Inspired by Occupy L.A.

Artist StatementStephen Seemayer: Signs of the Times opened this week at the District Gallery in Downtown L.A. The exhibit includes 63 one-of-a-kind framed pieces inspired by Occupy L.A., a 5-minute movie of photos and video of the protest that took over the City Hall lawn in the fall of 2011, and the artist statement pictured above, which explains Seemayer’s experience of the historic event.

Signs of the Times continues through May 26.

District Gallery
740 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213)814-7164
Map

Occupy the Arts District!

signs flyer for weboccupy flyer backArtist Stephen Seemayer will exhibit new works based on the tumultuous two months of Occupy L.A., when activists took over the City Hall lawn demanding greater economic equality for the 99%.

During October and November 2011, Seemayer and his wife, photographer Pamela Wilson, spent time nearly every day talking with and documenting the occupiers who were camped out in tents and makeshift shelters around L.A.’s Civic Center. The protestors were not only showing solidarity with their brethren of Occupy Wall Street in New York, they were also pressing for more fairness and compassion for working class Americans. They urged a shift in values and a closing of the rift between the 1% of the wealthiest in our society and the rest of the American people who are facing foreclosures, unemployment and loss of benefits in this era of rampant corporate greed.

signs of the times poster for webSeemayer’s energetic collages incorporate the slogans and signage that got the occupiers’ messages across, along with photographs of life on the lawn and with graphic stencils of raised fists and other revolutionary symbolism. Each is built on a reconstructed front page of the local paper of record, the Los Angeles Times — which is headquartered coincidentally across the street from City Hall — for each of the 61 days of the occupation and for the last night when thousands of police in riot gear and hazmat suits stormed the site and evicted the protestors.

The exhibit opens at the District Gallery in Downtown L.A. on Thursday, April 25, 2013, and runs through May 26.

AN ARTIST’S RECEPTION WILL BE HELD FRIDAY, APRIL 26, FROM 7-10 P.M.

STEPHEN SEEMAYER SIGNS OF THE TIMES
April 25-May 26, 2013
District Gallery
740 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213)814-7164
Map
 

Occupy Chavez Ravine w/ The Baseball Reliquary

 BASEBALL RELIQUARY PRESS RELEASE

The Baseball Reliquary Presents
Occupy Chavez Ravine: The “Blue Bum” Paintings of Stephen Seemayer
Exhibition: February 4-March 29, 2012
Location: West Covina Library
Address: 1601 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, California
Information: (626) 791-7647 or terymar@earthlink.net

             The Baseball Reliquary launches its 2012 season by presenting an exhibition, Occupy Chavez Ravine: The “Blue Bum” Paintings of Stephen Seemayer, from February 4-March 29, 2012 at the West Covina Library, 1601 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, California.

For his L.A. Blue Bum series of paintings, artist Stephen Seemayer resurrected a character from the past, the Brooklyn Bum, the brilliant creation of the late sports cartoonist Willard Mullin.  While working for the New York World-Telegram in the 1930s, Mullin introduced the Bum, which provided an instant identity to the Dodgers and the entire borough of Brooklyn, a symbol which would endure through times of heartbreak and triumph.  A tattered tramp with a four-day growth of beard, patched clothing, and flapping soles, chewing on a cigar stub and mangling the English language, the Bum would appear in some 2,000 Willard Mullin drawings, right up to the Dodgers’ controversial departure to the West Coast in 1958.

Using actor Joe Walters as his model, Seemayer decided to resurrect Mullin’s Bum in a series of 2011 paintings, trading in the old neighborhood in Brooklyn for the bright lights and glamour of Los Angeles.  Seemayer’s contemporary reincarnation sardonically opines on the current travails of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have struggled on and off the field under the divorce and financial mismanagement of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt.  The L.A. Blue Bum, according to Seemayer, “roots for the boys in the Ravine while at the same time commenting with sometimes scathing candor on their follies and triumphs.  But just as baseball, as American as apple pie, has an ugly underbelly of drug use and greed, underlying the L.A. Blue Bum paintings are observations on the darker aspects of contemporary American society.”

The exhibition features a selection from the 58 L.A. Blue Bum paintings, and related documentation, completed by Seemayer during the 2011 baseball season, many of which were originally displayed in his front yard in Echo Park, to be viewed by drivers and passersby on their way to Dodger Stadium.  In contrast to Mullin’s often stark pen-and-ink drawings on illustration board, Seemayer’s paintings are densely layered with image and text, and utilize aerosol enamel, latex, and photo collage on masonite.  The paintings can also be viewed at the artist’s Web site at http://www.labluebum.com.

Stephen Seemayer is a Los Angeles-based performance artist, filmmaker, and painter.  In a career spanning more than 30 years, he has been featured in performances and exhibitions at galleries and museums across the United States, including the Donnelly Gallery in Boston; WPA Gallery and Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; Scottsdale Center for the Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona; de Young Museum in San Francisco; San Diego State University Art Gallery; Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the 18th Street Arts Complex in Santa Monica.

Library hours for the exhibition are Tuesday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 pm; Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; closed Monday, Friday, and Sunday.  For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at terymar@earthlink.net.  For directions, phone the West Covina Library at (626) 962-3541 during library hours.  The exhibition is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

SPECIAL PROGRAM:
Occupy Chavez Ravine: The “Blue Bum” Paintings of Stephen Seemayer
Reception & Video Presentation
Saturday, February 18, 3:00 p.m.
West Covina Library, 1601 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, California

             In conjunction with its exhibition, Occupy Chavez Ravine: The “Blue Bum” Paintings of Stephen Seemayer, the Baseball Reliquary presents a reception for the artist on Saturday, February 18, at 3:00 p.m., at the West Covina Library, 1601 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, California.  Stephen Seemayer will discuss the legacy of sports cartoonist Willard Mullin, who provided inspiration for his L.A. Blue Bum series, and will introduce a screening of a video documenting all 58 Blue Bum paintings completed in 2011.

The program is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.