MOCA presents “storefront:” – Los Angeles art exhibition report

Noah Davis’ "Imitation of Wealth" image.
Noah Davis’ “Imitation of Wealth” image.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles introduces storefront:, a new project that invites artists and artist collectives to inhabit the anteroom space of The Marcia Simon Weisman Works on Paper Study Center on the plaza level of the museum’s Grand Avenue location. MOCA will collaborate with two artists and/or collectives a year and each presentation will last four to six months. The program takes its name from myriad storefront studios that artists throughout Los Angeles inhabit and is meant to be a highly adaptable and responsive framework for MOCA to support and engage with the city’s artist community.

“storefront: is an opportunity for MOCA to reimagine what it means to be “the artist’s museum” in a city filled with artist-run spaces and initiatives,” remarks MOCA Chief Curator Helen Molesworth.

storefront: will launch on August 29, 2015 with the presentation of Noah Davis’s Imitation of Wealth, an exhibition initially mounted at Davis’s The Underground Museum–a storefront creative space in the west Adams/Crenshaw District of Los Angeles. As much an idea as it is an actual physical space, The Underground Museum presents exhibitions, events, programs, and artist collaborations. Crossing the wires of the Underground Railroad and the history of artist-run museums, The Underground Museum was born out of a desire to bring museum quality art to the traditionally working class neighborhood of Arlington Heights. Imitation of Wealth was Davis’s first exhibition at The Underground Museum and consisted of a group of tongue-in-cheek copies of iconic works of contemporary art by art world luminaries such as Jeff Koons, Robert Smithson, Marcel Duchamp, On Kawara, and Dan Flavin. Operating in the tradition of appropriation like artists such as Sherrie Levine and Sturtevant, Davis humorously staged an “impossible” exhibition. Turning the aspirational into a reality is part of the driving engine of The Underground Museum.

Following Davis, Public Fiction will move into MOCA’s storefront: space in February 2016. Public Fiction was a project space in Highland Park and is now a journal and roving exhibition based in Los Angeles. Both in print and in physical space, Public Fiction experiments with the idea of the exhibition as a medium, and uses exhibitions as a way to distribute ideas. This program has presented a series of exhibitions on a topic, each topic lasting three-months and culminating into a journal. Related talks, film screenings, secret restaurants, concerts, and performances are held within the exhibitions and around the subject at hand. Founded in 2010, Public Fiction is run by Lauren Mackler and features a rotating cast of collaborators. At MOCA, Mackler and Public Fiction will take the new installation of MOCA’s permanent collection as a starting point for a series of performances, lectures, and artist-driven interventions, all of which will culminate in a publication.


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Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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