Conventional galleries invite artists to create works inside the context of a physical space with a particular programmatic focus. In 2008, g727 decided to initiate a different approach, inviting its constituents and audience to participate in an open-ended project to collaboratively design and program an entire project space located in a loft within the gallery.
The result is the Map and Model Shop, an ongoing experiment to see what happens when contemporary artists, city planners, and cultural activists take on the challenge, project-by-project, of envisioning, building and developing a new resource space within the arts community. Every project initiated by each of our collaborators is executed with the goal of helping the Map and Model Shop take shape physically, conceptually, and programmatically. This is our story thus far. . .
Images from an exhibition featuring the students of KRABBESHOLM HØJSKOLE in collaboration with Hugo Hopping.
g727 is an exhibition and community project space located in the historic core of downtown Los Angeles.
g727 exhibitions, projects and presentations highlight urbanism through public practice, political and social activism, experimental projects, interactive workshops, discussions, and civic actions.
The Map and Model Shop began as an empty 1,000 sq. ft. loft space in the back of g727. In 2008, g727 sought to develop potential ideas about the space’s future design and use through a discursive process. g727 invited artist Hugo Hopping to lead art students in Skive, Denmark in the development of conceptual architectural proposals for the physical space of the Map and Model Shop. The show was exhibited in g727’s main gallery, titled 7 Proposals for a Room in LA.
The title card for the installation explains:
Corpus Collossum, 2008
The connections and pathways between the left and right brain, politics and aesthetics, utopia and dystopia, the subversion and entrenchment of power and space, counterculture and the law come together to intersect in a single point suspended in space.
100 books, 200 feet of string, and 400 photographs were used to create a work for the inaugural opening of the g727 Resource Space, where contemporary artists, city politicians, community activist organizations and urban planners were invited to collectively curate a public library and collaboratively program a project room.
The Map and Model Shop team decided to allow the construction of the space to become an organic engagement of artists testing different configurations of the interior room layout. Artists and supporters were invited to initiate projects that built upon the possibilities offered by the Danish students’ proposals.
One unique proposition came from artist Luis Hernandez who donated one installation. Luis Hernandez and co-founder and owner of g727, Adrian Rivas, made an agreement to install a long-term ceiling mural that addresses the functionality of the community space while celebrating its unique identity through a color scheme selected by the artist through an open and arbitrary process.
During the production of Luis Hernandez’s ceiling project, an art collector named Mark Sandelson contributed a major donation of colored industrial carpet tiles to the space.
g727 invited artists to design a pattern with the color carpets tiles that responded to Hernandez’s ceiling project. Luis Hernandez, Pilar Tompkins, York Chang, Fernando Cruz, and Adrian Rivas installed the carpet design in two days.
An interactive model area was established on the west side of the Map and Model Shop by artist Gronk and urban planner James Rojas when they worked together to present a temporary interactive model project called The Mix-Mental-Map. The collaboration involved notions of colors and forms dictating how one maneuvers and understands a linear place. This social sculpture further articulated the foundation upon which the Map and Model Shop was being built, a place where contemporary art and progressive impulses interface with the urban landscape.
Since 2007, artist York Chang and Adrian Rivas had been discussing programmatic ideas for what would become the Map and Model Shop. Both York and Adrian concluded that a space where exchanges could happen would require a table where people would gather and talk. So eventually they started to build a cabinet table for this purpose. The photos were taken in Adrian Rivas’s wood shop underneath the Map and Model Shop (York is taking the pictures).
York and Adrian approached the table with different, but complementary creative strategies. York used a found raw wooden shipping crate as the starting point. The crate’s history as a container of artistic intent sent cross-country provides an interesting starting point for a table meant to function as the ground for the exchange of ideas. Adrian’s instinct as a craftsman was to transform the found object into a finished piece, focusing on form and materials to eliminate any reference to its history. The cabinet was outfitted with an internal lighting solution, a sliding drawer, and a glass top to allow participants to view the objects and to participate in map-making with dry-erase markers.
The finished illuminated table is intended to be the centerpiece for a future Map and Model Shop initiative called the Unitary Mapping Game. A twist to traditional notion of the salon, York has invented a “mapping” game designed to facilitate active exchange of the cultural and social experiences of the game’s participants. Participants are invited to bring objects and books that have influenced their thinking on a selected topic. Placed inside the illuminated table, these books and objects are used as pieces in the Unitary Mapping Game. Participants draw on the glass tabletop to make “moves” and score “points” by drawing valid connections between books/objects and the concepts and ideas of other players. Again, the Unitary Mapping Game gives shape to the Map and Model Shop by bringing notions of strategy, intellectual exchange, creativity, and culture together in the space.