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In the 1970s, Alanna Heiss, a pioneer in the Alternative Space Movement, scouted for new suitable art spaces by climbing onto roofs in order to avoid getting busted by the cops. Up on the roof and outside the white cube, the cityscape of Los Angeles serves as the cinematic backdrop for Slippery When Wet, the second rooftop show at GAIT LA.
Despite open expanse, none of the six sculptural works get lost amongst the mercurial bustle of DTLA or the industrial rooftop that hosts them. Noah Spindler’s Historic core monument (downtown beacon) (2016), a lighthouse hewn from cement and glass, feels parabolic in proximity to the actual skyline behind it and reads as an austere but romantic siren. In Kim Garcia’s Pain of Trust (2016), a monitor plays a video loop of two hands gripping either end of an extension cord. Paired with a high-velocity fan, there is a suggestion of the tension between closeness and connection.
The impetus to use available, outdoor space is endemic to Los Angeles and a viable take on its art space/real estate problem. Verticality lends itself to an ephemeral gallery—it makes sense to see work in the sky, among buildings, neither dwarfed nor imposing. In Slippery When Wet, works aim to materialize the sensation of contact with a focus on surface treatments and thoughtful use of media. In conjunction with a wall-less space, an emphasis on distance (between foreground and background) becomes melancholy, where the idea of touch feels simultaneously monumental and precious.
Slippery When Wet runs October 9-30, 2016 at GAIT (Wayside Press Building, 857 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014)