The coronavirus has shut down some cultural institutions across California permanently, but a new art venue with a focus on wellness is pushing the opening this fall in Moncton.
Compound, a 15,000 square meter complex with two exhibition rooms, a restaurant, an inner courtyard and a sculpture garden, is due to open in the Zaferia district at the end of September. The nonprofit was founded by philanthropist and interior designer Megan Tagliaferri, who will serve as creative director and will feature contemporary art exhibitions and haunting installations.
Lauri Firstenberg, former director of the famous LAXArt exhibition space in Los Angeles, will act as the curator and artistic director of Compound.
The project has been in the works for more than five years and was in the final phase of construction in March when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. But Tagliaferri didn’t think of pulling the plug, she said.
“We are so committed to this work and our community that it wasn’t even an option,” she said. “Of course we thought about COVID and security. But in this moment we are in, it has only deepened our purpose as a space for people to heal and come together. “
That the complex has multiple outdoor spaces that can be used for yoga, meditation and gardening classes, as well as artist talks, live music and film screenings, will help address safety concerns, Tagliaferri said. The exhibitions are free and visitors can walk in from the street. Like other cultural sites that reopen after novel coronavirus shutdowns, Compound follows public safety protocols, such as: B. Providing hand sanitizer and social distancing markers.
A representation of Compounds space called Warehouse and one of its galleries next to Ellie’s Restaurant.
(CH Design Studio)
Tagliaferri, a member of the Scripps media family – her great-great-grandfather was Edward Willis Scripps, who founded EW Scripps Co. – funded the $ 1.2 million adaptive reuse project she designed in collaboration with BOA Architecture of Moncton. Compound will depend on revenue from Chef Jason Witzl’s Ellie’s restaurant, which features farm-to-table Italian food, plus a gift shop and public program grants to help keep you afloat. “And I use my resources over time,” said Tagliaferri.
Taking inspiration from other venues, Tagliaferri noticed the indoor-outdoor flow of Hauser & Wirth in downtown LA, the “sense of community, service, and warmth” of the Underground Museum in LA’s Arlington Heights neighborhood, and the Marfa ballroom Artist commissions in Texas.
Compound’s exhibitions take place in two storage rooms that are connected by the courtyard. One room is dedicated to rotating thematic exhibitions. The first “Chaos to Cosmos” includes paintings, sculptures and photographs as well as video and film installations by artists such as Helen Pashgian, Gisela Colon, Billy Al Bengston, Lita Albuquerque, Fred Eversley and Eamon Ore-Giron – all works from the Tagliaferri collection.
Fred Eversley’s sculpture will be part of Compound’s inaugural exhibition, “Chaos to Cosmos”.
This exhibition, said Firstenberg, was planned years ago, but it feels timely in that it deals with ideas of peace and grandeur and offers hope.
“It’s about artists between the generations, and the intention was to create an accessible, cultural oasis,” said Firstenberg. “We don’t switch and react to this time, but the work we have in place will resonate – we look at the light at the end of the tunnel at this moment.”
Compound’s other showroom, the Laboratory, will have rotating immersive and interactive installations, all commissioned works that will be on view for six to eight months. Currently, only one person is allowed in the immersive exhibits at a time to aid social distancing, and timed online reservations are required.
The opening show “Tidepools” by LA artist Glenn Kaino consists of two installations and a sound bath. The first installation is a “cloud chamber” that Kaino worked on with friends at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Firstenberg described it as a “dreamlike environment”, sculptural and immaterial at the same time. The second installation is a wishing well; It contains experiments with bioluminescent algae that Kaino performed with
consulting scientist Dean Sauer. Visitors throw coins into the fountain and seemingly magical effects play with our concepts of visibility and invisibility.
“When we hear about experimental installations, we think of spectacles,” said Firstenberg. “It’s really the opposite impulse, it’s really about intimacy. He thinks about what an art of hope looks like. “
Glenn Kaino’s concept sketch for “Tidepools”.
(Glenn Kaino Studio)
The commission program is central to Compound, said Firstenberg. The works include a neon text installation on the facade of the New York-based Tavares Strachan’s building with the inscription “You Belong Here” and a series of site-specific, abstract ceramic works by LA artist Anna Sew Hoy in the sculpture garden described by Firstenberg as “relaxed, meditative , discreet “. The next site-specific commission will be awarded by the New York artist Leslie Hewitt.
Ultimately, according to Tagliaferri, Compound should be a goal towards which “culture changes consciousness”. Given the urgency of the time – the COVID-19 crisis, economic uncertainty and anti-racism protests across the country – Compound is launching two initiatives before September: “A way to keep people happy immediately,” she said.
The online journal Compound-ed starts on Thursday with essays and interviews with artists. Compound has also partnered with the Artist Relief COVID charity to produce weekly artist-made wellness videos such as artist-led meditations and poetry readings that are posted to YouTube and Instagram every Monday.
A depiction of Compound’s lounge area in the warehouse.
(CH Design Studio)
Next up is a series of exhibitions and talks in 2021, which deals with the interface between art and activism. Strachan is among the artists featured along with community organizer and 2014 MacArthur colleague Rick Lowe and the late Underground Museum co-founder Noah Davis.
“As we go through this difficult period of transformation, we need to come back together to foster empathy and growth,” said Tagliaferri. “I just wanted a space in which people can be in community and be encouraged. Much healing is needed and we are this warm, open space. “