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INTERNal Affairs is a series by GCAC Curatorial Intern and CSUF Art History major Shauna Hultgrien.
Hello Internet friends! Did you miss me? I apologize for my absence but alas, duty calls. We have been quite busy here at Grand Central Art Center; between hosting an assortment of very talented (and extremely amusing) artists in residence, entertaining a variety of visitors, and of course, Spring Break 2014, I’m afraid that I have neglected my reporting duties. Well dry your eyes Internet Art Community, I’m back! As a student who is almost (hopefully) finished with my undergraduate studies, my opportunities to carpe spring break are rapidly coming to a close. I decided that I should do what any good Southern Californian college student would do and use my well earned vacation time to head north to the frosty terrain of Montreal, Quebec. So grab your beanies, scarves, and parkas as I walk you through my experience with our northern neighbors.
After the initial shock of experiencing a place where temperatures fall far below my comfort zone of 76 degrees Fahrenheit, I slapped on some long johns and three more pairs of socks and set out to see what this city was all about. The coffee and quaint cafes quickly won my heart and it also wasn’t long before I was on a daily double rationing of Poutine— the Canadian delicacy of fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. When I had finally topped off my dining experiences with all the maple syrup I could handle, I was ready to explore the art scene of Montreal.
The Museum of Fine Arts Montreal did not disappoint. The institution boasts a wonderful collection of timeless masterpieces. From Caravaggio to Picasso, my eyes were rewarded at every turn; but my countless years as a student of the arts as well as my privileged position at GCAC have polished my tastes and given me an insatiable appetite for all things Contemporary. The Museum had a nice little Contemporary collection and I was especially excited to see their newly acquired piece, “Long Hair Hobo No.2” by Southern California’s very own Allison Schulnik. I soon realized, however, that in order to experience the cutting-edge art of the times I needed to leave the comfortable walls of this state-funded institution and make the journey to Old Montreal and their sea of high-end galleries.
Old Montreal consists of a long stretch of winding cobblestone road, lined with buildings that look like they were transplanted directly from a quiet Parisian rue. The buildings seemed to follow a consistent restaurant-gift shop-gallery pattern and prospects looked promising for art finds. A brief round of peeking into gallery windows left me disheartened; the displays were so kitschy and generic they would have been comfortably at home on aisle 12 of Wal Mart’s Home Decor section. Refusing to believe this beautiful section of the city was completely void of compelling work, I made another round. And another. And another. On my fourth, and what I swore to be last walk up the street I noticed a small gallery I had overlooked on a bend in the road. A hooded boy stood ominously in the window holding a small bouquet of flowers that commanded the entirety of his attention. The creepiness of the scene prompted a sincere intrigue and I had to get a closer look. I went inside and shed four of my ten layers then approached the boy for closer inspection. The boy was a boy in a Pinocchio sense; he was made entirely of wood and he was not holding the small bunch of flowers, but they were sprouting directly from his fingers. This hidden gem of a gallery is actually far better known than its modest location lets on. Galerie LeRoyer, I have since learned, is one of the galleries of Montreal with a very strong reputation and I was lucky enough to see why firsthand.
The wood carved boy is named, “Fioriranno i nevai”and is the work of Italian artist Willy Verginer. His impressive wooden sculptures were around every corner of the gallery and all maintained an eerily lifelike demeanor while each had a touch of Surrealism. The boy sprouted blue flowers from his fingers; a wooden woman stood plainly dressed barefoot with her head and raised fingertips coated in gold, complimented by the title, “Shine on Me.” A suited man painted grey with tires attached to his feet sits on the back of a large beige bull whose hind quarters match the grey of the man hid in the back of the gallery. I inquired as to why this beautiful and hilarious piece titled, “The Dark Side of the Bull,” was tucked away from plain view only to learn that it had been sold. As had four other works that called the gallery home just a week earlier. I found this to be no surprise at all. The ease with which these figures emanated the realness of living beings left me in awe of Verginer’s careful craftsmanship. The work at LaRoyer more than compensated for the framed wallpaper of the other galleries.
Unfortunately for us, Internet friends, I did not have the $10,000 it took to make one of these pieces mine. I do count myself lucky however to have experience done personally and I hope that you all will be able to do the same. In the meantime, do come see us here at GCAC, we have quite a bit coming up for you in the summer. Having experienced the art scene in Montreal left me with a feeling of gratitude for the nearly unrestricted access to art that we enjoy here on the West Coast. We have so many talented artists here that their work is spilling out of the metropolis of L.A. and right to our doorstep here in Orange County! I know this can be overwhelming so remember: Grand Central Art Center in the heart of Santa Ana is a great place to start. Well friends, it’s been a joyous reunion and I am happy to have been able to share my experiences with you but it is time for me to go enjoy the weather I missed dearly. This is your GCAC intern, over and out.
To say it has been a little busy around Grand Central Art Center over the past month is a bit of an understatement – IT’S BEEN EXTREMELY BUSY!
Vincent Goudreau was very active during his last weeks in residence at GCAC in mid-December. As part of his Recordings of an Immigrant project, we decided to fly Juan Aquino out from the island of Maui to join Vincent in residence. Juan is the inspiration/subject for Vincent’s current project.
During their time together Vincent and Juan, along with videographer Randy Mills, spent a number of days searching for a specific house in Fullerton, CA – the location where coyotaje delivered Juan upon his arrival into the United States over twenty years ago. Now a legal US citizen, the visit by Juan brought him back to a connection/transition location that marks an important part of his amazing life journey. We will share the results of this search soon, as the video is currently in the editing phase for a short documentary we will be releasing online in the coming weeks.
Vincent and Juan, joined by GCAC Director/Chief Curator John Spiak, presented a public conversation about Vincent’s residency, his journeys with Juan and thoughts for the project moving forward. The evening included the screening of two of Vincent’s past short film/video works – Harry and Janet and Villa Capri, providing insight into how Vincent’s projects often deal with the topic of global connection and place. As the screening concluded, patrons were invited to join the artist for an informal ice cream social, a tribute to an important scene from Villa Capri.
As the week concluded, we were visited by two of Danielle Susalla Deery’s classes from Irvine Valley College, Museum and Technologies and Museum Marketing. We are proud of the fact that Danielle is a Cal State University, Fullerton alumna and love when she returns with her students to share her enthusiasm for contemporary art. The students of her classes enjoyed a full tour of GCAC provided by GCAC Director/Chief Curator John Spiak. They talked about the technologies included in Matthew Moore and Braden King’s installation Cumulus and shared stories of successful marketing strategies by art institutions. They also had the opportunity to visit Vincent Goudreau in the GCAC Artist in Residence studio and talk with him directly about his project and process.
Vincent has now returned to Maui, but keep an eye here for updates on the project and the soon to be released short documentary of the search for the drop house with Juan.
That following week GCAC was visited by Peter Held, Arizona State University Art Museum Curator of Ceramics. Peter and John Spiak worked together for many years at the ASU Art Museum. The day was spent visiting Orange County Museums and Galleries, including the Orange County Museum of Art, Irvine Fine Arts Center and Laguna Art Museum. The timing for the Orange County Museum of Art visit was perfect, as it provided for a preview tour of the new exhibition California Landscape into Abstraction curated by OCMA Chief Curator and Interim Director Dan Cameron. The day concluded with a late lunch across our 2nd Street plaza at Memphis and a full tour of Grand Central Art Center. We are excited to see what Peter does with the move of the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center to its new location!
2013 ended with the arrival of artists and educators Heather Layton and Brian Bailey from Rochester, NY. Heather and Brian were here for a second visit in the continued development of projects with GCAC. We anticipate them back for a third visit later this year. During this most recent visit, they worked towards a specific project as part of their larger 59 Days of Independence project.
As part of this project, and for our First Saturday Art Walk kicking off 2014, Heather and Brian celebrated Burma’s 66th independence day on January 4th at GCAC by giving away 66 hand-painted lanterns they created during their residency. Creating an installation in the artist in residence studio space, they opened the storefront studio doors and invited the public in to select a lantern. People were lined-up waiting outside the door when they arrived. It took less that six-minutes for the 66 lanterns to be spoken for that evening. Truly magical!
After all the lanterns were gone, Heather and Brian joined us in the main gallery spaces for our receptions. The evening provided great opportunity with a productive 40-minute conversation for Brian and Heather with Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, his son Miguel Pulido Jr., GCAC Santa Ana Sites co-founder/collaborator Allen Moon and our GCAC Director/Chief Curator John Spiak. So many collaborative possibilities in the works for their return visit!
The January First Saturday Art Walk also kicked-off with a meet and greet event for GCAC Artists in Residence Ingrid Reeve, Barbara Milliorn and Evan Senn, as they begin their project The Life of an Artist. The project is a proposed television/webcast series that follows the lives of two Orange County artists and their manager, an art historian and art critic, as they strive for their professional dream to solidify careers as professional artists.
Ingrid Reeve, Barbara Milliorn and Evan Senn are recent graduates of higher education programs at California State University, Fullerton. Throughout this coming year year, the artists will be hosting and participating in monthly events in their artist in residence opportunity at Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), in downtown Santa Ana. The monthly events will include panel discussions and workshops, as well as performances that will engage the community of Santa Ana and the larger Orange County.
Their residency at GCAC is meant to help them in their goal to educate and entertain interested parties on the life of an up-and-coming female artist in Southern California by creating a window into the art world as well as providing historical context for contemporary practices in the arts, and a focus on the unique struggles and benefits of being a woman in today’s world.
That night as well marked the closing of the successful run of Matthew Moore and Braden King‘s installation Cumulus. It was yet another well attended First Saturday, with over 2,000 individuals through the door and engaged with the exhibitions. We feel so fortunate to be a part of this amazing downtown and Santa Ana community!
But there is no rest for the weary, as two days later the GCAC team was in full de-installation mode of Cumulus. It was a short de-install time, so everyone leant a hand, even Curatorial Associate Yevgeniya “Jenny” Mikhailik and CSUF GCAC student intern Shauna Hultgrien (she write our INTERNal Affairs blog posts). We were able to get the work down and the gallery resorted backed to its normal configuration in less than a week – ready for the arrival of Julianne Swartz and Ken Landauer to begin their major installation just a few days later. Thanks go out to the entire GCAC team of amazing individuals for their hard work and dedication!
The beginning of January also brought a surprise visit from a few folks, Curator Sara Cochran and graphic designer Eric Montgomery. It was just announced that Sara has accepted the position of Associate Director at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Cochran left her position as Modern and Contemporary Art Curator at Phoenix Art Museum in November 2013. Prior to that, she was Assistant Curator at Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art (LACMA). She had also held positions at the The Getty Center in LA and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. It was so great to have her and Eric here for a visit and tour of Grand Central Art Center!
Also paying us a visit was artist Brent Green and FLOWN drummer and vocalist Kate Ryan. The two spent a couple of days with us as Brent packed some of the work from his To Many Men Strange Fates Are Given exhibition that took place at GCAC last year. It’s been a very busy year for Brent, with many major new projects in the works and the recent acquisition of one of his works by the UCLA Hammer Museum to their permanent collection. We also found out during the stay that Kate was scheduled to make an appearance in an upcoming episode of HBO’s Girls, jamming on her drums. It also provided Brent and Kate the opportunity to connect with Julianne Swartz and Ken Landauer who have been in residence the past couple of days as well. It’s so wonderful to have them all staying with us at GCAC!
And yesterday we were visited by Los Angeles based artist Julia Haft-Candell for a site visit for her upcoming solo exhibition Fast and Slow. She meet with GCAC Curatorial Associate Yevgeniya “Jenny” Mikhailik, who is curating Julia’s GCAC exhibition, to discuss her project and installation details. We are excited to see the project develop for the opening in March!
Now we are in full installation mode for Julianne Swartz and Ken Landauer’s Miracle Report, a project that includes at current time 26 monitors, 6 projections and numerous speakers. This is a MUST SEE EXHIBITION! We hope you will join us at the public reception during the First Saturday Art Walk on February 1 from 7-10pm.
There is a lot more planned and in development for GCAC in 2014, we are excited to share it with you!!!
INTERNal Affairs is a series by GCAC Curatorial Intern and CSUF Art History major Shauna Hultgrien.
The holidays are upon us my Internet friends! Thanksgiving is just days away, which means Christmas is just around the corner (try not to panic too much you last minute shoppers). As I sit wrapped in my scarf and bundled in my coat in attempt to beat this California winter, I have decided to stop complaining about the bitter chill of sixty degrees and instead take a moment to consider something for which I am thankful.
While there are many things I enjoy; fish tacos, movies based on young adult book series, fish tacos, my wool coat, my scooter, fish tacos and my black boots, there is still one thing that I am thankful for far beyond anything else, and that thing is YOU. As a frequenter of the art world, it is no secret that my passions lie in the products of the creative mind. However, in considering this notion, another thought sprang upon me: I’m passionate about the product of any mind! Creativity is a human quality that we all utilize in various forms. It is what F. Scott Fitzgerald calls the “inexhaustible variety of life;” the fact that we are each unique; we are all our own, unlike any other there was, is, or ever will be. There is no possible way to recreate the exact circumstances which make you, you. And because of this, I am constantly flabbergasted, bewildered, amused, and entertained, over and over again.
My position as intern here at Grand Central Art Center has afforded me the opportunity to experience art as it is today. My jaw dropped when I first experience Cumulus, the gargantuan homage to the L.A. Aqueduct by Braden King and Matthew Moore. My mind spun and my side ached from fits of laughter after a walk through Eamonn Fox’s tongue-in-cheek exhibition. My heart ached as I fully absorbed the weight of the message embodied in Beatriz Cortez’s Time Machine. But art is not something simply hung from the walls. Art is everywhere and art is everything. My jaw also drops in awe of my microwave that can cook my potatoes in three minutes. The Dyson Airblade Hand Dryer is arguably the greatest invention of the last decade and I am overwhelmed with wonder and excitement every time that dryer returns my hands to me without the slightest hint of water. Every time I wheel my luggage from terminal to terminal I am beside myself with appreciation for whoever decided to fasten wheels to my over-packed suitcase. The bottom line is that we, as the human race, are great. Whether you’re Henry Ford or Pablo Picasso, the things we produce and the actions we take allow us to help each other experience that full spectrum of emotion. I am so thankful that we are all different and all bring our own homemade dish to this thanksgiving feast of life, it all looks so delicious and I want to try everything! I am never bored and always amazed and it is all because of YOU.
So thank you whoever decided to fry that fish and blanket it in a tortilla, bravo! Thank you shoemaker who cut the boots precisely to the height I prefer, wonderfully done! Thank you automotive company in Italy who knows how to package fun on two wheels, amazing! Thank you J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins, your literary geniuses translated beautifully on the silver screen, a most excellent feat! And thank you, you! We are all in this together and you are making it one heck of a journey. This is your grateful GCAC intern, over and out.