Synopses & Reviews
In an urban zone crisscrossed by multilane freeways and gridded with broad boulevards, the roadside billboards of Los Angeles may well be the city's most visible platform for art. How Many Billboards? documents a 2010 project in which billboards in Los Angeles were turned over to 23 artists to do with as they wished, asserting the ongoing legacy of California Conceptualism and its combination of language-based strategies with Pop-inflected aesthetics. Astonish declares Kenneth Anger's billboard, in commanding upper-case orange lettering, recapitulating Diaghilev's famous advice to Cocteau. I Look Good, I Know, says Yvonne Rainer's billboard; I Can't Hear, I Can't See, But I Look Good. Martha Rosler's collaboration with Josh Neufeld makes a plea for spending on higher education in California, and Renee Green's image of a darkened shore with silhouetted figures gathered near a tourist ferry is accompanied by the two-line commentary Strangers begin again/Native strangers hosting. Other artists participating in this occasion are Michael Asher, Jennifer Bornstein, Eileen Cowin, Christina Fernandez, Ken Gonzales Day, Kira Lynn Harris, Larry Johnson, John Knight, David Lamelas, Brandon Lattu, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Kori Newkirk, Allen Ruppersberg, Allan Sekula, Susan Silton, Kerry Tribe, Jim Welling and Lauren Woods. Essays by Kimberli Meyer, Gloria Sutton and Nizan Shaked, who co-curated the project, contextualize the works in relation to Conceptual and Pop art idioms, provide background material on the artists and outline the MAK Center's plans to enliven public space.