In Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson’s video East Coast, West Coast (1969), the two artists act out the stereotypes associated with each coast. The academic and serious artist from the east coast clash with the laid-back attitude of the Californian surfer hippie. The set up might be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but stepping off the bus from LAX, there is a distinct change from New York. The weather, the light, the infrastructure, the people. All of these things influence the people living in LA, but the art world in Los Angeles has been professionalized since 1969, so even though you can escape to the beach or the desert, the artists are working away and slaving to the same structure as the artists on the other side of the country. I was in Los Angeles to see Thora Dolven Balke, currently a resident at ISCP in NY, and Ann Cathrin November Høibo’s exhibition Alvor at Michael Thibault Gallery. The two artists have their own distinct practices, but have decided to work together in this exhibition, combining textiles, sculptures, photographs and installation work in one go. The opening felt a little bit like being in Norway, as Norwegians were represented to the max. Anne Guro Larsmon, a recent graduate of CalArts, will be based in LA for another year, Mikael Brkic, is attending the Mountain School of Arts, an artist run school, which used to be hosted in a bar, Sille Storihle and Jumana Manna, who screened The Goodness Regime at Human Resources. Tyler Matthew Oyer, who was a guest at Rogaland Kunstsenter in August 2012, was also present, and had just started working on some new recordings. I don’t think there were any songs about Stavanger in the pipeline, but it’s fascinating to think of the two west-coasts, Los Angeles and Stavanger, converging one night in LA.
Geir Haraldseth is the director and curator of Rogaland Kunstsenter in Stavanger