House and Home
House and Home
On March 19, 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued the first pandemic-related Emergency Order — “Safer at Home” — calling on Angelenos to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by staying in their residences and limiting all external activities to only absolute necessities. More emergency orders would follow, expanding or loosening restrictions. For many, LA’s physical footprint, their access to resources, and public spaces shrank to a fraction of what it was, seemingly overnight.
House and Home examines Angelenos’ period of collective adjustment and recalibration at the beginning of the pandemic. We developed new relationships with our places of residence as well as a rapidly changing understanding of what public spaces mean to our personal and professional lives. Most of us have developed very different notions of home over the past year. What we see are artists inadvertently pushing the boundaries of their art practices to give light to the social constraints caused by the pandemic; the result is something that begs the viewer to ponder what is public, what is private, what is House and what is Home.
We encourage visitors to experience the artworks both in the order that they have been laid out on the page — top to bottom — as well as to consider them singly or grouped together in ways that resonate the most with their own journey over the past year.
Civic Art: Four Stories from South Los Angeles, 2017
“This feature documentary highlights the vital, complicated and often misunderstood efforts behind artwork made with and for the public that often prompts questions such as: ‘Why is that there?’, ‘Who made that?’ and ‘Am I paying for it?’ The answers are both surprising and illuminating in this rare peek behind an ever-present bureaucratic curtain within a U.S. American democratic culture.” —SD
Go Without You (Demo), n.d.
“Originally a love song, Go Without You recently took on new meaning with the Covid-19 shutdown. People turn to music during difficult times for comfort, entertainment, inspiration, etc. The lyrics in this song convey the uncertainty, the fear and need for change, and the need to de-escalate a fast moving disastrous situation.” —AS
Inner Peace, 2020
“Inner Peace is a short solo piece written during the quarantine. It represents the need to go inward (with no where else to go), which has been more apparent than ever.” —NP
Hermon’s Swing, 2020
Hermon’s Swing is inspired by Smith’s routine visits to a public park with his dog Phife while much of the city was still shut down. “This park seemed left alone because of the fear to step outside during a global pandemic… in this public private moment … I walked over to the swing , sat on the black rubber seat, and started my swinging. I kicked my legs backwards and forwards with as much strength as I could to increase my speed and height of the swing. As I started to feel nauseous; I prepared for my olympic dismount, telling Phife, ‘Get out of the way!’ After a couple more passes, I Iet go of the swing and found myself floating in the air before landing deep into the sand and tumbling over.”
Rein created this comic at the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine, which she describes as “approximately ten million years ago”. The idea behind the comic is simple: to provide some optimism for everyone, herself included.
Wood, wood adhesive
Eyes is from a series of eye sculptures that Sarkisian makes from scrap wood and wood adhesive. “The idea is that one can place the set of eyes on any object in their house and it’s instantly personified. Because they are not fixed, one can make them look angry, content or sad, depending on how one feels any given day.”
Wig Head Project, 2020
As a makeup artist, Linak found herself seeking “therapy amidst the chaos” and an outlet to express herself under the new constraints of quarantine. As a two-time cancer survivor with underlying health concerns, the artist/wig aficionado asked herself “How could I paint a face without actually painting a face?” She lighted on bringing styrofoam wig heads to life, drawing inspiration from various art museums she had visited during her travels.
Nymph Creature, n.d.
As a special effects hair specialist and wig maker, Vandervort initially found the in-person safety restrictions difficult to navigate, seeing her employment opportunities come to an abrupt halt. However, after a period of adjustment, she was able to embrace new stretches of uninterrupted time; she began to focus on passion projects that she previously had had to put aside and found that she was simultaneously expanding her creative practice. “These trying times have allowed me to expand my craft despite the financial turmoil.”
Stringing Along, 2020
At the beginning of quarantine, Rostyak began to take walks at night to take in the emotions of the city. Stringing Along captures two cars alone on a stretch of freeway during a time that would normally have been packed, bumper-to-bumper. “…the essence of how the whole city felt — loneliness, fear, sadness.”
“living.room, is the new album from Chinese American rapper jason chu, who in early 2019 helped his family move from their home of 26 years. Starting with demos written in his childhood neighborhood, the project was completed in the midst of a global pandemic and national lockdown. A reflection on growth, presence, and letting go of the past, living.room is 10 tracks of casually lyrical lo-fi rap music for warm, thoughtful days at home.”
Modern Balance, 2020
“During quarantine, artists, families, everyone alike has had to adapt to new ways of living and working, the majority from the safety of their own homes. I feel Modern Balance captures a glimpse into the balance and harmony between those around us, working towards a common goal to eventually leave the confines of quarantine.” —JV
Michelle Jane Lee
Reflect for What?, 2020
Flashé, graphic, acrylic medium on birch panel
“Reflect for What? contemplates meaning, reflection, and the pressure to have a productive studio practice during quarantine. The graphite in this piece is seemingly reflective, but the texture skews any possible solid image. Over the course of what feels like an unending pandemic, “the emotional and mental rollercoaster seems to take us one day from being grateful, and the next full of fears and insecurities. It is wonderful to have time to reflect, but when the world is falling apart, you can’t help but ask — reflect for what?” —MJL
Apocalyptic Culture, 2020
Castro, a lifelong Angeleno, captured the region near his residence in the San Bernardino Mountains as it navigated both the onset of COVID-19 and the aftermath of the Bobcat Fire. The fires rendered once familiar terrain alien and lonely, reminiscent of “Mars or a cheesy horror flick from the nineteen-fifties”. Castro plans to return in the spring and document the area again, once it has had time to heal and replenish.
39th Street Rooftop Lament and Meditation, 2020
39th Street Rooftop Lament and Meditation was inspired by the practice of walking meditation. This piece reflects on the range of experiences that Angelenos began to encounter after the Safer at Home Emergency Order went into effect. For some, inability the freedom to move around the city was an immeasurable loss, while others found themselves more focused and better able to spend time with their families. “This 24 hour time lapse video is taken from the roof of my house in South Los Angeles. The music is composed, performed and recorded in the same space, at home.” —DR
Driveway Shot in Highland Park, n.d.
Driveway Shot in Highland Park is part of a series of images that examine liminal space around Los Angeles. Shot with a medium format film camera during a scorching summer, the photo project examines mundane locations and how they “can signify the many existing communities in Los Angeles that deviate from the larger cultural understanding of Los Angeles.”
In Los Angeles, the city becomes electric when it gets dark. For Nouwens, it’s these hours after sunset when Los Angeles is most vibrant and alive in its diversity and spirit. Nouwens’ body of work is comprised of her experiences after dark on the streets of South East Los Angeles and is, in many ways, a love letter to the City of Angels. Nouwens captures the faces and scenes of those Los Angelinos who contribute to the cultural mosaic of the city.
We Used To Go Outside, 2020
“We Used To Go Outside is a song about and written and recorded in the beginning of the quarantine, when we all were going through the initial shock of being ordered to stay at home, and Los Angeles, as well as the world – came to a full stop for the first time in its existence.” —K
A Precious Web, n.d.
“A Precious Web is a video piece attempting to show the inherently close relationship between Black folks and nature (earth, water, sky). For many of us, reconnecting or further fortifying our bond with the elements has been something of great importance during these times. The pandemic has rendered physical proximity to each other nearly impossible, and so closeness to our natural world and surroundings has been essential to unlocking a calming, spiritual presence that has been both grounding and a means of finding joy.” —MJ
That’s Wild, 2020
That’s Wild is a documentary that captures the inspiring journey of three Black teenage boys who attempt to hike the mountains of Colorado for the first time.
Stanley Andrew Jackson III
Waves and Water, 2020
Jackson describes this year as “uncomfortable stillness” and a struggle with emotional wellbeing. In an attempt to overcome “moments of depression, anxiety and unworthiness”, the artist visited a beach. This piece celebrates his encounter with the ocean. “…the Waves and the Water [spoke] to me. They reminded me of movement, of my continuous movement even when I don’t feel like I am. So here’s an ode to us, to making it this far and for the journey ahead. A journey back to self.”