WITC - 1yr description


On Sunday, March 1, 2009, a group of young contemporary urbanites streamed up the escalators of the Standard Hotel in downtown LA to attend a panel discussion followed with a celebratory party on the roof, sponsored by West of Rome Public Art with the Standard Downtown LA Art Series and ForYourArt. It had been one year since Women in the City, an exhibition of public art works by Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Louis Lawler and Cindy Sherman had spread throughout the city—works that included zip screens at the mall at Hollywood and Highland, sound works in the lily ponds of Huntington Gardens, a movie at the Aero theater, video and print billboards on Sunset Strip and gorilla posters pasted here and there, some notably posted at the Standard. Holzer, Kruger, and Lawler had done some form of public art before, Sherman it was the first, and never before all together in Los Angeles. Ready to discuss the impact of such a major undertaking were the curator of Women In the City and President of WoR, Emi Fontana; WoR board member and Director and Chief Curator of The Broad Art Foundation, Joanne Heyler; participating artist Barbara Kruger; and moderator Joshua Decter, Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of Public Arts Studies, Roski School of Fine Arts, USC. Emi Fontana asked the question, “What can contemporary public art be in a city as sprawling and diversified as Los Angeles?” As a resident aficionado of art and LA, Fontana envisioned the answer to that question as art that is all at once surprising, witty, and provocative and resonates for many who by chance experience it. Fontana had long desired to help provide a public forum for those women artists whose art had been inspirational for her generation, and with the conclusion of this successful campaign, decided to establish the Women in the City series as an ongoing program of public art works by women artists. Woman in the City posters and pins and Jenny Holzer stickers were given to all who attended, but it was a slide of Holzer’s iconic adage, “Protect Me From What I Want” tagged on a fence by some unknown appropriator, that was perhaps proof that Women in the City had gone viral.