Archive | October, 2012
Aside 30 Oct

Today was my best day in Durham, had a lunch meeting with Full Frame Film Festival and had presentation and excellent screen of our latest documentary, MOHTARAMA, I’m happy that people interest the movie and they clapped and cheered for several minutes. I’m so happy for that. The first screening was great.



Presentation in CDS


Screening  in CDS



Lunch with Full Frame staff


With Full Frame staff

Adventures in San Francisco

30 Oct

Dear All,

After my first few days in San Francisco, I began to set up meetings with local colleagues and to visit some of the different museums and galleries here; meanwhile CCA and the students helped me discover many fascinating programs as well.

One of them was a lecture by Matei Bejenaru, an artist, curator, and the initiator of the Periferic Biennial in Romania ( We knew each other from before, and after the lecture we went to dinner with some CCA faculty members: Elizabeth Thomas, Joanna Szupinska, and Julian Myers. (See all of them here: The balanced proportion of US and Central and/or Eastern European people around the table (Joanna is from L.A but has Polish origins) led to a very interesting discussion about the current climate in our countries and the structure and tendencies of the art fields as well.

We also talked about several artists from the region. As a consequence I was invited to participate in Julian Myers’s class the next day where he screened a video work by Artur Zmijewski. I truly enjoyed his ‘Curatorial Critique’ class–it was very productive, and I was impressed again by the lively discussion and sharp, critical thinking of the students. It seemed that my obviously different perspective on an Eastern European artist  was interesting for them to learn more about as well .

Because the structure of my program is quite free here, I can decide how to spend my time based on my own interest. Naturally I discuss my ideas with Leigh, who provides me with many suggestions and connects me with people. I absolutely like this freedom, and have been organizing lots of individual meetings and visits – I am sometimes even a bit overambitious with the scheduling here, but I wish to get the most out of these 5 weeks. (More about these individual meetings in my next post!)

In addition to all this, the students invite me to different programs which we attend together in smaller groups of 3 or 4. These programs vary from museum visits to excursions to the mountains. What is common in them is that they provide a very informal atmosphere, and this facilitates more relaxed, personalized, and deeper exchanges with them. Here are the students profiles:

Lorain, a first-year student, introduced me the CCA campus and the Wattis Institue, and we also had an accidental studio visit at an MFA student’s studio. Lorain is from Phoenix and is primarily interested in site-specific installations, light and sound installations, so I mentioned Ana’s work to her.

Leila and two French students, Marion and Pierre-Francois, took me to the De Young museum in the Golden Gate Park. Together with the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, this is the largest public arts institution in the City of San Francisco. Its new building opened in 2005 and was designed by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. It well worth having a look at the photo!

During this visit we learned a lot from Leila, who is from Texas, about  American art and her collaboration with Creative Time. Connected to the museum’s modernist exhibition, Marion explained her view on the French modernists, while the Danny Lyon show triggered an exchange on documentary photography and photographers with Hungarian origins like Brassai, Robert Capa, André Kertész, and Martin Munkácsi. See more about the show here:

The outdoor Sculpture Garden of the museum houses works by Joan Miró, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Claes Oldenburg among others. Our favorite was definitely James Turrell’s site-specific installation.

Later we walked a bit around the Golden Gate Park, which hosts the Academy of Sciences. Its cutting-edge building is considered to be one of the greenest museums in the world! I have to visit it next time!

Festival For All Skid Row Artists 2012

29 Oct

I had another very interesting day in Los Angeles. I was invited to the 3rd annual Festival for All Skid Row Artists on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21 from 12 till 4 PM in Gladys Park, at the corner of 6th Street and Gladys Avenue in Skid Row, where neighborhood artists performed and exhibited their works and music, a lot of nice music.



John and Henriette, co-organizers of the LAPD workshop (artist and 18th Street Arts Center resident) picked me up and took to the Festival place. I was engaged in setting and preparing for the festival and met many interesting people. They introduced me to Hayk Makhmuryan who had Armenian origin and worked for Lamp Community as fine arts coordinator.

Hayk Makhmuryan and me are hanging the poster-painting.


I was assisting him during the festival. We talked a lot about the mutual interest in organizing outside art events, community engaged and community based events and about its necessity both in US and Armenia and in all other couriers as well.

Community artists near their booth.

It was open for the children from the community, too.

Later we had diner in China Town, LA with the group of organizers and volunteers.

During the diner in China Town; left to right; Hohn Malpede, me and Hayk Makhmuryan

That was great meeting John, Henriette and Hayk, since we found mutual interest what we were doing in our art practices and promised to have a meeting later and discuss how we can collaborate in the future.

The 13th of October was very busy and productive day 2!

27 Oct

Later Karen Mack took me to another arts center called “Inner City Arts” where I was introduced what kind of community engaged and based activities usually they held.

A running workshop in the In Inner-City Arts center

Afterwards Beth Peterson took me to the other arts organizations which were working in the same concept. We visited “Self Help Graphics and Art” center exactly the time when they were holding a workshop for the community, building toys and different kind of staff preparing for the celebration Halloween.

Me in Self Help Graphics and Art center talking to one of the masters of papier-mâché.

During the workshop for community members.

Afterwards Beth drove for me to the Avenue 50 Studio, where she introduced me to the director of the gallery Kathy Mas. That was another interesting venue and I liked that they usually organized exhibitions round some topic. Current show for instance was about the valance of police in the USA.
We did exchange of contacts and talked about the mutual interest to collaborate maybe somehow in the future.

So, the 13th of October was very busy and productive day!

The 13th of October was very busy and productive day!

27 Oct


My residency agenda has been started from the 13th October, 2012 and until now I have had many interesting meetings and visiting arts organizations in Los Angeles. In 13th October, Jan, executive director of the 18th Street Arts center took me to the St. Elmo Village which is a residency center that realizes community based art projects working with different social groups in the community. Roderick Sykes guided me over the village telling also the story how it was founded and expended. Everything was about “Love”. Love to the work what one is doing. I could feel that love and dedication to that space and goal what Elmo people were doing.

Roderick is telling about foundation of the village.

In one of the workshop room.

St. Elmo Village with the children attending the workshop.

Introduction of 2012 ArtsLink Fellows and their work

26 Oct

Dear Fellows,

 ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageIt was a great pleasure to meet you all and to get to know your work better at the ArtsLink opening session in NYC.  I am attaching the photos from the presentation.

 The organization at the opening session in NYC was  perfect!!


The first days in San Francisco

25 Oct

Dear All,

first of all many thanks again to ArtsLink for making this trip possible, I have amazing and very inspirational times since the beginning of the residency – including meeting you all in New York!

After a very intensive first week in San Francisco, I have finally found some time to write my first post and share my impressions with you! In the next weeks I will do my best to share as much useful and interesting information as I can that may help you get a deeper insight into the art scene here.

As you know I don’t like to waste my time, so I decided to jump into the middle of the life here – fortunately I have all the support of the CCA for that! Just to mention a few programs from my first week: a conference at the Berkeley, getting familiar with the CCA campus, attending classes and public talks, visiting the Wattis Institute, Pier24 Photography, de Young Fine Arts Museum, many galleries, the Sunday market, the Pacific Ocean, an opening at the Kadist, having dinner with Matei Bejenaru (a Romanian visiting artist) and CCA faculty members, hanging out with students in the Golden Gate Park and more… Wow!

As you know my host organization is the Curatorial Practice MA at the California College of the Arts (CCA CP, This is a fantastic institution – the first of its kind on the West Coast! With amazing faculty and incredibly smart students, I am more than impressed!

The chair of the program is Leigh Markopoulos, she is my main host here. Leigh was formerly the deputy director of the CCAWattis Institute for Contemporary Arts here in San Francisco, has worked at the Serpentine and the Hayward Galleries in London, and for the Berlin Biennial etc. Leigh showed me around the city, taking me to several places from Berkeley to the Sunday market (they sell only organic products of local farmers, people in general are quite obsessed with food here…) and the coast. There is an amazing coastline a half hour drive to the North (see the pics and the Turnerian light!) In the meanwhile we had long discussions; it was great to learn about the local art landscape from someone who has a deep understanding of both the European and American art scenes. And of course, we have also exchanged ideas on some exhibitions we had found interesting or controversial recently, this is what curators tend to do on Sunday mornings walking near the Pacific Ocean…

I spent my first day at the UC Berkeley, located one hour from the downtown of San Francisco), as the CCA CP together with The Arts Research Center at the University of California Berkeley organized a livestream of the Creative Time Summit:  Creative Time is a New York based organization that commissions and presents ambitious public art projects, it’s director is Anne Pasternak. This was the 4th edition of the summit, a one day conference with keynotes like Martha Rosler and Slavoj Zizek, followed by many short presentations, including ones from Carolyne Christov-Bakargiev and the Belgrade-based Skart, of whom I am a huge fan. This year’s focus was “Confronting Inequity”, and although the conference was highly and widely criticized for many reasons, what I absolutely enjoyed were the very vivid and articulated on-site discussions. I found it fascinating to analyze the differences in the way people articulate their opinions and engage others to take part in the discussion. This is something I will keep on tracking – I can’t help my obsession with rhetorics…

This is enough for now, more soon!

Hope you all have equally great time,

I am eager to read about your first impressions!

My residency stay as a CEC ARTSLInk fellow in the 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, CL

23 Oct


I arrived Los Angeles on the 11th Oct., 2012 and was met by Jessica at the airport, who worked for the 18th Street Arts Center. That was a new experience for me; the 1st time in Los Angeles, Ocean…

She took me to the Arts Center where I met people from staff. They all are very nice people, have been waiting for my arrival. It was funny, all were interested how pronounce my name, which is very Armenian name and in fact very difficult for English speaking people. May I will choose an American nickname for me.

I liked the host organization and found it very interesting for me and right chosen according to my proposal.

The day I did arrive and the next day as well were my free days and I just spent it walking round, having some shopping and so on, just preparing for my more than one month stay in Santa Monica. 

My host had planned an agenda for me between for the period of my residency there and on the 13th Oct. in the morning Jan, the executive director of the 18th Streets Arts Center, took for the meetings according to the agenda. They were chosen really right institutions and people to visit.

I am so impressed that later would like to post all what I felt in my blog here, sharing my experience.


My three days in New York City as a CEC ArtsLink fellow 2012.

23 Oct

Though it was my 2nd visit to New York, but I always get confused in mega-polices.
I was looking forward to meet other fellows since I read about them but didn’t know in person.
In 9th Oct, we all had brief self introduction and presentations of our activates, which forced us to know each other’s creative resume better. I had a talk about Akos Cultural NGO, the organization I was running and about my artistic activity. We had very intense and super interesting days in NYC before we leave for our host cities; visiting arts centers, galleries, seeing street artist-story teller and talking to her, having meal together and all that time program director Tamalyn Miller and program coordinator Maxim Tumenev were with us working along the NYC streets and assisting us to explore it.

The idea of ArtsLink residency; spreading fellow over the country is very good, I liked that very much. It is like in epic tales, like sending “apostles” to the different sides to do their mission. I liked. ImageImage

New Documentary.

21 Oct

New Documentary.

Started to make a documentary about US presidential election, Halloween and Afghanistan! first day shooting was great in NC legislation House, I had interview with a senator.