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THE PURPOSE OF BEING

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(An action of Harmony Reve rberates Optimism)

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Curated by Ronald Lopez

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Curatorial A ssistant Sara DeSmet

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LMU Coordinators SaeRi Cho Dobson and Jane Bru cker

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October 21 – November 3\, 2010

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Opening Reception Friday\, October 29\, 2010\, 5pm-7pm

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Art ists Include:

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Amitis Motevalli

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Arzu Arda Kosar

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Elan a Mann + Vera Brunner-Sung

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Jane Brucker

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Kristin Ross Lauter bach + Christina Lee Storm

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Ofunne Obiamiwe

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SaeRi Cho Dobson

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The Purpose of Being

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In 1633 \, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) created an elaborate interpretation of The Good Samaritan in dry point and etching. In the immediate foregrou nd\, Rembrandt depicted a defecating dog squatting and facing away from the “action.” The intention of this dog\, according to Roland E. Fleischer and Susan C. Scott in their book “Rembrandt\, Rubens\, and the Art of Their Ti me: Recent Perspectives\,” is two fold.  First\, it is to\, “emphasize the sheer earthiness of the physical world in which the Samaritan performs his redemptive deed…” and secondly\, “it may have been intended to imply a prog ression from base animal behavior to the literally higher human acts requir ed… to achieve eternal life.” The viewer’s eye is quickly moved from the gr oss reality of animal defecation to the transcendent focal point of the etc hing\, the Good Samaritan himself paying the innkeeper to house the wounded man.

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To explore more about the story of The Good Samaritan I chose to look at a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King\, Jr. entitled I’ve been to the Mountaintop\, recited on the day before his death\, April 3\, 19 68.   Dr. King said\, ”… And he talked about a certain man who fell amon g thieves [wounded man]. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side\; they didn't stop to help him. Finally\, a man of anothe r race [Samaritan] came by. He got down from his beast\, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But he got down with him\, administered first aid\, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying this was the good man\, this was the great man because he had the capacity to project the "I" into the "thou\," and to be concerned about his brother… And so the first questi on that the priest asked\, the first question that the Levite asked was\, " If I stop to help this man\, what will happen to me?" But then the Good Sam aritan came by\, and he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help th is man\, what will happen to him?" That's the question before you tonight. Not\, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers\, what will happen to my jo b?" Not\, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers\, what will happen to a ll of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?" The question is not\, "If I stop to help this man in need\, w hat will happen to me?" The question is\, "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers\, what will happen to them?" That's the que stion.”

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This speech compels me to ask questions. What is my/our purpose for being? Is being about “me”? Is it situated in the here and now?  How can I get known/paid/recognized apart from my fellow man? Bei ng is present\, conscious\; the opposite of nothing.  It is fundamental to the self and relates to living in the “sheer earthiness of the physical wor ld.” Purpose on the other hand relates to the “action” at hand\, the outcom e\, or idea that is the object of an action or other effort.

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The Purpose of Being\, the exhibition\, has an origin and an intend ed outcome. The origin is Harmony Reverberates Optimism\, an exhibit originally created for McNish Gallery at Oxnard College. Harmony wa s comprised of six artists and five works and was a celebration of women an d their efforts to create social change through their art form. The artists involved pushed the limits and blurred the line between activist and artis t. The works in the exhibit\, like Rembrandt’s defecating dog\, reflected t he basest of realities.  They exercised social criticism at its highest for m through\, not only aesthetically pleasing work\, but art that provokes di alogue and pushes boundaries\; art that is active and penetrates society in such a way that it promotes itself fiercely and unapologetically. To this end\, Harmony serves as precursor to its now evolved counter part an d “action\,” The Purpose of Being. This original exhibit will be sho wn again in its entirety simultaneously at Jaus gallery.

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The intent ion of The Purpose of Being is to take the ideas and injustices behi nd the Harmony show and elicit an “action\,” which in turn develops Optimism. In such a way\, as in Rembrandt’s Good Samaritan\, it juxt aposes the base realities of life with higher moral human response. In T he Purpose of Being\, each artist will “activate” selected students fro m Loyola Marymount University and collaborate on social interventions that will lead to new discussions and art works exhibited during the Bellarmine Forum.

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Artists included in The Purpose of Being are Amitis M otevalli\, Arzu Arda Kosar\, Elana Mann + Vera Brunner-Sung\, Jane Brucker\ , Kristin Ross Lauterbach + Christina Lee Storm\, Ofunne Obiamiwe and SaeRi Cho Dobson.

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The works in The Purpose of Being will be varie d and provocative:

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Elana Mann + Vera Brunner-Sung’s work sho ws interest in performance as a cultural product and will investigate memor y as a way to gauge how a non-object based practice produces effects upon t he viewer. The student under their guidance will reinterpret the works of p ioneer female performance artists\, i.e. Simone Forte\, Barbara T. Smith an d Senga Nengudi.

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Kristin Ross Lauterbach + Christina Lee Storm will revisit their 12 minute video\, FLESH\, which explores how U .S. citizens participate in the proliferation of human trafficking in the U nited States and around the world as it follows three survivors from slaver y to freedom.  Kristin and Christina approach their work with great convict ion as they pull open the curtain to expose a world to which we may have ot herwise been blind. With a sharp camera lens and syncopated movements\, alm ost like a music video\, the viewer is taken on a journey from a candy-coat ed world into the underbelly of a dark and desolate reality. The student un der Ross Lauterbach and Lee Storm’s guidance will explore story-telling as a means to raise public awareness and elicit action/reaction.

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Sa eRi Cho Dobson\, with her installation\, 7 Deadly Seams\, expose s an all too familiar industry\, the dry cleaning business. What is present ed via typography eloquently printed onto garments\, covered with slick pla stic and hung on typical dry cleaning hangers\, actually represents horror stories of a rapidly-growing epidemic of immigrants being ‘taken to the cle aners’ by their customers.  Cho Dobson’s title immediately evokes Dante’s I nferno with a modern twist. The profoundness in the work comes with great d esign and tells some of the most beguiling and atrocious stories that canno t help but make the viewer ill with injustice.  Under Cho Dobson’s guidance \, a student will further delve into the injustices involved in garment cre ation.

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Amitis Motevalli’s work is hard hitting and resounds with such humanity that it invokes action. The power of her work lies in it s “sexy” form\, which entices the viewer to want more and\, at the same tim e\, engages them in such a way that they cannot deny the heart wrenching at rocities conveyed. Motevalli’s new work slated for The Purpose of Being show\, will be part performance and part installation. Amitis has a lon g history of activating students to stand up for injustices committed again st themselves and others.

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Arzu Arda Kosar’s work is profound ly subtle yet deliberate.  It is provocative and\, at the same time\, invit ing.  Its core beckons us all to question our stratosphere of “walls.”  The psychological divisions and borders we have created due to social norms an d cultural practices only perpetuate the cycle of “classism” and incite feu ds amongst us all. Through maps and markers\, video and sculpture\, Kosar i ntends to expand her previous work into a full installation. Kosar will con tinue to explore psychological borders and inspire students in the creation of new maps/borders.

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Ofunne Obiamiwe presents her latest pr oject\, Status of Women\, an interactive project inspired by face book that celebrates ten contemporary women and their leading roles in their respective fields. Obiamiwe previously created a forum with these wom en and\, from that encounter\, created a video\, ten facebook like p rofile pages with a portrait of each women\, including bras from each artis t\, and invited the viewer to write on their “walls”.  Obiamiwe will lead s tudents to explore how the creation of women’s bras may have contributed to the oppression of women.

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Jane Brucker’s work tends to exami ne the themes of memory\, fragility and death. Whether she creates an insta llation or an intimate piece\, her sensibility has been able to capture the essence of life itself through the visceral and the spiritual. At the core of most social justice or human rights issues there lies the human spirit that will fight for justice. Brucker will explore these issues by activatin g students to collaborate on a video art piece.

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DTEND:20101029 DTSTAMP:20140903T084716 DTSTART:20101025 GEO:33.966605;-118.423562 LOCATION:Thomas P. Kelly Student Art Gallery\,Loyola Marymount University 1 LMU Drive\nLos Angeles\, CA 90045 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:The Purpose of Being\, Jane Brucker\, Vera Brunner-Sung\, SaeRi Cho Dobson\, Arzu Arda Kosar\, Kristin Ross Lauterbach\, Elana Mann\, Amitis M otevalli\, Ofunne Obiamiwe\, Christina Lee Storm UID:123163 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20100831T200000 DTSTAMP:20140903T084716 DTSTART:20100831T180000 GEO:33.966605;-118.423562 LOCATION:Thomas P. Kelly Student Art Gallery\,Loyola Marymount University 1 LMU Drive\nLos Angeles\, CA 90045 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:The Purpose of Being\, Jane Brucker\, Vera Brunner-Sung\, SaeRi Cho Dobson\, Arzu Arda Kosar\, Kristin Ross Lauterbach\, Elana Mann\, Amitis M otevalli\, Ofunne Obiamiwe\, Christina Lee Storm UID:123165 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR