Lauri Firstenberg on LAXART first ten years / Los Angeles

November 17, 2014

LA><ART will turn ten years old in 2015. How has your vision evolved since the foundation?

We started in 2005 as an independent contemporary art space to support artistic and curatorial freedom. The community of artists and arts organizations has evolved over the course of the past decade, and we consistently check in to pose questions related to our role within the greater cultural landscape of the city. Each year we have a meeting with our advisory board, primarily composed of artists and arts professionals, and they help set the course for how we proceed. This year the message focused on the notion of artists needing an alternative space now more than ever, in light of the ever-shifting conditions of both the market and the museum.

What are some of the most significant shows in the organization’s history?

There are hundreds and hundreds of projects, and we have learned so much from the artists we have been fortunate enough to collaborate with. Some projects that set the tone for how artists work in our space include Daniel Joseph Martinez’s inaugural show and public project, Michael Queenland’s restaging of his Brooklyn railroad apartment in our space, Ruben Ochoa’s monumental sculpture Extracted (2006), Rodney McMillian and Olga Koumoundouros’s live drawing performance titled On a Porch (2007) as well as Kerry Tribe’s performance Critical Mass (2012) re-animating the ’70s film of the same name…

Coinciding with the new gallery space, you will launch a curatorial program called “The Occasional” with contributions from curators Sylvia Chivaratanond, Matthew Schum and Linda Norden. What should we expect from this collaborative project?

It’s a new platform for the city in which artists work in close collaboration with a curator from our national team to produce a project over the course of up to three years. It will be a range of diverse works that focus on the support of research and unrealized ideas — giving an artist the opportunity to realize a project according to his/her vision without being bound to an institutional timeframe. Artists will include Mark Boulos, Shana Lutker, Tavares Strachan and Rainer Ganahl.

Find more stories