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SMMoA presents Dig the Dig

May through July, 2013

Release Date: May 20, 2013

Expo Inspired Public Installations and Programs by Artist Bettina Hubby
April - July 2013; Dig the Dig Dinner Party Sunday, July 21


SANTA MONICA, CA—The Santa Monica Museum of Art presents Dig the Dig, a series of programs inspired by the first stage of a dramatic evolution: the construction of the Olympic/26th Street Expo Metro station at the Museum’s doorstep. The new light rail station, which links SMMoA and the Bergamot Station Arts Center district with both downtown Los Angeles and downtown Santa Monica, is scheduled to open in 2016. Work on the site has begun, inaugurating an era of transformation that will include the redevelopment of the arts district and, eventually, a new home for the Museum.


Dig the Dig, organized by Los Angeles artist Bettina Hubby, is the first chapter of the Museum’s engagement with the revitalization of its environs and its own metamorphosis.


Hubby’s interventions explore the visual vocabulary and materials of the site, prompting visitors to see and experience the landscape in unexpected ways. The project embraces the rugged terrain, turns dust and disruption into an occasion for celebration, and commemorates change.


Beginning April 15, Hubby is installing a series of orange safety cones modified to hold flower arrangements along Bergamot Station’s interior construction fencing. She will refresh the cones with weekly deliveries of sunflowers and succulents, an evocative gesture of appreciation for the workers and a cheery, surprising addition to an otherwise typical construction site. 


On Wednesday, May 1, just in time for SMMoA’s second annual Gala and Preview, PRECOGNITO, and ninth annual Exhibition and Benefit Art Sale INCOGNITOtaking place on May 9 and May 11, respectively—Hubby will mount a series of large-scale, manipulated photographs of the Olympic/26th Street site on large banners along the construction fencing. The open air gallery will draw passersby into the unusual beauty of the dirt- and machine-filled landscape and spark interaction with the site and workers.


On Sunday, July 21, Hubby will host a candle-lit and disco-ball activated Dig the Dig Dinner, which will bring together construction workers, local business owners, and neighbors for a festive meal, music, and performances by local artists.


SMMoA executive director Elsa Longhauser explains, “Dig the Dig incorporates the construction site into the life of the Museum and creates platforms for exchange between the crews and the public. We are interested in disrupting habitual ways of seeing a construction site as a nuisance and an eyesore and exploring the generative cycle of deconstruction, chaos, reorganization, and reconstruction.”


SMMoA will continue to develop related programs throughout the construction of the station and into future stages of the area’s transformation—the revitalization of surrounding buildings and public spaces, the construction of the new Museum space, and the eventual arrival of new galleries, creative businesses, restaurants, and bars to complement the old.


Dig the Dig builds upon the success of Hubby’s recent Silver Lake Rowena project, which grew out of the chaos of living adjacent to that construction site for three years. Hubby describes, “I channeled my frustration—my studio practice was completely disrupted by the construction—into finding and creating beauty within the site. I managed to have a positive effect by bringing the workers, businesses, and locals together for an exhibition and dinner that, at least for a moment, and hopefully longer, relieved tension between the community and the workers. Dig the Dig allows me to expand on this idea and create work that can build personal connections among individuals.”


Chris, a Skanska Rados/Expo employee who worked at Silver Lake Rowena, had high praise for Hubby’s work. "We simply couldn’t believe anyone would do anything so generous and create art with us in mind. In all my 30 years on the job, no one has ever done anything so nice for us, and we’ve never seen anything like it.”


Bettina Hubby lives and works in Los Angeles, where she recently organized Co-Tour (2010), a bus tour that explored spaces of private significance throughout greater Los Angeles, Get-Hubbied (2009–2011), a two-year project about the institution of marriage that culminated in a legally binding wedding, and Rock and Eagle Shop (2012), an installation and store that blurred the lines among curator, collector, kitsch, craft, and commerce. Her work was included in The Home Show at the California Arts Foundation in 2011, and in 2009, The Company Gallery presented her collaborative project with Abel Gutierrez, A Picnic in Eden. Hubby received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York.


Lilla Bello generously supports Dig the Dig by supplying flowers for the project at-cost.


Image Captions:


Bettina Hubby, Dig the Dig, Detail of installation with safety cones, spray paint, and flowers in the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s parking lot at Bergamot Station, 2013


Bettina Hubby, Bergamot bird digger, 2013, Digital photograph on vinyl, 10’ x 4’, Courtesy of the Santa Monica Museum of Art  


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For further information about Dig the Dig or to schedule interviews, please contact Beth Laski, 818.986.1105 or beth.laski@smmoa.org


About the Santa Monica Museum of Art
Through its exhibitions, education, and outreach programs, the Santa Monica Museum of Art fosters diversity, innovation, and discovery in contemporary art. The Museum celebrates: expanding boundaries; exploring individual differences; enhancing public knowledge of art; and broadening the art experience. SMMoA is a collection of ideas.


GRACIE: At the Santa Monica Museum of Art
GRACIE is SMMoA’s retail store. A multifunctional shop/storage/installation conceived by artist and architect Allan Wexler, GRACIE offers an inspired selection of books and merchandise that reflects the Museum’s unique mission. GRACIE is named in honor of Board Member and former President Laura Donnelley (aka Gracie), a visionary patron of the arts and SMMoA muse. Shopping at GRACIE is now available online at www.shopsmmoa.org.


Location, Hours, Admission
SMMoA is located at the Bergamot Station, Building G1, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, California. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, closed Sunday, Monday, and all legal holidays. Suggested donation: $5; $3 for seniors and students. For further information about exhibitions and programs, please call 310.586.6488 or visit www.smmoa.org.


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