David Familian, Beall Center Artistic Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kimberli Meyer, American Monument co-leader: email@example.com
For Immediate Release
American Monument to be “un-paused” at
The Beall Center for Art + Technology
Monument public viewing and co-production to launch October 5, 2019
“Unveiling” and Related Public Events in February 2020
June 13, 2019, Irvine CA: The Beall Center for Art + Technology at University of California Irvine (UCI) presents American Monument, an artwork by lauren woods that prompts consideration of the cultural circumstances under which African-Americans lose their lives to police brutality. Initially inaugurated at the University Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach in September of 2018, the monument’s production was paused there by the artist as an act of protest. Beall Center Artistic Director David Familian was present at the enactment of the pause and was moved by the work. “I am immensely proud that the Beall will now host this significant work of art,” says Familian.
American Monument is a participatory inter-media monument conceived as nomadic and continually expanding, moving across the country year-to-year, “unveiled” at universities, museums, storefronts, community centers, and churches. The Beall Center installation will be the first full iteration of the project. The artwork provides a vehicle for analyzing the complex relationship between constructed race, material violence, structural power, and monumentality itself.
In 2018, American Monument initiated an extensive Freedom of Information Act request process. Close readings of use-of-force reports, prosecutor reports, witness testimonies, 911 calls, and body and dash cam videos revealed a consistent and disturbing problem: police use of white dominant cultural constructions and stereotypes of “Blackness,” mined from pop culture, to justify fatal violence.
The centerpiece of American Monument, Archive I, is an interactive sound sculpture. Encountering a grid of silently spinning black and white turntables on pedestals, visitors may choose to play an acetate record of audio materials gleaned from record requests, setting the apparatus and sound in motion. Each turntable represents one police murder. The sound is heard inside the interior space where the grid is located and simultaneously displaced outside the physical architecture of the monument, into locations unknown to the viewer.
Supporting the main sculpture are reflection spaces to ponder law as a culture. The main reflection space, Archive II, displays documents associated with each case represented in Archive I. The Beall launch invites scholars, lawyers, community activists, civil rights leaders, students, artists, and the general public to process and discuss issues addressed by American Monument through think-tanks and public forums. Thought production from these activities will generate expanded forms of critical engagement, which feed back into the monument. At the end of this collaborative production process in February 2020, the monument will be “unveiled” with a public symposium to signal the completion of this iteration.
The Beall Center has welcomed project co-leaders artist lauren woods and curator/cultural producer Kimberli Meyer as researchers in residence as part of its Black Box Project. The residency has connected them with leading thinkers across disciplines at UCI, including Law, African-American Studies, Social Ecology, Art, and Art History.
American Monument has been made possible by the generous support of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, a founding grantor to the artwork.
Special thanks to project partner Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana
Media Brunch: Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 10:30am-12:30pm
Open to all media affiliates, RSVP requested
Launch Reception: Saturday, October 5, 2019, 2-5pm
Additional events to be announced online. Join our mailing list at www.beallcenter.uci.edu
October 6, 2019 – February 9, 2020
Monday – Saturday: 12pm – 6pm
Free admission and docent tours
712 Arts Plaza, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, UC Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697
Student Center Parking Structure: 311 W. Peltason Drive, Irvine, CA 92697
Mesa Parking Structure: 4000 Mesa Road, Irvine, CA 92697
*all campus parking requires payment; $2 per hour, $7 half day, $10 full day, credit and debit cards accepted
For maps, driving directions and parking information go to: http://www.parking.uci.edu/maps/imap.cfm
lauren woods is a conceptual artist whose hybrid media projects—film, video and sound installations, public interventions and site-specific work—engage history as a lens by which to view the socio-politics of the present. Challenging the tradition of documentary/ethnography as objective, she creates ethno-fictive documents that investigate invisible dynamics in society, remixing memory and imagining other possibilities. She also explores how traditional monument-making can be translated into new contemporary models of commemoration, substituting the traditional marble and granite for new media. Recently, woods unveiled Drinking Fountain #1, a new media monument to the American civil rights movement, past and present activists/organizers, and the spirit of resistance, located underneath the remnants of a recently rediscovered Jim Crow “White Only” sign. Part sculpture, part intervention, located in the Dallas County Records Building in Dallas, Texas, the installation is part of the larger public artwork, A Dallas Drinking Fountain Project.
Born in Kansas City, Mo. and raised in Texas, woods holds a B.A. in radio, television and film and a B.A. in Spanish with a sociology minor from the University of North Texas. In 2006, she received her Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, including Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Miami, as well as Puerto Rico, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Mali and France. She has been the recipient of grants and awards from numerous institutions including the Creative Capital Foundation, The Tribeca Film Institute, College Art Association, Alliance of Artists Communities and The San Francisco Foundation.
Kimberli Meyer is a curator, writer, architectural designer, and cultural producer. She recently led the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach, and previously was the director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, for nearly fourteen years. Major projects there include initiating and co-curating, with Gloria Sutton, Lisa Henry, and Nizan Shaked, How Many Billboards? Art In Stead, an exhibition in which 21 artists were commissioned to make new work for a Los Angeles billboard (2010); co-curating and co-authoring, with Susan Morgan, the exhibition and publication Sympathetic Seeing: Esther McCoy and the Heart of American Modernist Design (2011); and organizing myriad projects with contemporary artists and architects. She was the Commissioner for U. S. Presentation at the 11th International Cairo Biennial, and the recipient of numerous grants and awards. She has been working with woods on American Monument since its conception.
David Familian is the Artistic Director and Curator at the Beall Center. He began working at the Beall Center in 2005 and was appointed Artistic Director and Curator in 2009. An artist and educator, he received his BFA from California Institute of the Arts in 1979 and his MFA from UCLA in 1986. For the past thirty years, Familian has taught studio art and critical theory in art schools and universities including Otis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Santa Clara University, San Francisco Art Institute and U.C. Irvine. Familian initiated Black Box Projects at the Beall Center, which produces collaborative exhibitions in which artists work with scientists and other experts in areas such as Cognitive Robotics, Computational Genetics, and Information Science. He has curated one-person exhibitions of artists Shih Chieh Huang, Golan Levin, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Chico MacMurtie, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Nam June Paik, and others. He has also curated numerous group exhibitions that explore topics such as data visualization, new forms of gaming and narratives, real-time data, interactive installations, and sound art. He currently teaches the Beall Center’s Digital Arts Exhibition course at UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts.
The Beall Center is an exhibition and research center located on the campus of the University of California, Irvine. Since its opening in 2000, the Beall Center’s exhibitions, research, and public programs have promoted new forms of creation and expression. For artists, the Beall Center serves as a proving ground — a place between the artist’s studio and the art museum — and allows them to work with new technologies in their early stages of development. For visitors, the Beall Center serves as a window to the most imaginative and creative innovations in the visual arts occurring anywhere. The Beall Center promotes new forms of creative expression by: exhibiting art that uses different forms of science and technology to engage the senses; building innovative scholarly relationships and community collaborations between artists, scientists and technologists; encouraging research and development of art forms that can affect the future; and reintroducing artistic and creative thinking into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) integrated learning in K-12 to Higher Education. The Beall Center’s curatorial focus presents a diverse range of innovative, world-renowned artists, both national and international, who work with experimental and interactive media. Many of these artists have shown their works primarily within group exhibitions or have a limited number of solo exhibitions in the US. The Beall Center is committed to exhibiting these artists in a way that more fully expresses their individual body of work. We strive to present a direct connection between our programs and the larger trajectory of the history of video, installation art, kinetic and cybernetic sculpture. Our approach is not to exclusively emphasize the technological aspects of works, but to present experimental media projects that are equally strong aesthetically, conceptually and technically. The Beall Center received its initial support from the Rockwell Corporation in honor of retired chairman Don Beall and his wife, Joan; the core idea being to merge their lifelong passions – business, engineering and the arts – in one place. Today, major support is generously provided by the Beall Family Foundation.
About UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Times Higher Education ranked UC Irvine first among U.S. universities under 50 years old and fifth worldwide. Since its founding in 1965 as one of UC Irvine’s original schools, the School of the Arts (renamed for actress Claire Trevor in 2000) has become one of the nation’s leading educators in visual and performing arts. Awarded “Best Arts Organization” in Orange County 2014 by the Coast Community Awards, the School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Art, Dance, Drama and Music, a minor in Digital Arts and Digital Filmmaking, and one of the few university doctoral programs in Drama. The UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts is located at 4000 Mesa Road, Irvine, CA 92617. For more information, please visit www.arts.uci.edu.
Photo by Jason Meintjes, courtesy of lauren woods and the UAM.
Additional images available upon request.