Outdoor, site-specific temporary installations by international and LA-based artists to be presented by the City during summer 2016 in response to water.
LOS ANGELES – Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs unveiled the roster of artists and artist teams selected for the inaugural, citywide public art biennial titled CURRENT:LA Water to open in summer 2016. Water was chosen for the biennial’s first edition and will serve as the topical platform for the exchange of ideas around our relationships to this critical resource.
CURRENT:LA Water artists and artist teams include:
Refik Anadol + Peggy Weil (team);
Josh Callaghan + Daveed Kapoor (team);
Lucky Dragons (Luke Fischbeck + Sarah Rara);
In June 2015, the City of Los Angeles was selected as one of four cities to receive up to
$1 million as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, a new program aimed at supporting temporary public art projects that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships, and drive economic development. L.A.’s winning project, CURRENT:LA Water, will establish the first Public Art Biennial for Los Angeles.
Initiated by DCA’s Public Art Division and developed by CURRENT:LA co-executive directors, Felicia Filer and Becky Snodgrass, CURRENT:LA is an ongoing, biennial temporary public art initiative that aims to establish a new paradigm for public art in Los Angeles, one that is transformative and contributes to the creation of social capital and public discourse locally, nationally, and globally. CURRENT:LA seeks to maximize the potential for public art to create dialogue and help change how we understand and respond to issues.
“Los Angeles is the creative capital of the world, a place where we appreciate how art inspires us to see the world through new eyes,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “CURRENT:LA will make Angelenos rethink our relationship with water, and better understand how the L.A. River connects the diverse communities and cultures that make our city great.”
“LA’s dynamic art scene has afforded us unique cultural perspectives to help elevate awareness around water, conservation, and ecology; the goal for the first installment of CURRENT:LA is to create change on both an emotional and municipal level through the imaginative power of public art,” said Danielle Brazell, DCA’s General Manager.
Featuring new, site-specific work by 13 contemporary artists / artist teams at 14 sites throughout the city, initial curatorial oversight for the month-long summer biennial was provided by artist and curatorial advisor Marc Pally. Ongoing curatorial support is provided by a committee of esteemed LA-based curators with experience in issues- based public art and biennial presentations, including:
Ruth Estévez (REDCAT, Roy and Edna Disney / CalArts Theater),
Rita Gonzalez (LACMA),
Karen Moss (Otis College of Art and Design and USC Roski School of Fine Arts and Design), and
Irene Tsatsos (Armory Center for the Arts).
Over 130 artists submitted proposals that resulted in the final 13 artists and artist teams selected to participate in this inaugural biennial.
“A narrative about our relationship to water and its allied systems will be demonstrated through the voice and visions of the CURRENT:LA artists, an exciting group of internationally recognized and emerging talents that are as culturally diverse as the inhabitants of Los Angeles themselves,” said Felicia Filer, DCA’s Public Art Division Director. “The often unpredictable and expansive language of artists should bring delight and prompt curiosity among visitors and residents who frequent Los Angeles’ parks and public spaces.”
CURRENT:LA Water is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Public Art Challenge initiative with a $1 million grant. The exhibition is also supported with a match from DCA’s Arts Development Fee (ADF) Program and a $50,000 grant from The Ralph
M. Parsons Foundation.
“We are thrilled to partner with Los Angeles as they bring this project to life, creating a dialogue around water and sustainability as part of their first-ever Public Art Biennial,” said Kate Levin, head of Bloomberg Philanthropies arts program. “This initiative really speaks to the role of artists as drivers of creative solutions bringing together government agencies and citizens.”
Commissioned programming, including dialogues, talks, tours, films, and educational
opportunities, will accompany the works of the artists to engage audiences across the city. Additional information about the biennial artists, sites, and public programs will be announced in the coming months.
“In 2014 my colleagues and I revived the Arts Development Fee. I am thrilled that through this action, the City was able to provide the required match to the Bloomberg grant, making the CURRENT:LA Water Public Art Biennial possible. As someone who is focused on our wonderful amenity called the Los Angeles River, it is understood in the arts community that the waterway and artistic expression go hand-in-hand. Congratulations to all the artists represented during the event whose work will shine the spotlight on the depth of talent in our great city,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District and Chair of the City’s Arts, Parks, and Los Angeles River Committee.
“CURRENT: LA is an inspiring project at the intersection of the arts and public policy,” said City Controller Ron Galperin, whose 2014 audit of the Arts Development Fee Trust Fund cleared the path for the use of arts development fees after a legal opinion had hamstrung their use. “This ambitious biennial will raise public awareness about water issues and bring public art to our communities, making Los Angeles a better place to live and work.”
For more information about CURRENT:LA, please visit:
About the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)
As a leading, progressive arts and cultural agency, DCA empowers Los Angeles’ vibrant communities by supporting and providing access to quality visual, literary, musical, performing, and educational arts programming; managing vital cultural centers; preserving historic sites; creating public art; and funding services provided by arts organizations and individual artists.
Formed in 1925, DCA promotes arts and culture as a way to ignite a powerful dialogue, engage LA’s residents and visitors, and ensure LA’s varied cultures are recognized, acknowledged, and experienced. DCA’s mission is to strengthen the quality of life in Los Angeles by stimulating and supporting arts and cultural activities, ensuring public access to the arts for residents and visitors alike.
DCA advances the social and economic impact of arts and culture through grantmaking, public art, community arts, and strategic marketing and development. DCA creates and supports arts programming, maximizing relationships with other city agencies, artists, and arts and cultural nonprofit organizations to provide excellent service in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars.