Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Recap: Kansas City & ¿Que Pasa, USA?

Group photo of ¿Qué Pasa, USA? artists and participants. Photo by Megan Mantia

About a month ago I was in Kansas City, MO for the reception of the ¿Qué Pasa, USA? exhibition at La Esquina Gallery. This was the first exhibition by Charlotte Street Foundation's current Curator in Residence, Lynnette Miranda

¿Qué Pasa, USA? is a group exhibition that considers a broad spectrum of experiences reflecting and responding to what it means to be a citizen in this country today. Informed by their lived experience, the artists present a different approach to addressing and deepening identity. Through abstracting and translating cultural symbols they reflect on “The Other” in a society that values and privileges Whiteness above all. The exhibition expands on the notion that American identity today is based on plurality and through a critically conscious approach each artist presents work that broadens our definitions of that identity.

I first met Lynnette, when she was in San Francisco to give a talk art the end of her residency with Little Paper Planes' AIR program last year. Since then we've kept in touch.

Along with the exhibition Lynnette organized and facilitated other programing and events, including a POC Arts Alliance meeting and Visibility / Invisibility for POC. 

The exhibition also had several writing components including artists interviews and essays about the artists work. I wrote an essay about the work of Kayla Quan (SF), Michelle Lee (PA), and Carlos Gallo-Ortiz (MO) - read the essay here.

While in KC I was able to connect with many artists from QPU and other local artists. 

Read more for the full KC Recap.

Madeline Gallucci is a KC based artist, who is a close friend of Lynnette and hosted an after party for QPU at her studio building, called The Drugstore, she shares with other artist.

I was first introduced to Madeline's work when I went to her talk at the end of her residency at Little Paper Planes in SF earlier this year. 

I met with Madeline to talk about her work the day before the QPU reception. 

Madeline's painting make use of several mediums on a variety of materials. She incorporates air brush, acrylic, and paints digitally - on canvas, paper, and tarps. During her residency at LPP she was thinking about the history of camouflage and the functionality of the materials she was working with like the tarp with grommets. That was such a surprising entry into the work she makes because is it so colorful and bright. 

Madeline Gallucci at her studio in The Drug Store (KC, MO) - November 17, 2016.

Inside The Drug Store.

Madeline also had a show at the Kemper Museum's Crossroads Gallery.

For this exhibition Madeline had so much space. She wanted to make use to the space and kind make you feel like you were in her studio - replicating the lines from the edges of paintings on her studio walls.

Another artist who had work at the Crossroads was Rodolfo Marron III. Rodolofo's installation and visual work taps into personal family history and culture. 

On Friday before the QPU reception I checked out the current exhibition at the KCAI H&R Art Space. 

The exhibition A Stranger's Notebook includes photography, video, and sound, by Eritrean-born artist Dawit L. Petros explores the relationship between African histories and European modernism, tracing ideas about borders and narratives of migration, past and present.

Act of Recovery Part I -  Courtesy of the artist and Tiwani Contemporary, London

Untitled (Prologues) - Courtesy of the artist and Tiwani Contemporary, London
A Series of Complicated Ambivalences - Courtesy of the artist and Tiwani Contemporary, London
 Install views - courtesy of KCAI Art Space.

Kayla and I also took a quick tour of the KCAI printmaking studio. It felt nice to be back on a college campus and check out the facilities. 

View of student work stations.

Letterpress work station.

Before I get to the QPU reception - I wanted to mention a few artists that were so generous while hosting us in KC. It is so rare to meet strangers and feel so loved immediately they way Jahaira Aguilar and Andrew Lattner were toward us. They host Kayla Quan, Victoria Martinez, and myself for the nights we were in KC.

Both their work deals with materials and structures, light and space, as well as including public/participant elements.

Jahaira is a recent graduate from the Kansas City Art Institutefrom the painting program. She is originally from San Antonio, TX and has made Kansas City her home. Socially engaged work is of great importance and exists in a synonymous practice that seeks to invite participants into her installations. 
She seeks out site-specific responses in order to activate spaces that might seem static as a way to entice movement and engagement. Some work exists on a wall and some exists on the ground, big enough to jump inside and touch and feel.

Pennant Flags, Jahaira Aguilar, Plastic vinyl, 2016, Kansas City, MO. Courtesy of Jahaira Aguilar. 
Navigation Installation, Jahaira Aguilar, Plastic Sheets, Pex tubing, Spray paint, 2016, Kansas City Art Institute. Courtesy of Jahaira Aguilar. 

Slip’ n’ Slide, Jahaira Aguilar, 60’’x492’’x36’’, Plastic sheeting, Pex tubing, Grommets, Water, October 2015, Kansas City Art Institute. Courtesy of Jahaira Aguilar. 

Video of Slip’ n’ Slide by Jahaira Aguilar.

Andrew Lattner is a recent graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute from the painting program. His recent work directly responds from the relocation of my studio to the financial district of down town Kansas City. 

Occupying a former office space I have chosen my materials from office supply stores and use things such as paper, whiteout, tape, pen, pencil and highlighters. Through the use of these materials he have begun to investigate the architecture of space that makes up each individual piece of paper. Andrew views each paper as having three different planes in which it occupies, the front, the back and the in-between. By utilizing light and display he allows viewers to unlock all three of these planes simultaneously.

Office Work Paper, paper, pen, pencil, highlighter, tape, whiteout. 2016. Courtesy of Andrew Lattner.

Office Work Paper - grouping, paper, pen, pencil, highlighter, tape, whiteout and sign holders. 2016. Courtesy of Andrew Lattner.

Playstion 05, wood, paint, paper, tape. 2016. Installation photo from KCAI BFA exhibition. BFA Show Honor Award, Selected by Pablo Helguera and Amy Kligman, H&R Block Space, Kansas City, MO. Courtesy of Andrew Lattner.

Alternating Currents, Red and White Vinyl. 2016. Installation taking place on the KC Streetcar 802, Metro Center North stop and on surfaces between 10 th and 12 th street. Courtesy of Andrew Lattner.

Andrew and Jahaira founded NDo, an artist collaborative group seeking to create affordable studios for young emerging artists in Kansas City, MO. NDo started this summer when they took on an insanely ambitious project called Debt Day Carnival, it was a carnival meant to educate the public on student-loan debt and the options of repayment. It turned out to be the biggest, craziest experience Jahaira has ever had. It was so much fun, it brought so many people together and from it, we have a core group of collaborators who will be graduating from KCAI in 2019. The carnival consisted of all hand-made games pertaining to debt and some just for fun, they had a Donald Trump Knock-out game, a pin the tail on the donkey game featuring Hillary and Bernie, a financial tarot card reader, a huge money wind machine that had bills instead of money. A lot of stuff like that. Check out an article that was written about it, KCUR CJ Janovy. It would not have been possible without their carnies, they are life-time friends and hard working artists. Through that huge collaboration, they knew that they wanted to be collaborators with other artists. 

Currently, NDo can be defined by 3 major projects we are pursuing in Kansas City: 

1. Short-duration Residencies// NDo seeks to collaborate with local Kansas City property managers in an effort to activate unoccupied spaces with artists in the greater-Kansas City community. Short-duration residencies give young artists the opportunity to engage in a residency that is challenging and created for the first-time artist-in-residence. Allowing young artists to participate gives them the opportunity to add experience to their CV in anticipation for more residencies to come in their future! 

2. Local Arts Marketing Campaign// NDo seeks to collaborate with business professionals and young entrepreneurs interested in investing in local art that lack the consultation to do so. Here we are proposing an ongoing campaign to educate young business professionals about the importance and necessity of investing in local artists in order to maintain the vibrancy of their beloved city. This will include an ever-expanding online platform that showcases the local talent of Kansas City, no regional information hub of this kind exists at this time. *Arts Marketing Campaign in early grant writing stage.

3. Community Arts Education Coordination//NDo seeks to collaborate with institutions that provide services to low-income children and seniors in an effort to bring arts education directly to their door! In collaboration with Phoenix Family Housing of Kansas City, we coordinate with community leaders that serve their housing facility in order to provide arts education in their community centers for free. Arts education services are provided by local Kansas City artists and educators. This collaboration between artists/educators and Phoenix Family Housing works due to a low-commitment system that only requires 1 hour a month from each artist. With this system in mind, multiple artists are empowered to interact with a group of children or seniors working towards improving creative technical skills in their home community center. 

NDo Manifesto//

We believe in supporting artists in our own community. 

We believe in affordable and accessible studio spaces for all visual artists, writers, musicians and performers. 

We believe in creating a thriving arts-market in Kansas City where artists can live off of their work. 

We know that behind every vibrant city are powerful leaders. 

We know that Kansas City can become the next destination for artists so long as they are supported in a well-rounded fashion. 

Now to the ¿Qué Pasa, USA? reception. It was a full house from the beginning. It had just begin to get cold in KC so everyone was filled into the space. 

Don't Tread on Me, Rice and Beans floor installation by Enzo Antonio Moscarella in ¿Qué Pasa, USA?.

Train collage installation by Carlos Ortiz-Gallo.

Kayla Quan and Andrew Lattner.

Kayla Quan with her work at the reception of ¿Qué Pasa, USA? at La Esquina Gallery (KC, MO) - November 18, 2016.

Lynnette gave a few opening remarks for the exhibition and introduced Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero, who is an artist and performer included in the show. 

Jacquelyn's performance was incredibly moving and genuine. It was hard to hold back tears and feel so proud to share space with her. 

I MADE A FRIEND TODAY zine by Michelle Lee.

"That Awkward Moment When", vinyl text installation by Domique "Minna" Carella.

The ¿Qué Pasa, USA? show is up through January. If you're in Kansas City go check it out. Thank you to everyone is KC for being so warm and welcoming and giving us such a memorable experience and all the love. If you're feeling like you want to more KC check out a few film snapshot I took including some from the after party at the Drug store - over on my tumblr.