The Story Behind L.A. Unified
Don’t miss out on the last days of L.A. Unified—the current project at ForYourArt at 6020 Wilshire Blvd., closing this Friday, June 29 with a Teaching School with Katie Bachler and a closing reception. This series of talks—featuring speakers like Simone Forti—and a group show of BFA students graduating in 2012, came to fruition through the organizing efforts of CalArts students Michael Ray-Von and Albert Samreth.
Inspired by MOCA’s recent Artists’ Museum exhibition, the pair noticed that the artworks’ “title cards had a very distinct inclusion—next to the usual information, it listed where the artist went to school,” says Samreth. They acknowledge that while there is a strong infrastructural support system—both in publicity and engagement—for MFA candidates (Ray-Von notes open studios, Supersonic, Glamfa, among others), the same opportunities didn’t exist for undergraduates receiving their degrees.
“We wanted to organize an event that could bring BFA graduates into a space of exposure and engagement with each other, and with the local art community,” says Ray-Von. “Once we had this idea of bringing students from various schools together in one space, we started to ask, ‘Do these different schools have distinctly different teaching strategies? Different social paradigms? Different discourses or theories being addressed in class?’ This led to a question of what would happen when we brought these differences together. We knew that we would need more than a group show to get a complete picture, so we were inclined to include other aspects of these schools in the experiment; their faculty, their textbooks…even their chairs!”
Also included in the project is a library, now available to view (and read!), at 6020 Wilshire, which includes texts and class syllabi. “The reading materials were collected from our student participants’ personal libraries,” says Ray-Von. “We included books from thinkers who were influential for our own education these past few years or who are frequently cited in campus discourse. Also in the library we have course readers from classes at our schools—the ones we hung onto long after the class was finished.”
“The syllabi inclusion is a lot like the excitement you get when you finally visit someone’s studio or house and you see what records and books they own. It’s not an exact portrait of a person but they are the things they’ve chosen to look at and live with. In this case, it’s a collection of things students have been assigned to look at and live with, which I found really fascinating and worth investigating.”
Courtesy of L.A. Unified.