No matter where you stand politically, you’re likely to agree that Americans are living in a time of incredible turmoil. A local gallery and its artistic collaborators are staging an “artist coup” starting next Saturday whose goal is to “re-ignite the same revolutionary defiance that spawned human civilization, so The People can now reclaim their imaginations and overcome this time of immense political, cultural and environmental turmoil.”
“We Stole the Fire” will open at 6 p.m. at RCNSTRCT Studio at 7400 Melrose Ave. at Martel. Think Tank Gallery (with co-curators Jacob Patterson and Andrew Barsoum) and artist / creative director Phil America, in collaboration with El Silencio Mezcal, are the creators of an art experience intended to engage people through “participative activations, graffiti, performance art, installations and a limited edition merchandise campaign.”
“This will place participants at the front-line of the revolution to reclaim our imaginations from the modern gods of government and media,” says an announcement of the event.
If there’s any question about the revolutionary nature of the exhibition, consider that it will include a Molotov cocktail dispensing machine. A nearby newspaper stand that has seen legendary pop ups and murals from artists like Shepard Fairey and the photographer JR will be repurposed to fill lighters and sell hand-carved Zippos. “A molotov cocktail has never been thrown to maintain the status quo,” says Think Tank Gallery’s director and curator Jacob Patterson.
Led by Phil America, “We Stole the Fire” will begin unfolding on the heart of Melrose Avenue before the 6 p.m. opening of the show. It will launch with the mysterious appearance of an abstract street sculpture. designed to steal the flames of advertising from the public space around it, that passersby are invited to mark however they like. Over time, artists hand-selected by Think Tank Gallery will also add their unique voices to the sculpture
“Every experience will give audiences a chance to fully participate or follow along on social media as they please, but the programming will be incomplete without audience contribution,” says an announcement of the event. “The entire street campaign will be documented on 35mm by Think Tank Gallery lead photographer Willie Gomez, culminating in a zine and gallery photo series.”
Confirmed artists include Phil America, Sheryo x The Yok, Lolo YS, Abars, Willie Gomez, Kristen Liu-Wong, Robbie Conal, Teddy Kelly, Deladeso, xTOFUx, Scott Hove, Homeless Cop, Gangster Doodles, Ginger Q, Nicole Salgar, Dorian Lynde, Alec DeMarco, Samuel De Angelis, Ray Young Chu, The Portalists, Jon Von Bonk and Roman Prado. More will be announced as they are confirmed.
In addition to the Aug. 4 opening from 6 to 11 p.m., the show will be open to the public Aug. 5 through 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In explaining the “We Stole the Fire” theme, the curators note that “In most cultures around the world, fire has always been something mankind has stolen from the gods in order to create civilization. This was true in Greek mythology, as well as Mexico’s, where fire was used to create mezcal, known as the holy elixir for its ability to sustain life. Centuries later, the old gods of mythology have been replaced by new powers—the government and the media—who use their magic to manipulate the populace. ‘We Stole the Fire’ aims to re-ignite the same revolutionary defiance that spawned human civilization, so The People can now reclaim their imaginations and overcome this time of immense political, cultural and environmental turmoil.”