Los Angeles Herald Examiner

Friday February 13, 1987

Projection Art Hits L.A. Streets

By Dinah Berland

In the beginning, artists painted on the walls of communal caves, carved symbols on mountainsides and erected circles of stone. In those days, art belonged to everyone. Eventually, the more precious creations of the culture were moved indoors to be guarded by a shaman.- and the museum was born. Today, as art museums and galleries rise up to reshape horizons, a few alternative organizations, curators and a growing contingent of artists are taking art outside and making it public again.

This month, Los Angeles will have the opportunity to witness the latest in public art with “Projections in Public,” a free nighttime exhibition of works n  slides by 32 artists from across the country. Presentations will take place Tuesday through Saturday nights until March 1 with special events, including audio and film, tomorrow and next Saturday from 8pm to midnight.  The location is the storefront window of the Bloomsbury City Flower Mart at the intersection of San Vicente and Beverly Blvds.

Projection art has been appearing for about a decade in Europe and New York, but has had little exposure in Los Angeles. “Projections in Public” is the brainchild of two San Diego artists and curators: Karen Atkinson, associate director of installation, an alternative space, and Carol Hobson, director of the Public Arts Advisory Council for San Diego County.  This is their first collaboration, an idea that grew out of their mutual interest in “new ways to define public art,” according to Hobson.  They wanted to create an art event that would not only be situated in a public space, but would also engage passers-by, inviting them to stop, look, and think.

Fund- raising for their project was initiated last spring by the curators and the Foundation for Arts Resources (FAR), an organization committed to public art projects. Last fall- in one of those inexplicable coincidences that happen when things are going right- Hal Spragg, owner of Bloomsbury City Flower Mart, contracted Deborah Irmas, interim director of the Los Angeles institute for Contemporary Art (LAICA), with an interest in showing artists’ slides in his storefront window. The curators called Irmas the same week and, according to Atkinson, “everything clicked.” With support from FAR, LAICA, a grant from Art Mattes Inc., and Spragg’s space, “Projections in Publc” was off the ground and onto the street.

The curators invited a diverse range of artists to make new work specifically for this project. The result is a visual/ social commentary addressing popular culture, personal experiences, social values, commercial satire and television fantasies by artists including Connie Hatch, Liz Sisco, Karen Wirth and Raoul Guerrero.

“We either picked artists who already worked in slide form,” said Atkinson, “or we picked artists who think about the context in which they create work.”  The context of the work n this project is the city environment itself.  Unsuspecting patrons waiting in line at the Hard Rock Café across the street become curious onlookers as one image dissolves into the next on the 8-foot-high screen. Some work, such as John F. Weber’s urban narrative or Carrie Weems’ captioned portraits, can best be seen at closer range.

“We weren’t interested in giving the public just flashy images, “ Hobson emphasized.  “What we were looking for were images that were going to be effective in creating a dialogue, or in getting (people) to take one step further into what that image was presenting to them.”

Individual slide works are short and the entire presentation repeats about every 45 minutes. Tomorrow night, however, viewers may want to bring their folding chairs for a special events beginning at 8 and replaying until midnight. Audio will be added (for Saturday events, tomorrow and Feb. 21 only) to show a narrative film by performance artist Eleanor Antin entitled “Love a Ballerina,” Kevin White’s “The World Scares Me” and Linda Tadic’s half- hour slide/ tape, “Une Viste & Leon Trotsky, part Andre Breton.” On Feb. 21, more films and slides will be shown, including Nacy Floyd’s “Deconstructing Dynasty.”

Denise Marika, spokesperson for FAR, had high hopes that “Projections in Public” will “take off from here.” The curators are already planning the project’s travel to cities across the country.

“When people use the term ‘public art’,” Irmas said, “they think that it is a bronze statue in front of a major corporate building and it’s permanent. What LAICA is really interested in are these ephemeral kind of experiences that interact with the fabric of the whole city…This project changes the whole intersection in a very exciting way.”

If projects such as “Projections in :Public” keep popping up, they could also change the intersection between contemporary art and the growing number of people who encounter it. 


ArtWeek Oct 20, 1994

Viewpoint/ Bruno Fazzolari

LA Weekly

February 6- 12 1987

The Wide Screen

Following on the heels of last week’s projections on the Bonadventure Hotel by Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko- an outdoor slide show of sorts in which buildings are used as the screen- comes “Projections in Public,” a nighttime exhibition of projection art in the form of slides, audio and film by artists from across the nation. The interesection of Beverly and San Vicente boulevards may never be the same after this exhibition takes over for a month, projecting in the storefront of Bloomsbury City flower Market such titles as “Loves a Ballerina,” “under Surveillance,” “Too Many Products, Too Much Pleasure” and “Deconstructing Dynasty.”  We’ve also been promised a variety of special events to coincide with the Saturday night performances. And this kind of art is affordable to everyone: it’s free.


San Diego Tribune

February 1987


By Isabelle Wasserman

What happens in a flower shop when the lights go out? If it’s the Bloomsbury City Flower Market, 8611 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, it becomes a gallery for works projected in slides, audio and film.  “Projections in Public,” a month long nighttime exhibition of works across the country, is being presented by The Foundation for Arts Resources and the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art. The projections are visible Tuesday through Saturday nights, 8 pm to midnight, from the intersection of San Vicente and Beverly Blvds. 


ARTSCENE- the Monthly Guide to Art in Southern California

Sept. 1992

Vol. 12, No. 1, Page 24


“...Karen Atkinson’s Projections from a flower-shop window across the street from the Hard Rock Café.”