Santa Monica Museum of Art presents Adam Berg: Endangered Spaces, a new, multi-dimensional video, sculpture, and photo installation created for SMMoA that explores the relationship between man-made environments and displaced wildlife. In this work, Berg identifies a parallel future between endangered animals and threatened architectural spaces; he also investigates the impact historical architectural designs have on popular perceptions of primitive and domestic identities. On view from January 14 through February 25, 2012, this never-before-seen work by Berg for Project Room 1 marks the inauguration of NY/LA, the Museum’s new exhibition series that connects contemporary art on both coasts.
Santa Monica Museum of Art Deputy Director Lisa Melandri is curator of Endangered Spaces, which utilizes “cinéma vérité”—truthful cinema—to create visual episodes that juxtapose singular Los Angeles landmarks with wild animals dislocated into the architectural spaces. Berg presents a series of four single-channel videos in Project Room 1, creating a moving mural effect. Each video episode repeats, which presents a sequence where animals seemingly invade the Los Angeles landmarks: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, the Rudolf Schindler House, Richard Neutra’s Kronish House, and John Lautner’s Beyer House. Berg’s work reveals two endangered spheres: historic architecture and wildlife.
Berg complements his videos with three geometric, stainless steel, mirror sculptures that at once refract and reflect the visual projections. The mirror sculptures transfigure the projections, which Berg uses to visually challenge contemporary perceptions of animalism and the humane. He has also created three photo-etched wall installations that make viewers aware of their own environment. The photo etchings evoke sublime space between humans and nature in the romantic tradition. Taken all together, the sculpture and photography connect structural geometry, primitive habitats, and perceptions of place. With these two and three dimensional components, Berg constructs an environment for visitors that mimics the environments he is exploring in his work. The result is architecture as a domestic construction that—like zoological spaces—exhibits ‘being’ as a deliberate and man-made design.
Berg (b. 1962) was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and works and lives in Los Angeles. He attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, studied architecture, landscape architecture, and philosophy at the University of Toronto, and philosophy at York University, Toronto. He earned undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees from the University of Haifa, Israel. He currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design, California State University Dominguez Hills, and California Institute of the Arts.
Berg’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Dvir Gallery in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon, Har-el Gallery in Jaffa, Barbur Gallery in Jerusalem; and the Haifa Museum of Art; in Italy at Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, Casagrande Gallery and Campo dei Fiori in Rome, Saletta Paolini Nezzo in Urbino, and Chiostro Vescoville, Palazzo Ducale in Urbania; in Canada at InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, and Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Toronto, and the University of Toronto; in Paris at Passage des Retz; and in Los Angeles at The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (Redcat). Berg has also been represented in numerous group exhibitions at the Museo Revoltella in Trieste, Italy; Remba Gallery in Los Angeles; Refusalon in San Francisco; The National Gallery, Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens; and the 1999 International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Jerusalem.
Support for Adam Berg: Endangered Spaces has been provided in part by Edward Cella Art+Architecture.
NY/LA: A New, Annual Exhibition Series
NY/LA is an innovative programming initiative that diversifies the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s curatorial voice through an all-new, annual exhibition series. Developed by SMMoA Deputy Director and curator Lisa Melandri and New York-based independent curator Jeffrey Uslip, NY/LA connects emerging contemporary artists on the East and the West coasts. With NY/LA, SMMoA continues to reshuffle and revitalize its programming, and promote an ongoing discourse that links contemporary art across the United States.
NY/LA will debut at SMMoA with two exhibitions on view from January 14 through February 25, 2012: Adam Berg: Endangered Spaces (LA) in Project Room 1 and Georgi Tushev: Strange Attractor (NY) in Project Room 2.