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Views from Here: Los Angeles | A panel discussion about being based in LA

December 15, 2018 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Moderated by Michelle Grabner with Jennifer Bolande, Neha Choksi, Courtney Fink, Galia Linn, Shana Lutker, Forrest Olivo, Paul Pescador, and Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Join us for a conversation about regionality, locality, and the myriad of ways in which arts-workers find themselves living and working in Los Angeles. This panel is comprised of artists, curators, and art advocates who have spent time in Los Angeles looking out, and outside of Los Angeles looking in. We come together to take a deeper look at ourselves, as Angelenos.

Milwaukee-based artist Michelle Grabner, an informed “outsider,” will lead a conversation among panelists and the audience about Los Angeles-ness. A lifelong midwesterner, Grabner has questions about what’s happening in LA, and wants to hear about Here.

This is the fourth X-TRA Forum, a series of programs using the 20-year archive of contemporary art quarterly X-TRA as a springboard. Grabner looked back to her first contribution to X-TRA for inspiration for this program. In 1997, she wrote a review of The Eagle Rock Show, an exhibition organized by Laura Owens at the Eagle Rock Cultural Community Center printed in X-TRA Volume 1, number 3. In her text, Grabner considers the importance of “social skills and generosity” that infused the exhibition, a group show of artists working in and around Eagle Rock. Now, 20 years later, what are the key elements that infuse our art lives in Los Angeles?


Michelle Grabner is an artist, writer, and a curator based in Wisconsin. She is the Crown Family Professor of Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she has taught for twenty-three years. In addition, Grabner has also held teaching appointments at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cranbrook Academy of Art; Yale Norfolk; Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts, Bard College; Yale University School of Art; and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine. The Indianapolis Museum of Art, MOCA Cleveland, Illinois State Galleries, and INOVA at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee have each hosted survey exhibitions of Grabner’s work.

Grabner co-curated the 2014 Whitney Biennial and curated the 2016 Portland Biennial. She was the Artistic Director for the inaugural exhibition, FRONT International, the 2018 Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. Her reviews are regularly published in X-TRA and Artforum. In 2010, Mary Jane Jacob and Grabner co-edited THE STUDIO READER, published by the University of Chicago Press.

With her husband Brad Killam, she founded The Suburban in 1999 in Oak Park, IL hosting a range of international contemporary art. After 16 years in the Chicago vicinity, The Suburban began programming exhibitions in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. In 2009 Grabner and Killam opened The Poor Farm in rural Waupaca County, Wisconsin. The Poor Farm is dedicated to annual historical and contemporary exhibitions, lectures, performances, publications, screenings and alternative educational programs.


Jennifer Bolande came of age as part of New York’s Pictures Generation during the 1980s. Rooted in conceptualism, her work employs various media—primarily sculpture, photography and film—to explore the quiet affinities between particular sets of objects and images, and the mercurial meanings they manufacture. Reviewing a show of her work at Metro Pictures, New York Times’ critic Holland Cotter praised Bolande’s art for it’s “low-key wit, lively inventiveness, and subtle eye for metaphor.” Bolande is a professor in the New Genres area of UCLA’s Department of Art. A solo exhibition of her work, titled The Composition of Decomposition, is on view at Pio Pico gallery.

Neha Choksi is a visual artist who works in multiple media, across disciplines, and at times collaboratively and in unconventional settings. She was awarded the India Today Best New Media Artist of the Year Award (2017) and the designation of Cultural Trailblazer by the City of Los Angeles DCA (2017/2018). She serves on the editorial board of X-TRA and is currently working with Anuradha Vikram on a series for X-TRA Online called “Views From Here” that will present perspectives on “here” from artists across the globe. Her work was included in Made in LA at the Hammer Museum earlier this year, and her exhibition and installation, ELEMENTARY, is currently on view at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica.

Courtney Fink is an organizer, arts advocate, curator and writer. She is co-founder and founding executive director of Common Field, a national network of independent visual arts organizations and organizers that connects, supports, and advocates for the artist-centered field. From 2002-2015 she was the executive director of Southern Exposure in San Francisco, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting visual artists. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Seed Fund.

Forrest Olivo is the founder of Contemporary Art Daily, a website that publishes high quality documentation of exhibitions from around the world every day. He is executive director of the small non-profit that produces that project as well as Contemporary Art Quarterly, a set of exhaustive online archives documenting individual art practices.

Galia Linn a sculptor and site-specific installation artist living and working in Los Angeles. Linn constructs relationships between subject, object and their environments by creating elemental tensions; a delicate balance between the mediums’ limits and Linn’s exploration with life’s imperfections. She has shown nationally and internationally, and is part of numerous private collections in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, Brussels and Tel Aviv. Linn is the founder of Blue Roof Studios is a multidisciplinary art hub located in South Los Angeles. It offers a place for artists to work in an environment that fosters creativity and community.

Shana Lutker is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores the relationship between language and the unconscious. She has had solo exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and Performa 13. Lutker received her MFA from UCLA. She serves as the Executive Director of Project X Foundation for Art & Criticism, the nonprofit publisher of X-TRA.

Paul Pescador is an artist, filmmaker, performer and writer discussing social interactions and intimacy as they pertain to his own personal identity and history. He graduated with an MFA from University of California, Irvine and a BA from University of Southern California. Select exhibitions and screenings include: The Main Museum, Los Angeles; The Pit, Glendale; 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica; 5 Car Garage, Santa Monica; Coastal/Borders, Getty Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA at Angels Gate Cultural Center; LAND at The Gamble House, Pasadena; Vacancy, Los Angeles; Ashes/Ashes, Los Angeles; Park View, Los Angeles; and Human Resources, Los Angeles. Select performances include: Machine Projects, Los Angeles; Los Angeles Contemporary Archives; Performa 2015; Colony, New York; UC Berkeley: Durham Studio Theater; PAM, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, with KCHUNG TV, Los Angeles; REDCAT, Los Angeles; Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University, Los Angeles; and ForYourArt, Los Angeles.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s work is rooted in portraiture, elements of storytelling, and homoerotic visual culture. By inserting mirrors and collage-like photographs and staging his friends, partners, and lovers as his subjects, Sepuya investigates the role of the studio as a social environment. He received his MFA from the University of California Los Angeles in 2016 and a BFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts in 2004. Sepuya’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis; and the Artist Institute, New York.

X-TRA Forums are made possible with additional support from Pasadena Art Alliance, Isambard Kingdom Brunel Society of North America, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The preceding X-TRA Forums were “A Jennifer Moon Songbook” organized by Malik Gaines, “Clean Needles Now and Now” organized by Patrick Staff, and “Something About Feet” with Dorit Cypis and Simone Forti in conversation.

Photo by Shana Lutker


December 15, 2018
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Human Resources LA
410 Cottage Home
Los Angeles, CA 90012