Los Angeles

Lee Maida, Bench For Two Heads, 2010, wood, hardware, canvas, photocopies, concrete, 36 x 20 x 24". From “ACP.”

Lee Maida, Bench For Two Heads, 2010, wood, hardware, canvas, photocopies, concrete, 36 x 20 x 24". From “ACP.”


Parker Jones

Lee Maida, Bench For Two Heads, 2010, wood, hardware, canvas, photocopies, concrete, 36 x 20 x 24". From “ACP.”

West Coast artists Eve Fowler and Lucas Michael (the latter newly based in New York) founded Artist Curated Projects with the goal of fostering opportunities for a community of artists to “develop their curatorial ideas and show the work of their peers while promoting, engaging in dialogue, and creating connections among artists from multiple disciplines and at different stages in their careers,” according to the ACP website. While apartment exhibitions are hardly new and innumerable artists have historically acted as curators, ACP embraces both these approaches in a nomadic synthesis—one that finds sympathy in the estimable number of artist-run start-ups mushrooming across Los Angeles that coincides with the precipitous fall of the economy.

Since its inauguration in the summer of 2008, ACP has provided a transitory umbrella for two dozen projects—many lasting only an afternoon—realized by more than twenty guest curators and including works by more than a hundred artists staged in a wide variety of LA houses and apartments. That this recent series of ACP-organized shows was held at a Culver City gallery was something of an anomaly for such a domestically oriented enterprise. Thankfully the unlikely, if not paradoxical, context did nothing to impede the casual fostering of experimentation that has become ACP’s hallmark.

This temporary union of alternative and commercial space resulted in a sequence of five brief solo shows and began with a two-week arrangement of Lee Maida’s appealing ceramic- and textile-based objects organized by Fowler and Michael, with the artist’s formal inventiveness bolstered by a dense arrangement. Literally weaving together craft traditions and the apparent influence of Oceanic art, Richard Tuttle, and Jean Arp, among other possible references, Maida’s sculptures generally suggest performance—often for two—and can serve as useful objects, such as musical instruments. Fowler and Michael then handed the baton to four additional curators who each shepherded a four-day show.

Alex Segade (one third of My Barbarian) presented paintings by his former UCLA classmate Anne McCaddon, and titled the show “Over-Under Worked,” calling attention (according to the press materials) to his frequent access to the artist’s works in progress. The eleven paintings here—which were indeed completed, if loose and occasionally undercooked—variously suggested pinwheels, ice cream cones, and body parts, with the amorphous pale-pink form in Creamsicle, 2010, recalling ice cream and a fleshy mass. Similarly, Mock and Springform, both 2010, locate a successful balance between abstraction and familiarity.

Laurie Nye’s paintings, selected by Anna Sew Hoy, more forthrightly evoke the human figure, but subject it to a variety of colorful decorative and gestural effects, seemingly drawing on symbolist and psychedelic sources in nearly equal doses. Likewise, William Downs, who was chosen by A. L. Steiner, represented the human form fragmented and under visual duress in a series of drawings hung in a grid, complemented by another sequence snaking around several corners of the gallery. The latter spread suggested a disaster narrative, with ominous horizons, roller coasters careening into the unknown, and graphite marks swirling into tornados of mixed media that threatened to consume everything else on the page.

Erika Vogt concluded the relay by selecting Madison Brookshire, who exhibited a 16-mm looped film, a slide show, and a sound work on a tape recorder, isolating hypnotic potential amid the clatter of these obsolescent devices. The most satisfying piece on view, a slide show titled The Casual Drift by Mark So, 2011, was instigated by a poem written by John Ashbery—adding yet another player to the expansive ACP network. That sense of inclusiveness seems to be the point of this experimental exhibition, or at least one of them: ACP’s soft infiltration of the commercial gallery diagrams an art world comprised not of an inside and outside, or margin and center, but rather a loose weave of overlapping circles.

Michael Ned Holte