Warmly Persuasive: ICOSA in L.A.
Exhibition Dates September 7th-29th, 2019
Monte Vista Projects is pleased to present Warmly Persuasive: ICOSA in L.A.
From our artist-run friends in Austin, ICOSA will have a second showing of works through the curation of Andy Campbell, assistant professor of Critical Studios at USC-Roski School of Art and Design. Hung in dramatic relation to the bureaucratic documents important to ICOSA’s founding the exhibition provides both a snapshot of the current members’ artistic practices, and the organizational peculiarities of the larger collective.
”Community can be the warmly persuasive word to describe an existing set of relationships, or the warmly persuasive word to describe an alternative set of relationships. What is most important, perhaps, is that unlike all other terms of social organization (state, nation, society, etc.) it seems never to be used unfavourably, and never to be given any positive opposing or distinguishing term.”
-Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society
Identifying community as the warmly persuasive term for being in relation to one another, the English theorist Raymond Williams rightly put his finger on community’s promise and its most common deception. Anyone who has been part of an intentional community, a collective, a consciousness raising group, a support network, or any other such organization knows that community rarely lives up to its promise—internicene fighting, power trips, and hurt feelings are mainstays of the social work of community formation and maintenance.
And yet: the potential benefits remain enticing enough to risk failure.
Investigating the terms of artistic affiliation and group structure, this exhibition features artist-members of the ICOSA collective in Austin, Texas, and aims to reflect one model of self-organization in our era of protracted economic precarity. The questions ICOSA poses via its very existence are simple and dire: how can artists create community, drawing upon commonalities while acknowledging—and fostering—difference? How can non-profit forms of governance benefit (or perhaps hinder) the artists that assemble under its administrative rubrics?
In the case of ICOSA, its mission is twofold: to provide community amongst its membership (monthly meetings keep members informed and accountable), and to generate exhibition opportunities (staging duographic exhibitions of its membership throughout the year). To accomplish these things ICOSA is organized as a 501(c)(6), unlike many other non-profits, including Tiger Strikes Asteroid, which is a 501(c)(3). The difference is slight but significant; a 501(c)(6) is considered a business league, whose primary aim is to serve the common interests its membership, while a 501(c)(3) is classified as a charity, and is meant to serve the interests of a general public. All ICOSA members are board members, and thus have a stake in the doings of the organization [this is atypical of non-profits, which often have a separate, smaller board culled from its ranks].
The works in this exhibition, taken from the roster of all current members of ICOSA in good standing, are installed to reveal networked relations between artists within this particular community. Hung in dramatic relation to the bureaucratic documents important to ICOSA’s founding the exhibition provides both a snapshot of the current members’ artistic practices, and the organizational peculiarities of the larger collective.
Warmly Persuasive includes work by: Leon Alesi, Amy Bench, Darcie Book, Shawn Camp, Carlos and Yevgenia, Jonas Criscoe, Erin Cunningham, Rachelle Diaz, Terra Goolsby, Sarah Hinreisen, Mark Johnson, Amanda McInerney, Matt Rebholz, Tammie Rubin, Jana Swec and Suzanne Koett*, Lana Waldrup-Appl, Alyssa Taylor Wendt, and Jenn Wilson.
Warmly Persuasive: ICOSA in LA is curated by Andy Campbell, Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at USC-Roski School of Art and Design, with assistance from ICOSA members Jenn Wilson and Amy Bench.
* not a member of ICOSA.