International exhibitions

International 2010 Archives

How Many Billboards? Art In Stead
MAK Center, West Hollywood (USA)

26.02 - 30.05.2010


04.06- 15.08.2010


07.09 - 25.11.2012

Précédent Suivant


Press release

Billboards and their impact on the visual landscape of Los Angeles have been a hot topic for the last decade, as outdoor media surfaces increasingly populate the city's urban landscape. How Many Billboards ? Art in Stead addresses this context with a large-scale urban exhibition debutins 21 specially commissioned works by leading contemporary artists.

Participants include : Kenneth Anger / Michael Asher / Jennifer Bornstein / Eileen Cowin / Christina Fernandez / Ken Gonzales-Day / Renée Green / Kira Lynn Harris / John Knight / David Lamelas / Brandon Lattu / Daniel Joseph Martinez / Kori Newkirk / Yvonne Rainer / Martha Rosier with Josh Neufeld / Allan Sekula / Susan Silton / Kerry Tribe / James Welling / lauren woods

The exhibition highlights the interaction of Pop Art, Conceptual Art, and Architecture in Los Angeles since the 1960s, investigating art as an idea as well as art as media for critical intervention. Each artist has created a new work that critically responds to the medium of the billboard and interprets its role in the urban landscape.

How Many Billboards? Art In Stead is accompanied by an overview exhibition at the Schindler House. A full-color exhibition catalogue will be released in late April 2010. The MAK Center has also organized a series of public programs, film screening, discussions and bus tours to investigate the exhibition and the visual field of Los Angeles.



Exhibition from February 26 to May 30, 2010. MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Schindler House, 835 North Kings Road - West Hollywood, CA 90069. Tel. 323 651 1510.

How Many Billboards? Art In Stead MAK Center, West Hollywood

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2012. All Rights Reserved

Text by Kimberli Meyer, Director's Statement of MAK

The philosophical proposition of the exhibition is simple: art should occupy a visible position in the cacophony of mediated images in the city, and it should do so without merely adding to the visual noise. How Many Billboards? Art In Stead proposes that art periodically displace advertisement in the urban environment.

Billboards are a dominant feature of the landscape in Los Angeles. Thousands line the city's thoroughfares, delivering high-end commercial messages to a repeat audience. Given outdoor advertising's strong presence in public space, it seems reasonable and exciting to set up the possibility for art to be present in this field. The sudden existence of artistic speech mixed in with commercial speech provides a refreshing change of pace. Commercial messaging tells you to buy; artistic messaging encourages you to look and to think.

Time and space allotted for artworks in commercial space is limited, and the sea of signs is vast. How can a billboard exhibition make a strong enough impact? Most importantly, the art cannot be passive. It must take a strategic approach, be critically oriented, and explore the billboard as a site.

Artistically and culturally, Los Angeles is an aggregate of dynamic histories. Experimental architecture has been active here since the early twentieth century, radical art since the 1950s. An acute awareness of urban space has always influenced both avant-garde architectural and art practices in Los Angeles. Southern California's overlaps and interweaves of architectural adventurism, pop, and Conceptual Art have generated rich environments for artistic production and yielded influential bodies of art. My co-curators and I felt that these So-Cal syntheses are relevant for the dynamics of pop-public space in Los Angeles today.

It's a win-win situation.

Los Angeles public space begs for smart art to break up the monotony of everyday media fare, and the billboard provides a fertile position for artists who work critically and site-responsively to test their ideas in urban media space. Contemporary art gains a momentarily broad audience, and city dwellers are extended a daily invitation to reflect and contemplate. Channels are opened for experimentation, innovation, and cultural exchange.