“Signs of the Times”: The Pieces (1 & 2)

October 1, 2011 I'd rather have dangerous freedom than peaceful slavery.

October 1, 2011
I’d rather have dangerous freedom than peaceful slavery.

October 2, 2011 Occupy common sense!

October 2, 2011
Occupy common sense!

Each piece in Stephen Seemayer’s new show of artworks at District Gallery in Downtown L.A. is built on a reconstructed front page of the Los Angeles Times from each day of  Occupy L.A.

During October and November 2011, Seemayer and his wife, filmmaker 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 City Hall.

October 1, 2011 (detail)

October 1, 2011 (detail)

October 2, 2012 (detail)

October 2, 2012 (detail)

The protestors were showing solidarity with Occupy Wall Street in New York, and pressing for fairness and compassion for working class Americans. They urged a shift in values and a closing of the rift between the wealthiest in our society and the “99%.”

Seemayer’s energetic collages incorporate the slogans and signage that got the occupiers’ messages across, along with photographs and graphic stencils of revolutionary symbolism.

Signs of the Times continues through May 26.

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

“Signs of the Times” Opens

“Signs of the Times,” a new exhibit of collages inspired by Occupy L.A., opened with a reception for artist Stephen Seemayer at the District Gallery on Friday, April 26, 2013.

Accompanying the works — which include images and slogans of the Occupy movement, along with the pages of the L.A. Times from the days of the occupation (October-November 2011) — is a video by Seemayer and his “Young Turks” collaborator, Pamela Wilson, documenting their experiences visiting the protestors nearly every day.

Signs of the Times continues through May 26.

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

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.

The Los Angeles Blue Bum Paintings

"Reinvent Yourself." Aerosol Enamel and Latex on Masonite, 24" X 24"

"Big Questions" Aerosol Emamel and Latex on masonite, 24" X 24"

My current series of paintings, the L.A. Blue Bum series, evolved out of an ongoing project I started in 2007 in which I write haikus with a baseball (specifically Dodger baseball) theme and make a painting out of them for display in my front yard in Echo Park. Whereas the earlier pieces featured witty observations on America’s pastime, the newer paintings are far more complex, with layers of meaning for the viewer to discover. To symbolize the historical significance of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are

"Upend The Shit You Know." Aerosol Enamel and Latex on masonite, 24" X 24"

struggling through difficult times right now because of the owners’ divorce and financial uncertainties, I have resurrected a character from the past, the Brooklyn Bum first illustrated by the great Willard Mullin. Just as Mullin’s Bum symbolized as well as satirized the boys from Brooklyn, my reincarnation of the character, the L.A. Blue Bum, 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.

—>>> Go To the LA Blue Bum Website for more <<<—

Stephen Seemayer in his front yard displaying "Misanthropes 'R' Us". (Aerosol Enamel and Latex on masonite, 32" X 48")

Tricked Out Kicks @ Crewest Gallery

Opening night at Crewest Gallery (2011)

My sneakers are a reflection of my art, whether they are paint-spattered, burned or caked in dirt and mud. I have saved nearly all my used sneakers over the years, and recently, I started purposely painting on my shoes with the stencils and spray paints I use to make my L.A. Blue Bum paintings. Then I took it a step further and began creating brightly colored whimsical paintings on my old pairs of sneakers, incorporating their age and relative state of disrepair. I call them my Tricked Out Kicks. I wear them to openings and art events, and for the Art of Transportation exhibition at Crewest Gallery in downtown L.A., I was asked to exhibit some of them. Instead of a traditional display, I decided to show them in a way that fit the theme of the graffiti-inspired show and reflected the personality of my Echo Park neighborhood: I hung them from electrical cables strung across the gallery 14 feet off the ground.

Crewest Gallery

The 'Tricked Out Kicks' installation at Crewest Gallery.

The 'Tricked Out Kicks' installation at Crewest Gallery. (2011)

Assembled shoes in the 'Tricked Out Kicks' installation.

Have You Seen My Privacy?

In the spirit of the Getty Foundation-sponsored project “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” the 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica enlisted artists to create exhibitions commemorating California’s influential contemporary art movement. “Have You Seen My Privacy?” curated by artist Richard Newton, incorporated paintings, video, installations, ephemera and correspondence into a series of exhibits by artists whose work examines personal identity in this increasingly technological age. There were also weekly public discussions with the artists involved. Newton asked me to show examples of my work that explore issues of the loss of privacy, identity and depersonalization. I chose life-size photo blowups of my “Burning Mask” series — a performance in which I crawled in an alley wearing a flaming triangle mask — and my “Unit in Orange” performance — in which I marched around a gallery with a number shaved onto my head and an aborted human fetus cupped in my hands. I also set out three “Body Bags” on the floor of the gallery and two “Buddha on Money Bags” meditation mats. On the evening of my public discussion, I previewed “Being Human,” an 11-minute video documentary on my nearly 40-year career.

Click For ‘Being Human’ Video

Captions: Above: (L to R) ‘Buddha On Moneybags’ c. 1995 (Under) Body Bags c.1998. (To Right) Unit In Orange c. 1978. (Below) Stephen Seemayer wearing fire mask c. 1978. (Below) Installation shot at 18th Art Gallery.

Richard Newton’s Website 
Richard Newton’s Video Channel
Richard Newton’s Watching In The Dark
18th Street Art Center/Gallery

LA Rising: Art Encyclopedia

I feel very honored to be among the artists included in the new book “L.A. Rising: SoCal Artists Before 1980,” published in late 2010 by the California/International Arts Foundation and edited by Lyn Kienholz. Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times called it an “instantly indispensable ‘encyclopedia’ of more than 500 artists who worked and showed in L.A. before the city emerged as an international powerhouse.” HuffPost Books reviewer Jane Chafin said, “Besides finding ‘L.A. Rising’ an invaluable reference tool that every visual arts professional should have, it is also a lush and highly entertaining stroll down memory lane for anyone who has watched the L.A. art scene.” I agree, and reinforcing the nostalgia aspect of the book, many of the artists still alive and working gathered at the Getty Museum for a book launch party in December 2010. It was an amazing evening, as we all got to set eyes on the book for the first time. The cover photo by Joe Morgenstern is beautiful, and Lyn did a Herculean job rounding up reproductions of all the artists’ work, as well as reviews and excerpts of essays from the period in which the work was exhibited.

California/International Arts Foundation

LA Times Review

HuffPost Book Review

Getty Museum

Captions: (Below L-R) 1.Artists assemble at the Getty Museum for the LA Rising Publication pary. 2. Artist Jon Peterson and Stephen Seemayer. 3. Artist Jeffery Vallance with a bust of J. Paul Getty. 4. Artist Michael Davis, art writer Peter Frank and Stephen Seemayer. 5. Stephen Seemayer with featured artist Jerry Brane. 6. Center- Featured Artists Gary Lloyd and Vic Henderson. 7. Artists Dark Bob and Light Bob with Stephen Seemayer.

   

Stephen Seemayer, Coleen Sterritt, Mary Jones and Jon Peterson at the LA Rising Launch Party hosted at the Getty.