Portable Parks IV: Past, Present, Future = A.L.L. & Consuming Nature Bonnie Ora Sherk in collaboration with Otis Graduate Public Practice
Working with curator Karen Moss, Sherk and Otis Public Practice Graduate students re-imagined what a “portable park” is today, more than forty years after Sherk's original Portable Park. Their project at Santa Monica Place included Sherk’s California Native Zones, mini-gardens of drought-tolerant plants and The Flower Unfolding, a monumental-scale, organic edible landscape consisting of fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
This was accompanied by Consuming Nature, a series of art installations, artistic/interpretive signage, performances, and public programs by the Otis Graduate Public Practice artists that address issues of sustainability and consumption. During this 10-day project there were public programs about issues pertaining to environmental awareness, ecology, and sustainability.
Portable Parks IV temporarily transformed the mall site in a highly aesthetic and multi-sensory way; raised awareness of ecological sustainability, urban agriculture and A Living Library, as well as unveiled different aspects of consumer culture to the diverse visitors to Santa Monica Place.
Production Studio I and Visiting Artist Projects
The First Year Production course will focus on several artists whose artwork centers around environmental issues and research-based practices. Including artists who began their careers in the 1960s and 1970s and those active in more recent collectives, the class will begin in August with an orientation and an introductory lecture(s) by the lead instructor, art historian/curator, Karen Moss. Beginning in September, students will then have the opportunity to meet and work with the visiting artists who will include:
-Bonnie Sherk, a San Francisco and New York-based artist who pioneering installations and interventions in the 1970s brought the experience of nature into unexpected locations in the urban environment. For her Portable Parks I – III (1970), she imported turf, palm trees, picnic tables, and live farm and zoo animals to San Francisco streets and elevated freeway ramps. Students will work with Sherk during the fall semester on a temporary installation of a new version of the original project—called Portable Parks IV––that will be part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival from January 20 – 29, 2012. The installation will be on 18th Street adjacent to the Otis Public Practice Graduate Studio and will include collaborations with the City of Santa Monica, Cultural Affairs and Environmental Sustainability Departments, the 18th Street Arts Center, and the Crossroads School.
-Fallen Fruit, a Los Angeles-based collective that is collaboration of three artists--David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. Using fruit as their lens, they investigate urban space, ideas of neighborhood and new forms of located citizenship and community. Their research-based public practice has included fruit-mapping, Public Fruit Jams (communal jam-making with homegrown or public fruit) Nocturnal Fruit Forages, (nighttime neighborhood fruit tours) and Community Fruit Tree Plantings. After an introductory lecture, student will engage with Fallen Fruit in several workshops that will include research, a mapping project, an information-gathering event called Fruit Stories and potentially, an engagement with high school students for their on-going film, Fruit Machine that may result in a public projection during the PST Festival.
Additionally, in conjunction with this course we also hope to sponsor a few of the Otis Visiting Arts lectures:
-Helen and Newton Harrison (the collaborative team often referred to simply as “the Harrisons”) who have worked for forty years on environmental art projects with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and others to initiate collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development.
-Ala Plastica: Alejandro Meitin and Silvina Babich) an arts and environmental NGO based in Río de la Plata, Argentina that links ecological, social, and artistic methodologies utilizing direct intervention methods. Ala Plastica will be in residence in at the Outpost for Contemporary Art in Los Angeles from October 1 – November 10, 2011, so they would also visit in October.