In 1998, London-based Filipino artist David Medalla created the London Biennale as a response to the famously large, corporate-sponsored biennales. His was an all-inclusive, DIY, artist-run event. No limits, for better or worse, and satellite operations welcome.
Las Vegas hopped onboard in 2010 at Contemporary Arts Center, followed two years later at VAST Space Projects (then the Pop Up Art House), each time falling in line with the theme set by Medalla.
For this year’s event, London Biennale: Pollination in Las Vegas, the reality of the gallery scene fits like a glove into Medalla’s theme of “Maps, Mysteries and Mazes.”
The new scarcity of experimental gallery spaces here has resulted in organizers going full DIY with a multi-site, two-weekend event that brings visitors right into the artists’ studios through distribution of private maps, creating a treasure-seeking-style adventure: Participants search the programs on the website, RSVP through email, receive a map and head to the site or sites.
And that’s just the interactive beginning.
For Pollination in Las Vegas, organizers Jevijoe Vitug and Matthew Couper hand-picked artists whose work plays into any element of the theme. That includes artists who have shot a meteorite astronaut sculpture into space with GPS mapping (Scott Grow), painted satellite maps of politically or ecologically troubled areas (Vitug) mapped and documented personal taco consumption (Justin Favela) and built an “Iron Curtain” enclosing participants (Anthony Bondi).
Artists teamed up for the site locations. At David Ryan’s studio, expect an interactive installation that has participants traversing to their futures (Yasmina Chavez and Javier Sanchez). At Couper’s and JK Russ’ studio, Shelbi Schroeder will be doing her body camouflage. Other artists include Kady Monroe-Tracey, visiting from San Francisco, and Cara Seymour and Giorgio Guidi, newly arrived from New York.
London Biennale June 14, 15 & 21, 7-9 p.m.; June 22, 5-9 p.m. Various locations, londonbiennale2014.tk.