An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life

02 Feb - 02 Apr 2006

© Ruben Ochoa, proposal for An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life, 2005

Guest curators: Lauri Firstenberg and Anton Vidokle
Opening reception: Wednesday, February 1, 2006, 7-10 p.m.
Exhibition dates: 2 February to 2 April 2006
Gallery hours: noon to 6 pm or curtain, closed Mondays

The source material for this exhibition is the photographic archive of Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros who compiled thousands of images over the course of his extraordinary life. Unique in structure, content and intention, the archive was meant for the use of fellow artists as a means of inspiration and a source of found imagery. As Siqueiros wrote, “Nothing can give the [artist] of today the essential feeling of the modern era’s dynamic and subversive elements more than the photographic document.” Its contents, images from the 1930s to the early 1970s, offer cultural and social portraits of different eras and nations from documentation of anti-fascist demonstrations in New York and the Watts riots in Los Angeles to significant moments in the history of Russian stage and Mexican cinema.

As the title of the project suggests, the archive offers a politicized vision developed in the context of revolutionary struggles in Mexico and abroad. This multi-phase project began with digitizing approximately 5000 images from the archive which has been utilized by international scholars and researcher publicly since the 1970s. It is now made available via the internet for the first time at The exhibition will include artist projects by Carlos Amorales, Daniel Buren, Santiago Cucullu, Allan De Souza, Ken Gonzales-Day, Gabriel Kuri, Ken Lum, Mark Manders, Daniel J. Martinez, Mona Marzouk, Ruben Ochoa, Ruben Ortiz Torres, Martha Rosler, Anri Sala and others who will respond to and elaborate upon this archive.

The source material for this exhibition is derived from the original archive housed at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros (SAPS) in Mexico City. In the 1960s, while Siqueiros was engaged in both art and activism, he converted his house in the Polanco district of the city into a public art space. The house now functions both as a museum for Siqueiros’ work and a contemporary art venue. This collection of images was given over to the Mexican people as a legacy from David Alfaro Siqueiros. Thanks to the digitizing of the images by the National Institute of Fine Arts of Mexico (INBA) and collaboration between SAPS and e-flux, these images are available on-line.

The exhibition will be presented at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) in Los Angeles. As a venue for experimental curatorial practice, REDCAT supports provocative new projects that showcase the work of artists practicing around the globe and down the street. In keeping with this engagement with the life of the city, artists have been invited to make proposals for new works that will be presented in the gallery as well as public interventions to be presented billboards across the city. The original archive project and its reuse by contemporary artists will thus be integrated with the dynamism of Los Angeles in a fulfillment of Siqueiros’ goal to combine the historical, social and artistic.

An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life is a collaboration with Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros and e-flux and is made possible in part by the generous support of the Mondriaan Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Etant Donnés, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Art; The Consulate General of the Netherlands, New York; The Canadian Consulate General, Los Angeles; Andrea Rosen Gallery; Ford Foundation; Perry Rubenstein Gallery; The Puffin Foundation; and CONACULTA. Additional support provided by Campari. In-kind support provided by Dynamic Images. Billboard project by LAXART.

Tags: Carlos Amorales, Daniel Buren, Gabriel Kuri, Ken Lum, Mark Manders, Daniel J. Martinez, Ruben Ochoa, Martha Rosler, Anri Sala, Rubén Ortiz Torres, Anton Vidokle, Andy Warhol