Executive Order Karaoke by Finishing School | MOCA Engagement Party from MOCA on Vimeo.
photos: James with security
Engagement Party is a dynamic new initiative developed to engage innovative Los Angeles-based artist collectives. Over a three-year period beginning in October 2008, selected groups will participate in three-month residencies during which they will present a public program at MOCA Grand Avenue on the first Thursday of each month from 7 to 10pm. The goal of Engagement Party is to involve new artists and new audiences while reiterating MOCA's commitment to imaginative critical analyses of contemporary art in Los Angeles. Made possible by a major Artistic Innovation Fund grant from The James Irvine Foundation, MOCA's Engagement Party will host 12 artist collectives over the next three years.
So to happily mix metaphors, the new blood is a breath of fresh air at the cathedral of those old farts. Finishing School’s first project was entitled EXECUTIVE ORDER KARAOKE. The piece was to stage a participatory event outside in MOCA’s sculpture plaza. They set up a karaoke machine with familiar songs (Like a Virgin, I Will Survive) and had people sign up to sing on stage, where behind them was projected images of George W. Bush. The participants were then to sing along to the familiar tunes, but the “lyrics” were word-for-word Executive Orders of the Bush Administration. From topics as diverse as terrorism to Trout preservation, the participants tried to articulate the bureaucratic machinations of power in familiar melodies, to absolutely comical, pointed results. The members of the Finishing School Collective were dressed as referees and happily judged the efforts by the participating gallery-goers.
Art is charged to engage the public, the world is begging for meaningful political art that does not pander, preach or submit to illustrate the whims of a manipulative force. Art that is not fun is inevitably going to be ignored. Finishing School has solved so many problems embedded in contemporary art with one great night out on the town. It was absolutely shocking that MOCA would have such an event, vitality and current-ness being the last thing on the aging pink whale’s mind. ON a night with the political debates and a Dodger playoff game, a huge crowd turned out to enjoy art that involved, critiqued, satirized and hit home. It seemed so simple, but it took 22 years of boring MOCA shows to arrive at the point where the light bulb finally went off over someone’s head that nobody was buying the bullshit printed on the stupid wall labels rationalizing the egomania and insider status of assholes like Kippenberger as worthy of examination by the art audience.
Next performance will be:
November 6 7:00-1o:00
Little Pharma Drug Run(drug) cocktail party
Starting at MOCA, participants will first meet for a costume-making workshop and other activities. Dressed as their favorite pharmaceuticals, they will then embark on a group tour of the late-night drugstores of downtown Los Angeles. The event will culminate at Fringe Exhibitions in Chinatown, which will be hosting an incarnation of Finishing School’s Little Pharma, an interdisciplinary project investigating alternative medicines and lifestyles as viable antidotes to some of the drug industry’s pathologies. Little Pharma is on view at Fringe Exhibitions from October 11 - November 8.