Kang Seung Lee: Hotel
RSVPs Required, Free
Kang Seung Lee will present an installation of his work in a hotel room during a live stream event, beginning at 7:00 PM on Friday, June 10. This is the final “annotation” of the Armory exhibition how we are in time and space: Nancy Buchanan, Marcia Hafif, Barbara T. Smith and coincides with the closing weekend of the exhibition. RSVP below to receive the Zoom link.
The Hotel installation will be improvised, with all of the works arriving in a single piece of luggage, but is likely to include meticulous graphite drawings on paper and on goatskin parchment, and text pieces embroidered with antique 24 karat gold on Sambe, a traditional Korean hemp fabric. Lee’s work draws upon multiple histories and memories of queer communities, across different generations and locations, weaving them together to create dialogues across time and space. He has been particularly attentive to the erased or marginalized histories of a generation of artists lost to the AIDS epidemic.
The works in Hotel summon a range of artists including Alvin Balthrop, Peter Hujar, Gi Hyeong-do, David Wojnarowicz, and Martin Wong. Another series of drawings memorialize Harvey Milk, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, who was assassinated in 1978. The subject of the drawings are potted cuttings from a succulent plant that belonged to Milk acquired by the artist Julie Tolentino and shared with members of her community, including Lee.
Lee’s Hotel is a specific reference to Barbara T. Smith’s The Cover Up (1976), a temporary installation created in a room in the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Smith wrote cryptic notes on the mirrors and on paper, scattered around the room, suggesting a woman driven mad by a man’s inability to acknowledge her needs. She then made an audio recording of the maid’s response to the installation. “Clearly in this strange room a very unsatisfactory erotic situation had happened,” Smith recalls.
“The audio was made as I asked the maid if she was willing to be interviewed. She was terrific. A loop was made and played while the audience came through to see this installation. The idea for the title was that very possibly the hotel maids come across rooms they must clean where there had very likely been a disastrous sexual event and her job is to cover it up.”
The live stream event will include a conversation with Kang Seung Lee and guest curator Michael Ned Holte.
Support for this exhibition and related public programs comes from the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts and the Pasadena Art Alliance, with generous support from the Michael Asher Foundation. Major support for all Armory programs comes from the Los Angeles Arts Recovery Fund.
Image courtesy of the artist.