August 4 – August 26, 2018
LOS ANGELES—Monte Vista Projects presents Andres Payan-Estrada: BLUE APOLLO, a solo presentation of new works by the Los Angeles-based artist. For BLUE APOLLO, Payan-Estrada uses LGBTQ nightlife aesthetics to connect the 1969 lunar landing and space exploration with historic and contemporary forms of queer liberation. The exhibition includes drawings, collage, textual pieces, and an immersive installation composed of ceramic sculpture, scent, and lighting. BLUE APOLLO is on view at Monte Vista Projects (1206 Maple Ave #523, Los Angeles, CA 90015) from August 4 through August 26.
In considering the current political climate and onset of a New Space Era, Payan-Estrada’s new body of work urges a dismantling of hetero-patriarchal, colonial, and militaristic histories that define how outer space is understood in the greater American consciousness. He presents the possibility of a space imaginary that poetically mutates these narratives into boundless queer explorations.
Many of the works make poetic associations between these seemingly disparate themes. Downtown LA 1969 and Downtown LA 2018 are charcoal and color pencil drawings that depict the locations of LGBTQ bars as stars in a dark sky—functioning as both geographic maps and imaginary constellations. For Light of a Thousand Moons (Blue), Payan has collaged onto a deep black surface numerous disco ball photographs he has taken at gay bars throughout the U.S. Disassociated from their original context, the group of objects floats without relation to a physical space.
The immersive installation Last Call anchors the exhibition space, consisting of a fifty-foot black velvet curtain with a glowing blue spotlight cast onto the gallery floor and an installation of 500 lbs of loose porcelain. The blue light acts as the only light source in the gallery and evokes the imagined aesthetic of a gay club in a lunar environment. The installation includes objects such as a porcelain-tiled disco ball and a scent that mimics the smells of a bar.
“I am fascinated by the way memory, meaning, and value are placed onto objects and spaces and how these LGBTQ spaces offer the possibility to transport you into a safe reality,” says Andres Payan-Estrada. “One of my fondest memories growing up in Mexico is going to a gay bar for the first time. It was quite a stupefying moment- a sloppy bar night that allowed me to experience the boundlessness of queerness."
Andres Payan-Estrada (b.1987, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico) received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and BFA from The University of Texas at El Paso. He is currently the curator of public engagement at the Craft & Folk Art Museum and visiting art faculty at the California Institute of the Arts. His work as an artist, educator, and independent curator champions contemporary craft and ceramic practices. He aims to create accessible ways to understand materiality, object theory, making, and the role they have in adding value to the everyday.