© {2019} Nancy Popp

Untitled (Climbing Performance)

LA Plaza Village Development, Broadway St. and Cesar Chavez Ave.

September 16th, 2018

Photos: Badly Licked Bear

HERE, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

October 21st, 2018 - January 6th, 2019

The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is pleased to present "Here", a group exhibition examining the shifting physical and geographical boundaries, along with conceptual and imagined boundaries and boundlessness, in and around Los Angeles.

 

Boundaries contain an inherent paradox. As political theorist William E. Connolly suggests in his book The Ethos of Pluralization, “Boundaries provide pre-conditions of identity, individual agency, and collective action; but they also close off possibilities of being that might otherwise flourish. Boundaries both foster and inhibit freedom; they both protect and violate life.”

 

Connolly’s suggestion also evokes other definitions and connotations of boundaries—ones which provide us the physical and conceptual framework to delineate the idea of “self” from “other” and “here” from “there”. It additionally calls to mind the complex history of Los Angeles’ human geography and its constructed boundaries. Native Americans settled in the Los Angeles Basin around 500 BCE, and in 1781, eleven families of African, Native American, and European descent settled in the area from Spanish-controlled Mexico. Since its founding, Los Angeles (El Pueblo de la Reina de los Ángeles) has always been a hybrid, fluid and intersectional space, with diverse peoples from many parts of the world.

 

Diverse in nature and practice, the artists in Here, who are all connected to Los Angeles, explore/challenge/reimagine/implicate boundaries through different media and modes of presentation, and investigate the localized frictions, hybridity, and fluidity of local barriers, to uncover the bounded and unbounded landscapes that make up the city of Angels.

Interview with curator Steven Wong

"The LA Plaza Village Development/LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Foundation are special projects of former LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina; the site on which LA Plaza Village is being built is part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, a city department describing itself as “a living museum” that “preserves the culturally diverse heritage” of Los Angeles. These former parking lots are being subleased to developer Trammell Crow for about half of the revenue brought in by their previous usage; the revenue will be used as a foundational operational budget for LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, which has struggled to attract audiences and funding since its 2011 opening.

 

The mixed-use retail-residential complex is intended to transform the neighborhood, and not for those who have lived in the area for decades. The rent for the 20% of units deemed ‘affordable housing’ will not be based on the true Adjusted Median Income of approximately $24,400  but on Los Angeles’ city-wide AMI of over $54,000. Similar in scope and scale to other downtown developments such as One Santa Fe, LA Plaza Village is a node where numerous issues of public funding, land use, community and housing needs, hyper-development and urban planning intersect and give rise to questions such as:

 

  • Whom does this private project actually serve, and who will benefit from it?

  • What are the true needs of the long-term community surrounding this project, including the houseless?

  • How could other needs for and uses of this land, including true public, non-commercialized green spaces, been considered and addressed?"

 

- Nancy Popp, September 2018