the backroom

September 1–December 31, 2005

The backroom is a new independent project space in Culver City, operating from September through December 2005. Over four months artists will be invited to present source materials that inform and support their practice, creating an expanding compilation of objects, videos, magazines, photographs, ephemera, data and written anecdotes.

Presented in an area of L.A. that is undergoing rapid growth in the development of commercial galleries, the project promotes artist’s processes, to counterbalance the increasing emphasis and value placed on ‘product.’ Intended as a temporary archive more than an exhibition, the backroom will provide an opportunity to encounter a range of artists’ interests, highlighting social and cultural phenomena that serve as potential stimuli for the production of work.

The backroom will be open weekly as an informal reading, meeting and viewing room, as well as hosting one-time events. On completion of the project, the space will close, to be refurbished in preparation for the opening of the first bar in the neighborhood, which will provide a long-term venue for the exchange of ideas.

the backroom #4

October 21-November 3, 2005

Contributions by Dennis Crompton (Archigram), Kota Ezawa, David Hatcher, Stephen Kaltenbach and Thomas Lawson. These include film footage from the Archigram archives that reveal the influence of technological advances, fairground culture and mass media imagery at a time of increasing social and political discontent in 1960s Great Britain; videos of anti-nuclear protests, the 1994 Intel World chess Grand Prix and a history of American Assassins; research into potential remixes of the history of photography; drawings by Wittgenstein, Schopenhauer and others sampled from printed pages of the philosophical canon; the unpublished manuscript of a pulp fiction novel; casts of hands; all the back issues of Real Life magazine (1979-92) and related correspondence, notes, unpublished texts and photographs.

Installation views

The Introductory materials used to frame the presentation

REALLIFE Magazine/ business

The contents of this folder include correspondence with subscribers and distributors, as well as lists of bookstores that carried the magazine and a version of our subscription mailing list from the mid-80s. The letters range in tone from enthusiastic support to querulous demands for un-received copies. The whole reflects something of the stop and start nature of a small non-profit enterprise.

REALLIFE Magazine, the beginnings

The contents of this folder include lists of alternative titles, some early, unsuccessful fund-raising attempts, a preliminary layout design, typeface choices, and the ultimately successful grant applications to the New York State Council on the Arts and the NEA.

REALLIFE Magazine/ exchanges

The contents of this folder reflect various kinds of exchange. The first pages contain letters from small magazines from around the world suggesting subscription exchange. The bulk of the book is the record of an information exchange with Critical Art Ensemble. This began at the suggestion of Julie Ault, at that time working with Group Material. I went down to Tallahassee to meet Steve and Hope Kurtz and he rest of the Ensemble. I participated in one of their Saturday night gigs at a local bar – I gave an artist talk, they did a hypertext performance – as part of the early evening entertainment before the regular band came on. Over the rest of the weekend I interviewed them about their practice and they interviewed me.

REALLIFE Magazine, correspondence

This folder is a collection of the letters we received over the years. Some reflect an ongoing correspondence with contributors who were, or who became friends. Others reflect the anger so-called ‘appropriationist’ or ‘REALLIFE’ art engendered at the time.

REALLIFE Magazine/ unpublished manuscripts

There are many reasons editors decide to reject a manuscript. The writing may not seem a good fit; the topic inappropriate, or already covered. We were never an obvious vehicle for poetry, but many people submitted poems for our consideration. We published one essay on David Salle, just before his career took off. Once airborne, we received many offers to publish long analyses of his paintings.

This folder contains a selection of essays we did not print. As a volume it stands as an alternative version of the magazine; a shadow of the real, maybe the best issue ever.