Artbound Presents MOCAtv Special Episode

Artbound presents an hour-long special featuring short, vibrant videos from MOCAtv, the art video channel developed as a digital extension of the education and exhibition programming of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA).

Featuring an eclectic mix of videos profiling artworks like Barry Le Va's "Shatterscatter" and prolific artists such as Sterling Ruby, Nan Goldin and Fatima Al Qadiri, Artbound Presents MOCAtv will showcase a series of original short videos designed to engage a global audience with contemporary art and its intersection with film, video, music, performance, dance, comedy and more.

The episode features the following segments:

Sterling Ruby


Sterling Ruby.

Los Angeles artist Sterling Ruby first exhibited his monumental urethane sculptures as part of MOCA Focus: Sterling Ruby, SUPERMAX 2008, an energetic show of painting, collage and sculpture. MOCA visits the artist in his studio for an exclusive look into his process.

Born in 1972, on Bitburg Air Base, Germany, and raised in rural Pennsylvania, Sterling Ruby moved to Los Angeles to attend Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. The highly prolific artist has maintained studios in the industrial outskirts of Los Angeles since 2003. Plunging into the damp basements and tagged streets of contemporary America, Ruby transforms iconographies of industriousness and virtuous craft into masochistic lamentations. Ruby vilifies the artistic gesture as a conditioned response, bound to a history that is, to him, at its best a crutch and at its worst a stifling prison.

For the first time, film crews visit Ruby in his Vernon, California studio complex as he works with a team of assistants to create his famed urethane works. Ruby brings the camera inside the process, offering intimate views of the mixture of chemicals, application of urethane, and the heavy machinery used to invert and transport his works. Where once was the ecstatic solo dance of Jackson Pollock is now the clandestine construction in the studio with Sterling Ruby as its fastidious foreman. The comparison to a laboratory--be it scientific or street drug--is altogether welcome.

Featuring music by Ernest Gibson: "When You Get There."
Filmed on location in Los Angeles, summer 2013.



Niki de Saint Phalle/Soko



The latest in an ongoing series of lyric videos in which musicians interpret the words of contemporary artists. The series is created by L.A.-based director/curator Aaron Rose. In this video, Aaron Rose and MOCAtv invited the French singer Soko to record the words of the artist Niki de Saint Phalle -- an artist whose work is in the MOCA collection -- interpreted in a way that is designed to potentially bring a new audience to her work and to MOCA. The work of Niki De Saint Phalle comes alive in "Loveletter," a new single by pop singer Soko inspired by the late Franco-American artist. Just as Soko's romantic lament takes form in the words of Saint Phalle, so does artist, curator and filmmaker Aaron Rose animate the artist's drawings from her 1971 artist book "My Love, Where Shall We Make Love?," which expands and enlivens the motion implicit in Saint Phalle's accordion-folding book. The constellation of characters in "My Love," including voluptuous, feminine nanas, are flattened, art brut-style illustrations of sculptural figures that Saint Phalle exhibited in museums and public parks the world over. These figures helped Saint Phalle advance her career-long inquiry into the quirks and intricacies of devotion.

Written and performed by Soko
Produced by Ross Robinson
Animation by San Charoenchai





On February 10, 2014, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles installed Barry Le Va's Shatterscatter (Within the Series of Layered/Pattern Acts) (1968-1971) under the guidance of MOCA Curator Bennett Simpson with a sledgehammer. The work is part of the permanent collection at MOCA. Born in Long Beach, California in 1941, Le Va gained prominence when his felt "distribution" works appeared on the cover of Artforum in November 1968. Scattered across large expanses of floor, these works appeared at first to be random in their execution and were grouped with the art of emerging sculptors such as Robert Morris and Richard Serra. But unlike those artists, whose main concerns involved the reliance on chance, Le Va's distribution pieces were the result of carefully planned and choreographed activities.

In Shatterscatter, six sheets of glass are stacked on top of one another, and as each new layer is added, it is struck with a sledgehammer at its center, causing it to shatter. A final layer of glass is placed over the stack of shards and left untouched. The resulting sculpture is cut off from other works within the exhibition space; its pristine glass top encases the raw energy of the work's creation into what Le Va called an "isolated contained act."


Nan Goldin


Nan Goldin.

The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is currently on view at MOCA Grand Ave, and Nan Goldin's work is in the permanent collection. Mixing an in-depth interview with slides of her career-defining work, this video presents the strategies and stakes of Nan Goldin's The Ballad of Sexual Dependency: "I didn't care about good photography, I cared about complete honesty," Goldin says. From its elastic life as slideshow series exhibited across the globe, to its structured legacy as a photo book and collection of prints, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency underscores the camera's documentary function, offering not just enthralling compositions but proof of experience. Creating intimacy with rather than distance from her subjects, Goldin sought to "to show exactly what it was," whether that it was her friends, housemates, lovers, or the plague of AIDS that hit her community. Discussing Larry Clark's influence on her "saturated vision," the dueling desires for intimacy and autonomy that haunt human relationships, Goldin re-orients the dominant perspective on this vital work, setting the record crooked: "We were never marginalized. We were the world."


Crime - Marcus McGhee



The artist Alix Lambert has an unusual and distinguished resume, spanning the worlds of visual art, publishing and filmmaking. She has been an award winning screenwriter for HBO shows like "Deadwood" and "John from Cincinnati," as well as participating in gallery shows in Europe and America as an artist and as a curator. But one of her main fixations in both art and film is crime. She has made several documentaries and published a book of interviews in which she interviewed criminals. This series came as the result of her collaboration with Sam Chou and his Canadian animation studio Style 5 tv in which they used a noir-inflected aesthetic and animated excerpts from several of the interviews. In this piece, Marcus McGhee, a school teacher in Hartford Connecticut, tells the story of when his car was stolen and the police did not help him. The animation is a combination of hand-drawn, pencil on paper, paint and digital paint and composite.

The film was featured in programming at Sundance Film Festival 2014. 


Bruce Conner




This is episode it one of a four part series celebrating the work of cult experimental film maker Bruce Conner. Conner is represented by several pieces of work in the permanent collection at MOCA. He has been called, rightly or wrongly, the godfather of music videos. Long before MTV existed, part of his work as an artist involved cutting footage he filmed and often found to pop music. It may have been an unusual sight--an elder statesmen from the Beat Generation hanging out at Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco at the height of punk, taking pictures of bands like Negative Trend and slam dancing with teenagers. But Bruce Conner was restless and the energy of punk invigorated him. For MONGOLOID (1978), the short film Conner began preparing after seeing Devo on their first tour, Conner spliced together newsreel, educational, and b-movie footage which resonated with their satirical lyrics about an underdeveloped man-child determined to fit into and positively contribute to mainstream American society. Gerald Casale discusses meeting Conner in Los Angeles and finding political and aesthetic common ground with Dada and Constructivism. Other episodes in the series explore Conners creation of the 'first' music video Three Screen Ray featuring a track by Ray Charles. Another episode focuses on the video Breakaway made in association with Toni Basil. And the video Mea Culpa in association with Brian Eno and David Byrne is the subject of another episode. The series features interviews with members of the bands and academic analysis and interpretation by leading film scholars.


Ghost Raid - Fatima Al Qadiri




The artist Fatima Al Qadiri straddles the two worlds of music and contemporary art as do her L.A.-based record label Fade to Mind. As part of the Art + Music strand of programming, MOCAtv has made dozens of videos that reflected the ongoing history of these two art forms in conjunction. From Bruce Conner and the origins of the music video, to documentaries on the Art of Punk and many "music videos" to the latest generation of visual artists for whom videos, music, YouTube and the internet are all part of the medium as well as the mode of distribution of the work. Inspired by the blend of technology and destruction in Fatima Al Qadiri's EP "Desert Strike," artist Alex Gvojic's lush visualization of "Ghost Raid" is a blend of real war footage, video games, and original computer animation. Drawing upon the background of the Gulf War and ancient myths of Djinn, the film documents the creation of secret machines in unseen dimensions, black particles rising like smoke from oil fires, evil energies drawn from conflict and war. Working alongside otherworldly entities, the Djinn are the spirit of military technology, ghostly machines crafting conflict, much like a child outfitting a soldier in a video game. "Ghost Raid" is a hyperreal meditation on history, spirituality, and contemporary violence.


3 Union Shop - The Colby Poster Company




The distinctive Colby poster has been used by many L.A. artists such as Alan Ruppersberg, Peter Coffin and Craig Stecyk III, and has been featured more than once in MOCA exhibitions. When the Colby press announced they would close in late 2013, artist Stecyk and director Felipe Lima paid tribute to a unique piece of Los Angeles art history with this short documentary. Until its doors closed on December 31, 2012, the family-run Colby Poster Printing Company made the letter-pressed signs, posters, billboards and showcards that were a ubiquitous feature of the visual landscape of Los Angeles. For three generations, promoters of boxing bouts, rodeos, reggae concerts and literary-minded visual artists were drawn to the swift graphic science of the day-glo poster, its essential purpose to quickly and efficiently convey information to viewers zooming along the autoscape, and to the durability of the product, hanging on telephone poles and chainlink fences from Venice to Las Vegas for months and years after the commission. In this short documentary, C.R. Stecyk III visits the company to make one last print, and to expound on its enduring appeal to anyone who ever wanted to leave a mark of their own in the city of signs.

Narrated by C.R. Stecyk III.
Directed by Felipe Lima & C.R. Stecyk III.


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