Thursday, February 6, beginning at 6:30 p.m., The Archer School for Girls will welcome Los Angeles artist Sam Durant and celebrate the opening of his current exhibition, “Pigs and Gold”. The artist’s reception is open to the public. At 7:30 pm, the artist will discuss his work, followed by a Q+A. The installation will be open by appointment to the public at the Eastern Star Gallery on the Archer campus in Brentwood, www.archer.org , phone 310-873-7000. The “Pigs and Gold” exhibit by Sam Durant will be on view through March 18, 2014.
This independent private school for girls, situated in historic buildings in LA’s classiest neighborhood, may be a surprising setting for Durant’s work, which is keenly sociopolitical in nature. “The Archer students have impressed me tremendously with their preparation and knowledge of my work. The class has selected, curated and installed one of my best installations by taking into consideration the characteristics of the gallery space and, importantly, its educational setting. I am honored and proud to have collaborated with such an intelligent and energetic group,” he comments.
The installation derives its provocative name from two lucrative export products and focuses on the two countries which produce the greatest quantities of both commodities, the USA and South Africa. “Just the word ‘pork’ stirs strong emotions,” he says. “Pork is not kosher. It’s offensive in many religious settings. And the idea of ‘pork-barrel politics’ suggests corruption. Paired with gold, it’s a kind of humorous combination. Gold is what everybody wants, and it also is vilified as well as worshipped. And there’s lots of pork, or corruption, along with way.”
“Pigs and Gold” indirectly addresses exploitation by global corporations who wield the power to rewrite history, and dictate who is literally on the map and how their spheres of influence are portrayed. Durant uses cartography as his primary device here, representing the earth’s surface in ways shaped by deep cultural biases, through illustrated maps and mixed-media globes.
Art exhibitions at The Archer School for Girls are conceived, planned and executed entirely by students as part of the school’s unique gallery management program. This leadership-building program offers students hands-on experience in exhibit organization and design, curation of work, coordination with artists and other arts institutions, promotion and publicity, and other key aspects of gallery and museum business management. “I find that young people, like the students at Archer, are really quite open to political conversation,” says Durant. “This exhibition is an unusual opportunity in an unusual context, and I look forward to the experience.”
About The Archer School for Girls
Founded in 1995, The Archer School for Girls is an independent school that provides a 21st-century college preparatory program for students in grades 6 through 12 in an environment that explores and refines the ways girls learn best. Cultivating a strong sense of individuality, personal identity, independence, a sense of global engagement, and an array of leadership opportunities define the student experience. For more information, please visit the Archer website at www.archer.org or phone 310-873-7000.
From “Pigs and Gold”:
Sam Durant’s Antipodean Globe (Desliens 1566)
Custom globe (acrylic, paper), steel cable, miscellaneous hardware
32 inches diameter (81.3 centimeters)
Research and Cartography: Candice Lin, Nikki Pressley
Source: H. Delachaux; The World: Copied directly at the Biblioteque Nationale, Paris, from the original [Nicholas Desliens 1566]; Year 1884 or 1898; Bib ID: 547024, Courtesy of the National Library of Australia