Friday, October 3, 2008

Finishing School at MOCA last night

Executive Order Karaoke by Finishing School | MOCA Engagement Party from MOCA on Vimeo.

photos: James with security
next photo from left: Jason Plapp, Joel Heflin. Ed Giardina, Tammy Tomahawk, James Rojsirivat and Brian Boyer
Our Good friend Franz Keller singing very well!
Bottom: Joel Heflin and Ed Giardina
video of very cute couple singing

Last night a few of us Colonist headed out to MOCA to show some support for our friends form the art collective,
 "Finishing School".
Several of the members frequent our Artwalk and  have shown in our galleries here in Pomona. Joel Heflin will be showing a Bunny Gunner in November. Ed Giardina and Brian Boyer were two of the first artist to show at SCA Project Gallery when they opened in 1999. Well, needless to say, Cheryl Bookout the director of SCA and myself are very proud of these guys that we've known since our days in Santa Ana. Joel and I were framing together in the artist village and Ed had one of the coolest galleries in town, EGCA,  which later hooked up with Max Presneill and moved to The Brewery and joined Raid projects.
The "Boys" as they called themselves back then formed an art collective,
Finishing School,  which is a collective identity that explores art, design and technology that intersects praxis, play and activism.
Finishing School has been invited by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) to be the inaugural participant in Engagement Party.

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.

Here's what Mat Gleason of Coagula had to say about our friends:
 The artist collective “Finishing School” has taken up a residency at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (L.A. MOCA). What that means is that MOCA is too ossified and insular to know what the fuck is going on and finally realize that simply asking Paul McCarthy and Chris Burden for new ways to stroke Paul Schimmel’s ego by adding their friends, lovers and former students to the permanent collection isn’t getting the museum anywhere. If the piece of rat shit that is the Martin Kippenberger retrospective currently on view at their Grand Avenue building is any indicator, old curator Anne Goldstein is even more out of touch with anything that has a pulse in regards to art.

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 VirginI 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.

-Mat Gleason

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.



Anduhrew said...

I didn't know some of u spent time in Santa Ana, I'm actually originally from the area, my friend Teresita told me to check out Bunny Gunner, but I've only been to the spot on Bunny Gunner's birthday. i'll be comparing Santa Ana to Pomona in one of my blog posts to come.

pomona's art colonists said...

Yes, we came here from Santa Ana to open a second shop, Terrie and her sister Maricella are old friends of mine....we used to all work together, even Joel, way back! I love those girls!
Santa Ana and Pomona are very similar, we show a lot of artist from the Orange County's our mission to always be introducing new artist to Pomona, and in exchange a lot of artist from Pomona have been showing in Santa Ana galleries. We're doing the same thing with our LA friends too.

Anduhrew said...

I'm gonna have to visit you guys and say hi, a friend of Terrie's is a friend of mine