My collaborator Emily Anne Kuriyama and I have been speaking with artist-run spaces in Los Angeles, most of which have started in the past three or four years, and posting the interviews on KCET Artbound. Near the end of this Hubs & Hybrids survey of seven spaces, we have been both awed by what these fairly young spaces have been able to accomplish in a few short years, but also painfully aware that their precarity is the greatest threat to the work they are trying to do. At stake in this balance is the unique ecology of Los Angeles as an arts capital and a center for experimental work to flourish. Sustainability is a problem for all of these spaces, especially those that lean towards more experimental programming, because they are doing work that does not conform to a neoliberal capitalist model of economic success. In some ways our focus this week, Concord, a two-year-old collectively-run space in an old warehouse in Cypress Park that recently closed its doors, took to an extreme the underlying themes of live-work space, networks of makers, and an interdisciplinary and a multi-faceted approach that we found so attractive about the other spaces. By living where they worked, creating artwork individually or together and investigating their own relationships as the raw material in their art practices, the members of Concord had so much at stake; they existed within the space and it existed because of them. It was tied to their livelihood, their values, and their friendships. One can argue this is true of many other artist-run spaces to lesser extremes; they thrive in the hidden corners of our society not yet consumed by ambitions tied to the accrual of capital.
Please check out all of the interviews so far on the KCET Artbound site: links below. An interview with Control Room is coming along on Friday.