My head is falling out so I'm standing on my stomach is an exhibition that features a broad range of works from the flat files of Artist Curated Projects (ACP) selected by founders Eve Fowler and Lucas Michael. It will be on view in the Community Room at the Armory Center for the Arts from October 2, 2011 through January 22, 2012.
The title of the exhibition comes from a short story by Jill Johnston. The nonsensical phrase represents the unconventional methods that characterize the ethos of an alternative space like ACP. An apartment-based gallery in Los Angeles that focuses on underrepresented artists and ephemeral programs, ACP emerged from the desire to show art despite the economic recession. Since 2008, it has organized exhibitions that have contributed to the cultural fabric of Los Angeles while providing an opportunity to over 120 artists to show their work to the community, engage in dialogue, and explore their curatorial ideas. The goal is to nurture a shared community space where artists can develop their curatorial ideas and show the work of their peers while promoting and creating connections with others from multiple disciplines and at different stages of their practices.
Since its inception, ACP has struggled to find ways to support artists financially while operating without a budget. ACP’s Flat Files help achieve this goal by assisting artists sell their work, and in doing so, support their own practice. My head is falling out so I'm standing on my stomach, the flat file exhibition at the Armory, provides ACP with wider exposure, allowing artists’ work to be seen by and sold to a larger audience.
ACP is part of a long tradition of artist-founded, artist-run spaces that have become an integral component of the international art ecosystem since the 1960s. Pioneering this practice in 1955, Los Angeles artist Wallace Berman founded the small but influential mail art publication Semina – a brilliant, loose-leaf compilation of the most advanced artists and poets of his time, including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jess (Collins), Joan Brown, Robert Duncan, David Meltzer, Michael McClure, and Berman himself. A triumph of the do-it-yourself aesthetic, Semina was an outlet that promoted alternative modes of thinking, living, and artmaking, much in the same way ACP functions today.
Concurrent with My head is falling out so I'm standing on my stomach, the Armory will present the exhibition Speaking in Tongues: Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken, 1961-1976, which examines two seminal yet under-studied Los Angeles artists whose works capture the spirit of irreverence and innovation that permeated the ‘60s and ‘70s in Southern California art. Never before has their artwork been shown together in a tightly focused two-person exhibition.
Organized for the Armory by the curatorial team of Claudia Bohn-Spector and Sam Mellon, with supporting research by Carolyn Peter, this exhibition examines how these two artists bridged modernist and emerging post-modernist trends by ushering in the use of photography as a key element of contemporary avant-garde art. Focusing on language and the creation of new visual codes, as well as on the little-known friendship between the Berman and Heinecken, the exhibition explores the unique cultural milieu of 1960s and 1970s Southern California as it fueled and amplified each artist’s highly original, creative approach to making images. Speaking in Tongues: The Art of Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980. This unprecedented collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together more than sixty cultural institutions from across Southern California for six months beginning October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.