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Press Release - Exhibition of New Work by Emerging Artists Responding to The Huntington's Collections to Open Nov. 18

November 09, 2017

 

Objects in the eclectic “Collection/s: WCCW/five at The Huntington” range from Sappho-inspired love letters and a video of indigenous flora to porcelain vessels and a tapestry made in response to 18th-century French masterworks.

On view in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art
Nov. 18, 2017 – Feb. 12, 2018

Juliana Wisdom (b. 1987), La Marquise de Pompadour, 2017. Porcelain, enamel, epoxy, and polyurethane foam.

Juliana Wisdom (b. 1987), La Marquise de Pompadour, 2017. Porcelain, enamel, epoxy, and polyurethane foam.

 

SAN MARINO, Calif.— An exhibition opening next week at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens will present a fresh, vibrant group of new works by seven artists responding to research they conducted in The Huntington’s vast collections over the past year. The exhibition “Collection/s: WCCW/five at The Huntington,” on view in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art from Nov. 18, 2017, through Feb. 12, 2018, is part of an initiative called “/five.” The installation features paintings, sculpture, textiles, video, and writings by artists Olivia Chumacero, Sarita Dougherty, Jheanelle Garriques, Zya S. Levy, Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh), Soyoung Shin, and Juliana Wisdom, who were selected in collaboration with the Los Angeles-based Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW). Objects in the exhibition include an archive of Sappho-inspired love letters on handmade paper, plaster castings of cacti, a video created in uncultivated areas of the Huntington’s grounds, and porcelain vessels and a tapestry inspired by 18th-century French masterworks.

 

The /five initiative is a contemporary art collaboration between The Huntington and five different organizations over five years that invites artists to respond to a range of themes drawn from The Huntington’s deep and diverse library, art, and botanical collections. The initiative is led by Catherine Hess, The Huntington’s chief curator of European art and interim director of its art collections and Jenny Watts, The Huntington’s curator of photography and visual culture. In /five’s first year (2016), The Huntington collaborated with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laborary (JPL) to present the sound sculpture “Orbit Pavilion,” which referenced The Huntington’s history of aerospace, astronomy, and Earth science collections.

 

For the second year of the initiative, The Huntington chose WCCW, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that cultivates feminist creative communities and practices, to explore the theme of collecting and collections.

 

“Henry Huntington was a collector at heart,” said Watts. “He began with books and moved on to land, plants, and, with the guidance of his wife Arabella, British and European art. The Huntingtons—who excluded women from the professional staff—surely never anticipated the myriad challenging, provocative, and insightful ways in which these 21st-century artists would interpret the collections, living and not.”

 

Additional information and photographs about the /five initiative, WCCW, and the artists and their works is available at huntington.org/five.

 

The Artists and Their Works

Olivia Chumacero (b. 1951) and Sarita Dougherty (b. 1983)

Olivia Chumacero and Sarita Dougherty collaborated across seasons in managed and uncultivated areas of The Huntington’s gardens, documenting interrelations of pollination, identity, and history that are often invisible in the Southern California landscape.

 

Chumacero’s video When Light Married Water juxtaposes the indigenous flora of Southern California with the practices of the Tongva people, who cared for the ecosystem over millennia in what is now the San Gabriel Valley. Paintings by Sarita Dougherty reproduce intimate details of color, community, dormancy, and bloom found in California’s native habitat.

 

Jheanelle Garriques (b. 1993)

Garriques is the founder and executive director of Naked Narratives, a writing program that encourages its participants to confidently express themselves while resolving past traumas. Her project for “Collection/s: WCCW/five at The Huntington” used The Huntington’s collection of Elizabeth Robinson Montagu letters as inspiration for a mixed-media spoken word performance at The Huntington on Sept. 14 called “Bodies of Lineage.” Montagu (1718–1800) was a founder of the Blue Stockings Society, a British movement that encouraged intellectualism among women through literary discussions—or, as Garriques defines it: “one of the world’s first feminist writing salons.” The archive contains some 7,000 letters written to or by Montagu. Garriques’ performance piece was an intimate evening of song, dance, and narrative crafted in collaboration with the Sokamba Performing Arts Company.

 

Garriques’ installation in the exhibition consists of writings by participants in a Naked Narratives workshop she led at The Huntington over the summer.

 

Zya S. Levy (b. 1980)

Drawing on her past work with ethnobotany and storytelling, Zya S. Levy explored The Huntington’s Desert Garden by focusing on the acquisition and indigenous habitats of various plant species. The story of the golden barrel cactus, Echinocactus grusonii, shaped the arc of her residency. First scientifically described and named around 1890, the golden barrel is now endangered in the wild. The Huntington’s collection of more than 500 specimens prompted Levy to notice its commonality in Southern California’s urban landscapes. She became enthralled by this duality of rarity and ubiquity. As species disappear from their native habitats, botanical gardens and cities have become repositories for genetic diversity, Levy notes. In her multimedia installation, Green-Gold, Black and White, audio recordings and plaster castings speak to the replicative nature of horticulture, the varying values given to biological materials, and the trajectory of biodiversity.

 

Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh) (b. 1987)

Loveday’s work pushes the boundaries between personal and cultural memory and between social and artistic conventions. A Ph.D. candidate at UC Santa Cruz focusing on female authorship, LGBTQ desires, and the birth of cinema, she also co-founded the Women in the Director’s Chair Oral History Project at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Inspired by The Huntington’s rare book and 20th century theater holdings relating to the ancient Greek poet Sappho, Loveday sent handmade stationary and fragments of Sappho’s lyric poetry into the LGBTQ community, asking for personal stories in return. She collected letters, poems, and cherished objects for the exhibition, calling this on-going participatory archive “What You Love.” Visitors will be invited to contribute their own notes to the archive as part of the installation.

 

Soyoung Shin (b. 1988)

Shin is a multidisciplinary artist working in textiles, performance, zines, and new media. For her project, she delved into the deeply interconnected histories of weaving and computing. (The Jacquard machine, a loom attachment invented in 1804, stored weaving instructions on punched cards, the basis for modern computing.) Inspired by a suite of François Boucher tapestries in the Huntington Art Gallery, she designed a tapestry that foregrounds the achievements of female technological pioneers. For her textile’s source image, Shin chose a 1946 photo of eight men posed in front of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), one of the earliest general-purpose computers. She then inserted five female figures in their place using another textile she designed: ENIAC programmers Betty Holberton and Jean Bartik; textile artist and scholar Anni Albers; English mathematician Ada Lovelace who proposed the first computer program in the mid-1800s; and computer scientist Grace Hopper.

 

Juliana Wisdom (b. 1987)

A sculptor and porcelain production assistant, Wisdom developed new work in response to The Huntington’s significant 18th-century French porcelain collection. Emulating the Sèvres porcelain manufactory’s techniques with both traditional and new materials, Wisdom’s work explores the role of women at Sèvres, where they served as both patrons of—and often uncredited makers in—the manufactory. Wisdom created vessels and a wig stand with depictions of women of class and privilege sharing space with women on society’s margins. The images create both tension and connection between her subjects. In this way, the artist builds narrative bridges between historical figures who never met, imagining a world in which empathy and empowerment flows both ways.

 

Related events

(Note that certain events took place prior to the exhibition.)

 

Bodies of Lineage

Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, 7 p.m.

An intimate evening of song, dance, and narrative crafted by artist Jheanelle Garriques of Naked Narratives, in collaboration with the Sokamba Performing Arts Company. The presentation, inspired by the letters of 18th-century salonist Lady Elizabeth Montagu features queer and femme poets, musicians, and dancers of color sharing their stories.

Free; no reservations required. Rothenberg Hall, The Huntington.

 

Lesbian Pulp

Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, 7–10 p.m. / Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, 4–9 p.m. / Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, 5–9 p.m.

Artist Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh) leads a series of paper-making workshops in an experiment in queer community, storytelling, and historiography. Participants use recycled materials, such as lesbian pulp novels and personal ephemera, to create paper on which to write love letters and stories of encounter.

Free; advanced reservations required. Women’s Center for Creative Work.

 

Garden Tour Series

A Walk on the Prickly Side: The Desert Garden at The Huntington

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, 9:30–10:30 a.m.

Cactus Amongst Us: Neighborhood Tour in Highland Park

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, 4 p.m.

Downtown Desert: Landscape Tour at Grand Park

Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, 2 p.m.

Botanist Zya S. Levy leds a series of walking tours exploring the botanical histories and cultural uses of plants that can be found growing throughout Southern California.

Free; reservations required. Information and reservations: huntington.org. SOLD OUT

 

Live Free or Die: Artist Talk with Soyoung Shin and Juliana Wisdom

Sunday, Jan. 27, 2018 2 p.m.

Artists Soyoung Shin and Juliana Wisdom discuss the influences of French history on their new work, inspired by French decorative art at The Huntington. The conversation is moderated by Catherine Hess, chief curator of European art at The Huntington and interim director of the Art Collections.

Free; no reservations required. Rothenberg Hall, The Huntington

 

# # #

 

Contacts
Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260, tpage@huntington.org
Lisa Blackburn, 626-405-2140, lblackburn@huntington.org

 

Credit line
/five is supported by Pasadena philanthropist Jennifer Cheng with additional support from the Pasadena Art Alliance.

 

About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org

 

Visitor Information
The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org.

 

About the Women’s Center for Creative Work
Founded in 2013, WCCW is a nonprofit organization that cultivates feminist creative communities and practices through its facilities, residency programs, and near-nightly programming in the Elysian Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles.

 


Images

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Juliana Wisdom in her studio, crafting a sculpture inspired by works in The Huntington’s collections.

Juliana Wisdom in her studio, crafting a sculpture inspired by works in The Huntington’s collections.

 


Bodies of Lineage, an evening of song, dance, and narrative by Jheanelle Garriques (b. 1993) in collaboration with Sokamba Performing Arts Company. Photo by Gilda Davidian. Courtesy of Women’s Center for Creative Work

Bodies of Lineage, an evening of song, dance, and narrative by Jheanelle Garriques (b. 1993) in collaboration with Sokamba Performing Arts Company. Photo by Gilda Davidian. Courtesy of Women’s Center for Creative Work

 


Participants in one of five salons artist Jheanelle Garriques hosted at The Huntington in summer 2017. Clockwise from bottom left: Camille LaGrange, Turay Turay, Sydney Lopez, Rachel O’Leary, Renae Keene, Jheanelle Garriques, and Afton Montgomery.

Participants in one of five salons artist Jheanelle Garriques hosted at The Huntington in summer 2017. Clockwise from bottom left: Camille LaGrange, Turay Turay, Sydney Lopez, Rachel O’Leary, Renae Keene, Jheanelle Garriques, and Afton Montgomery.

 


Zya S. Levy (b. 1980), objects from Green-Gold, Black and White, 2017. Plaster.

Zya S. Levy (b. 1980), objects from Green-Gold, Black and White, 2017. Plaster.

 


In her outdoor studio, Zya S. Levy peels the latex mold from a plaster cast of a cactus.

In her outdoor studio, Zya S. Levy peels the latex mold from a plaster cast of a cactus.

 


Sarita Dougherty (b. 1983), Song before Harvest (Mexican Pine, Mugwort, and Coast Live Oak en la Huerta de Cuati), 2017. Oil on board.

Sarita Dougherty (b. 1983), Song before Harvest (Mexican Pine, Mugwort, and Coast Live Oak en la Huerta de Cuati),, 2017. Oil on board.

 


Olivia Chumacero (b. 1951), still from When Light Married Water, 2017. Video and audio, including songs, narrative, and ambient sound.

Olivia Chumacero (b. 1951), still from When Light Married Water, 2017. Video and audio, including songs, narrative, and ambient sound.

 


Olivia Chumacero sits alongside Sarita Dougherty as Dougherty works on a painting at The Huntington’s Ranch Garden.

Olivia Chumacero sits alongside Sarita Dougherty as Dougherty works on a painting at The Huntington’s Ranch Garden.

 


Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh) (b. 1987), detail of object from What You Love, 2017. Installation of collected letters, objects, and ephemera by various contributors.

Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh) (b. 1987), detail of object from What You Love, 2017. Installation of collected letters, objects, and ephemera by various contributors.

 


Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh) researches representations of the ancient Greek love poet Sappho in The Huntington's Library.

Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh) researches representations of the ancient Greek love poet Sappho in The Huntington's Library.

 


Soyoung Shin (b. 1988), after a design by Melanie Florio (b. 1983), 24,000 BCE–1992 CE, 2017. Jacquard tapestry and cotton thread.

Soyoung Shin (b. 1988), after a design by Melanie Florio (b. 1983), 24,000 BCE–1992 CE, 2017. Jacquard tapestry and cotton thread.

 


Soyoung Shin stitches a border of one of two tapestries she commissioned while the other hangs on the wall behind her.

Soyoung Shin stitches a border of one of two tapestries she commissioned while the other hangs on the wall behind her.

 

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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