The Main Museum of Los Angeles Art is a new cultural institution dedicated to LA art and artists. Its first iteration – Beta Main – opens on Sunday, October 30 with the inaugural project Performance Lessons: Suzanne Lacy Teaches Andrea Bowers Performance Art. Located in the Old Bank District of downtown Los Angeles, Beta Main is the programmatic testing ground for the museum’s 100,000 square foot complex while undergoing construction. True to its name, Beta Main serves as a space to activate ideas for shaping The Main’s future programs, including residencies for LA artists. Throughout all phases of the institution’s development and specifically during Beta Main’s exhibitions, residencies, and public events, The Main will continue to refine its vision and methods as it learns from the public that it serves.
Beta Main’s first commissioned project, Performance Lessons: Suzanne Lacy Teaches Andrea Bowers Performance Art, centers on the profoundly influential trajectory of performance art in California between 1968-1980, reanimating and contextualizing this rich artistic history through durational performance, conversation, and pedagogy. Performance Lessons follows the artists’ nine-day durational installation at The Drawing Center in New York in 2014, where Andrea Bowers taught Suzanne Lacy how to draw. Using the practice Lacy was foundational in forming, roles are reversed this time and Lacy teaches Bowers the principles of performance art.
Bowers and Lacy will live in Beta Main’s two artists’ studios and work in its street-level gallery from October 30 - November 8, 2016. Each day, Bowers will be assigned lessons, develop performances, and undergo the formal critique process art students undertake as part of their education. The lessons, crits, and conversations with Lacy and invited performance artists and scholars– including Jerri Allyn, Eleanor Antin, Ed Bereal, Nao Bustamante, Meiling Cheng, Simone Forti, Anne Gaulden, Cheri
Gaulke, Micol Hebron, Amelia Jones, Leslie Labowitz-Starus, Barbara T. Smith, Hirokazu Kosaka, Nancy Buchanan, Glenn Phillips, Susan Mogul, Melinda Guillen, Patrisse Cullors, and others - are free and open to the public. Conversations will delve into topics including relationships, daily life, sexuality, and politics. In preparation of and throughout Performance Lessons, Dr. Amelia Jones, Dr. Karen Moss, and Glenn Phillips will serve as project advisors for Bowers and Lacy.
A library of related texts will be available alongside an archiving project that builds upon Lacy and Jennifer Flores Sternad’s research for Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibition’s Getty Pacific Standard Time project in 2011. Throughout the duration of the program, new data of contemporary performance artists will be added to the already existing database of 50 plus artists who were foundational to Los Angeles performance. Visitors are encouraged to participate by adding to the growing list of artists.
The historic and still raw space of Beta Main acts as an animating context for Performance Lessons and its exploration of the experimental terrain of Los Angeles performance art, which unfolded in similar ad hoc venues. Opposite a large temporary wall constructed during the opening, Bowers and Lacy will begin to map their experience together, drawing on their shared knowledge to diagram a history of performance. Bowers and Lacy's Performance Lessons will culminate with a viewing of election night returns on Tuesday, November 8, however, the project's —the drawing —will remain on view until Sunday, November 20.
Beta Main Opening Events
Performance Lessons Opening Conversation On Teaching Performance Art
Sunday, October 30, 1-2:30pm
Can performance art be taught? If so, how? Join us for an informal guided conversation art exploring these topics with artist Nao Bustamante
and theorists Meiling Cheng
and Amelia Jones
. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
Performance Lessons Opening Reception
Sunday, October 30, 2:30-5pm
Beta Main opens with Suzanne Lacy and Andrea Bowers’ durational performance. Come see their work—and our new museum—begin to take shape.
Performance Lessons Viewing Hours:
Monday, October 31 – Tuesday, November 8
Everyday, 12 – 8pm
Opening Reception: Sunday, October 30, 2:30-5pm
Performance Lessons drawings installation:
Wednesday, November 9 – Sunday, November 20
Wednesday – Saturday: 12 – 8pm
Sunday: 12 – 5pm
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Visit www.mainmuseum.org for the full schedule of related programs and follow The Main Museum on social media for the most up-to-date information.
About Andrea Bowers
Through documentation of contemporary activists focused on women’s rights, migrant justice, workers’ rights, and climate justice, Andrea Bowers commits to an intersectional feminism that dismantles gender privilege and builds community that collectively cares for one another. Her multivalent art practice documents and honors the activists whose everyday actions forge meaningful change.
Bowers has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria; The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada; the Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs; REDCAT, Los Angeles; the Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece.
Bowers received her MFA from CalArts, and currently lives, works and teaches in Los Angeles. She is a proud member of the SEIU local 721 and currently a member of the Bargaining Committee for the Otis College of Art and Design Part-time Faculty Union. She has been teaching in the Otis Graduate Public Practice Program since 2007.
About Suzanne Lacy
Suzanne Lacy is an internationally exhibited visual artist, social activist, educator, writer and feminist whose body of work includes performances, video and photographic installation, critical writing and public art with a focus on social and urban issues.
She lectures widely, has published over 70 texts of critical commentary, and has exhibited at the Tate Modern, London, England; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the New Museum, New York; and MoMA PS1, New York. Her scores of fellowships include the Guggenheim Foundation, The Henry Moore Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts. Her book, Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art (1995), now in its third printing, was responsible for coining the term and articulating the practice.
Lacy is currently a professor of art at the USC Roski School of Art and Design. Prior, she served as the founding chair of the MFA in Public Practice at the Otis College of Art and Design. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy from Gray's School of Art at Robert Gordon University in Scotland.
About The Main Museum of Los Angeles Art
The Main Museum of Los Angeles Art is an evolving institution focused on LA art and artists. With a residency program at its center rather than a collection, The Main situates artists prominently and supports their continued engagement within the city's evolving landscape.
When complete, The Main will unfold across three historic buildings in Downtown Los Angeles — the Farmers & Merchants Bank, the Hellman Building, and the Bankhouse Garage. It will include a variety of exhibition galleries, studio spaces for an artists' residency program, a rooftop sculpture garden, amphitheater, a café and a restaurant.
A preliminary experimental space, Beta Main, located in what will later become The Main Museum's entrance, opens October 30, 2016.
The Main Museum
114 W 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013