About the Exhibition: In early modern Europe, the wealthy and powerful dedicated spaces in their palaces for the display of acquired artwork. The owner (and select guests) could walk inside but not live in these formal ambulatories, or “galleries.” As time progressed, the artwork inside the gallery spaces were relocated from royal palaces, churches, and cathedrals to be exhibited in public galleries inside the city. Italy was one of the first countries to fully develop the concept of the gallery space, exhibiting artworks in various media from well-known Italian artists. In the 19th century, civic-minded individuals started to establish public galleries and museums, consequently conditioning the general public to equate an artwork’s value and prestige with a formal art setting. Since then, galleries and museums have become culturally accepted spaces to exhibit valuable artwork, regarding anything unconventional as mediocre and invaluable.
In the exhibit entitled EXHIBITION ROOM, Dillan Garcia explores the idea of an alternative exhibition space in his private residence in Koreatown, Los Angeles. His private residence serves a dual function: it provides spaces in which to work and reside as well as a space to exhibit new artwork. Garcia’s work explores issues about the use of public and private display spaces, systemic racism, gentrification, displacement, and art education. More specifically, it questions what murals can and cannot be, investigates how the Home Owners Loan Corporation’s (HOLC) racist practices played a role in shaping Los Angeles’s current landscape, and examines the transformation and displacement of Koreatown residents due to the rise of luxury apartments and condominiums in the neighborhood. He wonders if the owners of these new properties will hang beautiful photos of “what used to be Koreatown” to place their building in context with the rest of the community. The wall dimensions, texture, color, and interior layout of the private residence inspired the creation of each work of art. A site-specific mural depicts a jade mask from Teotihuacan, Mexico and a ceramic portrait vessel from Lima, Peru challenges the way Indigenous artifacts are shown in art institutions. Digital prints capture abstract natural forms in Bryce Canyon National Park, exploring how time, weather, and local materials change or create a natural landscape, similar to the gentrification and displacement process occurring in Koreatown. Drawings present models for interactive large-scale sculptures for possible installation in public spaces such as parks and sidewalks in low-income communities like Koreatown and the surrounding neighborhoods. In upcoming models, Garcia will experiment with metal, steel, concrete, and cement using techniques including joinery, molding, and welding. A drawing and painting made by his seven-year-old brother inspired two of Garcia’s pieces, and are included in the show to instill confidence, determination, and passion for the arts in him. He looks forward to exhibiting artwork in alternative spaces in the near future.
About the Artist: Dillan Garcia (him/him/they) is a multimedia artist from Los Angeles, California. His work investigates the boundaries of public and private property, explores the concept of cultural diversity in homogeneous spaces, and celebrates life by engaging objects, nature and people in participatory public installations, amplifying the experience of “being in the moment”. He also draws inspiration from architecture and archeology to connect with his indigenous roots. Garcia uses materials such as gaffer tape, fabric, tarp, rope, natural light, cultural objects, and ready-made textile and furniture to build connections and involve local communities in downtown Los Angeles. His work spans from drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, installation and performance.