By Grace Richey '19
Emily Petillon, SC ‘19, works until 11 p.m. every Thursday night at Pomona College Museum of Art. While her hours may seem unusual, she is a museum attendant for Art After Hours, a weekly event that showcases Los Angeles-based artists.
The current show, R.S.V.P Los Angeles, is a “milestone exhibition” in celebration of their 50th Project Series, and features local artists, including Pomona ‘00 alumnus Michael Parker.
“It’s really interesting because these are currently practicing artists [from] the Los Angeles [area] where the ‘art scene’ is more populated and condensed,” museum coordinator Justine Bae said. “It’s great to have them out here in east, east Los Angeles County for students and community members to see.”
Current installations range in medium from photography to ceramics and collage. Petillon’s favorite piece is a video by Wakana Kimura, who methodically burns tiny holes into a hanging piece of wax paper with an incense wand.
“I like the work where she’s burning the incense because as I’m working long hours here, I get this almost Zen feeling. It makes me feel at peace. It looks like she’s putting all her concentration into that one task, and I image that it must smell amazing,” said Petillon.
Another of the pieces in the R.S.V.P. Los Angeles exhibition is a projection by Naotaka Hiro, where the unseen artist wraps what appears to be intestines around several tiers of a black cake. Once the intestines circumscribe the base of each tier, the recording cuts to a shot of glitter being poured over the cake.
“It’s interesting because he is talking about parts of the body that aren’t glorified, like in the way that the ‘eyes are the window to the soul,’ but he’s looking at excrement. And as this meditative music plays on track at the same time, it draws you in and there’s this sort of sensory that you get from the visuals,” Bae, the principal organizer of Art After Hours, said.
As with the Hiro piece, Bae believes that many people misunderstand contemporary art as they attempt to find the “purpose.” She explains, “It’s not this concrete ‘it means this, it means that’ controversy, but one thing that a lot of people will sense is this connection to the body. […] When you’re talking about the body, you’re talking about the self, and so it becomes a form of identity through your physicality.”
“More than what [a piece] means, it’s just about what it makes you think and feel. What does it connect to? What does it pull out of you?” said Bae.
In the courtyard outside the Pomona Museum College of Art, Aft After Hours hosts different activities and performances by local musicians each week in collaboration with KSPC. Crafts include DIY terrariums and coloring pages for adults.
The R.S.V.P. Los Angeles series also collaborates with campus groups to put on additional events on other nights of the week. At 7 p.m. on Oct. 8, the Scripps Student Art Collective will host the 7C Art Alliance event, a fondue mixer open to all students.
On Oct. 29, Art After Hours will have their showcase event, the “The R.S.V.P Los Angeles” Book Release Party. Many of the artists are scheduled to appear. Art After Hours-- and most other R.S.V.P. Los Angeles events-- are free to the public and typically run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“It’s fun being around [the show] more than going through it once because you get to experience different moods, different takes, you see things that you didn’t see before. It’s pretty interesting,” information security officer Mary Roy said.
Art After Hours strives to create an art community within the colleges. “AAH is a venue, a platform, an event, a space for students from the 7Cs to come and pitch ideas,” Bae said.
Bae encourages anyone interested in their events to ‘Like’ their Facebook page. General questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Students interested in becoming involved with planning events can contact Bae at email@example.com, or visit her during Art After Hours.