Ken Gonzales-Day: Profiled, Dorit Cypis: A Symmetry
Las Cienegas Projects
March 5, 2011
Episode 3, Connecting the Dots, documents two solo exhibitions held at Las Cienegas Projects during the month of March: Ken Gonzales-Day’s Profiled and Dorit Cypis’ A Symmetry. Both artists rely heavily upon the photograph to capture evidence of their contentions. Moreover, the photographs are arranged in such a way as to reflect upon each other in order for the viewer to form comparisions and conjectures about their relationships within a wide sociohistorical context. Gonzales-Day intermingles collections of 19th and early 20th century photographs of same-same sex couples with his own large-scale photographs of historic sculptures offering a timely response to debates about same-sex unions and reflects upon the idealization of whiteness, the emergence of racial typologies, and the latent sensuality found in so many museum collections. Cypis explores the psycho-physical-social aspects of history, knowledge, and experience by presenting a time line of photographs charting when seven objects, chosen form the artists’s personal archive, were created, sighted, and/or obtained. The stories behind these objects confound their linear indexing suggesting a labyrinthine path of personal, historical, and political dimensions. The objects include a letter by Lord Byron, a letter from King George V, a Weeping Beech tree in Hyde Park, London, a silver box engraved with Arabic text, pre-biblical urns and vessels, post enlightenment European porcelain, and a tree in Yosemite National Park.
In the same way that Gonzales-Day and Cypis are bridging links between photographic documents of the past by revealing new relationships between objects that were not necessarily apparent when regarded individually, Connecting the Dots hopes to serve as another insight for artists to learn from the past experiences and knowledge of these successfully, emerged artists by finding correlations between their own lives, interests, and practices.
The episode features interviews with Ken Gonzales-Day, Dorit Cypis and Amy Thoner, co-director and co-founder of Las Cienegas Projects.
Ken Gonzales-Day lives and works in Los Angeles. His interdisciplinary and conceptually grounded projects consider the history of photography, the construction of race, and the history of representational systems ranging from the lynching photograph to museum display. He received an MFA from UC Irvine, MA from Hunter College (C.U.N.Y), and was a fellow at the Whitney Museum’s ISP program. He has shown extensively both nationally and internationally.
Select solo exhibitions include UCSD Art Gallery, San Diego; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles; LAXART, Los Angeles; CUE Art Foundation, NYC; Susanne Vielmetter Projects, Los Angeles; Deep River, Los Angeles; and White Columns White Room, NYC. Select group exhibitions include How Many Billboards, MAK Center, West Hollywood; Phantom Sightings, LACMA, Los Angeles; Encuentro Hemispherico, Bogota; Under Erasure, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin; Under Pain of Death, Austrian Cultural Forum, NYC; ArtMediaPolitique, DIX291, Paris; Crimes of Omission,ICA Philadelphia; Exile of the Imaginary: Aesthetics, Politics, Love, Generali Foundation, Vienna; Civil Restitutions, Thomas Dane Gallery, London; Log Cabin, Artists Space, NYC; Made in California, LACMA, Los Angeles, among others.
Dorit Cypis has used performative strategies, photography, and social sculpture to explore identity as psychophysical and political since the 1980’s. Her work has been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, International Center of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Orange County Museum, Walker Art Center, Musee d’Art Contemporain/Montreal, Musee desBeaux Arts/Bruxelles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Orange County Museum of Art, in addition to international galleries and artist spaces. Cypis has taught on the topics of identity, representation, social relations, and conflict transformation at universities and colleges across the USA as well as in Canada, Holland, France, Switzerland, and Israel. She is currently teaching at Otis Center for Art and Design.
Cypis has designed and directed public programs including Kulture Klub Collaborative, Minneapolis, 1992-1998, (artists working with homeless youth to develop their capacity for creative expression) and Foundation for Art Resources, FAR, Los Angeles, 1979-1982, (assisting artists to work collectively and to situate art in the public domain). She earned an MFA (1977) from Californian Institute of the Arts, and after completing a Masters of Dispute Resolution (2005), Cypis founded and currently directs Foreign Exchanges, developing tools of engagement across personal and cultural differences.
Cypis has received numerous awards and fellowships, i.e. National Endowment for the Arts, Japan Foundation, Bush, McKnight, Jerome, Ordway and Durfee Foundations, City of Los Angeles Cultural Arts, and Fellows of Contemporary Art. She is Chair of the Middle East Initiative, Mediators Beyond Borders.
Las Cienegas Projects is an artist-run curatorial project and gallery space focusing on large-scale, collaborative and project-based artworks by emerging and established artists both local and international.
Las Cienegas Projects is co-founded and directed by Amy Thoner and Steven Hull.