Critics’ Picks

Edgar Arceneaux, 107th St. Watts, 2003.

Edgar Arceneaux, 107th St. Watts, 2003.

Los Angeles

“Itineraries”

Gallery Luisotti
432 South Alameda Street
July 10–August 28, 2004

Group shows are a frequent resort for Los Angeles galleries cruising through the lazy, hazy days of summer, but occasionally one encounters an effort that infuses the strategy with theoretical rigor and considerable finesse. “Itineraries” navigates the city’s ever-shifting geosocial complexities through new approaches to photographic (and photo-based) practice, with one eye on the rearview mirror. In a Xeroxed pamphlet accompanying the show, curator Chris Balaschak writes: “Greater Los Angeles should revel in the commute-space that it has created, a place of vast and infinite cities created by individual narratives, and the itinerant exchange such complexity recognizes.” Challenging the old saw about LA as a city with no center and multiple peripheries, the contributions from these nine artists—including Shannon Ebner, Kerry Tribe, Arthur Ou, and Edgar Arceneaux—suggest overlapping lines of travel as a means for mapping the diverse realities of this polyopolis. In Tribe’s book North Is West/South Is East, 2002, maps drawn by tourists reflect shared destinations (LAX, Venice Beach, Hollywood) connected by idiosyncratic routes of subjective memory; Ebner’s On the Way to Paradise, 2004, photographically links ten individuals walking in ten locations and wearing T-shirts that each feature one letter of the slogan “Self-ignite.” If Ebner’s project inherits a rich history of street photography (from Winogrand to Huebler), then 107th St. Watts, 2003, an accordion-fold book by Arceneaux, explicitly pays tribute to Ed Ruscha’s Every Building on the Sunset Strip, 1966—a significant point of departure for these “Itineraries” wherein documentary modes merge into narrative possibility in the city of the imaginary.