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  • MFA Exhibition: Jamie Grace Davis

    Points of Departure

     

    1/28 Performaces

    1:00 - 1:10pm, 220V. 

    1:15 - 1:30pm,  ___________ships.

     

    1/31

    4 - 8:00pm, Closing Reception

     

  • Jason Bailer Losh lives and works in Los Angeles. He graduated with an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. 
     
  • Ludovic Balland Typography Cabinet is a graphic design studio established in 2004 by Ludovic Balland. The studio focuses on book and editorial design, as well as new visual identities for international brands and cultural institutions.

     

    www.ludovic-balland.ch

    www.dar-news.com

  • Amy Adler

    Feb 03| Lectures
    More
    Amy Adler graduated from Cooper Union and received an MFA in Visual Art from UCLA and an MFA in Cinematic Arts from USC. She has had one person shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and The Aspen Art Museum as well as galleries worldwide. 
     
  • Walk-thru the exhibition Shhhh led by the artist Angie Bray. Gain insight into Bray's work and to the exhibition, and hear about her process, materials, and philosophies on art-making and on quieting, listening, and looking.

  • Alex Israel

    Feb 10| Lectures
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    The work of Alex Israel is deeply entwined with his hometown of Los Angeles. The artist creates art that riffs on Hollywood culture and the cult of celebrity. His first major body of work consisted of rented studio props, transformed into readymades by their placement in the gallery—some blatantly obvious in their artificiality. He gave celebrities the same treatment in the video series “As It Lays”, video portraits based on campy TV talk shows.
  • Menno Cruijsen, Lava Design
    February 12, 12:30-1:30, Ahmanson 6th floor

    Lava was founded in 1990 by creative director Hans Wolbers (the Netherlands, 1965). The current team consists of 10 talented designers and three projectmanagers. The agency is focused on creative strategy, editorial design and dynamic identities.

    http://www.lava.nl

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Literary L.A.

May 12, 2014
Spotlight Category: Faculty

Memory and Daily Life in the Invisible City

By Paul Vangelisti, Founding Chair, Graduate Writing

 

Time and place operate curiously in the daily and often dull ineptitude of a grammar that might describe such as fictive utility as L.A.

 

I must begin by mentioning the debt of gratitude I owe the Parisian poet Mohammed Dib, who consistently made me aware that L.A. was indeed the Invisible City, borrowing from me, as it were, the title for my literary magazine, Invisible City, which I edited with John McBride from 1971–82. During his stay in L.A., Dib would often smile capriciously and ask, as the afternoon began to cool, if it weren’t time to set off in my Datsun sedan and visit our invisible city, so that we might add to our “petites histoires.”

Poetry, for me, then, issues from the invisible city, the big nowhere that is L.A. Ours is a city of “theatrical impermanence,” as Christopher Isherwood called it, the home of tautological architecture where hot dog and hamburger and donut stands take on the shape of hot dogs and hamburgers and donuts, where at any given time only a little more than onethird of the population has lived there for more than five years. L.A. is blessed, in Tennessee Williams’ words, with “wonderful rocking horse weather, and a curious light so mesmerizing that, as Orson Welles once noted, ‘You sit down, you’re twenty-five, and when you get up, you’re sixty-two.‘” It functions, according to the poet Thomas McGrath, as the “Asia Minor of the intellect,” a place where, in the immortal words of the legendary producer Irving Thalberg (namesake for the Academy’s Oscar for “life-time achievement”), the writer is no less than “a necessary evil.” L.A. is also a place that has afforded writers and artists, to borrow a phrase from long-time resident Igor Stravinsky, “splendid isolation.” Memory in so willfully forgetful a place is critical, defining an almost palpable dimension of daily life, which is all the more vivid in contrast to the perpetual elsewhere that best describes one’s writing practice there.

Time and place operate curiously in the daily and often dull ineptitude of a grammar that might describe such as fictive utility as L.A. Time, for instance, may function as a property of light, a perpetual present or “timelessness” in close relationship to the peculiarly isolate and meditative light that is the single most distinguishing characteristic of our city. “Lots and lots of light–and no shadows,” notes artist Robert Irwin, “Really peculiar, almost dreamlike.”

I am suggesting that a preoccupation with our daily bread is a poet’s attempt to ground his or her work if not exactly in some form of realism, at least in a realistic attitude or position within this wacky environment. Lacking the public occasion and certainly the public form for serious literature—museums and other educational and public institutions in our city are hardly more than specimen boxes in today’s cultural marketplace—some poets instinctively employ the daily to create a context for their work, social, dramatic or otherwise. In a city where the image is considered truthful, and entrepreneurs the likes of (fill in the name of whatever current pop culture boss) are discussed in university and college classrooms as creative geniuses, a poet may look to his or her own isolated daily life to fashion a background against which language may be given room for serious play.

 

Editor’s Note:
This piece is excerpted from a longer essay that first appeared in Seeing Los Angeles: A Different Look at a Different City, edited by Guy Bennett and Beatrice Mousli; Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2007 Graduate Writing faculty member Martha Ronk’s poems also appeared in this publication.

 

Image: Sumi-e drawing by Les Biller

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