Artist: Zoe Crosher
Exhibition title: The New LA-LIKE
Venue: Mayeur Projects, Las Vegas, New Mexico, US
Date: June 23 – August 27, 2016
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Mayeur Projects
Mayeur Projects is pleased to present The New LA-LIKE, an exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Zoe Crosher.
The New LA-LIKE brings together several series of work emblematic of Crosher’s ongoing conceptual mapping of Los Angeles, the fantasies it provokes and the distance between these projections and the reality of the city. This preoccupation with the real and the fake, is part of what she terms the Imagiatic, or the blurring of reality and its image, its misremembering.
LA-LIKE: Prospecting Palm Fronds is a series of lost-wax bronzed palm fronds, each of which is unique and whose title refers to the intersections it was found on in Los Angeles. Although an icon of LA and its lifestyle, palm trees are not native to the area. Planted mainly in the 1920s and 30s, many have reached the end of their life cycle, and having been deemed a public nuisance by the City, these dying palm trees will not be replaced, fundamentally shifting the city’s landscape. The bronzed palm fronds— ephemeral objects that are disappearing almost overnight, cast in a material that lasts forever— are informed by a documentary impulse that has a relation to the “real” no longer bound by the photographic.
Although the works on view are inherently tied to the city of Los Angeles, Crosher’s engagement with the myths and the mythologies of the West finds a natural home in Las Vegas, at one point one of the most important cities of promise in the Wild West and today frequently used as a film set for this period. Las Vegas was also a hotbed for some of the most notorious outlaws of the day, harboring larger-than-life characters who occupy the Imagiatic space of the collective imagination: most notably Billy the Kid, once imprisoned in the Mayeur Projects’ building.
LA-LIKE: Transgressing the Pacific takes us to the far edge of the West, to beach locales where LA characters – factual, fictional, and the ones somewhere in between – have disappeared into the ocean. This series offers glimpses of LA’s histories, from Aimee Semple Mcpherson, the founder of the megachurch who faked her own disappearance to indulge in a romantic tryst, to Natalie Wood, the Hollywood starlet whose death during a boat trip remains a mystery, to Roger Wade’s cinematic suicide in The Long Goodbye (1973).
Also on view is a Fool’s Gold Dust (Mimic) Painting, fabricated with pulverized pyrite (more commonly known as Fool’s gold, and often mistaken for gold during The Gold Rush) and is activated by light. The sparkling and seemingly infinite surface is revealed only when seen under spotlight or in direct sun – a deception not unlike the fantasy of the West itself.
Here we have a vast, wild frontier – one occupied by palm trees and cacti, cowboys, outlaws, pop stars and pop priests. In this Las Vegas iteration of LA-LIKE, Crosher’s expanded approach toward photography and the archival impulse, which includes sculpture, installation and wide-reaching projects, teases out unlikely links between two cities touched by Manifest Destiny, by the dreams and realities of their pasts and their presents.
Zoe Crosher was the first Mayeur Projects artist-in-residence in March 2016.. As a special event on June 25th, she will be reading excerpts from LA-LIKE: Transgressing the Pacific, published with Hesse Press in February 2016. In July 2017, Crosher will be presenting another element of LA-LIKE: Expanded Shangri-LA at the Mayeur Projects’ antenna in Arles, France.
Named a “prominent Los Angeles artist” by The New York Times, Crosher’s work is included in various international, private and museum collections including The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Palm Springs Museum, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. In 2012, she took part in MoMA’s New Photography show, and in 2011 she was a recipient of the prestigious “Art Here and Now Award,” awarded by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Together with LAND, she is a 2013 co-recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation “Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Award” and the 2015 Smithsonian Ingenuity of the Year Award with Shamim M. Momim. Numerous books have been published on her work, including one recently released (and sold out) by Hesse Press and a four-volume set by Aperture Ideas. She is the founder and president of the Los Angeles branch of The Fainting Club, was Associate Editor of the journal Afterall, and has taught at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA. Crosher received an MFA from California Institute of Arts (CalArts) in 2001.
These editions of LA-LIKE: Transgressing the Pacific are on generous loan from Juliet McIver.