Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Into Action - A Celebration Of Community Power + Cultural Resistance

I attended one of the very best art shows ever over the weekend, and I'm still gushing about the Into Action event in downtown L.A., and will be for a good long while. The only bad news is that it's over now, and I sure do hope you got to attend this exceptional experience. Wow.

As the show had already been on a week by the time I went, I figured it would be easy breezy to get in to check out the art at this FREE event. I was fully wrong, as I didn't anticipate the looooong line to get in to hear the panel of Bryan Stevenson and John Legend discussing social injustice. It was no big deal though, as everyone in line was cool - as you'd expect for people attending a show like this -  and soon enough, event organizer Yosi Sergant came along the line passing out wristbands for us to get in. Sargent is awesome, and you should check out everything this cat is involved in, because it's always something else. And something important.

This show was truly one of the most important art extravaganzas you could ever hope to attend. Each and every piece had something major to say, and I wasn't prepared for just how emotional this art would make me. I walked around choked up with my hand over my heart the entire time. All of the featured artists hit the nail exactly on the head while dealing with such massive issues as racial injustice, women's rights, immigration, police murders, income inequality, guns ... all of it. And it couldn't have happened at a better time, as all of these issues seem to be coming to a head at once.

The very first installation you saw inside the gallery was a pile of newspapers, making up a collage centered by the phrase, "What A Year". Truly. You almost can't keep up with it all, and this work kicked off all the rest that we would see. Seeing all of those awful headlines together made one feel exactly like the piece from Aubrie Costello - Sick And Tired, 2017. Exactly.

There were so many highlights, and I only captured some of them, because I didn't want to wreck it for people who were still going to go, but now that it's done, I wish I had taken even more. Every single piece had something worthwhile to say, and the creativity of artists in times like these is exceptional. And SO necessary. There is a lot of humor involved too, because so much of our society today is truly laughable. America, The Greatest Nation On Earth by Erika Rothenberg had its tongue firmly in cheek. Obviously.

Meet George by Swoon. Rad.

Look at Hands Up by Ken Gonzales-Day and try not to feel both the woman's strength and courage, but also the horror she has to endure ... for what? Time's Up on police brutality too. ENOUGH.

A Man Was Lynched By Police Yesterday was a banner that could be put out a lot of days in this country, and good on artist Dread Scott for spelling it out for what it is.

That piece paired well with Trayvon Martin by Chip Southworth. A hoodie. A toy. And dead.

Robbie Conal contributed I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin), and it was awesome.

Travis Somerville created a True Monument out of a quilt, varsity letters, and a gas can.

Beautiful mothers of dead children made up a mural that hurt ones heart. By Kate Deciccio.

There was a automatic weapon vending machine that left one with chills from its title alone ... Supply and Demand, by Coby Kennedy. Ugh.

Nation Of Protest from Christopher Myers was a huge wall hanging urging us all to be exactly that.

Michael Murphy created a big installation of guns and ammo making up our flag. Ouch.

Bullets continued to rain down in the piece by Michele Pred called Security Storm. Gun violence has struck a huge nerve, both in our nation and among our artists. As it should.

Shepard Fairey had a few pieces in the show, and this was my favorite. Don't Be A MFR. So basic. Just don't. Practice respect and justice. It's not that hard.

There was a long line to smash plates in the installation called Shattering by Ann Lewis. You could write your grievance on a plate and go in a room and smash it against a wall. A very satisfying way to literally smash the patriarchy.

The massive homelessness crisis was addressed in this piece that I couldn't find the artist's name afterward but that includes a fact that it hurts to even think about. Up 23%!?! In one of the richest cities in the world. This is an outrage.

I very much liked the piece called California Resistance by Jillian Kogan ... and then I looked closer to see that it's almost entirely made up of pills. Is that how much of CA is coping? I hope not. Pills kill.

We The Resilient was one of my favorite works, in a beautiful portrait by Ernesto Yerena.

The Stranger Will Come And Destroy Your Traditions by Frohawk Two Feathers was sad, and also spoke to immigration.

With the Women's March going down the next day, there was plenty of art to focus on female issues included in this show, that clearly shows that #Timesup on sexual assault, and women are taking back our power in so many ways. It was empowering just to behold ... Greed In The Garment Industry by Emily Halpern made a serious point to that effect. 

In Utero (Study for Installation) by Holly Ballard Martz showed what we don't want to go back to ... wire hanger abortions aren't good for anyone.

Among my favorite work was this piece by Nisha K. Sethi called All The Right Weaponry. Awesome.


Among the most powerful images to focus on women's rights was the piece from Tes One, called Lady Liberty, Mother Of Exiles, that showed our beautiful symbol of freedom with "Me Too" engraved on her crown. Harsh, but true.

Jeremy Dean created a ring of folding chairs called Everything That Rises that was real cool, and a big one for Instagram.

I loved the works from Mary Iverson, especially this one, The Mother Of All Bombs. This one took the top place on my brother's best of show list, which I knew it would. Excellent.

Minnesota's own Kii Arens showed The Dreamer ... very timely in this time of trying to defend DACA from our awful current government. Very cool.

There was so much to see and do, with panels and music every day. We got to hear a little bit of Bryan Stevenson and John Legend's chat, and the best was when Legend sang an a cappella version of his "Glory" from the film, Selma. It was holy. I cried. There was a gift shop where you could purchase relevant books, and prints of many of the show's artworks, as well Patriarchy plates to smash, and skate decks that dissed Trump. Cool stuff.

The entire show might be summed up in a neon piece by Guillermo Bert ... You Don't Have The Right To Remain Silent. None of us do. There's no time to waste. The time for social justice for ALL is long past, and it is our duty as citizens to speak up, act out, and stand up for what is right.

What an incredible display of artistic resistance! This wonderful festival of art, activism, and social justice needs to be replicated around not only our country, but around the world. Gatherings like this are what get people inspired to act ... and we need that now more than perhaps ever before. Heartfelt thanks to each and every artivist and participant in this fantastic event that won't soon be forgotten. Thanks most to Yosi Sergant and his team, who walk the walk with every new event they put on. Stay tuned. And do not be silent.

No comments:

Post a Comment