artistic practices in the city. Lacy and Bowers’ Performance Lessons concludes on Tuesday, November 8, and its trace, in the form of a large drawing that maps the histories of Los Angeles performance art, will remain on view until Sunday, November 20.

Performance Lessons opening conversation with Nao Bustamante, Dr. Meiling Cheng, and Amelia Jones (Project Advisor)
Sunday, October 30 1-2:30pm

Performance Lessons Viewing Hours:
Monday, October 31 – Tuesday,
November 8 Every day, 12 – 8pm
Opening Reception: Sunday, October 30, 2:30-5pm

Performance Lessons drawings installation:
Wednesday, November 9 – Sunday, November 20
Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 8pm
Sunday 12 – 5pm
Monday and Tuesday Closed

Visit for the full schedule of related programs and follow The Main Museum on social media for the most up-to-date information.

About Andrea Bowers
Through documentation of contemporary activists focused on women’s rights, migrant justice, workers’ rights, and climate justice, Andrea Bowers commits to an intersectional feminism that dismantles gender privilege and builds community that collectively cares for one another. Her multivalent art practice documents and honors the activists whose everyday actions forge meaningful change. 

Bowers has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria; The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada; the Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs; REDCAT, Los Angeles; the Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece.

Bowers received her MFA from CalArts, and currently lives, works and teaches in Los Angeles, She is a proud member of the SEIU local 721 and currently a member of the Bargaining Committee for the Otis College of Art and Design Part-time Faculty Union. She has been teaching in the Otis Graduate Public Practice Program since 2007.

About Suzanne Lacy
Suzanne Lacy is an internationally exhibited visual artist, social activist, educator, writer and feminist whose body of work includes performances, video and photographic installation, critical writing and public art with a focus on social and urban issues.

She lectures widely, has published over 70 texts of critical commentary, and has exhibited at the Tate Modern, London, England; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the New Museum, New York; and MoMA PS1, New York. Her scores of fellowships include the Guggenheim Foundation, The Henry Moore Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts. Her book, Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art (1995), now in its third printing, was responsible for coining the term and articulating the practice.

Lacy is currently a professor of art at the USC Roski School of Art and Design. Prior, she served as the founding chair of the MFA in Public Practice at the Otis College of Art and Design. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy from Gray's School of Art at Robert Gordon University in Scotland.

About The Main Museum of Los Angeles Art
The Main Museum is a new institution focused on LA art and artists slated for 4th and Main Streets in Downtown Los Angeles. With a residency program at its center rather than a collection, The Main not only situates artists prominently but supports their continued engagement within the city’s evolving cultural landscape. The museum, led by Director Allison Agsten, will also present exhibitions of art of all genres and includes a schedule of public programs.

Envisioned by founders Tom Gilmore and Jerri Perrone and designed by Tom Wiscombe Architecture, Phase I of The Main includes 40,000 sq./ft. of exhibition space and unfolds in three buildings—the Farmers & Merchants Bank (Morgan & Walls, 1905), the Hellman Building (Morgan & Walls, 1906), and the Bankhouse Garage. Phase II introduces an expansive rooftop sculpture garden, amphitheater, and café. Beta Main, the test site for The Main, located in what will become the museum’s main entrance, opens on October 30, 2016.

Who You May Spot: Andrea Bowers, Suzanne Lacy

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