Guys!! The Made In L.A. $10000 Mohn Award finalists have been announced!! This is big news because now, if you’ve seen the show, you can vote for who you feel should win the prize. Previously, we shared who we felt should be the top five. We had some philosophically accurate guesses but ultimately only managed to guess one of the top five correctly. Let’s digest and discuss the top five and think about how to vote…
Forti is the only performance artist to make it into the top five and is one of two “old people” in the competition who took one of the top five spots. We had our money on Channa Horwitz because her work is so visually compelling, the story behind them so captivating, and–you know–she is the eldest in the competition, edging out Forti by three years. We knew that one of the “old people” were going to make the top five but were really surprised it was Forti because, like all the performance artists, seeing her piece requires a lot from the audience of voters, many of which will not be able to see her live. She does have a little installation up at Barnsdall which explains her process through texts and video. This is helpful for everyone to get a sense of who she is but I stood there trying to watch the long, looped video and had to walk away after five minutes. Forti has upcoming performances on July 19, July 26, August 16, and August 30.
Liz Glynn’s piece in the show was this somewhat room bending interactive wood and lead installation. It incorporated her repurposing found items and also reached to represent art and architecture from cultures past. Her entry in the show is good but wasn’t necessarily one of our favorites. The long, space warping part of the installation is amazing and one of the highlights of the show; however, interacting with the piece was a bit uncomfortable and, as we stood there next to a baby attempting to gnaw on a prop, we decided to move on. What Glynn’s being in the top five represents is the idea of the art darling. Initially we thought the darling would be Kathryn Andrews or Dan Finsel because they were getting so much attention. After seeing the show, Andrews, Finsel, Glynn, and even Zackary Drucker were taken out of our top five because their work–while great, while darling–wasn’t the most demanding of our attention. That being said, Glynn represents this idea of art darling and artist that was going to be in the top five regardless because her work makes the high art persons squeal in delight.
Meleko is the only crossover we had in our predictions! We really don’t have anything to say about his work aside from it being very extremely well deserving of inclusion. Moreover, out of the entire group, he is the only painter, proper. His work can be consumed by anyone and the beauty and pain in the pieces are palpable enough for the casual art art viewer to the high art person to take notice.
This inclusion was a bit of a surprise–or was it? Slanguage got an entire venue! This should have been so obvious to us but, nope, we totally overlooked this. Why? Well, we didn’t really understand what was going on and still don’t really understand what is going on. Yes, they “took over” LAXART–but what does that mean? Is it a moving installation? Is it an art education movement? Is it performance? Is it stationary art? Is it public art? It’s a lot to handle and, while wonderful, I personally cannot figure out what to make of it. That being said, Slanguage would probably put the Mohn Award to best use since what they are doing would go right back into the community. Also, out of the five, they truly are the most Los Angeles and did work *about* Los Angeles. Be that as it may, is that reason enough to get the award? We’re unsure and, really, we still haven’t wrapped our heads fully around this entry yet.
This was the biggest surprise for us. One of the conceptual artists had to make it in, I suppose. Vogt’s work is really great; however, like a few of the artist’s who brought really heady, conceptual pieces to the show, I walked in, took a look, and walked out with a very vague idea of what I just witnessed–and I had done tons of research on all of the artists! I cannot imagine how a casual viewer encounters the piece. In any event, this is the only truly challenging work brought into the top five. All the rest have an element of approachability, from Glynn’s interactive element to Mokogsi’s being painting proper. Vogt’s work is a lot to think about, which is good. But, does it make you strain your brain a bit? Maybe. Also, it should be noted that some of the work Vogt shared had been exhibited elsewhere before making it to the Hammer.
Those are the top five! But, who will win? No idea. And, how were they picked? Out of the sixty, why were they picked? Well, let’s see what the release said…
“Each of the five artists selected presented ambitious projects that intrigue the viewer and offer a compelling example of the concerns and working methods that inform and drive their art-making. Their installations and performances showcased in Made in L.A. 2012 demonstrate the ways in which these artists are pushing the boundaries of their respective mediums, activating the gallery in thoughtful ways, and sometimes even going beyond it through performances, workshops, and other means of engagement. Beyond their strong contributions to the exhibition, we feel confident that these artists will continue to contribute to the field and participate meaningfully in the conversations and debates that characterize contemporary art practices well into the future. While the selection process was completely open, we are pleased that this selection of artists exemplifies the range of materials, ethnicities, gender, and age represented in the overall exhibition. Because we appreciate the efforts of all the artists in the exhibition, this was a tough decision to reach and one that required much discussion and debate. We offer our congratulations to the finalists.”
This is interesting: so these artists all did extra credit in a sense through their being diverse in their material, identity, and additional programming they are conducting? Okay, I buy that. Mostly. Nevertheless, it must be said that if you have not seen all of the shows you shouldn’t vote until you see them all or at least try to see them all–but that is a problematic statement: who is going to be able to see all of Simone’s performances? Two of her dates we already have commitments that conflict. And, Slanguage: their exhibit is arguably the most removed–is everyone going to make it down there? What if you don’t make it to a workshop? We’re concerned it won’t be balanced. Moreover, how is social media going to play into voting? We had a conversation earlier today that a group like Slanguage have a fairly big social media presence while Simone Forti may not have any. Hopefully this doesn’t mean everything may get muddy. Something to think about!
Anyway, here is the order we see everyone coming in given their accessibility, their “story,” and what they brought to Made In L.A.…
5. Erika Vogt
4. Liz Glynn
3. Simone Forti
1. Meleko Mokgosi
We place Erika last because her piece is difficult to consume. Glynn is in fourth because of similar reasons and, aside from the tactile sensibility and people liking to play with things, her piece didn’t speak that much to us. Simone gets third and Slanguage get second but essentially are interchangeable: Forti has some edge because of her age however Slanguage’s work is all about Los Angeles and the prize money would go back to the city. Yet, both are in a tough spot since their pieces are not as accessible. Be that as it may, those four artists are small fish compared to Meleko Mokgosi’s huge, immense, consuming, beautiful, breathtaking paintings. There is nothing else to say beyond Meleko being a star: his work is by far the best of this group.