Adam Berg: Endangered Spaces is a new video, sculpture, and photo installation created especially for SMMoA’s Project Room 1. It explores the complex relationship between nature and the built environment, and identifies a parallel future between endangered animals and threatened architectural spaces.
Endangered Spaces features visual episodes that juxtapose Los Angeles architectural landmarks and dislocated wild animals. The exhibition features four architectural sites in two adjacent single-channel videos, placed edge-to-edge, that create a moving video mural in the corner of the gallery. Each video presents a sequence where animals invade and inhabit well-recognized homes–giraffes wander through Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, the strange-snouted tapir roots around the grounds of the Rudolf Schindler House, lumbering hippos graze throughout Richard Neutra’s Kronish House, and gorillas lounge in John Lautner’s Beyer House.
Berg complements his videos with three geometric, stainless steel sculptures that at once refract and reflect the projections. The mirrored sculptures transfigure the videos, making his animal/human visions even more surreal and disjointed. At once rock-like and architectural, they challenge our perceptions and collapse preconceived notions of the natural and the fabricated.
Berg also includes two wall-mounted photo-etchings in this installation. They are visual constellations comprised of geometric panels that provide glimpses of pastoral scenes of lone figures in natural settings. Although these works refer to such Romantic artists as Caspar David Friedrich, the sublime is reconfigured into fractured, shard-like pieces.
Taken all together, the installation connects structural geometry, wild inhabitants, and domestic architecture. Throughout Endangered Spaces, Berg makes us reconsider our ideas of man-made design, nature, captivity, and conservation.
This never-before-seen work by Berg marks the inauguration of NY/LA, the Museum’s new exhibition series that connects contemporary art on both coasts. Endangered Spaces is curated by SMMoA Deputy Director Lisa Melandri.
Berg (b. 1962) was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and works and lives in Los Angeles. He attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, studied architecture, landscape architecture, and philosophy at the University of Toronto, and philosophy at York University, Toronto. He earned undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees from the University of Haifa, Israel. He currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design, California State University Dominguez Hills, and California Institute of the Arts.
Berg’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Dvir Gallery in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon, Har-el Gallery in Jaffa, Barbur Gallery in Jerusalem; and the Haifa Museum of Art; in Italy at Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, Casagrande Gallery and Campo dei Fiori in Rome, Saletta Paolini Nezzo in Urbino, and Chiostro Vescoville, Palazzo Ducale in Urbania; in Canada at InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, and Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Toronto, and the University of Toronto; in Paris at Passage des Retz; and in Los Angeles at The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (Redcat). Berg has also been represented in numerous group exhibitions at the Museo Revoltella in Trieste, Italy; Remba Gallery in Los Angeles; Refusalon in San Francisco; The National Gallery, Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens; and the 1999 International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Jerusalem.
Support for Adam Berg: Endangered Spaces has been provided in part by Edward Cella Art+Architecture.
NY/LA: A New, Annual Exhibition Series
NY/LA is an innovative programming initiative that diversifies the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s curatorial voice through an all-new, annual exhibition series. Developed by SMMoA Deputy Director and curator Lisa Melandri and New York-based independent curator Jeffrey Uslip, NY/LA connects emerging contemporary artists on the East and the West coasts. With NY/LA, SMMoA continues to reshuffle and revitalize its programming, and promote an ongoing discourse that links contemporary art across the United States.
NY/LA will debut at SMMoA with two exhibitions on view from January 14 through February 25, 2012: Adam Berg: Endangered Spaces (LA) in Project Room 1 and Georgi Tushev: Strange Attractor (NY) in Project Room 2.
Artist’s acknowledgements and thanks to: The Getty Research Institute, Research Library/photo collection; Julius Shulman photography of Neutra’s Kronish House; The friends of the Schindler House; The City of Los Angeles and Barnsdall Art Park; Friends of the Hollyhock House; Joshua White photography of Lautner’s Beyer House; Special effects: Maya Zuckerman; Matthew Klein Media; and Edward Cella Art+Architecture