Thursday, June 24, 2010

Taking The Reins benefit

Big City Forum with Pink Cloud Events is proud to present a fundraiser dinner for Taking the Reins (TTR).

Sunday, July 11th
6 - 8:30 pm
3919 1/2 Rigali Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90039
323.906.1560 Phone

Taking the Reins is a remarkable non-profit that develops self-esteem, teamwork, responsibility and leadership skills for at-risk teenage girls through learning to ride and care for horses, sustainable gardening, and creative writing,and art lessons. Their learning center is located in Los Feliz at equestrian stables near the LA River.

The evening event will be organized as a presentation by Mia Lehrer, one of the foremost landscape architects in California, and photography based artist Alia Malley.

The goal of this benefit and presentation is to highlight the outstanding accomplishments of this creative leader, present positive creative role models to young girls in the TtR program, and expand the profile of Taking the Reins by exposing it to a larger creative community.

The evening at a glance:
*Inspiring presentation by speakers Mia Lehrer and Alia Malley in an elegant-rustic barn
*Stable & Garden tours led by the students at Taking the Reins
*Dinner and refreshments by Large Marge Sustainables
*Libations courtesy of Biergarten Pub in KTown
*Music from dublab founder Mark "frosty" McNeill
*Puppetry performance by Yelena Zhelezov

MIA LEHRER is the founding principal of Mia Lehrer + Associates, known for its design and development of a wide spectrum of ambitious public and private projects that include urban revitalization developments, large urban parks, and complex commercial projects. Born in San Salvador, El Salvador, Ms. Lehrer earned her Masters of Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Today, she is internationally recognized for her progressive landscape designs, working with such natural landmarks as parks, lakes, and rivers, coupled with her advocacy for ecology and people-friendly public space.

With great appreciation for community input, Mia Lehrer prides herself and her firm on reaching out to stakeholders for their thoughts and ideas about projects which affect their neighborhoods and their lives. She is committed to protecting our environment and designing projects that will heal our earth. She believes that great landscape design coupled with sustainability has the power to enhance the livability and quality of life in our cities, and in doing so improve by great measure the quality of our environment.

ALIA MALLEY was born in California, and raised in Portland, OR. She received her BA in Critical Studies from USC School of Cinematic Arts, and her MFA from UC Riverside in 2010. She lives and works in Los Angeles. Her series Southland won the 2010 Merck Award at the Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie, and is on view as a solo exhibition at Sam Lee Galley until August 14, 2010. She was a 2009 Runner Up at the Forward Thinking Museum/JGS, and a Finalist/Honorable Mention at the Newspace Center for Photographyʼs 2008 Juried Exhibition, curated by TJ Norris. She has participated in recent group exhibitions including SHFT, curated by Edie Kahula Pereira at the Continental Gallery, Los Angeles, Sculpting Time at the Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, curated by Ara Osterweil, and the 2009 CAA Los Angeles MFA Exhibition, curated by Alex Klein.

Taking the Reins
TtR is a nonprofit organization serving adolescent girls in Los Angeles. Their programs teach life skills to mostly at-risk, teenage girls primarily through a unique, equine-based educational program. In addition, girls participate in Learning Center Programs and work on an organic farm. In eleven years, Taking the Reins has served more than 1,000 girls, empowering them to be strong, confident and courageous, and has provided them with safe haven that fosters creativity.


for more information:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Big City Forum #16

Kaucyila Brooke

Ken Ehrlich, 2009

An intimate dialogue and conversation with artists whose work explores issues related to identity, power structures, censorship, and how these relate to larger narratives about social space.

Thursday, June 24
7 - 9 pm

Los Angeles

5750 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Kaucyila Brooke
Ken Ehrlich

Moderated by:
Glenn Phillips

Kaucyila Brooke is an artist based in Los Angeles. Her solo exhibitions include Silberkuppe, Berlin (2009); Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation/ Forum für Fotographie, Cologne (2008); Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna (2008, 2006); Andersen-s Contemporary, Copenhagen, (2006), NAK, Aachen, Germany; Kunstvereiin Springhornhof, Neuenkirchen, Germany (2005) platform, Berlin (2004), Michael Dawson Gallery, Los Angeles(2001, 2005); Art Resources Transfer, New York (2001, 1999). Recent group exhibitions include Centre Dàrt Passerelle, Brest, France; Galician Center for Contemporary Art, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Kunsthalle Baden Baden (2009); Daniel Reich Gallery, New York, NY (2008); Munich Kunstverein, Munich; Wattis Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2007), Museum Ludwig, Cologne; The Generali Foundation, Vienna; MUMOK, Vienna (2006); the Berlin Biennale 3, Berlin (2004). She and Jane Cottis co-produced the feature length videotape Dry Kisses Only (1990). She edited the book Gendered Geographies, pub. Hochschule fur Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich, (2002), and she produced the artist book Vitrinen in Arbeit, published by Michael Dawson Gallery, Los Angeles (2004). She is the former Director of the Program in Photography and Media at CalArts in Los Angeles where she has been a regular member of the faculty since 1992. Kaucyila Brooke is represented by Andersen's Contemporary Art, Copenhagen and Berlin (; Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna ( and the Michael Dawson Gallery, Los Angeles.

Ken Ehrlich is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles. He has exhibited internationally in a variety of media, including video, sculpture and photography. His work interweaves architectural, technological and social themes to play with ideas of invention and circumvention; superstructure and infrastructure; consumption and waste; and site, place and location. He often collaborates with architects and other artists in site-specific and/or community-based projects to intervene in public spaces. He is the co-editor of Surface Tension: Problematics of Site (2003), Surface Tension Supplement No. 1 (2006) and What Remains Of A Building Divided Into Equal Parts And Distributed for Reconfiguration: Surface Tension No. 2 (2009). He currently teaches at The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and in the Department of Art at U.C. Riverside.

Glenn Phillips is Senior Project Specialist and Consulting Curator in the Department of Architecture and Contemporary Art at the Getty Research Institute. He was curator of the exhibition California Video at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2008. He has also organized the exhibitions Photographs of Artists by Alexander Liberman (Getty Center); Time/Space, Gravity and Light (Skirball Cultural Center); Marking Time (LACE); and Evidence of Movement (Getty Center). He is co-editor with Thomas Crow of the book Seeing Rothko, which was published in 2005. He has organized a number of video series at the Getty, including Pioneers of Brazilian Video Art 1973-1983; Surveying the Border: Three Decades of Video Art about the United States and Mexico; Radical Communication: Japanese Video Art 1968-88; and Reckless Behavior.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Big City Portrait: Alexandra Grant

Text and images by Anais Wade

Sunday May 16 2010

What is your full time job?

Three words.
Why -- Fire -- Pink

Favorite letter?
E. I was obsessed with the letter E for a while… Somebody told me that it is the most commonly written letter.
And A… since it is the first letter of my name.
I'm partial to all the letters, I could take the whole alphabet!

What is love?
Love is about generosity. When I created the Love symbol for Watts House Project, it was a post-Obamic moment, when suddenly irony felt tired and being sincere and straight felt grounded and powerful. The word love functions as something that equalizes. It functions as a bridge between people who are different from one another, sets conditions where there's the possibility of positive exchange.

What's your recurring daydream(s)?
My most common day-dream is about food. How people connect through food, eating together. In the studio I spend a lot of time in meditative states, thinking of color and form. Speed, cars, I love cars… right now I'm obsessed with 1986 or 87 air-cooled engine old Porsche. Travel… Wondering how I could travel all the way to Patagonia on public transportation, going to the other end of the earth without a car…. I walked for 3 hours yesterday…. from Pasadena from my house near Highland Park. Stopping for ice cream, of course.

Art is (fill in the blank)
An exchange. I'm interested in the idea of being an artist-philanthropist, using the art to benefit a communities that don't normally encounter the art world. I'm inspired by Judith Becker's notion of the artist-citizen -- that artists can help build civic society. And Fritz Haeg's notion about "social acupuncture" -- how you can change an entire system (say a neighborhood's attitude towards gardening) just by doing inserting one specific project into an environment.

Why Los Angeles?
Because it's such a creative city -- there is so much opportunity for ideas to flourish and pragmatism to take root. The diversity of food and language. There is so much space and freedom to achieve wild ideas. In terms of my work as a text-based artist, Los Angeles' art history is a history of conceptual art and language as a plastic medium. John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Mary Kelley, Ed Ruscha… are practicing in LA!

Why FUCK in this painting?

I'm always cautious about throwing around words like "fuck" in my work -- it has to be the only word that works. But this new work is about the body, and as much as the body is home to the brain, it is also home to our more human sensual and sexual desires. I wanted to paint about this other side. And the painting says "FUCK spring." Cliches of spring are flowers blooming, eggs hatching, bunnies multiplying….things that reproduce. The notion of saying fuck the thing that's inherently about reproduction… seems very funny to me.

Top 6 artists in your dream art collection?

Wow that's exciting!
Gego -- Kitaj -- Richter -- Picasso -- a cemetery by Carlos Scarpa -- a letter written by Virginia Wolf

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
I would be a novelist. Given my skill set, that would not be possible. As a child, I wanted to be Angus Young from AC/DC or a race-car driver.
Given my current skill set I'd be an aspiring inventor or entrepreneur who drives very fast.

Why not writing instead of painting words?
I don't have the patience to sit still and be a writer. In my twenties I read Hélène Cixous who wrote that she imagined herself to be a writer/painter with a brush thick with words, and I wondered what it would look like. I took it as a personal challenge.

First solo museum show at 33 years old at MOCA, wow!
Thank you. So many people think it is about who you know but I believe that the work leads the way. Creating something that the world is curious to see.

How do your collaborations work? Do you write your own story before you paint?

I am currently working with the writer Michael Joyce on the "Bodies" series, to explore the representation of the body in all its forms: biological, intellectual, sensual. I suggested to him that it would be a series of haikus and he wrote a series called the "Lost Hills Hokku".
My next project revolved around a text Hélène Cixous has given me called Philippines. The Philippine is an almond that has two nuts almonds within one shell -- there's the idea of "twining", of two selves, the perfect other that you fit with in this tiny little space. Related to this is the almond shape, the mandorla -- in European painting you can imagine a Christ figure or a Madonna in that shape. I haven't begun the visual work but I've been thinking about what will that look like.

I want to touch your paintings, they have a lot of texture.
In shifting to working in oil paint, my paintings have become lumpy and physical, about building up layers. I'm very interested in how women painters represent the feminine self or the feminine body. As a woman you're always struggling with the labor of beauty, how you keep yourself up, such as having to do your hair, smelling good and dressing… it is a science to be a woman.

When is your next show?
Haunch of Venison, July 7 2010, New York City
Honor Fraser Gallery, September 18 2010, Los Angeles

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