Earlier generations of New Yorkers--blessed with cheap Manhattan rents, No Wave Music, all night underground club culture, and a low-cost of living—generally don’t like Los Angeles. Riding to work on the crosstown bus or in town cars, many of our proud elders look West in their minds and still see a sprawling New Jersey-like expanse of overcooked himbos and bimbos--the sickly sweet smiles of famous actors dining at a restaurant from the 1980s like Spago.
Younger New Yorkers know better. We fantasize endlessly about relocating to LA’s golden laid-back flip-flop zone. Larger spaces. Lower overhead. All that time alone with your thoughts and your stereo. Coconut kale smoothies and medical weed. Making art and making babies while making middle-class money. In a pressurized dehydration chamber located somewhere in the air between the money archipelago and our sunny, semi-tropical gridlocked destination, our East Coast cares would fade away.
The truth is that New York is an environment even more artificial than Los Angeles. All around the great herds of slow-moving cyborg cars, in East LA and on the West Side, lemons are growing on trees. All year long, flowers are erupting from every exposed inch of intensively irrigated Angeleno earth. Meanwhile, on the other side of this country we still call America, on both sides of New York’s East River the soil is sprouting computer-generated glass condo towers. Four months out of the year the climate is inimical to human life, forcing us to rely on nylon, goose feathers, and petroleum–Patagonia, The North Face, and Keyspan–to keep our body heat from leaking away. Which city is keeping it more unreal?
Public relations began in New York skyscrapers as rebranded propaganda. On the West Coast it became a telepathic syntax of aspiration, desire, and identity: lifestyle capitalism. California is our economy’s spiritual mother country. This group show is about returning home. We have taken your state’s organic seeds and planted them in our inorganic earth. Come and see what we’ve grown. We’ve cooked Los Angeles an artisanal meal. From our Chinatown to yours. Heirloom teratomas on small plates.