The first iteration of Abstraction at Work was performed for “A Day in LA: Washington Boulevard Art Concert,” an event curated by Stephen van Dyck as part of his larger set of Los Angeles Art Road Concerts. “A Day in LA” called for Los Angeles artists to reinterpret public space along the entirety of Washington Boulevard’s 27 miles, from Whittier to Venice Beach. For one day artists performed works, created installations, facilitated happenings, and made music in unexpected spaces, such as on the sidewalk, abandoned lots, between dumpsters, along railroad tracks, as well as inside cars for those traversing one of LA’s most iconic boulevards.
As an urban installation/performance, I conceived Abstraction at Work as a way to make visible the relationship between the inconspicuous language of lines found on the street for the purpose of signaling and demarcating, and lines used as compositional elements in the language of abstraction. I sought to deterritorialize abstraction’s areas of operation, making abstraction’s labor visible. The renewed visibility of lines underscored an aesthetic experience of the city while expanding the sense in which lines communicate. Aware that abstraction has suffered from solipsism as much as seclusion, Abstraction at Work entered the public space of the city, creating a plane for communication with pedestrians and the Washington Boulevard traffic. Cars honked. Artists and puzzled pedestrians –including a share of canines– inquired about the work in progress, activating lines of communication. Artistic labor was initially undifferentiated from street marking, gradually becoming visible as abandoned pavement lines found themselves in colorful company.
WHAT Abstraction at Work [9am to 6pm] a performance/installation by Mariángeles Soto-Díaz
WHERE Washington Blvd., between Landmark and National
WHEN October 11, 2009, 9am to 6pm
A DAY IN LA: WASHINGTON BOULEVARD ART CONCERT  Curated by Stephen van Dyck
LOCATION The entire length of Washington Blvd., from Whittier to Venice Beach
A DAY IN LA: WASHINGTON BOULEVARD ART CONCERT called for Los Angeles artists to reinterpret public space along the entirety of Washington Boulevard’s 27 miles, from Whittier to Venice Beach. For one day artists performed works, created installations, facilitate happenings, and made music in unexpected spaces, such as on the sidewalk, between dumpsters, along railroad tracks, as well as inside cars, as they traverse one of LA’s most iconic boulevards. Washington Boulevard is LA’s longest east-west street and one of the longest municipal streets in the world. This event focused on this long space as a way to view how the Los Angeles metropolis grew, and the massive in-between and negative spaces it left behind as it expanded. Additionally, it examined the Boulevard as a cross-section of the city’s diversity of landscapes and people. This exhibition/event/experiment asks, “How can we generate a new kind of LA experience, bringing meaning and attention to a collection of less obvious destinations?”
MAPS / SCHEDULE www.washblvd.tk
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS Danielle Adair, Karen Atkinson, Lara Bank, Ama Birch, Cindy Bravo, Bernard Brunon, Michael Buitron, John Burtle, Audrey Chan, Caroline Chang, Carolyn Chen, Andrew Clinco, Samantha Cohen, John D’Amico, David Dominguez, Ken Ehrlich, Daiana Feuer, Matthew Fielder, Flint, Robert Frashure, Nancy Ganucheau, Cary Georges, Mary Beth Heffernan, D Jean Hester, Julia Holter and the Open Academy Youth Orchestra at LATTC, Alexis Hudgins, Sarah Ibraham, Islands of LA, Katie Jacobson, Ian James, Kyoung Kim, Shaun Klaseus, Sojung Kwon, Andrea Lambert, Emery Martin, Anita K. Marto, Meghann McCrory, Midnight Ridazz, Joe Milazzo, Tracy Molis, Robin Myrick, Tucker Neel, Paul Pescador, Ali Prosch, Faith Purvey, James Rojas, Ally Sachs, Janet Sarbanes, Nate Schulman, Gary Schultz, Sepand Shahab, Veronica Shalom, Katie Shook, Cynthia Simonian, Mark So, Mariangeles Soto-Diaz, Jennifer Styperk, Robert Summers, Mathew Timmons, Carlin Wing, Austin Young, Luis Zavala and Yelena Zhelezov.