Coming Spring 2021 Aura Los Angeles

Aura Los Angeles (trailer), 2020, HD video, stereo sound, 0:33 minutes © Dominik Krauss

Aura Los Angeles is a documentary short film of closed art venues across the city during the pandemic in spring 2020. It captures the locked facades of project spaces, art galleries and museums, collaged with scenes from empty and dystopian cityscapes. ‘Aura’ here is drawn from Walter Benjamin’s critique of the mechanical reproduction of art, in which he defines aura as ‘a strange tissue of space and time: the unique apparition of a distance, however near it may be’.1 Although out of sight and out of reach, one can almost feel the presence of the artworks behind closed doors through the proximity to their aura, whereas digital reproductions made available online during this period can only contribute so much to the physical experience of encountering art.

 

As strange as it might seem under the current circumstances, gallery closures are not entirely foreign in the canon of art history. Experimental gallery closures and interventions have been its own stream of practice within conceptual art from the 1960s onward. Robert Barry’s Closed Gallery (1969) involved the closing of Eugenia Butler (Los Angeles), Art & Project (Amsterdam) and Galleria Sperone (Turin) for the duration of his exhibition, extending Yves Klein’s legacy of ‘empty galleries’ into physical inaccessibility; it has subsequently been re-created in galleries around the world.2 A true Californian luminary following this line of thoughts was Michael Asher. He created highly site-specific interactions with art institutions throughout his career, repositioning and removing artworks and spatial elements and thus challenging the meaning of empty and closed art spaces.3 A more contemporary iteration would be Maria Eichhorn’s 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours, which reflected institutional labour structures through a closure of London’s Chisenhale Gallery in 2016.4 In the same year, the Kunsthalle Fribourg dedicated the exhibition ‘A Retrospective of Closed Exhibitions’ to artists who have sealed off art spaces as a radical artistic gesture.5 The context of these works are in no way comparable to the public health crisis we are facing, but it does however encourage us to reflect on what the aura of artworks – the unique time and space they inhabit – means in today’s world.

 

1. Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility: Second Version (1936), ed. by M.W. Jennings, B. Doherty and T.Y. Levin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008), pp. 23.

2. ‘Please Come to the Show: Invitations and Event Flyers from the MoMA Library’, Museum of Modern Art (2013) <www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/please_come_show>

3. James Rondeau, ‘Thinking Space’, Frieze Magazine (2008) <www.frieze.com/article/thinking-space>

4. Chisenhale Gallery, ‘Marie Eichorn: 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours’, Chisenhale Gallery Archive (2016) <www.chisenhale.org.uk/exhibition/maria-eichhorn>

5. ‘A Retrospective of Closed Exhibitions’, Fri Art Kunsthalle Fribourg (2016) <www.fri-art.ch/en/exhibitions/a-retrospective-of-closed-exhibitions>

 

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@auralosangelesorg

 

The second part of the project takes place on Instagram. Featuring individual portraits of closed arts venues and links for their digital representations it brings spotlight to arts spaces indiscriminately. Featured venues are listed below in alphabetical order*:

 

1301 PE

1700 Naud

AALA Gallery

A Love Bizarre

Adjunct Positions

Anat Ebgi

Architecture and Design Museum

ArcLight Cinemas

Armand Hammer Museum of Art

Artists Corner

Artist Curated Projects

Artplex Gallery

Artspace Warehouse

Art Angels

Art One Gallery

Art Salon Chinatown

Avenue 50 Studio

Baik Art

Bamboo Lane Gallery

Band of Vices

BBQLA

Bel Ami

Bermudez Projects

bG Gallery

Blum & Poe

Brainworks Gallery

Bridge Projects

Bruce Lurie Gallery

C4 Contemporary

California African American Museum

Castelli Art Space

Chainlink Gallery

Charlie James Gallery

Chimento Contemporary

CMay Gallery

Coagula Curatorial

Cordesa Fine Art

Craft Contemporary

Craig Krull Gallery

David Kordansky

Denis Bloch Fine Art

DENK Gallery

Diane Rosenstein

Duncan Miller Gallery

Dunkees

East Hollywood Fine Art

edgar gallery

Elephant

Ethos Contemporary Art LA

Exhale Unlimited

Fabien Castanier Gallery

Fabrik Projects

Face Guts

Fahey / Klein Gallery

FF-1051 Gallery

Flutter

Fowler Museum

FP Contemporary

François Ghebaly

Frederick R Weisman Art Foundation

Galerie Michael

Gallery1988

Gallery Luisotti

Gallery Sade

Garboushian Gallery

Garden

GAVLAK

Griffith Observatory

Hauser & Wirth

HILDE

Hollyhock House

Honor Fraser Gallery

Hunter Shaw Fine Art

HVW8

IKON Ltd

Inner-City Arts

Institute of Contemporary Art

in lieu

J. Paul Getty Museum

Jeffrey Deitch

Just One Eye

Karma International

Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Kevin Barry Fine Art

Keystone Art Space

knupp gallery LA

Kohn Gallery

KP Projects

Kristina Kite Gallery

Latin American Masters

LACP

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

LA Dance Project

Leslie Sacks Gallery

Library Street Collective

Lili Lakich Studio

Lisa Derrick Fine Arts

Lois Lambert Gallery

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

Los Angeles Museum of Love

Louis Stern Fine Arts

ltd los angeles

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

M+B

Maddox Gallery

Maccarone

Marc Selwyn Fine Art

Marta

Materials & Applications

Matthew Brown

Meliksetian | Briggs

Moskowitz Bayse

Museum of African American Art

Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Neon Art

MutMuz Gallery

Newspace Gallery

Night Gallery

Nino Mier Gallery

Nonaka-Hill

Norton Simon Museum

Nous Tous

Novak Contemporary Art

O-Town House

OCHI PROJECTS

ODD ARK•LA

Overduin & Co.

Over The Influence

Park View / Paul Soto

Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Pavilion for Japanese Art

Peter Fetterman Gallery

Phil Gallery

Philip Martin Gallery

Pio Pico

Plaza de la Raza Gallery

Praz-Delavallade

Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts

Real Pain Fine Arts

Redling Fine Art

Regen Projects

Residency Art Gallery

Richard Heller Gallery

River

Roberts Projects

Rock Rose Gallery

Roger’s Office

ROSEGALLERY

Royale Projects

SADE

Shoot the Lobster

Simard Bilodeau Contemporary

Shoshana Wayne Gallery

Shulamit Nazarian

Skidmore Contemporary Art

Smart Objects

Snowden House

Southwest Museum of the American Indian

Sprüth Magers

Steve Turner

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

The Art Room LA

The Box

The Broad

The Gallery @

The Know

The Landing

The Lodge

The Loop Art Gallery

The Mistake Room

The Poetic Research Bureau

The Underground Museum

Thinkspace

Tierra del Sol Gallery

Tufenkian Fine Arts

USC Fisher Museum of Art

Various Small Fires

Vielmetter Los Angeles

voila!

Walter Maciel Gallery

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Weingart Gallery

Wilding Cran Gallery

William Turner Gallery

Y Lee Fine Arts Gallery

 

* Further suggestions welcomed.

 

Some venues couldn’t be captured in the film, but we would like to mention them:

 

ArtCenter DTLA

Art Share L.A.

As-Is Gallery

Avenue Des Arts

Château Shatto

Cirrus Gallery

Commonwealth and Council

Del Vaz Projects

Feuilleton

Five Car Garage

Gaga & Reena Spaulings

Gemini G.E.L.

Getty Villa

Gloria Delson

Hannah Hoffman

Helen J Gallery

Human Resources

Jenny’s

JOAN

L.A. Louver

LACE

Lakich Studio

La-La Land Gallery

Make Room Los Angeles

Matthew Marks Gallery

Mash Gallery

Michael Benevento

MIM Gallery

Mooradian Gallery

MORÁN MORÁN

New Image Art Gallery

Nick Kochornswasdi Gallery

Nicodim

No Gallery

Oranges-Sardines

Parker Gallery

Quotidian

Rainbow In Spanish

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

The Good Luck Gallery

The Grain

The Pit

Von Lintel Gallery

 

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Solidarity

 

Through its meticulous documentation within a perplexing emptyness, Aura Los Angeles celebrates the city’s diverse art spaces and architectural typologies. More importantly, it serves as a reminder of the fragility of the art ecosystem and the need to sustain it despite and beyond the direct impacts of this crisis.

 

The following initiatives support and connect those within the arts*:

 

aaartsalliance.org

aacnetwork.org

aam-us.org

artistrelief.org

artistrescue.org

artmoney.com

cciarts.org

cerfplus.org

contemporaryartreview.la

creative-capital.org

culturela.org

davidzwirner.com/platformla

desertx.org

foundationforcontemporaryarts.org

freelanceartistresource.com

futuregenerationartprize.org

galleryplatform.la

gottliebfoundation.org

lacountyarts.org

losangelesartistcensus.com

redbullarts.com

springboardforthearts.org

usdac.us

youngarts.org

 

*Please let us know of any further initiatives to be added to this list.

 

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About

 

Aura Los Angeles is a personal project of Dominik Krauss, who went to California for a research sabbatical at the Getty Research Institute. Just as he arrived at the Institute near Santa Monica to register on Friday, 13 March 2020, it was announced that the facilities would be closed from the next day onwards. The misty weather, with occasional glimpses of sun rays filtering through the vast Southern Californian landscape, created a surreal moment for the unexpected news. Undeterred, he developed the idea of documenting closed arts spaces around the city as a therapeutic approach to digest the new circumstances he had been thrown into. Having initiated several art project spaces and worked as a designer for galleries and museums himself, he understands acutely the precarious reality arising for art venues. Aura Los Angeles is as much an artistic investigation into the untouchable aura of art as his call for solidarity to support one another.

 

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Concept and design: Dominik Krauss, editor: Janice Li. © Dominik Krauss 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this website (including images, films, graphics and texts) may be reproduced without written consent of the author. In spite of thorough control, I assume no liability for the content of external links. For the content of pages linked to my website, their publishers are fully liable.