Letter from the Director | September

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Statue of Leonard Peltier at American University, image courtesy of Rigo 23

Statue of Leonard Peltier at American University, image courtesy of Rigo 23

We began organizing the exhibition Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves following the removal of the artist’s statue of Native American activist and political prisoner Leonard Peltier from the American University campus in January of this year, prior to a very different kind of conversation about the removal of statues in the United States. Rigo’s work has continued to build in meaning in light of Harvard’s recent decisions to strip Chelsea Manning of an upcoming fellowship and to rescind admission to top history Ph.D. applicant Michelle Jones. Both Manning and Jones have been convicted of crimes and spent time in jail. Rigo’s work gives us an opportunity to consider the role of the public institution, to dig deep into the American position on criminality, and to live out our mission to engage the public with the most important ideas of our time through the art of Los Angeles. There is so much to talk about with this exhibition and our program manager Christopher has some talks and workshops lined up that will really crack open the dialogue.  

We began organizing the exhibition Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves following the removal of the artist’s statue of Native American activist and political prisoner Leonard Peltier from the American University campus in January of this year, prior to a very different kind of conversation about the removal of statues in the United States. Rigo’s work has continued to build in meaning in light of Harvard’s recent decisions to strip Chelsea Manning of an upcoming fellowship and to rescind admission to top history Ph.D. applicant Michelle Jones. Both Manning and Jones have been convicted of crimes and spent time in jail. Rigo’s work gives us an opportunity to consider the role of the public institution, to dig deep into the American position on criminality, and to live out our mission to engage the public with the most important ideas of our time through the art of Los Angeles. There is so much to talk about with this exhibition and our program manager Christopher has some talks and workshops lined up that will really crack open the dialogue.  

Dora De Larios in her Culver City studio, photos by Christopher Sullivan

Dora De Larios in her Culver City studio, photos by Christopher Sullivan

It truly feels like we are going a million directions around here, planning the shows, programs, and getting ready to debut new spaces soon. I am so excited to announce that we will inaugurate our 2,700 square foot mezzanine gallery with a solo show of decades of work by life-long Angeleno Dora De Larios. Dora is 83 and if you don’t know about her it’s probably because it wasn’t easy for a Latina making ceramics in the middle of the last century to receive major recognition. We hope the tide will turn with this exhibition and the addition of a large-scale piece we’ve commissioned for the sidewalk in front of the museum.
 
Other things to note:

  • We have a new logo! It was so fun working with LA-based design firm Use All Five on a design that represents our interest in maintaining the ethos of Beta (never fully finished, always testing) as well as an expansive palette and other features that represent who we are.
  • We are blissed out with all of your artist-in-residence applications. Thank you, get them in by October 2, and we will see five of you in our new residency complex in January!
  • Speaking of construction… check out our building page for pictures and other updates.
  • We are closed for a minute to get this place ready for all of the above and next time you’re here, our on-site materials will be in English AND Spanish.

Finally, THANK YOU, far and wide, for the support you have given us during our transformation into a bilingual institution. As a new museum learning from our visitors, we are so excited to be able to better engage our Spanish speaking community and we are HONORED every day to be of service to our city.


Yours,
Allison Agsten, Director