The Experimental Impulse

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installation view at LAICA, Los Angeles , 1977 © Photo: Robert Smith
The Experimental Impulse

631 West 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
November 20th, 2011 - January 15th, 2012
Opening: November 19th, 2011 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

downtown/east la
Tue-Sun 12-6 or Intermission
CalArts (California Institute of the Arts)
calarts, experimental conceptual, modern


Presented as part Pacific Standard Time.

The Experimental Impulse explores the pivotal role of experimentation in Los Angeles in the years immediately following the city’s emergence as a vital artistic center. The exhibition offers new insights into the understanding of developments in critical art practice after 1965 and bridges the gap between these histories and more recent approaches to artmaking. Consisting exclusively of reproductions and facsimiles of materials culled from publications, institutions, and personal collections, as well as a series of recent video and audio interviews conducted for the exhibition, The Experimental Impulse reflects on the networks of exchange and support structures that underlie the history of art in Los Angeles. With contributions by participants in “The Experimental Impulse” seminars at CalArts’ School of Art (2009/10 and 2010/11), the exhibition operates from a position that context informs content and develops an open-ended methodology that has been characteristic of CalArts since its founding. Conceived from the perspective of artists and art students who currently live and work in the city, the exhibition’s curatorial approach reexamines the very notion of historical representation and aims to embody the principles of experimentation. 

In conjunction with the exhibition at REDCAT, East of Borneo, a collaborative art journal and multimedia archive, hosts a selection of commissioned essays, documentation, interviews and research materials related to the process of organizing The Experimental Impulse. Edited by Stacey Allan, this archival component to the exhibition offers an alternative immaterial approach to the role of catalogues and print publications. 

Co-organized by Thomas Lawson and Aram Moshayedi and the participants in the “The Experimental Impulse” seminars at CalArts

Exhibition design: Jessica Fleischmann, Martin Kersels and Thomas Lawson

Contributions: Fiona Connor and Benjamin Tong

Research: Orlando Tirado Amador, Krista Buecking, Andrew Cameron, Amy Howden-Chapman, Larissa Brantner James, Yogi Proctor, and Ariane Roesch