The Main Museum Presents Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves

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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 26, 2017

 THE MAIN MUSEUM PRESENTS

RIGO 23: RIPPLES BECOME WAVES

Exhibition includes first West Coast presentation of statue of political prisoner Leonard Peltier since its January 2017 removal from the American University campus

On view at Beta Main, test site for The Main Museum

February 25–May 13, 2018

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

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

LOS ANGELES, CA—The Main Museum presents Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves, an exhibition of works by L.A.–based Portuguese artist Rigo 23. Known for large-scale outdoor murals, Rigo is considered part of the first generation of the San Francisco Mission School art movement, which emerged in the city’s Mission District in the early 1990s. For nearly three decades, his socially engaged work has focused on addressing injustices, notably highlighting Leonard Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement who was convicted of murder in connection with the shooting deaths of two FBI special agents on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in 1975 and whose two life sentences have been the subject of much debate. Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves is the first presentation of the artist’s statue of Peltier after its contested removal from American University’s campus in early 2017. The exhibition will be on view February 25–May 13, 2018, at Beta Main, the test site for The Main Museum.

Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves will feature works that emphasize the artist’s longtime advocacy for social and political change, specifically calling attention to the incarceration of political prisoners and political organizing in support of indigenous communities in the United States. The exhibition takes its name from a quote by Robert H. King, former political prisoner and co-founder of the Black Panther Party chapter at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, who said, “The deeper they bury you, the louder your voice becomes. You throw pebbles into the pond, you get ripples; ripples become waves; the waves can become a tsunami.” The first line of the quote was the title of Rigo’s 2009 exhibition at The New Museum in New York. Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves aims to further King’s message through art and action. At the center of the presentation, both literally and figuratively, is a nine-foot-tall statue of Peltier. The work was created as part of a 2016 Amnesty International bid for then–President Barack Obama to grant Peltier clemency, which was ultimately denied. Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves addresses important present-day issues and political controversy – from Peltier’s initial sentencing 40 years ago to the efforts to exonerate him today.
 
The statue is based on a self-portrait Peltier painted while in prison; the base of the statue measures six feet by nine feet and is modeled after the dimensions of a standard prison cell. Installed in December 2016 on the campus of American University in Washington, D.C., the statue was taken down by the university shortly after law enforcement supporters protested for the statue’s removal. Reacting to the removal of the statue, Rigo stated, “The actions taken by American University at the behest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association are part and parcel of a concerted and ongoing effort at making the Native invisible.” After a protracted battle, American University returned the statue to Rigo in November 2017, eleven months after its removal.
 
“The subjects that Rigo is contending with in his work are of utmost importance and urgency, especially in the context of these highly charged times, and we are proud to bring his work back to Los Angeles,” said Allison Agsten, director of The Main. “Issues of censorship in public discourse and the role of art in addressing complex historical narratives cannot be discounted—not now and, most importantly, not with the heightened tensions of our current political climate.”
 
The exhibition will also debut a recent graphic design poster of Leonard Peltier by social commentary artist Emory Douglas, former Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, long-time collaborator, and ongoing influence on Rigo and his work. Alongside the new work will be two large-scale panels from a previous series of Rigo’s, From the Heart of Santa Madera. The panels incorporate varied influences—from a painted portrait of Peltier to allusions of Los Angeles iconography to text from philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s preface to Frantz Fanon’s 1961 seminal writing on the dehumanizing effects of colonization, Wretched of the Earth. Originally created in 1999, the painted text of one panel will be modified for the upcoming presentation to note the current year and endurance of the question, “It’s 2018—Why is Leonard Peltier still in prison?”

Before the statue was installed at American University in fall 2016, it was transported by Rigo 23 and his team from his home in Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., with the feet traveling separately to Alcatraz Island, Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. Along the way, Rigo 23, Ashlyn Forbes, and Marc Hors photographed more than five hundred people standing on the feet of the statue in solidarity with Peltier. Included in the exhibition will be a selection of photographs taken by Rigo, Forbes, Hors, and the L.A.–based Navajo photographer Pamela J. Peters, whose images were taken during a program at Beta Main in November 2017.
 
Alongside conversations and performances, The Main will present a series of self-care workshops on Sunday afternoons throughout the run of the exhibition. The series will provide an access point that looks towards the future and the importance of taking care of oneself when engaging in long-term advocacy, which has been central to modern American liberation movements. Workshops will be facilitated by Native elders, contemporary artists, and educators, including Charmaine Bee, April Bey, Julia Bogany, Olivia Chumacero, and Sarita Dougherty with involvement from the American Indian Movement, the Black Panther Party, the Brown Berets, and Black Lives Matter. Bilingual English and Spanish workshops will also be offered by Felicia Montes of Mujeres de Maiz and Victor Narro of the UCLA Labor Center. A full schedule of programs for the exhibition is listed below.

Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves is organized by Allison Agsten, director of The Main, and Monica Rodriguez, curatorial associate.   


RIGO 23

Rigo 23 (b. 1966, Madeira Island, Portugal) lives in Los Angeles and works globally. He has exhibited his work internationally for more than 20 years, placing murals, paintings, sculptures, and tile work in public situations where viewers are encouraged to examine their relationship to their community and their role as unwitting advocates of public policy. Rigo’s works live both as artworks and thoughtful public interventions and have been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) and the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles; the New Museum and Artists Space, New York City; and the Museo de Arte Contemporanea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His work has been included in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India; Aichi Triennial, Japan; Shenzhen Hong-Kong Bi-City Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture, China; Auckland Triennial, New Zealand; Lyon Biennale, France; 2006 Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom; and 2004 California Biennial, among others. Rigo received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from Stanford University.

ABOUT THE MAIN MUSEUM

The Main Museum's mission is to engage the public with the most important ideas of our time through the art of Los Angeles. With a residency program at its center rather than a collection, The Main forefronts artists in its work and supports wide-ranging practices from artists at all stages in their careers.

When complete, The Main will include a variety of exhibition galleries, additional studio spaces for its artist residency program, a rooftop plaza including an amphitheater and cafe, and a restaurant. For more information on The Main and to sign up for updates, visit themainmuseum.org.

ABOUT BETA MAIN

True to its name, Beta Main is a space for testing and learning in anticipation of the creation of The Main. Throughout all phases of The Main’s development, which includes exhibitions, artist residencies, and public programs mounted by Beta Main, the institution will continue to refine its vision and methods as it learns from the community, artists, experimentation, and Downtown Los Angeles.


RELATED PROGRAMS—RIGO 23: RIPPLES BECOME WAVES

Program | Opening Day: Dora De Larios + Rigo 23
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, February 25, 2018
2–5 p.m.
Free Admission

Opening of Dora De Larios: Other Worlds and Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves. The afternoon will begin with a ceremonial blessing by Tongva Elder Michael Whitehorse Aviles.

Workshop | Mindfulness and Self-Care Tools for Healthy and Joyful Living
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, March 4, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Workshop on mindfulness practices facilitated by Victor Narro, Project Director of the UCLA Labor Center, and Laureen Lazarovici.

Workshop | Everything is Medicine
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, March 11, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Interactive workshop on exercises in breath, sound, meditation, and plant-work with artists Olivia Chumacero and Sarita Dougherty.

Program | Native Women's Voices through Poetry
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
7:30–9 p.m.
Free Admission

An evening of poetry and spoken word from renowned Native American poets Tazbah Rose Chavez, Emily Clarke, Kinsale Hueston, Pamela J. Peters, and Allison Ramirez.

Conversation | Kathy Peltier: My Father's Story
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Saturday, March 17, 2018
2–3:30 p.m.
Free Admission

Conversation with Kathy Peltier on her father, Leonard Peltier, joined by Larry Smith, co-host of Pacifica's and KPFK's AMERICAN INDIAN AIRWAVES.

Workshop | Tongva Language Fundamentals
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, March 18, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Workshop centered around the Native language with Tongva Elder Julia Bogany.

Program | From the Frontlines: A Conversation with L.A. Womxn of Color Activist Leaders
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
7:30–9 p.m.
Free Admission

Conversation with Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter LA, Chrissie Castro of the Los Angeles American Indian Commission, and Bamby Salcedo of the TransLatin@ Coalition.

Program | Louder than Words: WOMEN ON THE MOVE
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Thursday, March 22, 2018
11 a.m.–7:30 p.m.
Free Admission

A 26-ft truck outside of Beta Main becomes the site of talks and resources on the prevention of sexual assault, harassment, and domestic violence.

Program | Louder than Words: Dismantling Rape Culture
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Thursday, March 22, 2018
6:30–7:30 p.m.
Free Admission

Interactive workshop facilitated by artists S.A. Bachman and Neda Moridpour to examine how society subtly and overtly supports sexual violence and how to challenge rape culture in their own lives.

Performance | Healing the Wound of Incarceration
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Saturday, March 24, 2018
2–4 p.m.
Free Admission

Performance with Jayda Rasberry and directed by Patrisse Cullors of Dignity and Power Now.

Workshop | Spell-Casting/Un-Casting & Dream Interpretation
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, March 25, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Workshop exploring collective co-creation facilitated by Joy Angela Anderson and Charmaine Bee.

Conversation | Mightier than Metal, Sturdier than Concrete: Robert King and Albert Woodfox on the Struggle of the Angola 3
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Saturday, April 7, 2018
3–4:30 p.m.
Free Admission

Conversation between Robert King and Albert Woodfox, two surviving members of the Angola 3, the world-renowned trio of prison reform activists.

Workshop | Cariño: Radical Self and Community Care for Trying Times
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, April 8, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Workshop introducing natural wellness ways and holistic healing methods led by Felicia Montes.

Conversation | Gloria Arellanes: Teachings from a Grandmother
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
7:30–9 p.m.
Free Admission

Conversation with Gloria Arellanes, a dedicated activist at the forefront of Chicana and Native movements in Los Angeles.
 
Workshop | Cariño: Autocuidado y Curacion en Tiempos Dificiles
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, April 15, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Workshop facilitated in Spanish, introducing natural wellness ways and holistic healing methods led by Felicia Montes.

Conversation | Kelly Lytle Hernandez: City of Inmates
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Thursday, April 19, 2018
8–9:30 p.m.
Free Admission

Conversation with Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez joined by Tongva Elder Julia Bognay and Pete White, founder and co-director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network.

Program | Artist Walk-through with Rigo 23
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Saturday, April 21, 2018
2–3:30 p.m.
Free Admission

Walk-through with artist Rigo 23 for his exhibition Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves.

Workshop | SoulCollage 101
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, April 22, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Workshop on developing the whole person and bolstering confidence, inner strength, and passion by SoulCollage facilitators Laureen Lazarovici and Victor Narro.

Workshop | To Catch a Millenial Part II: Self-Care Concepts from The Survivalist Generation
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, April 29, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Workshop with artist and educator April Bey to explore and dismantle various concepts on self-care in relation to the millenial generation.

Workshop | Principles of Walking Meditation
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Sunday, May 6, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Workshop on the essentials of walking meditation facilitated by Laureen Lazarovici and Victor Narro.

Workshop | Soapstone and the Tongva
Beta Main | 114 W. 4th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 90013
Saturday, May 12, 2018
1–3 p.m.
Free Admission

Afternoon with Tongva Elder Julia Bognay as she teaches where soapstone came from and how it was used as an everyday living essential by the Tongva.

 

Media Contact: Samantha Ayson, sam@themainmuseum.org

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