Cardboard Revival: Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles
an installation by Holly Tempo
When February 23-March 30, 2019
Opening Saturday, February 23, 4-7p
Statement from the artist:
Cardboard Revival is an ongoing project that first appeared at the former 2A Gallery located near Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles. The original piece has been reworked twice for exhibitions at Barnsdall Art Park in East Hollywood and the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach. In each work, decorative motifs referencing the architectural style of the building housing the exhibition space, historical cues and socio-cultural associations of each site, are conflated with the hard demographics of homelessness. Each site has been located in close proximity to local homeless populations, although not intentionally; thus, underscoring the enormity of the problem and desperate situation of street people in Southern California.
The installation at SoLA will be the fourth iteration of this ongoing project and will be titled Cardboard Revival: Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles. I will be drawing from the building’s Mid-Century Modern design, the post WWII industrial boom along Slauson Avenue (one of the longest streets in the area) and more recent gang activity in the area, the homeless demographic of the community, and African Ndebele painted houses. I want to explore the Modernist, middle class fantasy of the prefab home that helped shape suburban life after the war and how that was incongruous with the realities facing many black people at the time. This exploration plays out against the present-day fetishization of the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic, an obsession with tiny house living, the crisis of homelessness that continues to spiral out of control, and the brazen attacks on people of color, women, immigrants and the poor that have accelerated in the current political climate.
As an artist, I am interested in creating hybridized spaces that engage social issues via the language of painting and abstraction. Using decorative motifs that allude to the area’s past and tropes from the urban environs, such as graffiti and cardboard scraps, I create a space that is a reflection on approaches to housing that share a neighborhood in spite of their ideological incompatibility. Cardboard Revival attempts to reconcile a difficult situation within the realm of aesthetics.