Made In L.A. is coming to the Hammer, Barnsdall Park, LAXART, and billboards around town on June 2 and will showcase sixty emerging, under-recognized Los Angeles artists–one of which will be voted to win a $100,000 prize. In order to help you make an educated vote this summer, we’re counting down to Made In L.A. by showcasing each artist participating in the biennial.
Meg Cranston is a multi-discipline artist who works in and around popular culture–but not in very straightforward ways. Her work covers the entire map, her leaving nearly no stone unturned in how she chooses to express herself.
Cranston has been around for some time and has done everything from teach at Otis (and earn a faculty development grant) to being a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow to even showing at The Getty. Her work cannot be pinned down to just video or photography or collage or puppets because she seems to flow in and out of different arenas so fluidly. A great example of this is her work Rock Bottom from 2005, above. To many, it just looks a tiled floor, just any other floor you would walk on–but, oh, is it so much more. The floor “tiles” are actually collages and photographs of musicians that were on tour as the show was up. “Like the ancient floors of the Romans or in Pompei,” Cranston was representing current pop culture history by showcasing bands on the road–but also putting them on an equal playing field: on the bottom, under your feet.
Other examples of similar work (similar ideologically, that is) are a few pieces she did for LACE. Using a scanner, onion rings, and a stick, she took a stab at food advertising for showing things as they are, raw and ugly and not pretty. Another example are her giant piñatas, which touch on the popular party treat along with “shamanic ceremonies of the Yamomamo Indian culture.” Majical Death is the name of the life sized piñata she made of herself, which has come in various incarnations and sometimes is quite meta. In one, her piñata is fashioned with a black wig, referencing her performance Women Who Would Play Me If I Paid Them, where Cranston had actor’s audition to assume her identity.
Cranston’s work is so varied that we have absolutely no idea what to expect. None. We know that her recent work has included lots of collage which you can see above, but we have no idea how it will manifest itself at Made In L.A.. Regardless, we know she’ll have something very sharp to say about current popular culture.