While People Stay Home Art Takes a Step Outside in WeHo and L.A. County

This pigment print by Joel H. Mark is from his “New Urban Landscape” series. It is on North Gardner Street at Norton.

Nearly 100 artists have stepped outside to display their work in public places across Los Angeles County, including West Hollywood.

The “We Are Here / Here We Are” exhibit officially opens at noon May 16 and will be on view through June 20. However, many of the pieces already can be seen on sidewalks and walls all over the county. There are at least six in West Hollywood.

“The presence of painting, sculpture, photography, video and other media in our public spaces allows members of the community to experience culture without leaving their neighborhoods, while connecting fellow artists from around the city, said Sean Noyce in an announcement of the exhibition.

To comply with social distancing mandates, the artists installed, documented, and maintained their own work, Noyce said. And while the opening is set for noon on Saturday, there will be no opening reception in an effort to discourage people from gathering in crowds.

The final location of each piece will be available Friday via a Google Map. A click on this link will take you to the map where you can find the names of artists and the types of art as well as the locations. It also shows a photograph of the piece in-situ, as well as a brief description that provides some context. A small placard is available at each site and provides some information about each piece, as well as a QR code that links to the map with more information about the show and other works in the neighborhood.

An announcement of the exhibit says that “while the world turns inward more than any other point in our lifetimes, we are paradoxically more connected with each other than ever through the use of social media, digital technology, video conferencing, and telecommunication. But as the streets remain empty, the restaurants and coffee shops remain closed, and the houses of social engagement remain shuttered, we are rediscovering ‘real life’ through our homes, our neighborhoods and ourselves. As the digital world feeds our need to connect through sight and sound, we are experiencing a severe disconnect from the other sensory functions of touch, taste, and smell, yearning for experiences that happen through tactility, sensation, randomness, and place, which are currently only possible in real life.”

The announcement notes that the artists in the exhibition “have chosen unorthodox alternatives to a traditional gallery setting, using a wide variety of media interventions in neighborhood alleyways, yards, trees, bushes, on rocks, fences, telephone poles, and other publicly accessible areas, while honoring social distancing mandates. The works in ‘ Are Here / Here We Are’ are ephemeral in nature: vulnerable to the elements and to those who might destroy or confiscate them. Their resilience shows an innate desire to be present in the real world and to be seen as an individual amongst a larger collective peer group, despite all odds.

The exhibit is organized by Durden and Ray, which is a group of 24 artist/curators who work together to create exhibition opportunities at their downtown Los Angeles gallery as well as in concert with artist groups and gallery spaces around the world. Durden and Ray concentrates on small, tightly curated group shows at the gallery, organized by the members, and hosts international artists as part of a commitment to global exchange and alternative networks.

Other photos of the works that artists have installed in West Hollywood are as follows:

“Bloom.” This fiber work by Katya Usvitsky (www.katyausvitsky.com) is inside the aloe plants in front of 1137 N. Vista St
“Reincarnation.” This work by John Waguespack (www.jwagart.com) is an eight by eight foot video that will be show between 8 and 9 p.m. each night at 1233 N. Flores St
“The Garden,” a work by Sean Noyce (www.seannoyce.com) is installed on the iron gate to the right of the pink house at 1137 N. Vista St.
“Huggers Party.” This work by Helen Chung (helenchungstudio.com) can be found at 8826 Melrose Ave.
“A Perpetual Possibility” This work by Amanda Mears (www.amandamears.com) can be seen on 700 Westbourne Drive.