Felix LA Art Fair Announces Special Projects For 2020 Edition

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Felix LA Art Fair Announces Special Projects For 2020 Edition

Felix LA is proud to announce its first-ever Curator of Special Projects, William J. Simmons, who will organize the on-site projects and programming for the fair's second edition, taking place this February 13-16, 2020. Simmons, who received his BA in art history and LGBTQ studies at Harvard University, will highlight themes of gender, queerness, and feminism for Felix LA 2020.

The site-specific projects, which range from installations and paintings to video and performance, will be installed throughout the hallways, ballrooms, bungalows, and lobbies of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The fair will host a diverse selection of 60 exhibitors from across the globe, including galleries from China, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

Project highlights include a selection of works by artist Judy Chicago chosen by Jill Soloway; Bettty Tompkins's Women Words series, which depicts phrases commonly used to describe women; Martha Wilson's works, Makeover: Melania and Mona/Martha/Marge, in which Wilson transforms herself into well-known public figures; Eve Fowler's text-based works that foreground queer-feminist poetics; and a unique installation by Luis Flores on the chandelier in the Hollywood Roosevelt lobby.

"I'm honored to be working with Felix LA. I see this year's Special Projects as a continuation of my successful collaboration with Al and Mills Morán on the landmark exhibition Queer Fantasy at their gallery in 2014," said Felix LA Curator of Special Projects William J. Simmons. "I see the Special Projects sector as a slice of history, a cross-section of some of the most interesting artists dealing with identity and identity politics today. Queerness, feminism, environmental activism, anti-racist activism, and countless other progressive ideals permeate these artists' work in unexpected ways. The representation of politics is certainly interesting here, but equally so are the politics of representation, the act of imbuing a chosen medium with hope, fear, earnestness, and criticality."

Special Project participants include Math Bass (Tanya Leighton), Anne Collier and Ellen Berkenblit (Anton Kern Gallery), Judy Chicago curated by Jill Soloway (Jessica Silverman Gallery), Luis Flores (Matthew Brown Gallery), Hayden Dunham, Dynasty Handbag with Morgan Bassichis, Smiling Beth, Marawa, and Cricket Arrison, Eve Fowler and David Benjamin Sherry (Morán Morán), Paula Hayes (Zero + Maria Cornejo), Deborah Kass (Kavi Gupta), and Betty Tompkins, Carolee Schneemann, and Martha Wilson (P.P.O.W).

"We are excited to have William on board leading our Special Projects sector at Felix," said Felix co-founders Dean Valentine, Mills Morán and Al Morán. "William has assembled an incredible group of artists from various backgrounds and different generations, and these projects feel like a celebration of William's rich history and knowledge of diversity and identity in art. His vision was crystal clear from the beginning, and we're looking forward to seeing how the site specific works will transform the public spaces of the hotel for visiting patrons."

*Project locations to be announced.

Judy Chicago Curated by Jill Soloway

Presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery
Judy Chicago has worked tirelessly to create space for women of all identities within a patriarchal and heterosexist world, as has Jill Soloway. Felix is proud to present this collaboration, in which Soloway has chosen key works by Chicago.

Weirdo Night by Dynasty Handbag

The renowned performance artist Dynasty Handbag has received wide acclaim for her revue Weirdo Night, held monthly at Zebulon in Los Angeles. Weirdo Night has become a staple in LA's queer community, and Dynasty will bring the show to opening night at Felix, featuring acts by Morgan Bassichis, Smiling Beth, Marawa, and Cricket Arrison.

Anne Collier and Ellen Berkenblit

Presented by Anton Kern Gallery
Anne Collier takes apart sentimental and stereotyped aspects of culture in an empathetic fashion. She leaves room to identify with the scenes and bodies that she deconstructs, which introduces the queer and feminist necessity for attaching pleasurably to objects of culture even as you deconstruct them. Collier's Tear (Comic) #5 is inspired by Mike Kelley and her Depression is both comical and sincere, recalling a youthful world of sad songs that seem to make the world alright, if only for a moment.

Ellen Berkenblit's painting, Rosemary Strawberry, will preside over the Hollywood Roosevelt's Lobby. Berkenblit's humor and fantasy always collide very seriously with her dedication to painting and to imaging women. Hers is a punk sensibility, somewhere between deep seriousness and free play.

Deborah Kass

Presented by Kavi Gupta
Deborah Kass's work is certainly deconstructive and critical, but in some ways it is equally affirmative in its homage to and obsession for artifacts of culture that might seem overly sentimental or nostalgic. Such attachments are, after all, intensely queer in their desire to honor art forms outside of "avant-garde" culture, like pop songs and musicals, that others might not find worthy of sustained aesthetic investigation.

Performance by Hayden Dunham
Hayden Dunham works with and among systems both visible and invisible. For Felix Fair 2020, she will activate unseen spaces in the hotel, thus drawing our attention to its spatial structures, even as they structure our movement.

Betty Tompkins, Martha Wilson, and Carolee Schneemann

Presented by P.P.O.W

Betty Tompkins's Women Words make painfully, undeniably visible the language of sexism and sexual violence. She fearlessly inserts these words into art history, rendering them inseparable, thus calling to mind the sexist, racist, classist, and homophobic underpinnings of aesthetics and the discipline of art history. In Tompkins's work, there is a profusion of words, to be sure, but also an undeniable allusion to those voices that have been silenced.

Martha Wilson's work in performance, video, painting, and self-portraiture bring characteristic humor to complex social issues. In her Makeover: Melania and Mona/Martha/Marge, we see Wilson transforming herself into characters that seem at once familiar and distant. In the Trump era, confronting images, especially delusional self-images, becomes especially pressing as we navigate what it means to build solidarity and foster difference.

Carolee Schneemann (1939-2019), like Chicago, Wilson, and Tompkins, inspired a whole generation of queer-feminists to unabashedly use their bodies as their medium. Schneemann always transcended boundaries, working in multiple media and combining research, text, performance, autobiography, and art history. Works included will include her Portrait Partials, Eye Body series, and Correspondence Course.

Eve Fowler and David Benjamin Sherry

Presented by Morán Morán
Eve Fowler's video work and paintings all work through the infinite emotional, sexual, gendered, and aesthetic resonances of language. She returns with love to texts and artists that inspire her, creating an ongoing tableau that weaves across histories and identities. At Felix LA 2020, Fowler will be presenting recent work that foregrounds queer-feminist poetics and collaboration.

David Benjamin Sherry's photographs at Felix LA 2020 aim to queer space, especially masculinist photographic histories. As an ardent eco-feminist, Sherry's work could not be more timely in its presentation of very real, pressing losses in the face of climate change and the policies of the Trump administration. Sherry, like other artists in Felix's Special Projects, is both an activist and an artist; indeed, he breaks down any distinction between the two.

Math Bass

Presented by Tanya Leighton
Math Bass's work in painting and video highlights the endless performative iterations of the body, objects, words, and dreams. Their work becomes an ongoing poem, marked at times by liminality and at others by fixity-a dance of colors, discourses, and bodies that coalesce and break apart as they wish or as the viewer wishes. Bass's work thus engenders a necessary and radical autonomy.

Paula Hayes

Presented by Zero + Maria Cornejo
Paula Hayes's work is an eco-feminist and spiritual appraisal of the magnitude and beauty of nature. She seeks to work with the natural world, and not against it, bringing to the fore thereby its infinite aesthetic resonances. Her work connects to a lengthy history of female-driven practices that mobilize nature and bodies in mutual pursuit of love and protection.

Luis Flores

Presented by Matthew Brown Gallery
Luis Flores will activate the Roosevelt with new performative self-portrait sculpture, suspended in the hotel's foyer from the chandelier. Flores' sculptures often engage in aggressively 'macho' activities, utilizing humor as an access point to activate complex meditations on sexuality, gender, and especially his own relationship to masculinity. Realized as hand-crochet doppelgängers, the artist's soft sculptures bare an intrepid likeness to the artist himself. Flores dons the same uniform as his works on a daily basis, which includes Levis jeans, vans and a navy blue t-shirt. This presentation of self is, at the same time, an intimate portrait study and omnipresent persona.

Tickets are available for purchase here.

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