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Jet Set Saturdays: Dennis Loesch at ACLA


Dennis Loesch’s Los Angeles solo exhibition, “The Los Angeles Times” is currently (until May 16) at Art Center Los Angeles in Culver City, located at 5524 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019. The exhibition is easily seen from the street as the exterior of the building features Loesch’s appropriated photographic www. imagery from a Los Angeles Times front page. The particular details on the banner were chosen by the artist out of thousands.

Inside the exhibition features Loesch’s “Memory Sticks”, both installed on the walls and leaning against them. The artist utilizes the objects he fashions, and the space around them, to act as critical cultural mirrors. The work is historically informed, and employs hyper-realistic colors and imbedded pop art imagery. Yet the work is not entirely cynical and while the installation bluntly addresses commodification, Loesch has the ability to maintain a certain unique element of humor throughout, resulting in a playful bright clash of subject matter including a psychedelic eighties Dionysian box cover and vivid dystopian views of commonplace telephone poles and mall store fronts, as seen in the works GIRL AND GRAPES, 2011 and DONUT TIME, 2011.


Due to a precise formal balance and lack of hierarchy between object and applied imagery, the work has the ability to alter and exchange meaning, quite surreptitiously. Furthermore, the anchoring vector points in the sculptures shift from form to concept, allowing for a comparatively large gap of theoretical possibilities. The exhibit is clearly a result of an ongoing investment and process that has an embedded discourse resisting what Duchamp referred to as the contemporary problem of “the myopic vision of our age.”


The exhibition is savvy regarding its viewers and perhaps to the following suggestion in Unpacking Culture, Art and Commodity in Colonial and Post-colonial Worlds, by Ruth P. Phillips and Christopher B. Steiner. “Distinctions between categories of art, artifact and commodity are projections of the individual experience that reveal, in the end, far more about who collects objects rather than those who produce them.” They also state that the “Definition of art, artifact and commodity typically occur at such interstitial nodes – sites of negotiation and exchange where objects must continually be re-evaluated according to regional criteria and logical definitions. At each point in its movement through space and time, an object has the potential to shift between one category to another to another and, in so doing, to slide along the slippery line that divides art from artifact from commodity.”


In The Los Angeles Times, each piece serves to unify the whole and craft a cohesive scope within the gallery. The spaces in between the objects become as important as the objects themselves, if not more so, and further articulate concerns related to the exponential. These spaces elucidate Barthes’s analogy between text and objects, specifically, in that “text is the fabric of quotations”, obtained from “innumerable centers of culture,” rather than from any singular experience and that “a text’s unity lies not in its origins but in its destination”, or the reader. These conclusions culminate in DOLLARS, 2011, wherein the interspersed sculptural lines are reminiscent both of infinite divisibility and patterns in language.

THE EASE, 2011

THE EASE, 2011, verges on more metaphysical sensibilities and, in essence, is more abstracted and totemic. Throughout history, totem poles of all forms are used to portray noteworthy colloquial events, allusions and legends. They are regarded to hold supernatural powers and are representative of thresholds between worlds. In spirit of the negated space and “fluxuation” Loesch presents in the exhibition, this particular piece brings to mind the notions of communal use in property in relationship to freeplay within semiotics. In property terms, an easement is a certain mode of access to a piece of property, and renders the property as shared in nature. Simply by the use of the literal term easement, the property in itself is lawfully considered a property right. A floating easement exists when there is “no fixed location, route, method or limit to the right of way” in accessing a property.

In language, floating signifiers denote signs devoid of referents, or a word that doesn’t point to any actual object or common universal meaning. The notion of floating signifiers has a way of asserting that the object is more concrete and stable than the concept it describes and carries a wide scope of variability within it’s readers. Finally, just to drive Loesch’s generous conceptual point home, in relationship to mathematics, a floating signifier possesses the symbolic value zero, or ultimately, the unquantifiable void[.]

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This post was contributed by Maya Lujan.

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Jet Set Saturdays: Dennis Loesch at ACLA