On October 7, 2021, the prologue from Automata: Selections from the Permanent Collection, a documentary I began during a socially distant residency at Automata, was part of a virtual exhibition, Reimagine Public Art, Vol 2., curated by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. The online exhibition runs through March 19, 2022.
In “Automata: Selections from the Permanent Collection”, a contemporary doll maker discovers an unopened box of books in the basement of an experimental puppet theatre. The find leads to a conversation with a former bookseller about his obsession with a famous dollhouse and a gender bending bishop’s unlikely ascent to the position of chief curator of toys in a major metropolitan museum in the 1970s.
In March 2021 the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) launched Reimagine Public Art: Vol. 1 in partnership with the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), a virtual public art exhibition that captured the adaptation of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. It introduced a compelling lineup of artists working across all mediums to reimagine what new forms public art might take in the new hybrid public space when the city was closed. (To revisit Vol. 1, please go to our Archive).
Reimagine Public Art: Vol. 2 gives us another glimpse of the hybrid forms public art might take as the city continues to reopen. As Angelenos begin to alternate their interactions with each other between virtual and physical public spaces, what will be the prime takeaway from the pandemic for communities in relation to public art?
As a leading, progressive arts and cultural agency, DCA empowers Los Angeles’s vibrant communities by supporting and providing access to quality visual, literary, musical, performing, and educational arts programming; managing vital cultural centers; preserving historic sites; creating public art; and funding services provided by arts organizations and individual artists.