A Breath of Fresh Air in the Season of Art Fairs: The FAR Bazaar
By Evan Senn
FAR Bazaar, January 28-29, 2017, 10AM-10PM, Cerritos College
Wrapping up the season of art fairs, surrounded by big and shiny events with Hollywood celebrities and art stars, name recognition and shock value are wearing thin. Bright and over-sized displays from all over the world have been shoved down our throats hoping to amaze viewers with something new and better. It is rare to actually be impressive and inventive in a world where innovation is commonplace, extraordinary is expected. We live in the dilapidated experience of artistic innovation where masses of art spaces are trying to one-up each other. There is hope. Enter the FAR Bazaar.
The Foundation for Art Resources (FAR) produces the FAR Bazaar, an alternative art fair and art collective festival. This year is the fortieth anniversary of FAR, one of the oldest non-profit arts advocacy groups in Southern California. FAR has helped to produce some of the most significant alternative art events in Los Angeles. From the monthly Art Talk Art lecture series of the 1980s to the massive FAR Bazaars of the 1990s, FAR has dedicated forty years of service to inspiring and supporting innovation and taking chances with passion on the ever-evolving Los Angeles contemporary art community.
The FAR Bazaar, taking place at Cerritos College on January 28th and 29th, is a breath of strange and fresh air in the art fair arena. As a non-commercial alternative art fair, this special event highlights the significant presence that art collectives, artist-run spaces, and local art schools have had and continue to have in the SoCal art scene. The FAR Bazaar aims to get the various art communities that are physically spread far and wide across the Southern California artscape to come together to celebrate and exchange ideas in a creatively conducive environment. The boundary-pushing innovation in non-profit, pedagogical art spaces, and artist-run spaces is of the utmost importance to FAR, which makes the FAR Bazaar even more distinctive. The emphasis is not on sales.
Throughout the two-day event performance art, installations will be activating soon-to-be-demolished spaces in the current Fine Arts complex. The event, open to the public, will engage the temporary physical space and stimulate it one last time, with intention and love. The artists and collectives that are contributing to the FAR Bazaar takes risks. They are hopeful and passionate about art in a way that can transform viewers, reshape outlooks and bring some real emotion and new ideologies into an area and a season that are rife with pretension and dishonesty.
In the digital photography lab, Improvised Alchemy will activate the space by having a three foot tall disembodied floating holographic head called the “Grand Turk” that will interact with visitors exploring issues of artificial intelligence and colonial “othering.” Meanwhile in the journalism classroom, Biomythography will transform the editorial cubicles into confessionals complete with videos exploring blackness in the media and issues of toxic masculinity. Rough Play will feature various artists examining the multiple meanings of a ‘vessel’ from a vase to a ship to the human body—as a container for a soul—in the ceramics lab. The Association of Hysteric Curators will explore the history of gendered pedagogy and the necessity of sustainable living in a project titled #homeeconomics in one of the general classrooms.
In the Cerritos College Art Gallery, Otis MFA students will be hosting an exhibition called ‘”restage/reimagine,” that will consist of 24 SoCal female artists that was actually held at the Cerritos College Art Gallery exactly forty years before the Bazaar, in January of 1977.
Esteemed L.A. artist Devon Tsuno of the Concrete Walls Projects will open two temporary pop-up restaurants in an exhibit called “Dear Jonathan Gold” (consisting of 100 Tacos and Arepa Where Am I) that will host five artists (Pablo Estrada, Juliana Lujan, Phil Nisco, Kristofferson San Pablo and Mick Weldon) that will work together to create the smells, tastes, spaces, and music that Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold says, “In a lot of ways . . . is starting to take the place in culture that rock-and-roll took 30 years ago.”
Some of the evocative performances that will be held at the FAR Bazaar include Claremont Graduate University MFA student Lara Salmon will be doing an endurance performance each day called Blue Lips, where Salmon will walk around kissing the walls of the soon-to-demolished building with blue lipstick, leaving a trail of love behind on the building that helped shape so many young artists’ lives.
KCHUNG will be broadcasting ongoing programming from a room throughout the run of the two-day event. There will also be a group of performers from the FA4 Collective, calling themselves Dragon Rising, will be doing a fire dancing performance on Saturday night. CalArts will be hosting an exhibit with 27 different artists, Otis is hosting live musical performances during the event, and there will be many other special, experimental, and provocative performance and shows going on during this extra ordinary bazaar.
Other participating collectives and artist-run spaces that will be participating in this unique event include: Association of Hysteric Curators, Ave 50 Studio, Biomythography, Boys of Summer, Concrete Walls, D-Block Projects, DH Arts Collective, Durden & Ray, Elephant, FA4 Collective, Finishing School, Hinterculture, Improvised Alchemy, JAUS Gallery, LA Freewaves, Machine Project, Monte Vista Projects, Motherboy, Rough Play, Shed Research, Six Pack Projects, Slanguage Studios, South Bay Contemporary, Summercamp’s ProjectProject, Tilt-Export.
Graduate student artists from universities that will be involved in this event include: Art Center, CalArts, Claremont Graduate University, Otis (Fine Arts and Public Practice), UC Irvine (Critical/Curatorial Studies and Fine Arts), UC Los Angeles (Design Media Arts and Fine Arts), UC Riverside, University of Southern California.