Save the Date: May 15: Gajin Fujita, Alex DEFER Kizu, UGLAR Works, Vyal, Phowl and More

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dp1 Artists Gajin Fujita, Alex DEFER Kizu, UGLAR Works, Phowl, Vyal, Roten, Mr. Ed Gutter, Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre and others are donating their works for a silent auction to help launch production of the film Dark Progressivism: On Rupture and Rebellion, May 15 at the NELA watering hole Footsies, from 6pm to 9pm.

This is a pretty awesomely huge. It’s a rare chance to see and purchase these artists’ pieces–many of whom have shown in museums and international galleries–in an intimate environment as they support a project they care about, the making of this documentary. Many of the pieces will feature a “buy-it-now” price, along with being part of the silent auction.

Directed by Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre—author of Urban Politics: The Political Culture of Sur 13 Gangs and the forthcoming novel Grave Situation, and a contributor to The Huffington Post and The Westsider Blog—and produced by James J. Yi (Twinsters, Mooz-Ium),  Dark Progressivism: On Rupture and Rebellion will follow and feature one-on-one interviews with artists like Saber, Cryptik, Defer, Big Sleeps, Gajin Fujita, Prime, Patrick Martinez and other prominent native Los Angeles artists as they prepare for the Getty Black Book exhibition, Scratch, which opens June 8 at the El Segundo Museum of Art. Dark Progressivism: On Rupture and Rebellion — in collaboration with Isabel Rojas-Williams of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles; Holly Crawford, the education specialist of the El Segundo Museum of Art; and David Brafman, the curator of rare books of the Getty Research Institute–will showcase and define the current art style trending out of Los Angeles urban street culture.

Full disclosure, I am an associate producer on the film, and the Cartwheel Art has come on board as a sponsor. I am working on the project because I believe in the underlying concept and theme: That Los Angeles, my native city, is a city of darkness, of tragedy and secrets, of conflicts, collusion, illusions, disillusions, delusions,  dissolution, and (ultimately) illumination. And that all these are both revealed and concealed through art. The film’s director, d’Ebre realized the connection between the art styles in Los Angeles and developed Dark Progressivism as concept to explain the underlying aspects and social realities. He writes:

Dark; that which reflects the bleak, somber and unsettling nature of urban complexity expressed through social commentary and style, while in direct opposition to popular, glamorous and commercial undertones of mainstream aesthetic. Progressivism; a set of forward-thinking collective principles, such as the knowledge, skills and abilities in creation, to help better understand and interpret the human condition. It is a simple subgenre that evokes moods and a distressing experience, one that tells the trajectory of rebellion, one that represents a rupture from the past. For several decades people have been talking about the Chicano Art Movement, about Pop Surrealism, about Low Brow Art, about Street Art, and now Cholo Art. These terms have been co-opted by the mass media which have rendered them absurd by turning them into a modern commodity and phenomenon…

Challenge the status-quo! Inspire others and collaborate with people from all over the city and county; this is your city, your county, your region! We need to contribute to the arts and political theory, through local perspectives, to create a countywide grassroots movement that begins in your regional bloc. Our subcultures and lifestyles have not been well documented. We have been ignored. It is up to us to make the contribution. My perspective is Dark Progressivism; it is the vehicle that will drive the spectre foreword. Grab your pencil, paper, guitar, microphone, letterpress, computer, video or digital camera, paint brush, drafting board, tattoo gun, spray can, whatever your tools may be and reassess your understanding of the complex urban environment that is Los Angeles! It is your social obligation to represent our region. This is the march of the region! The roar of Dark Progressivism!


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