|Bano Gallery Offers Welcome Relief- LA Weekly-- May
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Bano Gallery Offers Welcome Relief
Commercial enterprises devoted to
visual art and their sale generally adhere to a common formula, with
lighting racks, framed work and pristine white walls the common attributes of
the average space .Yet a new West Hollywood based gallery, namely Bleicher
Gallery's Bano annexe, is brazenly dismissive of these draconian concepts.
Embracing work that he describes as
"high concept that defies contentious art ideologies," artist and
gallerist Oram Bleicher, who runs two galleries in Los Angeles (Bleicher
Golightly in Santa Monica and Caporale-Bleicher on LaBrea) is hoping to
redefinine the conventional notion of what constitutes a valid exhibition
space, by using the toilet of his Labrea space as a gallery, with the apt name
Bleicher says Bano's realization was
a happy accident. "When we first were renovating the La Brea gallery, one
of our team commented that the bathroom was so large you could have another
gallery in there. "
"I joked around with a curator
about it and it started to make sense that interesting projects could be created
to adapt to a unique environment. There's fertile ground for experimentation,
contemplation, controversy and humor."
Oram adds that the space
doubles as one for gallery interns to get more responsibility and explore some
of their creative ideas. " It was a risky move but I bit the bullet and
decided to start a fully functioning autonomous art gallery completely in the
hands of gallery interns. Every two months a new intern is appointed Bano
director and chooses their own curators and other Bano staff to find projects
that fit the space. I give them advice but they are free to do whatever they
are inspired to do in the space. "
Asked about people's reaction to the
novel idea, Bleichers says most people are surprised and amused. "Often
they think I'm joking and then when they take a peak they say 'there really is
a gallery in there' and show their friends. Response to the art is varied as it
would be to art in any gallery. Only a few people are dismissive of the
location of the work. "
Currently on show in the space,
guest curator Kathryn Gjerde, has a two person exhibit of by Iana Gaidarski and
Joe Post. The exhibit comprises a set up of bathroom air fresheners on motion
sensors under video stills from the UC Davis Pepper Spray incident. [The air
fresheners spray in the same direction as the pepper spray in the photo and are
activated when a viewer comes close to them.
When Occupy protestors were doused
with military-grade pepper spray at north Californian UC Davis University last
November, artist Joe Post, documented the incident with a still camera. He used
these images as the centerpiece of his installation.
Talking to gallerist Bleicher about
his Bano installation, Post revealed, "In my tongue and cheek site
specific installation, "The Incident", each image captures the
event at the precise moment before spray ejects from the canister"
Despite their seemingly inane
positioning in these images in a gallery restroom, such placement of these
controversial serves to bolster their power. Removed from a familiar and
comfortable setting the images are raw and engaging without any glossy or
Previously at Bano, Sophia Hogan
curated a show of photographs that were strategically placed to create
the illusion the subjects were peeping at the viewer. Mounted at strategic
points inside the Bano space, the images were cropped and sized to scale to
reinforce the illusion.
Bleicher recalls another curatorial
effort by Jarrod Jaccobus. Involved with Cal Arts 'Digi Reverence' collective,
who specialize in the creation of digital work in an individual and
"Jaccobus curated a show at
Bano of abstract digital work that utilized the way that natural and unnatural
light moved in the bathroom. This was achieved by harnessing the source of
electric lights and alternating between these and the natural lighting of the
space's window. At various times of day, Jaccobus experimented with light
sources and the use of shadows to compliment and distort the work."
Bano Gallery is located inside Bleicher
Gallery La Brea
355 North La Brea, Los Angeles, CA
90036 Oram Bleicher - email@example.com
Written by Craig Stephens
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