By Melina Paris, Arts and Culture Reporter
Artist-run gallery in downtown Los Angeles, Durden and Ray presents We Are Here / Here We Are, a Los Angeles County-wide exhibition of nearly 100 artists that explores our innate desire for connectivity through sensation. Due to the constraints of the COVID-19 lockdown, the artists in this exhibition have chosen public spaces to display their work — from Santa Monica to the east side and from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach. The location of each piece will be posted on a Google Map that allows the exhibition to be explored virtually or in real life.
“To participate in this exhibition is a gift,” Weber said. “To myself, my neighbors and the art community. It’s so embracive. Even the cops slow down as they drive by and give a thumbs up. Some people ask the proverbial ‘What the hell is it?’ question and others fall all over themselves to let me know they know what art is. It’s hard to feel sad when there’s a giant sculpture in the front yard, where you would least expect it.”
Ann Weber’s sculpture can be seen at the corner of 24th and S. Grand Ave. in San Pedro.
We Are Here
While the world turns inward, we are paradoxically more connected with each other than ever through the use of social media, digital technology, video conferencing and telecommunication. But as the streets remain empty, the restaurants and coffee shops remain closed and the houses of social engagement remain shuttered, we are rediscovering “real life” through our homes, our neighborhoods and ourselves. As the digital world feeds our need to connect through sight and sound, we are experiencing a severe disconnect from the other sensory functions of touch, taste and smell, yearning for experiences that happen through tactility, sensation, randomness and place, which are currently only possible in real life.
Here We Are
The artists in the exhibition have chosen unorthodox alternatives to a traditional gallery setting, using a wide variety of media interventions in neighborhood alleyways, yards, trees, bushes, on rocks, fences, telephone poles and other publicly accessible areas, while honoring social distancing mandates. The works in We Are Here / Here We Are are ephemeral in nature: vulnerable to the elements and to those who might destroy or confiscate them. Their resilience shows an innate desire to be present in the real world and to be seen as an individual amongst a larger collective peer group, despite all odds.
To experience the exhibition: Click on the link to Durden and Ray’s personalized Google Map, which displays the coordinates of each work, a photograph of the piece in-situ, as well as a brief description that provides some context. A small placard is available at each site and provides some information about each piece, as well as a quick response code that links to the map with more information about the show and other works in the neighborhood.
More than a dozen artists from Long Beach are also showing pieces including sculptor Katie Stubblefield, painter Stephanie Han, photographer, Jennifer Gunlock and printmaker, Michael Nannery.
Times: Dawn-dusk, every day, unless noted, through June 20
Locations: Ann Webber – 24th and S. Grand Ave. in San Pedro