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Cristobal Gracia, Katie Thoma
Venice 6114
6114 Venice Blvd, LA county, Los Angeles 90034
January 11, 2014 - January 31, 2014

Teenage Wasteland
by Allyson Parker

Stretching our legs outside Francois Ghebaly’s Third Floor exhibition in Culver City Saturday night, we were coaxed towards a nondescript industrial building down the street against all of our mothers’ better judgements. The show was Venice 6114‘s Cristobal Gracia installation, an elaborate staging of the aftermath of a debaucherous party reminiscent of the local high school’s Sadie Hawkins dance suspended in time. Evoking the ‘pig’s blood at the prom’ scene from the classic horror flick Carrie (1976), viewers walk the suburban battle field of stained table cloths, exploded party streamers, broken table tops and gnarled plastic champagne flutes. A teenage wasteland of suburban decadence.  

The “happening” programs the audience into the thick hunter-green cement walls lined with yellow racing stripes reminiscent of primary school. Although the scene feels staged, it has also been performed, leaving the residue of human experience in its wake. Participants meander the simulation unassumingly, honoring the unspoken boundary between object/viewer. Braver souls engaged the life-sized terrain and activated their role within it. Knocking over teetering champagne flutes, pinching piles of confetti to sprinkle across the table and even chasing sips from the jug of Johnny Walker in the center of the head table which gallery owner Sergio Brom says “is totally safe for consumption” and points me in the direction of clean plastic cups.  

As all of the other galleries were closing, the party at Venice 6114 was just getting under way and the distinction between observer/participant melted from past to present. Cans of chilled Modelo cracked as members of Culver City’s Y generation celebrated the irony of contemporary art. Straight out of an anti-mimesis debate between Wilde and Aristotle, one would have difficulty determining if this was life imitating art, or art imitating life.


—Allyson Parker


(All images: Courtesy Venice 6114)

Posted by Allyson Parker on 1/19/14 | tags: news

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