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2022 L.A. Art Exhibition Looks to the Future With NFTs and Environment
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2022 L.A. Art Exhibition Looks to the Future With NFTs and Environment

The impact COVID-19 had on travel and gatherings, NFT-backed art’s continued rise, and the looming threat to climate change are all reasons to think about the future of art, culture, and society. How can artists engage with environmental problems? How will the art interact with the audience? These are all questions that will be asked at this year’s L.A. Art Show. The show opened Wednesday, Jan. 19, and will run through Sunday, January 23rd at the Los Angeles Convention Center. L.A. Art Show participants look to the future with a show floor full of mini-exhibitions from across disciplines.

“We are under threat from the rising sea,” Taiji Terasaki, an artist from Hawaii, where he has lived for 16 years. “So it is really an important statement that you’re trying to make, because it’s happening.”

Taiji Terasaki stands with his hands tucked into his pockets and looking at the camera. He's wearing a black bomber jacket. Behind him are two of his art pieces. The art piece to the left are still printed photographs of the environment. The piece on the right is woven sheet metal with environmental photos printed onto the metal.

1/3Taiji Terasaki, an Oahu-based artist, with his pieces at L.A. Art Show at Los Angeles Convention Center on January 19, 2022. Terasaki uses a variety of processes, including mist projections and woven sheets metal to make a statement about environmental issues. Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

A gallery wall features a still of mist media photography a photograph projected onto mist and then photographed and printed. The photo is in a thin black frame. To the right of the gallery wall are three LED screens with mist media projections.

2/3Terasaki’s series are featured at the 2022 L.A. Art Show and include mist media photography, left, NFTs, right, and other pieces like metal weavings or an interactive live mist installation.Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

Two sheets of metal woven together. One sheet of metal has a city landscape printed on. Another sheet of metal has an ocean water landscape printed on. Then two sheets are cut in strips and are interwoven with one another.

3/3A Terasaki’s series of metal weaving pieces at the L.A. Art Show shows a combination of a cityscape and a natural environment woven together. Terasaki’s artworks address the “urgency and severity of the climate crises” and the drastic changes society must make. Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

Terasaki uses several processes to speak about environmental issues. Terasaki has a “mistmedia player”, where a mist cloud acts as a screen to project images. Some of his pieces are photos from those projections. The mist adds an ethereal effect. He also prints photos on metal sheets that are then cut and woven together. The photos include images of protected, yet environmentally-fragile, places both in Hawaii and Palmyra Atoll. Terasaki’s work, which she exhibited at the L.A. Art Show in Honolulu with Kelly Sueda Fine Arts, was unified by one theme: protection of our coasts and oceans.

Participants stand on a platform placed on top of the sand at Santa Monica Beach. The participants are waving around different colored scarves in the air. The sky above them is overcast.

L.A. Art Show 2022 was a showcase that explored the future of the planet in light the environmental effects of climate change and degradation. Marisa Cauchillo curated DIVERSEartLA programming at the festival. This program highlighted collaborations between arts, science, and/or environmental institutions that addressed these pressing issues. MUMBAT Museum of Fine Arts of Tandil and Museum of Nature and Science Antonio Serrano of Entre Rios Argentina teamed up to present “The Earth’s Fruits”, an installation by Guillermo Anselmo Vezzosi. Music by Maria Emilia Peralta. Vezzosi transforms the waste into trees, and Peralta’s ambient music echoes the sounds of nature.

Angelenos can look forward to a better future. This was the central theme of “Recognizing Skid Row Als A Neighborhood:Skid Row Cooling Resources.” Tom Grode curated the installation. It documents efforts to provide cold water and cooling stations to Skid Row residents during the summer 2021. This area is also known as an “urban heat islands”, meaning that there is no shade and it has heat-absorbing surfaces. It causes temperatures to rise. The cooling station project was an example of art activism. It featured fans and signs that people could decorate.

A large net woven with a crochet-style technique is draped over the exhibition space. The net is woven with a plastic beige-colored material. Behind the net is a projection on a white gallery wall. The projections feature scenes of melting ice landscapes.
“The Other Waterfall”, presented by MUSA Museum of the Arts of the University of Guadalajara & MCA Museum of Environmental Science during the 2022 L.A. Art Show, Jan. 19, 2022.Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

Claudia Rodriguez’s reflection on the pollution of the Santiago River, Mexico, is “The Other Waterfall,” presented jointly by MUSA, Museum of the Arts of the University of Guadalajara, and MCA Museum of Environmental Science. The installation’s center is dominated by a massive, white net. It was created by Rodriguez, Ana Joaquina Ramirez (social psychologist), Rosina Santana (artist) and many other activists known as “Redes.” The net, which measures 2153 feet, was made from recycled plastic. The foam found in the contaminated Santiago River was represented by the net made by more than 400 people using a crotchet technique.

L.A. Art Show also features galleries and artists who look at the future art. Judson Studios, a family-run business, has been creating stained glass in Los Angeles for more than 120 years. Their work can be viewed at Forest Lawn, Glendale’s Central Library, the Natural History Museum, as well as many Southern California churches and residences. They use both traditional and modern techniques to make glass art today.

Glass artworks displayed on white gallery walls. At the foreground is a glass artwork shaped as a pointed dome with colored glass shapes. On the gallery wall behind reads,

1/3Judson Studios booth displays glass artworks at the 2022 L.A. Art Gallery Jan. 19, 2022. Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

A close-up of a stained glass artwork that feature natural curves and shapes. The glass is stained in pinks, reds, yellows, greens and purples. The glass is speckled with darker spots.

2/3A close-up view of the “Pagoda Umbrella”, (2021), on display at Judson Studios’ booth at the 2022 L.A. Art Show, Jan. 19, 2022. “Pagoda Umbrella,” the top and most completed section of James Jean’s ambitious “Pagoda”, (2022), “the culmination a four year partnership between Jean Studios and Judson Studios on three pivotal project that integrate traditional stained-glass fabrication methods with powerful digital modeling tools, precise waterjet cutting system and pioneering fused glass techniques.” Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

Glass artworks hang on white gallery walls at the L.A. Art Show.

3/3Judson Studios booth displays glass artworks at the 2022 L.A. Art Show, Jan. 19, 2022. Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

In recent years, the local studio collaborated with artists like Shay Bredimus, James Jean, and El Mac on projects that used stained and/or fused glasses processes. “Pagoda umbrella” was displayed at the L.A. Art Show and combines James Jean’s colorful, illustrative style and Judson Studio glass work. It is part of a larger installation called, “Pagoda.”

Melrose Avenue gallery Vellum L.A. concentrates on art that has been backed by NFTs. Visitors could also see these digital pieces live on high-quality LED display screens at L.A. Art Show. “Many people prefer to see the work online as this culture has been cultivated exclusively in what they call The Metaverse. Sinziana Velicescu, curator, says that people have been creating galleries online where you can see and experience the artwork. “But at the same time, art that is meant to be experienced in person has a higher impact in my opinion.”

Vellum will be displaying works from the gallery’s group show “Elsewhere is a Negative Mirror.” Italo Calvino’s novel loosely inspired the exhibit. Invisible CitiesThe show focuses on imagined architecture. Kristen Roos is one of the artists in the show. She creates art using 1990s Macintosh software. Vince Fraser is another artist who combines a background as an interior designer and architect with 3D animation. Vellum showcases a wide range of NFT-backed artwork.

An exhibit displays various NFT-backed art pieces flashing on high-quality LED screens. The screens are mounted onto a metal pipe structure with metal sheet signs reading,

1/3The exhibit “Elsewhere is a Negative Mirror” will be on display at the 2022 L.A. Art Show, Jan. 19, 2022. The exhibit is presented at Vellum L.A., a gallery that focuses on NFT-backed art. Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

NFT art pieces flash on LED display screens mounted onto a metal piping structure.

2/3The exhibit “Elsewhere Is a Negative Mirror” at the 2022 L.A. Art Show focuses primarily on imagined architecture. Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

An art piece featuring a person standing in flowy black clothing and a black wide-brimmed hat in a desert setting is displayed on an LED screen. In the desert setting is an arch that leads to a white background. The LED screen is mounted on metal piping. Behind the metal piping structure is a wall with the words,

3/3“Luminous Depths” will be on display at the 2022 L.A. Art Show, Jan. 19, 2022. “Luminous depths” is a collaboration of multidisciplinary artist Petecia Le Fawnhawk with David Hughes of DeepLight Labs. “Luminous depths explores the theory and transcendence of omniversal traveling and is informed by monolithic light portals that intrigue & mystify.” Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

Merry Karnowsky, NFTs, says that it took her a year to do enough soul-searching and personal research to understand how she felt about it as an art medium. The influential gallerist was present at the L.A. Art Show with her inaugural NFT-backed show. It featured over 1000 works by Johnny “KMNDZ”, Rodriguez, and 260 unique traits that were created using digital tools. Karnowsky notes that Rodriguez has a background both in digital and graphic design, but it’s his paintings she’s been exhibiting for the past ten years. He has been creating robot characters that will carry culture and memories into the future for many years, she said. “Ten years later, NFTs are available and he’s incorporating the same concept of these robotic characters as transporters cultural significance and memory,” she said. She says that NFTS also allow artists to create “generational legacies” by keeping track of who has received the work. “I find that to be the most fascinating thing about the medium. It will continue to carry these artistic artifacts into the future.

A view of Robert Smithson's land art called

NFTs have the downside that they can, like cryptocurrency, be harmful to the environment. This is due to the potential for high energy use in transaction processing. Arts Help, an international non profit, was present at the L.A. Art Show in order to help artists get into the NFT world in a sustainable manner. Chief strategy officer Mo Ghoneim says, “We provide some resources for artists looking to get into the space, starting with an education module called Conscious Crypto Creator.”

Adiam Gafoo is chief operating officer. “With blockchains, specifically the Proof of Work, it actually uses a lot of electricity consumption which is obviously very damaging to the environment.” “With so many people getting into the blockchain industry, I want them to make conscious decisions and understand that there are other ways to use POW.

A man in a suit with his hands behind his back looks on to a digital art piece on a large LED screen mounted on a black gallery wall. The digital art piece features a large red dot resembling a setting sun with floating white
A passerby watches “Icebergs”, a responsive digital art piece, at the 2022 L.A. Art Show on January 19, 2022.Paula Kiley | Paula Kiley

In addition to educating artists on environmentally-friendlier approaches to NFT-backed art, Arts Help also offers opportunities for grants through their Conscious Crypto Creator program. Arts Help’s “Icebergs” responsive digital art piece was displayed at the L.A. Art Show by Montreal-based studio Iregular. It examines how human actions affect the polar ice caps. Conscious Crypto Creator has verified the NFT of this piece.

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