Chicano murals, Industry opera on a San Pedro beach among winners of Mike Kelley Foundation grants
An oceanside “sculptural stage” set on fire, an exhibition on seven local Chicano muralists and the first performance of a work by the late electronic music pioneer James Tenney are just a few of the projects to receive grants from the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, the organization is expected to announce Wednesday.
The Artist Project Grant program, in its second year, honors the experimental and philanthropic legacy of the late visual artist Mike Kelley. The foundation said grants are awarded to artists, nonprofit groups and arts organizations that exemplify, through a range of mediums, Kelley’s imaginative spirit, with an emphasis on less mainstream work that might otherwise have difficulty attracting funding.
Eight L.A. recipients were awarded 2017 grants totaling $319,000. They include Yuval Sharon’s experimental opera company, the Industry, which received $40,000. The company will reimagine Bertolt Brecht’s “Life of Galileo,” a new “carnivalesque” staging that will take place on a San Pedro beach around a fire sculpture by L.A. artist Liz Glynn. The production will include singers, actors, dancers and an 18-piece orchestra with original music by composer Andy Akiho.
The nonprofit exhibition and performance space Human Resources, in partnership with the project space 356 S. Mission Rd., received a $40,000 grant that will go toward staging Charlemagne Palestine’s “GesammttkkunnsttMeshuggahhLaandtttt.” The retrospective presents five decades of work spanning painting, sculpture, sound installation, video and performance, conveying the artist’s so-called “maximalist” spirit.
“Kelley was known for ambitious, thought-provoking work that challenged viewers,” said Mary Clare Stevens, executive director of the foundation. “There were elements of irreverence, experimentation and fearlessness in his practice that continue to be inspiring and influential. I think the grantees reflect this spirit."
With a grant of $36,000, the Pasadena Arts Council and the sound-art collective Volume will present performance artist Ron Athey’s “Gifts of the Spirit: Auto da Fe,” a collaboration with the composer Sean Griffin. The piece explores how the evangelical and spiritualist traditions that Athey grew up with are embedded in, and have morphed within, his “psycho-neurology,” even long after he left his faith behind.
The Mexican American cultural center La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, which will explore Chicana and Chicano murals, received $40,000; the experimental, artist-run nonprofit Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound, which will stage Tenney’s “Changes: 64 Studies for 6 Harps,” received $33,000; REDCAT received $40,000; the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach received $40,000; and the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College received $50,000.
Performance and exhibition schedules are on the Mike Kelley Foundation website, www.mikekelleyfoundation.org.