Urban Road Trip: Los Angeles

Presented by Karla Diaz and Louisa Van Leer

June 28, 2008
1 to 3pm

2102 East 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Tamales served from Uruapan Market

Starring the Traveling DJs

Courtesy Louisa Van Leer, 2008

In 2008, ART2102 is collaborating with new generations of alternative spaces in Los Angeles by providing a non-institutional structure and framework to support their initiatives. ART2102 will extend its status as a non-profit and beneficiary of grants to several of these smaller experimental spaces, while generating and increasing their exposure through ART2102's communication networks and support systems. It is an effort which aims to expand ART2102's activities beyond the more traditional forms of exhibition and other curatorial projects. More about the 2008 Program.



Louisa Van Leer, artist/architect and Karla Diaz, writer/performer travel through the city of Los Angeles to explore the ninth largest metropolitan area in the world – a mega-city covering 470 square miles with millions of inhabitants.

How do they make sense of a place like this? By taking road trips. A road trip not only invokes the car culture and sprawl of Los Angeles but the open-road state of mind: enjoying the ride, giving oneself permission to pull over, to talk to strangers and to get lost through the familiar and unfamiliar alike.

Over the next several months, the artists will transform a 1972 Dodge Camper (also known by it’s model name ‘The Establishment’) into an exhibition space, artist studios, projecting device, recording studio, meeting site and place of refuge as they navigate Los Angeles’ superlative terrain.

The first project in the Urban Road Trip series, “Reunion of Strangers” uses the location of ART2102’s former gallery space at 2102 East 1st Street, as a starting point to explore neighborhoods in East Los Angeles. It centers on the historic neighborhoods of Boyle Heights & Lincoln Heights, which were some of the first suburbs of Los Angeles, through interviews, photographs, videos and installation. The artists visited other addresses with the same street number of 2102 and found themselves in tamale shops, vacant lots, apartment buildings, train tracks and pharmacies among others. The results, exhibited in ‘The Establishment’, are the artifacts culled from the artists’ act of searching, remembering and their multiple personal exchanges within the community, arriving at a uniquely comprehensive view of one neighborhood located in the sprawl of Los Angeles.

“Reunion of Strangers” seeks to draw a virtual line on the map of Los Angeles that is neither street, nor freeway, nor district boundary, but a desire line that links people and places and doesn’t presume to meld the fragmented qualities of LA, but takes that as a given and builds it into a mapping method. In the months to come, the Reunion project which starts/reunites the old Art 2102’s brick and mortar address in Boyle Heights with the current itinerant, roaming Art2102, will inscribe a path around Los Angeles connecting 2102 address and uniting strangers and unknown places across the vastness of the city.

Artist Bios
Karla Diaz is a poet, performer, and art critic. She has read her work and exhibited projects in venues throughout Southern California including the Getty Art Museum, REDCAT, Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College, Hunter College N.Y., Serpentine Gallery in London, and at Zocalo in Mexico City. She writes for several art magazines including Beautiful Decay and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. She is a founding member of Slanguage, an artist collective in Wilmington, CA where she instituted an education program for teens. She lives and works in Los Angeles where she is associate director for the New Chinatown Barbershop gallery.

Louisa Van Leer is an artist and architect who lives in Los Angeles. She has exhibited her work throughout Southern California and at Rhode Island School of Design, Virginia Commonwealth University, White Flag Projects, St.Louis, Schalter, Berlin. Her artist book of San Fernando Valley photographs,“Fifteen Pornography Companies” is featured at Printed Matter in NYC. She received her BFA and B.Arch from Rhode Island School of Design, MFA from CalArts and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. www.louisavanleer.com

This event is made possible in part by the generous support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Department of Cultural Affairs Los Angeles.

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