The work of Yve Laris Cohen moves between the worlds of visual art and dance, situated within genealogies that include Minimalist sculpture, Institutional Critique, postmodern dance, and classical ballet. His work often considers the architecture and latent histories of theatrical spaces, through installations and performances that highlight states of transition—in bodies and buildings alike.
For Laris Cohen’s exhibition—his first solo museum presentation on the West Coast—the artist takes as his starting point MCASD La Jolla's current expansion, a construction endeavor involving the conversion of Sherwood Auditorium into gallery space. On the occasion of Sherwood’s disappearance, Laris Cohen has engaged in an excavation of the history of the auditorium and, in turn, of the Museum itself. His installation will transpose architectural and archival elements of Sherwood to the museum’s downtown building, effectively extending the life of the former civic space. There is a striking symmetry in this gesture: just as Sherwood Auditorium is transformed into a gallery, the artist transforms a gallery into Sherwood Auditorium.
Laris Cohen sees architecture as not only a formal construction but also a social and political one. Indeed, the project considers not just material artifacts of the building, but also the labor that supported the auditorium’s programs and maintenance. As part of the exhibition, a former Sherwood events technician, Michael Scheer, has been contracted to assist with a weekly event taking place in the installation. As a caretaker of Sherwood for over two decades, Scheer is now responsible for guarding archival materials from 1971, which marked a turning point in Sherwood’s history. This institutional ephemera points to Sherwood’s complex legacy, raising questions about the Museum’s parameters and its constituencies, both in the past and the present.
Meeting Ground represents the culmination of over a year of research on the part of the artist, who spent several weeks onsite at MCASD examining its archive. The exhibition’s title references an early press release the artist found that announced the opening of Sherwood Hall, describing it as “a meeting ground between the museum and the public.” His project offers a meditation on this idea, exploring how the particularities of theatrical architecture shape both a museum’s programs and its publics.
An event will occur every Saturday from 2-4 PM, from April 19 through September 2, 2018.
Yve Laris Cohen: Meeting Ground is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and made possible by gifts to the annual operating fund. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.