2008 Whitney Biennial Los Angeles Heavy

The 2008 Whitney Biennial is Los Angeles Heavy

Congratulations to these Los Angelinos:

Edgar Arceneaux
John Baldessari
Walead Beshty
Jedediah Caesar
Harry (Harriet) Dodge and Stanya Kahn
Shannon Ebner
Amy Granat and Drew Heitzler
Rashawn Griffin
Fritz Haeg
Patrick Hill
William E. Jones
Alice Könitz
Charles Long
Lucky Dragons Luke Fischbeck
Daniel Joseph Martinez
Rodney McMillian
Julia Meltzer and David Thorne
Matt Mullican
Ruben Ochoa
Kembra Pfahler
Stephen Prina
Michael Queenland
Jason Rhoades
Ry Rocklen
Amanda Ross-Ho
Eduardo Sarabia
Frances Stark
Mika Tajima
Mungo Thomson
James Welling
Mario Ybarra Jr.

These artists were either born in LA or they live here now, or both. I’d say Los Angeles is on the map now.

And I was happy to see that one of my most favorite and influential artists was at the top of the list: Rita Ackermann. If you didn’t know who she was before, you will now. And you might be able to see how many artists were influenced by her work, since she was the first to do the style she does. She is a true original. My Hungarian side would like to think she is somehow distantly related to me. In some universe, I feel we are.

© Rita Ackermann


Yesterday I went to speak with students in the Fiber Department at Cal State University Long Beach. The chair of the Department Carol Shaw-Sutton (an incredible fiber artists who makes stunningly beautiful work) invited me to give a slide presentation and lecture there. Carol and I have shown together at the Riverside Museum of Art in a show called Material Girls, which got a lot of press and was a very good exhibition with a full color catalog and a perfect essay by Shana Nys Dambrot.

Anyways, I was nervous, but I had a good time. Some of the students really responded to the work. I brought some originals, including my books, and one girl said All Done But None was the greatest book she has ever read in her life. Granted she looked to be only in her early 20s, but it was definitely the best compliment I’ve received about the book.

Carol’s assistant is a graduate student named Susan Porteous who is also an incredible book artist. And I mean incredible. She took me back to her studio afterwards and I was able to see all the books she has made during her Master’s program, and I was just totally blown away at her originality and dedication. Her work is meticulous, and the handmade “books” are truly pieces of art. She has seemed to master letterpress, and uses found text within her art books, and plays with arrangements of making them thematic narratives by way of sculpting and using elements of bookmaking. She is going to be a Book Arts star.

© Susan Porteous

Afterwards, I saw my friend Kyle Riedel for a quick hug and headed out early to San Pedro for a meeting I had. I parked near my old studio at Angels Gate and watched the sun go down. My old studio, ironically used to be Carol Shaw-Sutton’s studio before it was mine and I thought about how we both read on out futon couches looking out into the sea. It was weird being there and seeing how a new artist is probably enjoying the hell out of the space now, as they should be. I’ll admit it was a little hard being there in the park and seeing how beautiful it is. A little hard is an understatement.

Awwww, isn’t that such a sad story? Ya well, get over it.

I’m slowly but surely getting back on my horse here in South Pasadena/Alhambra/El Sereno. It’s a pretty area. I have an amazing garden and this makes me happier than when I lived in my little house in Pedro. I’m just still trying to find my way. I have a little dream now about getting a cabin somewhere in Joshua Tree and just staying out there for weeks at a time and doing nothing but working. Kind of like a recurring residency retreat. It’s an idea, and it could wind up to be cheaper than renting a separate studio. We’ll see how it pans out though.

© Michael Phillips

2 thoughts on “2008 Whitney Biennial Los Angeles Heavy

  1. headwrapper February 10, 2008 / 9:37 pm

    Finally, someone who can make some sense out of the Adam and Eve story…
    I’d like to move down to the desert these rainy winters up here suck —
    A mudhouse would be so cool! As well as warm…
    In the meantime you make me so happy, just the way you tell it, whatever it is –I like it like that.
    Keep bloggin’

  2. carol es February 11, 2008 / 4:16 pm

    thanks reuben. what would i do without you?

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