Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Cartwheel Art Tours x Atlas Obscura: Urban Legends with “Hearsay” in DTLA

May 22, 2016 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm



Join Cartwheel Art Tours and Atlas Obscura, at LosJoCos gallery, in an industrial area of Downtown Los Angeles, as we discover, explore and experience the roots of urban legends and our connections to them.


Our afternoon will include the following:

  • A guided tour of the Hearsay: Artists Reveal Urban Legends exhibition with curator, Wendy Sherman.
  • Talks by several of the exhibiting artists including A.S. Ashley, Michael Criley, Gregg Gibbs, Snow Mack, James Scott, and Jeffrey Vallance.
  • Writer, historian, and Atlas Obscura Field Agent Hadley Meares will also share urban legends of Los Angeles and suggest sites of local lore you might be interested in exploring on your own.

“Hearsay” presented by Arts District center for the Arts, takes a close look at artist’s interpretations of legends that serve as modern mythology, like alligators in the sewer, Sasquatch, and the devil phantom of Lake Elizabeth. Each of the 38 artists–including Joel Biel, Sarina Brewer, Llyn Foulkes, Jeff Gillette, Laurie Lipton, Ransom and Mitchell, Victoria Reynolds, Christopher Ulrich, Jeffrey Vallance, Robert Williams and others–have each chosen an urban legend with which they have a personal connection, creating an environment that engages the public and allows them to consider the myths in the context of each artist’s interpretation.

Complete list of all artists in this DTLA show are as follows:
A.S. Ashley,James P. Scott, Emmeric Konrad, Esther Pearl Watson, Snow Mack, Teale Hathaway, Joe Biel, Hugh Brown, Llyn Foulkes, Gregg Gibbs, Hellen Jo, Matjames Metson, Jim Shaw, Marnie Weber, Nicola Verlato, Michael Criley, Jeffrey Vallance, Anita Ray, Victoria Reynolds, Christopher Ulrich, Chris Wilder, Kevin Bradley, Laurie Lipton, Stephen Berkman, Robert Williams.

Curators’ Statement by Lauren Haisch and Wendy Sherman

Urban legends serve as modern day mythology. Often evolved from cultural traditions and morality tales, these stories engage our collective fears and provoke strong emotional responses. Such legends survive through storytelling that is often communicated using a mix of words and imagery. The narrative can intensify the impact of the legend. The more fantastic the tale, the more likely it will be passed down through generations. More recently, the Internet has encouraged the rapid dissemination of these modern legends, many of which can be traced back to the original folklore that inspired them.

The works of the thirty-seven artists included in this exhibition are based on specific urban legends. Each work is accompanied by text explaining the artist’s personal connection to a chosen urban legend. The purpose of this exhibition is not to illustrate urban legends, but to better understand them by considering them in the context of each artist’s interpretation.

Artist’s that will be speaking to our group about the urban legend they selected and their work:

A.S. Ashley “The Hook” is an urban legend about sex, fear, rejection, and a slew of Freudian metaphors.

For me it is a story of dismemberment(s).

“I wanted to know why our villain didn’t have a hand. Was it because of a congenital defect, or the result of some brutally violent incident that pushed him into a permanently psychotic state? And what did having his prosthesis torn off (along with part of his arm) by a speeding car do for his already rosy disposition?” – A.S. Ashley

Michael Criley “One night a man’s car broke down near an asylum. When he went to use their phone, he found the desk nurse easily charmed. She offered him a staff bed. Car trouble had only been a ruse. He was actually selling institutional refrigerators. After breakfast and a tour of the kitchen, he left behind a good impression, a sales brochure, and a promotional ice pick.

He returned the next month, this time having suffered a mental breakdown. The desk nurse took pity and arranged for him to be on the surgical list for a new procedure that held great promise. And so it came to be that less than a year after his first visit, the ice pick he’d left behind was used to lobotomize him.” – Michael Criley

Gregg Gibbs “The Haunted Painting” featured in the “Hearsay” exhibition was originally a documentation installation created by Gregg Gibbs. Consisting of over 50 items discovered in his investigations, it’s primary focus was to reveal and expose the truth behind this famous urban myth. Sometimes referred to as “The Ebay Haunted Painting,” this strange masterpiece has baffled viewers for over 40 years and is known to “come alive” in the middle of the night.
For this exhibition, Gibbs will premiere a new short film. He will be present to conduct a brief lecture and demonstration based on his excursions into the paranormal phenomenon surrounding the painting.

Snow Mack “When I was 4 years old, I had a dream I was playing in a sandbox, inside a cave. Suddenly, my family was driving away. In a panic, I tried to run out of the cave. But the cave exit was blocked by an enormously tall and furry man. I woke up terrified. It was 1964, the next morning we moved to Viet Nam. Years later, I realized the giant furry man was Bigfoot.

Bigfoot represents my hermit archetype. This piece explores the themes of isolation, addiction and urban decay with a dose of humor and nostalgia” – Snow Mack

James Scott “On Sunday October 1st, 1307 the Pope Clement said Mass with the intention of seeking help with his Knights Templar problem. Every evening for 13 days the Pope performed the service in an outdoor sanctuary in France. It was rumored that the Pope took liberties with the rights. On the 13th night beneath the light of the blood moon, the Angel of Friday, Anaél appeared. Anaél granted the Pope the power to destroy his enemy. The Knights were rounded up, arrested and summarily burned at the stake. Word of the power of the rite spread. For centuries peoples of many different cultures have performed the ritual of “Sunday the First.” The event has tainted Friday the 13th for over 700 years. This ritual artifact (on view) was liberated from the Vatican in 1981. The next Friday the 13th full moon is Friday, August 13th, 2049. Let’s hope it’s not a blood moon.” – James P. Scott

Jeffrey Vallance Back in 1994, Vallance wrote the first account of the haunting of the Nixon Library, noting poltergeist-like phenomena in three areas of the facility: at the Nixon Birthplace, at Nixon’s grave, and at the Watergate display. At the Birthplace, a night watchman reported seeing a ghostly figure enter the house through a locked door. Over Nixon’s grave, a hovering green mist had been observed. And in the original Watergate display area, tapping sounds were heard and the tape machines were in frequent disrepair. Dorothy Maksym, a psychic medium, claims that these disruptions in the display were caused by Nixon, who was trying to keep visitors away from the Watergate material. The piece reflects the san phra phum, or spirit house, from Thailand tradition. This spirit house is meant to attract the ghost of Richard Nixon, who may be haunting  – Jeffery Vallance.

Top opening photo is work by Robert Williams “While Traveling Near or Traveling Far, Keep Your Hands Inside the Car”

Notes for this adventure:

Ages 12 and up. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.

Street parking is available, please read signs carefully and park at your own discretion.

Photography is encouraged! Tag #atlasobscura #cartwheelarttours