ANNUAL REPORT 2020/2021

GRAND CENTRAL ART CENTER

SANTA ANA, CA

A UNIT OF CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON

ANNUAL REPORT

2020/2021

The focus of Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) exhibitions and residencies is on the relationships and connections built through engaged contemporary art practice, inviting artists of diverse backgrounds to explore with an open process.  We thrive on discoveries, research, risk, and building personal bonds through opportunities of bringing individuals together.  In the past, most of these connections build through direct onsite, in-person contacts in our institution, throughout immediate Orange County/Santa Ana communities, the Southern California region, and beyond.

In early March of 2020, as the COVID-19 crisis began to impact our direct communities, we decided to close our physical institution to the public.  We paused our onsite exhibition and artist-in-residence program to ensure the health and safety of our GCAC team, the student residents who continue to live onsite, visiting artists, our direct Santa Ana community, and the communities for which we engage.  One visiting artist-in-residence was staying with us at that time, lauren woods, and we worked with her to extend her residency to ensure that her travel home could be as safe, informed, and secure as possible.  Artists scheduled for onsite visits during the spring and summer of 2020 were called and made aware of the program’s pause.  We engaged the artists in conversations regarding new possibilities. What might a new project look like with such restrictions in place and with access to technologies GCAC had available?  We informed the artists that any such project developed during this time would not replace a future onsite residency with our institution, as we feel truly honored and excited to be working with them moving forward.

The goal throughout the COVID-19 crisis has been to remain focused on the mission of our exhibitions and residency program, the connections and relationships that can build given new circumstances such as homestays, shuttered institutions, travel limitations, and a shift to virtual.

Our first connections were made by us initiating outreach and scheduling a ZOOM meeting with the museum/gallery directors of our colleague California State University (CSU) institutions statewide, a connection among the institutions that previously did not exist.  Through the first meeting and continued twice-monthly discussions, the new ConSortiUm was formed, including individuals representing 18 CSU’sthroughout the state, north to Humboldt and south to San Diego, west to Sonoma, and east to San Bernardino.  The first collaboration has been the six-part, free to the public, PLATFORM conversations series featuring artists and curators, including artist Beatriz Cortez with Erin Christovale (UCLA Hammer Museum, Curator)Postcommodity (Kate Twist and Cristóbal Martínez)Forensic Architecture (Founder Eyal Weizman), artist Shaun LeonardoValerie Cassel Oliver (curator of modern and contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) with artist/scholar Howardena Pindell, and People’s Kitchen Collective (Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, Jocelyn Jackson, and Saqib Keval).  The program had over 2000 active participants.  Looking past the COVID crisis, GCAC has proposed to ConSortiUm the concept of a pilot, collaborative statewide artist-in-residency program.  Basing an artist-in-residence through GCAC, that artist could travel to each institution for discoveries and connections in developing a project that could provide access to unique resources, diverse campuses, extended communities, and opportunities for a multi-location/statewide project – all with the ability to connect back to our Santa Ana communities.  In addition, ConSortiUm plans to continue the PLATFORM conversations series into the 2021/2022 academic year.

Through a conversation with artist Pablo Helguera, one of our paused onsite artists-in-residence, we developed The Grand Central Singing Telegram Co.  This project explored the possibilities of connecting while stay-at-home orders were in place internationally. Chief Telegraphist Pablo Helguera delivered over 900free Spanish, English, Italian, and French language singing telegrams live through Zoom conference technology. Individuals in 19 countries and 42 states of the U.S. (including numerous sent and delivered within Santa Ana) received messages from their special someone. Telegrams marked such occasions as 80th & 90th birthdays, 50th wedding anniversaries, individuals graduating high school and college, recovery from COVID-19, new births, etc.  Upon hearing about the project, Western Union reached out to GCAC and became involved, providing financial support and creating a promotional video connecting the project to the history of singing telegrams.  The Grand Central Singing Telegram Co. was a way of building individual live connections with the technology GCAC had available as, around the world, governments placed stay-at-home orders.

In the fall of 2019, GCAC was in conversation with artist Nina Katchadourian to present her work Monument to the Unelected during the late election cycle of fall 2020.  Keeping that commitment, our institution arranged for the installation of the work on an Orange County, CA front lawn, creating a site for safe engagement with contemporary art during the COVID pandemic.  The project allowed for national connections in collaboration with PACE Gallery, New York; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and Transformer Station, Ohio; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona; Abrahamson Family Trust of Madison, Wisconsin, and Roots Community Health Center, Oakland.  Through a Zoom event  first-time voters at each location, Lesly Bautista for GCAC, placed the 2020 unelected candidate sign into the monument, providing their brief thoughts on the importance of voting in the 2020 election and connecting the varies sites virtually.

In early 2021, GCAC began collaborating with artists Joshua Michele-RossAdam Brick, and Adam Lucasto present The Adjacent Possible, an evolving communal orchestra free to the public. For each performance, and with no musical experience required, twenty individuals would come together in a series of virtual rooms to generate a new unique work of music that becomes published.  With over 600 performers engaging the project from diverse international locations, spanning 35 countries and 31 states of the U.S., participants included individuals from as far away as Kenya, Taiwan, South Africa, and nationally from Hawaii to Maine (including numerous participants from across Santa Ana).  The experience has provided the opportunity for individuals to connect with strangers when travel had been severely limited. 

Through conversations with CSUF Art Faculty member Mary Anna Pomonis, GCAC sponsored and promoted the Fall CSUF Teaching & Socially Engaged Artists Series, a virtual program that was open free to CSUF students and the public.  The series presented artists, curators, and educators, providing current CSUF Art Students and community members the opportunity to engage with this inspiring group of individuals through direct dialogue and Q&A components of the events.  Participants of the series included Dajin YoonLili BernardZel HarrisCristal SabbaghCarolyn CastañoJennifer FriasZeina BaltagiJune Edmonds and Darryl KingMartin DurazoPhung HyunKim AbelesAllison StewartMaya Mackrandilal, and April Bey

Collaborating with CSUF Begovich Gallery Director/Curator Jennifer Frias, GCAC presented Origins and Displacements, Vols. 1 & 2, an on-going body of work examining Orange County’s history through contemporary photographs, videos, and performance produced by artist William Camargo. This two-part exhibition featured Camargo’s artistic investigation that challenges the social depiction and erasure of Chicanx/Latinx people in historical documents, photographs, and news archives while recounting issues related to gentrification, systematic racism, and police brutality.  The exhibition was a storefront installation that could be viewed anytime from GCAC’s 2nd Street promenade. A second portion of the exhibition, as arrange by Jennifer Frias, was presented at MUZEO Museum & Cultural Center in Anaheim.  GCAC hosted a free performance by the artist that took place on the 2nd Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Ana that was streamed live to audiences over the internet.  The artist currently has his studio located in the Santora Building within Downtown Santa Ana.

Grand Central Art Center was active and participated in the Santa Ana Digital Artwalk over the course of Summer 2020.  Artists associated with GCAC programs presented during the virtual event, including a live sound performance/studio visit with artist Chris Kallmyer and the delivery of a Grand Central Art Center Singing Telegram birthday greeting through artist Pablo Helguera to Santa Ana Resident/Business Owner Delilah Snell.

Over this past year, through a virtual residency funded by CEC ArtsLink International Fellows program, GCAC has hosted Estonian curator and residency director Ann Mirjam Vaikla, who works at the intersection of art practice and arts management. She is the Director of the Narva Art Residency (NART), a unique cultural platform facilitating residencies, art exhibitions, talks, and educational workshops in Narva on the Estonian-Russian border.  The current residency is a collaborative residency model which GCAC is co-hosting with Triangle Arts Association, Brooklyn, NY.  The artist is scheduled to make an visit to GCAC in the fall of 2021, through the continued financial support of CEC ArtsLink.

In 2017, GCAC hosted artist in residence Alfadir Luna from Mexico City, who invited into collaboration Cal State Fullerton Student/Santa Ana Resident Alejandro Olivares in the development of his project Señor de Maíz, or Corn Man.  The residency at GCAC was in collaboration with OTIS College of Art and Design for the Getty PST:LA/LA exhibition Talking to Action.  Luna and Olivares set-up on a Downtown Santa Ana plaza in front of the mural of the Virgin de Guadalupe, working together and inviting community members to adhere locally sourced corn kernels to the sculptural object.  Since its completion, Corn Man has been exhibited at OTIS College of Art and DesignArt Institute of ChicagoPratt Manhattan, and Arizona State University Art Museum.  A ceremony to return Corn Man to the Santa Ana community, in which the kernels would be removed one by one and given in artistic packages to individuals and merchants, was originally planned to take place in early Summer of 2020.  With pandemic restrictions, the artist hasn’t been unable to return in residence to realize this ceremony.  We are currently working to reschedule his visit for a time when such travel is safe.  As the sculptural elements of the work returned to GCAC in July 2020, we created a storefront installation that could be viewed safely 24-hours a day from our 2nd Street promenade.  The installation, currently on view, includes Corn Man, 18-banners, photo documentation of process, and a bi-lingual text panel.  As GCAC works toward reopening, we will work with the artist to travel to GCAC in residence for the official ceremony.

In December 2020, American Alliance of Museums (AAM) recognized the GCAC produced exhibition catalogue Cognate Collective: Regionalia in the 29th Annual Museum Publications Design Competition. This competition recognizes and encourages superior execution and ingenuity in the graphic design of museum publications and is the only national, juried competition of its kind. Regionalia, a catalogue published by CSUF Grand Central Art Center in collaboration with X Artists’ Books, features text by Karen Stocker, Professor of Anthropology at California State University Fullerton; Christian Zúñiga, director of the undergraduate Fine Art program at the Art School of the Universidad Autónoma Baja California, Tijuana, MX; Cognate Collective, artists Amy Sanchez Arteaga and Misael Diaz; and a foreword by CSUF Grand Central Art Center Director/Chief Curator John D. Spiak.  This year’s winners were chosen for their overall design excellence, creativity, and ability to express an institution’s personality, mission, or special features. The panel of judges included: Nancy Hacskaylo Senior Graphic Designer, National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; Bennett DeOlazo, principal, Studio B; and Selena Robleto, principal, Red Velvet Creative.  The catalogue is based upon project realized during the residency and exhibition Regionalia by Cognate Collective (Amy Sanchez and Misael Diaz), which was developed in collaborations with Resilience OC (ROC)Manos Unidas Creando ArteChulita Vinyl Club Santa AnaCSUF Anthropology DepartmentUniversidad Autónoma Baja California’s Art DepartmentCollective Magpie, and numerous individuals from Santa Ana and throughout the region.

In addition to CSUF university-based meetings that have helped develop new policies and procedures, GCAC Team members and director have taken advantage of numerous Zoom based professional development opportunities, attending Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs and training, along with programs presenting top non-profit leaders across the US.  GCAC Director John Spiak was also invited virtually into university graduate level classes as a speaker across the US, from Virginia CommonwealthPortland State UniversitySchool of the Museum of Fine Art at Tufts UniversityUniversity of Colorado at BoulderArizona State University Art MuseumUniversity of Southern CaliforniaNuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law, Hunter University, among many others.  In addition, the GCAC Director was invited to be a virtual presenter on public programs through Mass MoCA, the Art Gallery of Guelph Museum in Ontario, Canada, and CEC ArtsLink

Projects that originated through GCAC’s artist-in-residence and premiered in our galleries have had continued success over the past year through exhibitions and opportunities at other institutions.  These projects have included Valerie Tevere & Angel Nevarez Layers of the City that exhibited at the Institute ofContemporary Art (ICA) at Maine College of Art.  Layers of the City reflects on spaces in Santa Ana, both inhabited and boarded up, of immigrant owned entities that passed through generations only to be pushed out by rising rents and revitalization plans. The video work, filmed throughout Santa Ana, includes a collaborative chorus of 12 Santa Ana residence and features original music created by the artists in collaboration with Santa Ana resident/musician Eduardo Silva.  Paul Ramirez Jonas Public Trust exhibited in Summer and Fall of 2020 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) ClevelandPublic Trust is a series of interactive performances about promises, with the members of the public invited to perform a speech act by declaring and validating a promise.  The process includes creating collaborative artwork contracts with the artist, one of which is free for the participant to keep, one which is kept by the artist as part of the installation.  The work was previously recognized by Americans for the Arts as Outstanding Public Art Project (2017). Individual songs from David Greenberger’s GCAC residency project It’s Happened to Me have continue to be played on air through radio stations and online programs nationwide.  In collaboration with community partners, Greenberger spent his time in GCAC residence visiting senior community centers, a museum, and senior living apartments. Through the support of GCAC and with permission from the individuals whom he had engaged, he developed text based on his dozens of recorded conversations that took place at the Santa Ana Senior Center, Heninger VillageFlower Terrace Apartments, and Bowers Museum.  What emerged were 60 pieces in the form of song, each one carefully composed and arranged to convey individual emotional potency, giving dignity to the small moments, as well as the larger overall narrative. Artistically it became a way of expressing the breadth of the City of Santa Ana’s population and its varied and rich cultural identity. The recordings of It Happened to Me were assembled in full through a 2-disc CD release, with an additional smaller selection of the works available on a limited-edition vinyl 12″ LP that is accompanied by a download of all 60 pieces. A documentary film about Greenberger’s life work (Beyond the Duplex Planet, Beth Harrington) is currently in production and currently7 scheduled for release this fall.  The film will feature elements of his GCAC residency and performance of It Happened to Me that premiered on stage at the Bill Medley Auditorium of Santa Ana High School, as well will include interviews at GCAC that took place with the artist, Louie Peres (Los Lobos)Evan Lipson (Prime Lens)Jose Magana (Santa Ana Resident who performed live on stage with the artist), among others.  Finally, Santa Ana Unified School District board of education recently approved the publication SanTana’s Fairy Tales as a CORE text for English Ethnic Studies 9th grade. High school students in Santa Ana Unified School District will now be reading this bilingual book as core curriculum. Sarah Rafael GarcIa SanTana’s Fairy Tales was developed through an artist-in-residence at GCAC.  SanTana’s Fairy Tales was presented as a visual art installation, oral history, storytelling project that integrated community-based narratives to create contemporary fairytales and fables that represent the history and stories of Mexican/Mexican-American residents of Santa Ana (inspired by the Grimms’ Fairy Tales).  The project was realized by the artist in collaborations with Sol Art Radio‘s Carla ZarateViento Callejero’s Gloria Estrada, local singer/songwriter Ruby Castellanos, members of the Pacific SymphonyMariana Bruno, CSUF Graduate Student in the Department of History, and an open book performance with special chorus support from members of Transgeneros En Accion / Transgender in Action.  These original artist-in-residence projects, as well as others realized during the 2017-2019 GCAC seasons, were supported in part by a two-year, $100,000 grant to GCAC from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Despite the pandemic, GCAC has continued to receive strong national and international press coverage over the past year. Forbes Magazine stated that Grand Central Art Center’s exhibition Monument to the Unelected,by artist Nina Katchadourian, was one of the “6 Exceptional Art Exhibits to Redeem 2020”. It was the second time in 2020 that GCAC appeared in their publication. Additions press coverage of GCAC projects over the last year appeared in print and online publications that included: Los Angeles Times, KTLA, No Proscenium, FOUR33, Hyperallergic, KCET, Daily Pilot, OC Times, OC Register, Frieze Magazine, VoiceofOC, LA Maleta Magazine, KCAL, Finnish Art Magazine Taide, WFMU, Los Angeles Magazine, KCBS, Spectrum News 1, Código Magazine, Zócalo Public Square.

The engagement and support you have provided helps GCAC look forward, taking experiences and our approaches we have explored over the past year to develop new approaches to diverse engagement, respect, and connections. We will strive toward opportunities for individuals and communities to build even stronger connections, understand, and equity through the explorations of engaged contemporary art practice.  We will continue to invite artists from diverse backgrounds that challenge and expand our institutional thinking and work to support their process of discoveries and research to the very best of our abilities. Openness will continue to be key to our approach, letting exploration happen through a flexible process, one that allows a journey to occur more organically and outcome to evolve from passion rather than deadlines, a creative process that is fluid and porous. 

Like most institutions, GCAC’s program and budget have been directly impacted by the COVID crisis.  Still, we are committed to working hard to ensure that we can continue to engage at the highest levels with our communities and those far beyond our own.  We will continue to work toward building connections that extend beyond GCAC, ones that are personal, collaborative, and positive.  As we structure toward the new realities ahead, we do so with openness, positivity, and values we hope are shared with those of our communities – local, regional, and national. 

We are scheduled to open with a series of new exhibitions on the evening of Saturday, September 4th, so keep an eye out for an upcoming announcement.  We will be excited to have you join us and be together again.  

Our very best to you, 

Grand Central Art Center

The Adjacent Possible: An Evolving Communal Orchestra

The Adjacent Possible: an evolving communal orchestra

Hosted by Grand Central Art Center

Currently through May 2020

Grand Central Art Center is excited to be hosting a FREE limited series of performances of The Adjacent Possible.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE DATES AND FREE REGISTRATION HERE

The Adjacent Possible is a live, online theater experience that mixes storytelling, improvisational performance, and technology to transform the audience into an orchestra. The experience culminates in the performance of a piece of music that is published – the first and last ever to take place. No musical experience is required. The Adjacent Possible does not use participants’ microphone or camera – making it a safe and renewing experience for anyone.

The Adjacent Possible, a term adapted from theoretical biologist Stuart Kaufman, uses music making as a vehicle to explore the nature of togetherness, desire, and possibility.

First delivered as a physical performance by artist Joshua-Michele Ross before the pandemic, The Adjacent Possible has been reimagined as an immersive, virtual experience through an exquisite collaboration with Adam Brick and Adam Lucas.

Each performance is limited to 20 participants. 

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE DATES AND FREE REGISTRATION HERE

ConSortiUm: Virtual Event Series for 2020–2021

A black announcement flier designed to announce the event series.  Includes three images at the top of the flier, one to the left is Beatriz Cortez, Tzolk'in I, 2018. Photo Credit: Scott Lynch, middle image is Forensic Architecture, Sea Watch_2, 2017. Photo Credit: Forensic Oceanography and Forensic Architecture, 2018, and image to the right is PostCommodity, Some Reach While Others Clap, 2020. Photo Credit: LAXART

The newly formed ConSortiUm, a collaborative project of art museums and galleries from the California State University (CSU) system, is pleased to announce a virtual event series that actively engages students, faculty, staff, and communities through visual arts-based dialogue. The inaugural program, PLATFORM, will launch in September 2020 and include six live virtual conversations with contemporary artists, collectives, and curators whose work is critical to current re-imaginings of the art world and the world at large.

All events will be presented live via Zoom with access for all CSU campuses. Recordings of the events will be available for post live-stream viewing and archived by the sponsoring institutions. These events are free and open to the public.

The first event will take place Thursday, September 24 at 5:30 p.m. and brings together artist Beatriz Cortez in conversation with curator Erin Christovale. Cortez is a multidisciplinary artist originally from El Salvador and currently based in Los Angeles. Her work explores life in different temporalities and versions of modernity through memory, loss, experiences of migration, and the aftermath of war. In 2019, she was awarded the inaugural Frieze Arto LIFEWTR® Sculpture Prize to create a sculpture for Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, where the commissioned sculpture was inaugurated on September 1, 2020. Cortez teaches in the Department of Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge. 

Erin Christovale is associate curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and co-founder of the experimental film and video program, Black Radical Imagination, with Amir George. Christovale is best known for her work on identity, race, and historical legacy. She was co-curator of the 2018 Made In LA exhibition at the Hammer Museum, which featured a multi-site sculptural installation by Beatriz Cortez.

An event on October 22 at 5:30 p.m. will feature Postcommodity, a collaboration between Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist, both of whom are currently based in California. Creating interdisciplinary work that spans a variety of formats from video installation to land intervention, Postcommodity forges new metaphors through an Indigenous lens capable of rationalizing shared experiences within an increasingly challenging contemporary environment. The collective has exhibited nationally and internationally, and was represented in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. In 2015, Postcommodity’s historic land art installation Repellent Fence was completed at the U.S.-Mexico border near Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.

The final event for 2020 will occur on Thursday, November 12 at noon and include a presentation by Forensic Architecture founder Eyal Weizman. A London-based artists’ collective, Forensic Architecture undertakes advanced spatial and media investigations into cases of human rights violations, with and on behalf of communities affected by political violence, human rights organizations, international prosecutors, environmental justice groups, and media organizations. The collective’s work often involves open-source investigation, the construction of digital and physical models, 3D animations, virtual reality environments, and cartographic platforms.

Spring 2021 virtual events will include the Oakland-based People’s Kitchen Collective, Valerie Cassel Oliver, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and other participants to be announced.

ConSortiUm recognizes that CSU students are integral to creating a new future, and is therefore committed to providing access to a multiplicity of voices and inspiration as students discover and nurture their own agency. This ground-breaking collaborative will include students, faculty, staff, and other allies from across the CSU campuses. The CSU system represents the largest public four-year college system in the country, with more than 480,000 students enrolled at twenty-three campuses. ConSortiUm formed when CSU announced remote teaching would continue through the end of 2020. ConSortiUm members are dedicated to supporting students, artists, and their campuses’ surrounding communities during the pandemic, while also responding to the pressing demand for an end to systemic and overt racism in California and beyond.

ConSortiUm’s participating CSU art museums and galleries include venues at campuses in Bakersfield, Todd Madigan Gallery; Chico, Janet Turner Print Museum; Dominguez Hills, University Art Gallery; East Bay, University Art Gallery; Fresno, Center for Creativity and the Arts; Fullerton, Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery and Grand Central Art Center; Humboldt, Reese Bullen Gallery and Goudi’ni Native American Arts Gallery; Long Beach, School of Art and Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum; Los Angeles, Luckman Gallery, Luckman Fine Arts Complex and Ronald H. Silverman Gallery; Northridge, Art Galleries; Pomona, W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery and Don B. Huntley Gallery; Sacramento,University Galleries; San Bernardino, Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art; San Diego, University Art Galleries; San Francisco,Fine Arts Gallery; San Jose, Natalie and James Thompson Gallery; San Luis Obispo, University Art Gallery; Sonoma, University Art Gallery; and Stanislaus, University Art Gallery and Stan State Art Space.

EVENT INFORMATION

Artist Beatriz Cortez in conversation with Erin Christovale, Associate Curator, Hammer Museum               

Thursday, September 24, 5:30 p.m.

Hosted by Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Long Beach, and CSU Northridge

To register for the Zoom webinar visit: https://www.cpp.edu/platform-csu-art-speaker-series/.

_____________________________________

Postcommodity : A conversation with artists Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist

Thursday, October 22, 5:30 p.m.

Hosted by CSU Humboldt, CSU Long Beach, and Fresno State

_____________________________________

Forensic Architecture: A conversation with founder Eyal Weizman          

Thursday, November 12, noon

Hosted by CSU Bakersfield and Sacramento State

LIVE VIA ZOOM: REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR HERE: https://csub.zoom.us/…/register/WN_kOXx_u-6SmScITax_Nv_AQ

*All times are Pacific Standard Time (PST)

Nina Katchadourian: Monument to the Unelected

a suburban front yard with colorful elections signs that list the names of all those who ran for US president and lost

Nina Katchadourian: Monument to the Unelected (2008 and ongoing)

October 6 through November 17, 2020 (extended through December 1)

LOCATION: Monument to the Unelected is viewable on the lawn at 896 S. Oakwood St. Orange, CA 92869

PLEASE NOTE: Our advance thanks to visiting patrons for their respect to the property, neighbors and surrounding neighborhood, and works included in the installation.

Grand Central Art Center is pleased to present Nina Katchadourian’s Monument to the Unelected, exhibiting in Orange County, CA, from October 6 through November 17, 2020 on the lawn at 896 S. Oakwood St. Orange, CA 92869. This temporary installation, consisting of 58 signs bearing the names of losing candidates from every presidential election in American history, coincides with this year’s presidential election. Once results are official, a new 59th sign with the name of the losing candidate of the 2020 Presidential Election will be added.

Katchadourian was initially commissioned by the Scottsdale Museum of Art and curator Cassandra Coblentz to create a new work around the time of the 2008 presidential election.  The artist became interested in the plastic election signs sprouting up on front lawns, vacant lots, and at busy intersections around Scottsdale, Arizona. She states, “These markers tend to crop up in the weeks leading up to an election, after which they disappear, with some of the names going on to take office and others being largely forgotten.” The signs also struck her as an American tradition of sorts and with an aesthetic all their own.

Working with designer Evan Gaffney, Katchadourian created a series of signs bearing the names of individuals who ran for president and lost. Each sign was made in a contemporary design vernacular, even if it advertised a candidate from previous centuries. None of the signs are designs used in the candidates’ actual election campaigns. Many of the signs borrow directly from the designs of signs that she documented in Scottsdale; others are modeled on signs seen in other parts of the country. All the signs are printed on corrugated plastic using similar commercial production methods as typical election lawn signs.

At this moment, when the country is deeply preoccupied with a major national election, Monument to the Unelected serves as a reminder of the country’s collective political road not taken. It does not reflect any particular political viewpoint or endorse any specific party, but does highlight the US history for peaceful transition of power. Monument to the Unelected has been exhibited nationally during the past three presidential election cycles, usually spanning a period before and after the election that allows for the addition the losing candidate’s name.

This election cycle the work will be shown in seven locations nationwide simultaneously – PACE, New York; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; MOCA Cleveland and Transformer Station, OH; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), AZ; Abrahamson Family Trust of Madison, WI; Roots Community Health Center, Oakland; and Grand Central Art Center. In the last three instances, “Monument” will be installed in the front yards of residential homes.

GCAC expresses our sincere gratitude to Deb and Jon Webb for providing their front lawn as installation site for the 2020 showing of Monument to the Unelected. We thank visiting patrons for your respect to the Webb’s property, their neighbors and surrounding neighborhood, and the work included in the installation.

image credit: Nina Katchadourian, Monument to the Unelected (2020 installation), Organized by Grand Central Art center on the lawn at 896 S. Oakwood St. Orange, CA 92869

ADDING THE 2020 SIGN

Saturday, November 14 

@ 1 PM Pacific Time

RSVP @ https://www.pacegallery.com/events/nina-katchadourian-monument-unelected/

Watch as the sign bearing the name of the losing Presidential candidate is added to Nina Katchadourian’s ongoing work, “Monument to the Unelected.” This event will happen live at all eight sites across the country where the project is being presented this year. A new sign has been added to the monument following every US Presidential election since 2008.

This nationwide event will be co-hosted by Pace Gallery, New York; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; and all six of the presenting sites: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ; Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA; The Transformer Station, Cleveland, OH; moCa Cleveland, Cleveland, OH; Roots Community Health Center, Oakland, CA; Private home, Madison, WI (Abrahamson Family Trust).The addition of the newest sign will take place live via Zoom

William Camargo: Origins & Displacements, Vols. 1 & 2

Artist stands on sidewalk in front of a material covered chain link fence holding a sign in front of his body that read "THIS AREA WILL GENTRIFY SOON"

William Camargo: Origins & Displacements, Vols. 1 & 2

October 3 – January 10, 2021

LOCATIONS: This two-part exhibition, organized by the CSUF Begovich Gallery, is on view from the storefront windows at CSUF Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) in Santa Ana & MUZEO Museum & Cultural Center in Anaheim.

NOTE: William Camargo’s exhibition is a storefront installation that can be viewed anytime from GCAC’s 2nd Street promenade. The Begovich Gallery and CSUF campus is closed to the public and is following COVID University, state, and city health and safety protocols.

Origins and Displacements, Vols. 1 & 2 is an on-going body of work examining Orange County’s history through contemporary photographs, videos, and performance produced by artist William Camargo. This two-part exhibition features Camargo’s artistic investigation that challenges the social depiction and erasure of Chicanx/Latinx people in historical documents, photographs, and news archives while recounting issues related to gentrification, systematic racism, and police brutality.

Essay accompanying the exhibition written by Joseph Daniel Valencia, Independent Curator, Exhibitions and Programs Manager, Vincent Price Museum (VPAM).

William Camargo: Origins & Displacements, Vols. 1 & 2  is organized by CSUF Begovich Gallery and it is presented in partnership with CSUF Grand Central Art Center and MUZEO Museum & Cultural Center. Support for the exhibition and its programming is made possible through the Art Alliance, Associated Students, Inc. Instructional Related Activities, the College of the Arts, and Department of Visual Arts.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

William Camargo is a photo-based artist, educator and arts advocate. He received his MFA at Claremont Graduate University and his BFA at the California State University, Fullerton. His work has been featured in exhibitions at venues such as Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago, IL), Loisaida Center (New York, NY), University of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN), Mexican Cultural Center and Cinematic Arts (Los Angeles, CA), and The Ethelber Cooper Gallery of African and African American Arts at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA). His work has been published in The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, The New York Times, OC Weekly, TIME, and others. He was awarded residencies at the Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions (ACRE), the Chicago Artist Coalition, the Project Art, and at Otis School of Art and Design’s LA Summer. He is the recipient of the 2020 Lenscratch Student Prize, and the Leo Freedman Foundation Grant. He is currently serving as Commissioner of Heritage and Culture for the City of Anaheim. He is the founder/curator of Latinx Diaspora Archives. He works and lives in Anaheim, CA.

William Camargo: Origins & Displacements, Vols. 1 & 2  is organized by CSUF Begovich Gallery and it is presented in partnership with CSUF Grand Central Art Center and MUZEO Museum & Cultural Center. Support for the exhibition and its programming is made possible through the Art Alliance, Associated Students, Inc. Instructional Related Activities, the College of the Arts, and Department of Visual Arts.

Artist’s website: www.williamcamargo.com

Instagram: @billythecamera

CSUF Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery | http://arts.fullerton.edu/begovichgallery

CSUF Grand Central Art Center | grandcentralartcenter.com

125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701

MUZEO Museum & Cultural Center | muzeo.org

241 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805

RELATED PROGRAMMING

William Camargo: Artist Lecture (in partnership with Creative Photography)

Tuesday, October 13, 1:00-3:00 PM

Virtual webinar: https://fullerton.zoom.us/j/97263133777

William Camargo: Performance at GCAC

Saturday, November 7, 4:00-4:30 PM

Live and accessible virtually. Virtual link forthcoming- Check Begovich website or follow @begovichgallery on IG for updates

In Conversation: William Camargo with Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Saturday, December 5, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

Open to the Public – Virtual webinar: https://fullerton.zoom.us/j/96139398142

Image: William Camargo, “We Gunna Have To Move Out Soon Fam,” 2020, Digital inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.

Alfadir Luna: Señor de Maíz / Corn Man

A figure made of corn a seated on a chair in front of twelve colorful banners that hang on walls behind him.  A series of gold poles leans on the wall to his right.

Procession to Unite a Man of Corn / Procession of the Corn Man

NOTE: Alfadir Luna’s exhibition is a storefront installation that can be viewed anytime from GCAC’s 2nd Street promenade.

Text by Xochi Maberry-Gaulke

Alfadir Luna is a social practice artist based in Mexico City who takes a cosmological and philosophical approach to knowledge- sharing and community engagement. His work primarily takes the form of drawing and performative actions; it begins as reflections revolving around knowledge processes, which usually culminate in site-specific interventions. For Luna, art is understood as a form of knowledge, a kind of relationship between ideas and objects that create models of thinking that intimately relate to the bodily experience.

For instance, this was expressed most poetically in a five-year performance project called La Piedra, in which Luna took the site of a single object—a specific rock found in a dry riverbed—as a point of departure to understand site, creation, and the internal versus external bodily experience. He developed an obsessive relationship with the rock through daily observation; hundreds of drawings and writings about the rock slowly revealed knowledge that had been previously locked inside. As the secrets became released and shared with Luna, they evaporate into layers of knowledge around the object, which can be seen as a metaphorical unlocking of ancient sacred knowledge. Developing this unique process of learning has been an instrumental tool for Luna to project the self outwards through a new kind of mirror.

Since 2006 Luna has developed his work within the framework of the social structures that constitute public markets in Spanish-speaking contexts. Committing to a ten-year engagement working with merchants at the Mercados Públicos [Public Market] in the historic La Merced market in Mexico City, he realized this community had a very different understanding of identity and knowledge than he had developed during La Piedra. La Merced itself is divided into sections according to the type of goods sold (produce, auto parts, gifts, etc.) and is guided by five principles: money, commercial exchange, religion, magic, and love/affection. These guiding principles are never separated and are inherently interlocked; they connect each section of the market with a kind of mythic energy current. Organizing the community of merchants to collaborate with one another was an important focal point in Luna’s commitment to the merchants in La Merced. Another manifestation that connects the markets is a monthly saint procession throughout La Merced that combines performance with politics and religion.

Luna wondered what would happen if he removed the saint from the procession and replaced it with an open signifier, a metaphorical seed to spark conversation and sprout a new way of thinking about the mythic and political energy of La Merced. This metaphorical seed is the Señor de Maíz, or Corn Man. With each part of its body made by a different market within La Merced, the Señor de Maíz has replaced the saint in the monthly processions. To determine the impact of the new embodiment of the mythic signifier, Luna conversed with the merchants and porters on the procession’s new addition: some people continued to treat him as a saint, while others feared him.

Why corn? The corn references indigenous communities in Central Mexico and various situations of impoverished farmers or their declarations against local government. The name also refers to a traditional farming technique in which farmed goods are piled up as a method of protecting it from animal predators. In this sense, the corn is both protector and that which is protected. While the merchants and porters aim to protect indigenous corn, the government protects large farming companies like Monsanto. Because the Señor de Maíz embodies such significance and magic for La Merced it must be made with all local ingredients and cannot travel. Therefore, this Señor de Maíz is not the original; it was made buy the artist in collaboration with local merchants and Cal State Fullerton student Alejandro Olivares in Downtown Santa Ana, California – an historically important destination for Mexican migrants – while in residency at Grand Central Art Center. Corn Man was made in collaboration with the Ben Maltz Gallery at OTIS College of Art and Design for the 2017 Pacific Standard Time exhibition Talking to Action. The art work figure is made with locally US-sourced corn kernels that are not genetically modified Monsanto seeds. Since the power and energy of the Señor de Maíz is always tied to the power and energy of site, with this difference in corn, community and location, this iteration tells a different story than the one in La Merced.

Given this relationship, the Señor de Maíz will return to the merchants of Santa Ana as the exhibition national tour of Talking to Action has completed. In addition to OTIS, the exhibition traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago, Pratt Manhattan, and Arizona State University Art Museum. Corn Man‘s return to the community ceremony was originally planned to take place in late Spring of 2020 as the artist was scheduled to once again be in residence, but has been paused due to the COVID-19 crisis. A visit by the artist will be reschedule when such travel is safe for the artist and our community.