Number one: this is not a show about "excellence". We tend to associate the concept of a biennial with something that somehow should represent “the best of the best.” This show is not about that. So we suggest you rework the definition of the word "excellence" because you’ll need a new meaning for it if you want to enjoy the show. In that sense, this show is as much about you as it is about the stories and work featured in it.
Number two: this show is not fair. It’s so hard to convey the life and sacrifices, the journey an artist has made, with a single wall or room and an artist statement on the wall. So when we say it’s not fair, we mean that as an audience you’ll have to do extra work to figure out the scope of the story behind the artist, because just the stories behind the pieces featured will not be enough.
Number three: this show is not for everybody. This survey is not meant to have artists as an audience, in our opinion. The art scene in a city for an artist who lives and works in it feels like a non-stop marathon ran inside a giant pressure cooker. Most artists don’t go to see shows of other living artists because it’s just way too masochistic. This survey is for art students, art critics, curators, gallery owners, art fair fans, and obviously the followers and collectors of the participating artists.
So what is this art show like for someone who doesn't know anything about it? With all its ambitions and scope, the show feels like a crossover between an escape room and an archeology museum. You’re given an object and a few clues and you dig out the bones of the stories on your own. Surveying the ‘culture-makers’ in a specific moment in time in a city like LA is a monumental undertaking. The show is not meant to be liked or hated. It's not about size, skill, or special effects. It's an invitation to discover and to talk about. It's meant to give you a tiny glimpse of what’s going on in the city art-wise through the eyes of the curators who put it together.
In that sense, this is a fantastic opportunity to encounter intelligent art life in our city, a chance to witness all of the art languages spoken here. Let the show challenge you (cue cereal "boxes", penis slices), and take a moment to reflect why you feel challenged.
There were 3 awards given to 3 artists in the show. We decided to give away our own Three Roofless Awards for our favorite things and people.
The 'Best in Show' award goes without a doubt to Celeste Dupuy-Spencer painting ‘Durham, August 14’. If there is a painting that will define our generation we believe it's this rendering of a Confederate monument after being taken down by protesters. Decades from now this painting will send chills down our spines.
The 'Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement in Visual Arts' (hey, we’re in LA!) goes to Luchita Hurtado. Why? Because she’s 97! After more than 70 years cranking out artwork she outruns everyone in this town. Less Baldessari and more Luchita, por favor.
The 'Message in a Bottle Award' goes to the tiny oil painting titled “Hanoi” in James Benning installation, featuring a Vietnamese soldier manning a SAM missile site as a B-52 bombed Hanoi during the Christmas bombings. 1,624 civilians died in those bombings.
PS: Keep making art!