El Nopal: Selections
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
El Nopal: Selections
A selection of prints from 30 years of questioning the politics of culture
March 28 – May 23, 2020
Gallery Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Reception: Saturday, April 18, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Presented by GROSS ART at
1028 North Western Avenue – Los Angeles, CA 90029
GROSS ART is pleased to present El Nopal: Selections, an exhibition of a selection of prints printed by Francesco Siqueiros at El Nopal Press at SPACE 1028.
El Nopal Press is and has been one of the key critical spaces of autonomy in the artistic production of the last decades in the US-Mexico border. El Nopal was founded by Francesco Siqueiros in 1990 with the knowledge that a publishing house has the capacity of generating attention to and expanding on what is possible as a participant in the politics of culture. The fifteen artists selected for inclusion in this exhibition reveal a fertile ground for collaboration – expressly acknowledging the productive, political, and personal exchange that is the magic of editions printed at El Nopal Press. During this era of transition and upheaval, El Nopal Press’ concerted and sustained effort to explore the politics of culture is more important than ever.
El Nopal: Selections is an exhibition constructed around several series of print collaborations undertaken by Francesco Siqueiros with some of the more relevant and inquisitive artists of our time. Be it the exploration of materials, cultural exchange, artistic inquiry, technique, or pure beauty, each artist brought their own particular perspective to blend with the unique talents of Siqueiros at El Nopal. Artists included are Lisa Adams, John Baldessari, Mark Bennett, Derek Boshier, Anita Bunn, Dr. Lakra, Harry Gamboa Jr., Roger Herman, Solomon Huerta, Glenn Kaino, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Rubén Ortiz Torres, Rene Petropolous, Analia Saban, and Eliat Yossifor.
While each project brings its own particular perspective, of particular note are the four lithographs created with John Baldessari from 2010 to 2015 – including 2015’s Red Slipper featuring an embossed rendering of Baldessari’s worn red shoe. Four prints by Analia Saban set the stage for an inquiry into the intersection of material, technique, and uniqueness. The series of monotypes by Lisa Adams continue this meditation on the nature of the unique via variations within the same composition.
Works by Anita Bunn explore via the subtle beauty and timeless quality of nature, and question of what is indigenous via her Native Plants of the region. Two prints by Dr. Lakra bring elements from the tradition of ink on skin into the fine art format of these prints made with ink on paper. Harry Gamboa Jr. investigates cultural appropriation via a mash up of color, photography, the manipulated image, and text. Mark Bennet’s imagined floorplan of the Bat Cave is a playful expression of the power of imagination immortalized in print. Like Los Angeles, the city he now calls home, Roger Herman’s sets of multi-colored floral woodcuts evoke the multiplicity of techniques and traditions embodied in his artistic practice. Solomon Huerta’s portrait head has us ponder the very nature of what constitutes a portrait, while Glenn Kaino literally explodes our object-based culture to reveal the complexities underneath.
The singular print by Pablo Ortiz Monasterio echoes the naturalist studies of Blosfeldt through the conceptual lens of gesture at once surrealist and pop: the inclusion of the text Es y No Es. Rene Petropolous shares a playful take on the cross-border relationship From the United States to Mexico in her single mixed-media print. Three works by Rubén Ortiz-Torres were selected from the several projects he embarked on with El Nopal. From the gesture both conceptual and poetic of Sangre y Aceite, to the politics of Zamba del Che Re-Mix where Che’s arrest fingerprints are presented alongside the set taken for Ruben’s immigration, to the poignant Flag printed with ink made from a burnt American flag, Ortiz-Torres perhaps most fully reflects the intentions of El Nopal. Eliat Yossifor’s single image creates on paper and via lithography, a document of the movements, gestures, and intention inherent in her artistic actions. And last, but not least, is the hauntingly beautiful and lyrical print of Holographic Weeds made with the Copenhagen collective, The Winter Office.
About El Nopal Press
El Nopal Press is and has been one of the key critical spaces of autonomy in the artistic production of the last decades in Southern California, including the US-Mexico border region. Founded by Francesco Siqueiros in 1990 in the city of Los Angeles, the workshop of prints and graphic projects became a vital and exceptional space, a collaboration between Siqueiros and a large group of guest artists who, in retrospect, represent a complex cultural, artistic, political, transgenerational, transnational and transborder map—El Nopal Press is conceptually a dialogic space where the notion of border as a metaphor, allegory, imaginary, tension zone, hybridization, crossing, and contamination, activates and expands. The whole of the project is to be viewed as a social sculpture that litigates for a heterogeneous society and recognition of a plurality of modernisms, a not a hegemonic manifestation of the few. The border as a geographical location, a psychological state, a metaphor and a delineation of limits is what inspired the selection of artists in the publications.
About Francesco Siqueiros
Francesco X. Siqueiros graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1973, and from the Sorbonne in Paris, France, with bachelor’s degree in Plastic Arts in 1974. In 1983 he returned to California to do graduate work concentrating in lithography at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1990, he founded El Nopal Press, which continues to thrive today from a studio located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. The conceptual focus of El Nopal is to feature and promote the variety of cultural production and to question the supremacy of a dominant cultural perspective.
About SPACE 1028
Launched in 2020 expressly for Prints, Raymond. Prints! SPACE 1028 is conceived to be a project space for the unique, the accessible, and the unseen. For the modern art cognoscenti, the East Hollywood address possesses a particularly storied allure. Originally constructed as a shopping mall in 1923 the complex, which still includes several artists’ studios and residences, gained notoriety in the 1960s when the artist Joe Goode, a member of the seminal “Cool School,” rented one of the unoccupied spaces. Soon after, Joe’s friend Ed Ruscha moved in, and he continued living and working in the building for more than 20 years. The area was also host to the studios of seminal artists John Altoon and Wall Batterton, amongst others. Now at the well-traveled crossroads of Western Ave, the 101 Freeway and Santa Monica Blvd (the old route 66), SPACE 1028 is firmly rooted in its history while also serving its community by bringing art that needs to be seen to those who need to see it.
About GROSS ART
Adam Gross founded GROSS ART in 2002 to share light and creativity with the broadest audience. Initially established in response to the despair and confusion that seemed the order of the day after September 11, 2001, over time GROSS ART evolved into a full-service exhibition, collection management, advisory, development-oriented firm. After a hiatus of several years while serving at MOCA, launching an art fair for LA with The Armory Show (and supporting The Getty’s first Pacific Standard Time), and then running The Lapis Press, GROSS ART is at it again – on the prowl for unique and independent voices that can make a difference… again, to bring some joy into our oh-so-interesting world. While some things never seem to change, creativity contains the power to unite!
For further information, please contact Adam Gross at (213) 595-0263 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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