The Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum will showcase GYRE: a one-work, one-week exhibition for eight artists to dismiss expectations of conventional museum-going beginning Feb. 4.
“A lot of times with museums there’s this misconception that museums, especially contemporary art museums, are pretentious or not welcoming or elitist,” said Amanda Fruta, public affairs and communication specialist. “We’re trying to get away from that idea and be more hospitable.”
A gyre is a circular or spiral motion or form. Similarly, the series will rotate eight artists over the course of the exhibition in an attempt to rid the experience of distraction and expectation in order to fully submerge visitors with their surroundings by dedicating a week to one artwork.
Fruta said in addition to the stripped-down style of the exhibition, the programming will take on mindfulness and movement.
The artists of GYRE are inherently bringing their own experience to the forefront of their art pieces. Whether it’s on canvas or drawn with tar, their art is a vehicle driving a force larger than them.
Los Angeles-based artist, Phung Huynh, 43, is the sole Asian American participating in GYRE Feb. 25-29 with her piece “Boys Will Be Boys,” which consists of multiple figures painted in a modern, American-pop culture style that addresses gender dynamics.
“I wanted to pick something that’s very complicated and layered so that it would warrant the time for somebody to sit in front of it and just to spend time with that one piece,” Huynh said. “So it’s dismantling old-world patriarchal ideas and narratives and twisting it and putting it in this very confusing, violent scene, and I think in that way it’s relevant to what’s going on today.”
New York-born artist Keith Walsh, 56, will showcase his “The Trotsky Dialectics” Feb.11-15. Walsh has been drawing since he was five years old, but incorporating politics in his art is a recent fascination.
Walsh wanted his piece to represent the crossing of paths between Marxist theorist Leon Trotsky and figures in his life like Mexican Communist party members and fellow artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The artwork, according to Walsh, remains relevant to the present day, drawing attention to FBI and white-race-riot activity.
“It’s a chronology of socialist and communist interactions from 1917 to the 1940s in the United States,” Walsh said. “At the heart of this is Leon Trotsky. His particular viewpoints shaped in the American scene profoundly from the late ‘20s onward.”
GYRE attempts to hold a diverse outlook on life at Long Beach State to appeal to the campus community. However, the museum is taking an extra step to include its visitors in the series.
“We’re trying to make it so that viewers feel very welcome and that people feel like they can respond to the artwork in any way that they feel fit,” Fruta said. “We will also have an interactive wall so people can respond to the artwork and actually leave their mark or leave their comments about what inspired them or what the artwork made them feel.”
The exhibition will include four artworks from the Kleefeld Contemporary’s permanent collection and four artworks on loan from artists and collectors from all over America and across the world.
The exhibition series calendar includes: Eugenia Vargas Pereira, Feb. 4-8; John Baldessari, Feb. 18-22; James Griffith, March 3-7; David R. Harper, March 10-14; Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, March 17-21; and Nery Gabriel Lemus, March 24-28. For more details, visit the Kleefeld Contemporary website.
This article previously misspelled Phung Huynh’s name and misnamed “The Trotsky Dialectics,” it was corrected Monday, Feb. 10 at 1:36 a.m.