California City, California
Oct 5 – November 27, 2018
Opening reception with the artist: Thursday, October 4, 6pm-9pm
Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
STATION Gallery and USC Roski School of Art and Design are delighted to present ‘California City, California’, an exhibition by American artist Noritaka Minami. On view 4 October – 27 November 2018 at STATION Gallery, 3001 S. Flower Street in Los Angeles. ‘California City, California’ is curated by David Kelley, USC Associate Professor of Art Practice, and is the first exhibition in Los Angeles of Minami’s ongoing project California City, California
California City is a master planned community in the Mojave Desert. Conceived by sociology professor turned real estate developer Nathan Mendelsohn in the 1950s, the city was envisioned as the next major metropolis in California in response to the population and economic growths the state experienced after World War II. Mendelsohn and his associates carefully designed the layout of 187 square miles that is to this day listed as the state’s third largest “city” in terms of land size. Early boosterism employed water as a recurring motif to emphasize the city’s appeal to potential homeowners. The land was said to have the largest concentration of water wells in the Mojave Desert.
Today, California City exists predominately as a place that has not realized its founder’s utopian goals. With a population of 14,210, the city’s main employers are the Corrections Corporation of America Prison with its U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract, and the Cerro Coso Community College that serves Edwards Airforce Base. Minami’s photographs focus on a vast section of California City that is mostly uninhabited, despite having an extensive network of streets stretching across the landscape.
STATION gallery presents three series from Minami’s larger project: Real Estate, Wonderland, and a collection of the artist’s related ephemera. Outside, STATION’s new billboard project features one of Minami’s monochrome aerial photographs from the series ‘Real Estate.’ Inside are displayed six additional prints from the same series. In the vitrine, Minami’s collection of ephemera includes: California City postcards, maps, brochures and architectural plans that make evident the founder’s aspirations. Above the vitrine are two photographs from Minami’s series ‘Wonderland,’ which were photographed in the dust clouds of local California City motocross rallies.
Noritaka Minami is a visual artist based in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Art Practice and graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a MFA in Studio Art. Minami is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at Loyola University Chicago. He is a recipient of grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the Durfee Foundation. In 2015, he published a monograph titled “1972 – Nakagin Capsule Tower” (Kehrer Verlag), which received the 2015 Architectural Book Award from the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany. Solo exhibitions of his works have been held at Kana Kawanishi Gallery, SFO Museum, UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design, Griffin Museum of Photography, and UC Merced Art Gallery. His works have also been exhibited in group shows at Aperture Foundation, Somerset House, Photo Basel, New Wight Gallery, and Kearney Street Workshop. Minami’s works are held in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, and Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago.
Generous support for this exhibition is provided Loyola University Chicago DFPA Professional Development Grant.