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Art Equals Life :: Art Saves Lives :: Bad Exhibition :: Value in Art :: Art City

May 19, 2018

Tonight’s historic opening of the Bad Exhibition: Value in Art at Ventura’s Art City is dedicated to Joe Cardella, artist, book designer, and publisher of ArtLife who died of cancer last week.

“I have used the word avant-garde a number of times in talking about Bad Exhibition: Value in Art, though I know it’s a pretentious and problematic word. This is precisely what I want to talk about. What would it mean to talk about a 1980’s and 1990’s avant-garde in Ventura and Santa Barbara as distinct from L.A., for example? Southwest China early 1990’s avant-garde as distinct from Xiamen Dada, mid-80’s?” writes curator Dr Sophia Kidd.

Three events accompany the show: Opening Ceremonies (Sat) May 19, 6-9 pm, Bad: Afterparty (Sat) May 19, 9-12 pm suggests a $5-10 donation (see flyer below), and an Artists Talk (Mon) May 21, 7-9 pm (see flyer above).

Four Sichuan artists and 14 California artists showcase artworks culminating in decades of avant-garde creative practice in Southwest China and Southwest USA. Bad explores the inner darkness of aesthetic judgment via the following artists:

gauvin—performance, painting
mike bauer—painting, poetry
John M. White—performance of painting
Joe Cardella—Printed matter, Assemblage
Gary H Brown—painting, ceramic, etching print
Li Yongzheng—installation, online documentation
He Gong—mixed-media, installation
Deng Le—curation documenta
Deng Xiao—installation documenta
Michel Petersen—sculpture, painting, ceramic
Paul Lindhard—bronze, stone
Kevin Carman—painting, installation
John Charles Shippey—wood, poetry
Cameron Leggett—performance art/new-old media, sound
Steve Aguilar—performance, video, music
sTeVe—artist-pages, video installation
MB Hanrahan—performance documentation (Holiday Art Card series), performance, painting, installation
Jeff Grimes—Storytelling/Zine-making, Music

Dr Kidd chose each artist for his or her hybrid art practice, involving expression in more than one medium. Dr Kidd writes that “The late gauvin, for example was mixed-media painter and performance artist. John M. White is as well.  While we may expect Chinese and US artists to agree on some shared values, we discover disagreement on values grounded in aesthetic ideals. These contrasting views, once discussed in detail, reveal Chinese artists relate differently to art than US counterparts. Whereas Chinese artists contextualize creative practice within socio-political and economic systems; US artists focus on individual expression, freedom from aesthetic norms, and innovation.”

“What both Chinese and US artists bear in common, however, is a global burden,” writes Dr Kidd. “Trans-local art markets ‘inspire’ artists to brand expression, ‘scolding’ outliers for lack of commitment to singular artistic media or visual language.”

Check out the “Bad Exhibition: Value in Art ” which runs through June 23:
Art City Gallery
197 Dubbers st.

With two artworks, Joe Cardella is one of the artists featured in the exhibit that displays three decades of avant-garde art practice in Ventura and Santa Barbara, USA, as well as in Sichuan, China as curated by Dr. Sophia Kidd who writes that  “Joe Cardella is sculptor, mail artist and publisher of the world’s longest running hand-made artist book limited edition monthly.” Read more about Joe’s contributions on the Art City blog.

Painting of Joe Cardella by Ventura Artist Hiroko Yoshimoto Courtesy of Museum of Ventura County


Joe Cardella’s ArtLife Magazine published over three dozen of my poems as broadsides which you can see here. Joe and ArtLife also influenced my teaching practice. I shared my process of creating these broadsides with students, often offering them the opportunity to help me create them or to attend readings from its pages, and students create their own ArtLife style anthology each semester. Thank you Joe. May you rest in peace.


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