Rodrigo Valenzuela in KCRW 3.17.20

Having an exhibition on view during gallery closures


by Lindsay Preston Zappas

At first, galleries were canceling public openings and events, while leaving exhibitions available to the public, and promising sanitized surfaces and safe distances. But just days later, throughout L.A., museums and galleries started closing or switching to appointment-only.

A couple of weeks ago, Rodrigo Valenzuela’s exhibition Journeyman opened at Klowden Mann Gallery. Now the exhibition is closed to the public, but still available to view by appointment.

The exhibition features new photogravure works — a traditional method for printing photographs using plate printing — and small ceramic architectural sculptures that are set into a false wooden floor. Together, the photographs and sculptures mirror forms found in modernist and brutalist architecture. The sculptures pictured in the photographs, however, were made from trash Valenzuela found around his studio in the Fashion District. The exhibition examines institutions, public control, and class divisions — an apt theme these days.

Valenzuela explained to me, “It is interesting that my art show that talks about authoritarian structures and bureaucratic nightmares is closed during a crisis that is partially created by governments concealing information, and institutions failing to provide important services to the citizens. This pandemic makes clear that personal and collective endeavors are always interwoven much more than multinational corporations and governments want us to believe.”

On a more personal note, he explained, “I think the art world needs to embrace that they are part of the community and the working class. Staying home and closing the galleries is thinking of the good of the community. Staying home safe doesn’t mean that we, artists, stop being cultural workers. The objects at the galleries and in the market are irrelevant right now.”

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