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Vandalism Series, 1973-1975
Dec 10, 2011 - Jan 21, 2012
Press Release | download PDF
“We think in generalities, but we live in detail.”
- Alfred North Whitehead
John Divola: The Vandalism Series, 1973-1975
LA><ART Galleries One and Two
December 10, 2011-January 21, 2012
Opening Reception: December 10, 2011, 7-9pm
On the occasion of Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980, LA><ART is pleased to present an exhibition by Los Angeles-based photographer John Divola. Encompassing a selection of works from Divola’s Vandalism Series of 1973-1975, this exhibition debuts a critical body of historical work that has informed Divola’s photographic lexicon. The sixty-seven small-scale black and white photographs chosen from this series engage Divola’s explorations of abandoned houses manipulated through various acts of vandalism.
The Vandalism Series was born out of an impulse to paint things silver. Divola—who was studying with Robert Heinecken at UCLA at the time—had taken images of silver propane tanks and upon developing these images, found a relationship between the silver of the photographic paper and the silver tanks that profoundly impacted his practice. After this point Divola began carrying cans of silver spray paint along with him to the abandoned houses he frequented in Los Angeles, armed to paint the discarded objects and desiccated interiors. Divola would insert lines and gridded dots onto the walls, floors and ceilings of these spaces, and photograph them using an electronic flash, thereby conflating planes of two-dimensional photographic space and the original three-dimensional structural space.
Prior to the Vandalism period, Divola spent his very early career photographing suburbia specific to the San Fernando Valley—women watering their lawns, architectural portraits of the homes found there—not to capture the banality of this culture, per se, but as means of documenting a process of moving through a landscape. It is this concern with process and with place that is so prevalent in Divola’s practice—for him, serial documentation functions as a collective description of place.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Since 1975, Divola's work has been featured in more than sixty solo exhibitions in the United States, Japan, Europe, Mexico, and Australia, including Galerie Marquardt, Paris, 1990; Seibu Gallery, Tokyo, 1987; the University of New Mexico Art Museum, 1982; The Patricia Faure Gallery, Los Angeles, 2000; and Janet Borden Gallery, New York, 2001. Since 1973 his work has been included in more than two hundred group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and Japan, including: "Mirrors and Windows," The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1978; "1981 Biennial Exhibition," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1981; "California Photography: Remaking Make-Believe," Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1989. "The Photographic Condition," The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, 1995; "Photo Biennale, Enschede (Obsessions: From Wunderkammer to Cyberspace)," Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enchede, Netherlands. 1995; "Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity 1900-2000, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2000; "Architecture Hot and Cold," The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2000, and "Los Angeles 1955-85," Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2006. In 2011, Divola presented a solo exhibition at Wallspace Gallery, New York, and his work is currently featured in the group exhibition Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974–1981, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Divola has been a Professor of Art at the University of California, Riverside since 1988.
Founded in 2005, LA><ART is the leading independent non-profit contemporary art space in Los Angeles, committed to the production of experimental exhibitions and public art initiatives. Responding to Los Angeles’ cultural climate, LA><ART produces and presents new work for all audiences and offers the public access to the next generation of artists and curators. LA><ART supports challenging work, reflecting the diversity of the city and stimulates conversations on contemporary art in Los Angeles, fostering dynamic relationships between art, artists, and their audiences. LA><ART has produced and commissioned over 100 projects in its first five years.
John Divola’s exhibition is made possible with the generous support from Dan Fauci, Dr. Philip Greider, with special thanks to Gallery Luisotti.
LA><ART’s programs are made possible with the generous support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, DEPART Foundation, the Danielson Foundation, the G.L. Waldorf Family Fund, The Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and The City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs.
ABOUT PACIFIC STANDARD TIME
Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. Initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time will take place for six months beginning October 2011.