Loitering is traditionally considered the preserve of delinquents, teenagers, and miscreants. Generally speaking, those up to no good.
Of course, some are freer to dillydally than others. As Ross Gay reminds us in his incisive essay Loitering Is Delightful (which the author has kindly permitted us to use here), “the darker your skin, the more likely you are to be “loitering.” As Gay goes on to point out, for people of color, any public display of “non-productive delight” – from loitering to laughter – can be censured. This leads one to ponder: at which point does lingering cross into criminal territory? What does ‘loitering’ really mean? And why is it frowned upon?
Furthermore, might the gesture of standing or sitting, with no apparent purpose, contain a seed of radical potential? Could loitering offer some respite, however temporary, from the capitalist cycle of consumption and production? In a world consumed by digital devices and driven by productivity, what possibilities does daydreaming offer? Can fulfillment be found in staring into space? Is there pleasure in simply hanging out? What does it mean to be seen engaging in a seemingly aimless pursuit and, moreover, to take up public space in the process? Is loitering contagious?
At the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, visitors need neither pay for nothing to legitimize their lollygagging. Spending a long time in the gallery is not considered threatening; on the contrary, it is encouraged. Loitering is delightful posits the municipal gallery, a civic space with free admission, as a safe place to sit, look and think.
The exhibition presents the work of ten Los Angeles artists who respond in varying ways to the joyful possibilities of slowing down. Featuring work by Milano Chow, Lauren Davis Fisher, Ishi Glinsky, David Horvitz, Dylan Mira, Joshua Ross, Asha Schechter, Cauleen Smith, Lani Trock and Megan Whitmarsh, Loitering is delightful invites you to delight in dawdling.