Monday, September 13, 2010

a sad good bye.

i am very sad to report that the wonderful sea & space explorations is now closed. i meant to write a post about this awhile ago. then last night i dreamt about all these amazing finale shows that went down in the space to commemorate the great times that we had all shared there. it was super rad. i wish i could have brought my camera with me into my dream.

in the meantime i wanted to share with you lara, the founder / owner / creator / mother of sea & space's good bye letter. she has always inspired me and continues to.


lara's good bye...

The physical location is CLOSED as of SEPTEMBER 2010.

What happened to Sea and Space?
Sea and Space was an artwork that seems to be ending. It has achieved what I wanted locally. It gave me hope, a home, and healed me from a great deal of disappointment and alienation in the Los Angeles art scene. It also proved to me that the changes I sought are possible, but cost in terms of time, effort, and money, and, in my case, must come from the self and then work outwards. At this point, I can no longer sustain the project in this form. But, in another form, it could be.

What is/was Sea and Space?

An artwork. A gallery. A place.

Sea and Space is a gallery I founded in June 2007 that operates as an artwork. I consider it a Place Artwork, which I defined as a spatial location to be occupied by the artwork, statements, and thoughts of others. In this case, the others were artists, guest curators, lecturers, and collaborators. My role can be described as Director of the gallery and Context Developer of this artwork. I carefully crafted the mission, the format, and the operations from its inception and then refined much of this with the advice from our Board of Directors over time. This has been a solo project with the support of a board of 5, which formed after the first year. Programmatically, I ran this project under a simple theory that if you show very strong work of a specific kind where the people that make the work live and work, then it will draw in others who also make strong work, who can then be shown. This continues to compound and appears to be limitless. I chose to operate on an alternate model to a commercial art space. My goal was to foster, through appreciation and support, artistic practices that are dependent upon alternate means for visibility. I am certain that without such forms of support, artists who make work that is not marketable due to conceptual, political, formal, or social differences will remain culturally undervalued.

We need more artist defined places in Los Angeles, but all uniquely their own, defined by the needs of individuals. Imagine an equal number of situations like this to commercially driven spaces or museums, developed through independent and non-profits funds. What if we could learn to respect projects based on the quality of work rather than marketability or the degree of celebrity involved. If artists are encouraged to put their money and time (no matter the amount) into projects developing opportunities for others guided by their ideals, then things could change. The competitiveness that defines the contemporary artists' profession could decline. Opportunities could be mutually developed and exchanged. The quality of work that we see publically would improve.

It is up to you to make and promote an independent system where artists have control over their own work. Do not wait for assistance or change. Artists must define their own value on their terms. It will work. I have seen it.

Thank you everyone who was a part of this project! This space was for you!

Lara Bank
Sea and Space Explorations

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