An Artist Residency Urbanized

Visual Art Source Reviews Studio System II

On view at the Torrance Art Museum from June 1 - 30, 2018

Huo You Feng, "Refuge," 2018, "Studio System II" installation at the Torrance Art Museum. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Huo You Feng, "Refuge," 2018, "Studio System II" installation at the Torrance Art Museum. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Editors' Roundtable

by David S. Rubin

It was not so long ago that an artist's studio was considered a sanctuary of sorts, a private space where the artist is free to unleash creativity in isolation, removed from distractions and oblivious to the outside world. During the height of his career, Jackson Pollock made his drip paintings in the solitude of a barn on the premises of his home in Springs, New York, where he could be fully at one with his medium. 

In the years that have passed since the 1950s, the rise of artist residency programs around the world has changed the manner in which many artists create. Typically such programs operate something like a summer camp or college campus, in that several artists are selected to spend a designated amount of time sharing communal live and work spaces, often in idyllic settings that promote inspiration. Some of the most successful and enduring residencies include The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency Program in Bellagio, Italy; the Anderson Ranch Artist-in-Residence Program in Snowmass Village, Colorado; the Yaddo residency in Saratoga Springs, New York; and the venerable Macdowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. One of the main purposes of these programs is to foster creativity through community. Put a bunch of talented creative folks in a contained environment and hopefully sparks fly as artists exchange ideas, critique one another's work, and bond by sharing a communal sense of purpose. One of the chief criteria for getting into a residency program, in fact, is an artist's reputation for getting along with others. 

There are, of course, some atypical artist residency programs that eschew the traditional format. San Antonio's Artpace, for example, enlists curators to conduct studio visits and select three artists — one local artist chosen from the visits, together with a national and international artist of the invited curator's choice. With substantial funding, each artist creates new work in the space, which shifts from being a studio to becoming an exhibition space at the end of each cycle. 

At the Torrance Art Museum in Southern California [through June 30th—Ed.], Director/Curator Max Presneill implemented the second installment of a unique artist residency program that functions simultaneously as a residency, an open studio event, and a museum experience. For "Studio System II," Presneill selected thirteen artists from a field of eighty applicants and assigned each a section of the main gallery to set up shop for the duration of the exhibition cycle. Unlike most residencies, where studios can be semi-private, "Studio System II" was structured like an art fair, with tiny spaces clustered close together, so privacy and solitude are unattainable. The program is effectively urbanization of an artist residency. 

As an interactive exhibition, "Studio System II" offered an innovative immersive experience that exposed viewers to the creative process, not only as witnesses, but also as participants. In addition to meeting and conversing with the artist residents about their works-in-progress, visitors could engage in some of the art making. They could model for Jodi Bonassi, for example, as she sketched their faces into sections of new fantasy paintings. Options for children included helping Lawrence Gipe fill in sections of his 15-foot drawing "All the Missiles of 1959," while adults were invited to sip tea and chat with Feng Ling (Carmen Zou) before joining the artist in pouring droplets of tea onto the surface of a horizontal scroll that is essentially a ritualistically performed collaborative painting. 

In addition to providing viewers with experiences not commonly found in museums, "Studio System II" presented a diverse group of artists, ranging from emerging to established, from local to international, and whose art traverses a wide spectrum of mediums. This eclectic mix also introduced some remarkable talent. Younger artists to keep an eye on include Khang Bao Nguyen, a PhD candidate in the Department of Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Nguyen's painted geometries function as contemporary mandalas that explore concepts of unity and balance. Anna Garner spent her time in Torrance photographing and lifting up male bodybuilders as a means of understanding the differences and similarities between female and male stereotypes. 

The most impactful project at "Studio System II" was Chinese artist Huo You Feng's "Refuge," which served as a cathartic vehicle for contrasting the human need for protection with the tendency of authoritarian regimes to separate people by building nationalistic walls. Sharing an affinity with his fellow countryman Ai Weiwei, Huo embraces the metaphoric potential of his materials, forms and actions for articulating about social injustice. Using bales of hay as his medium, Huo modified his installation throughout the course of the residency, alternately constructing shelters and walls. While reshaping his structures, he acted out his emotional responses to the concept of barriers by physically pounding the bales of hay. Given the current situation of our nation and the world, Huo's activities and structures could not be more relevant.



Studio Systems II - "Anything But Typical"

Torrance Art Museum’s residency project immerses visitors into the creative process



By Karen Robes Meeks
June 14, 2018

The Torrance Art Museum is hosting the group residency project Studio Systems II, which brings the dynamics of the artists' studio into the Museum. The main gallery at TAM is divided into studio spaces for 13 artists. The artists will be working in the museum studio spaces all month long on a piece for exhibit in the Museum while they interact with visitors. 


Studio Systems II, the artists’ residency program happening this month at the Torrance Art Museum, is anything but typical.

When visitors enter the main gallery, they are met with the smell of hay, paint and tea, scents of simultaneous art works in progress. At least a half dozen artists are creating in their spaces, sometimes gathering at a table full of food and drinks in the center of the room when they want a quick break.

“It’s a real treat to have the space welcoming and in place,” said Canoga Park figurative artist Jodi Bonassi, who’s been exhibiting for 25 years. “I’ve spent many years creating the space in my mind to work but here it’s ideal.  We all respect each other. There’s a space here where we all dialogue, and we bring things to share – I brought fruit; one artist brings his own pickles.”

That organic, creative interaction among artists and the public was what head curator and museum director Max Presneill envisioned when he first conceptualized Studio Systems more than three years ago.

“We invite artists to come in and use it as an actual studio,” Presneill said. “Unlike other artists in residencies where someone might go into a museum and see a single artist, look at a collection and select things from the collection for an exhibition, here we asked them to make the work here in front of people with other artists. The public can chat with the artists, find out what their approach is, whatever they want. They are completely open to chatting about everything.”

Each artist had to submit a proposal and chosen artists receive a stipend and free space in the main gallery to create their art during open museum hours. At the end of the program on June 30, there will be a closing ceremony where everything the artists made will be presented to the public.

“People like seeing the creative process and people like having the opportunity to talk one on one with somebody – why are you doing this? What influences you?” Presneill said. “It’s exciting to watch. Each one has a different way of doing their art.”

This year’s Studio Systems II, which will run until June 30, features 13 artists who create in various art forms from performance art and photography to paint and sculpture. In one corner of the gallery, artist Huo You Feng is shaping 15 pounds of hay with shears. In another corner, artist Feng Ling is conducting a performance art centered around the tradition of drinking tea.

“It’s the art of bringing people together,” she said. “We talk about anything – the world, our family. Drinking tea could heal people’s hearts and heal the world.”

The program is especially advantageous for Bonassi, whose works are shaped by interaction.

“Each painting changes depending on who visits me,” she said, adding that she invites people to take part in the painting and creates patterns inspired by her visitors. “I take the energy of whatever the person is and I sketch it. My piece is very dependent on the stories I hear.”

The program also features artists Chenhung Chen, Tom Dunn, Anna Garner, Lawrence Gipe, Debby and Larry Kline, Hagop Najarian, Khang Nguyen, Samuelle Richardson and Tyler Waxman.



Finding answers in Dreams & Fevers


Dreams & Fevers at Torrance Art Museum

Curated by Melissa Tran and Max Presneill
Through May 18, 2018

By Lorraine Heitzman


Dreams and Fevers, currently at the Torrance Art Museum, is filled with romance, carnality, and decay; in other words, the business of being human. Rebecca Campbell, Joshua Hagler, Emily LaCour, Atilio Pernisco and Alex Nguyen-Vo address themes of life, love and death in both personal and universal terms in a show that reminds us about the power and possibilities of storytelling through figurative painting.

Pernisco’s work dominates the gallery with five large canvases. His paintings suggest the psychological content of Eric Fischl’s Bad Boy combined with the palpable fleshiness of Phillip Perlstein’s nudes. We are privy to his subjects’ vulnerabilities as they lay prostrate on bed sheets or hooked up intravenously while experiencing hallucinations, but his palette and loose brushwork soften the disturbing realities. The most striking of these is Formulas for Alleviating the Pain that depicts a male figure lying partially undressed on a hospital bed. His drug or fever induced bedside apparitions include a wailing nun, a prostitute and Big Bird. The patient, propped up against his pillow, passively gazes at the bazaar cast of characters, appearing grateful for the distraction as we voyeuristically join him in watching the drama unfold. Pernisco pays equal attention to the malady and the absurd elements to suggest the subject’s mental state or perhaps to reflect upon our collective current psychological state.

Campbell’s She Made The Sky is presumably a mother and daughter on a bed surrounded by a benign, abstracted landscape. It is a metaphorical image that could be read as either referencing the strength and purity of the parent/child bond, or as the mythic hero’s journey. In this painting, the mother and child are seen on a sort of magic carpet ride, one that is adventurous perhaps, but not threatening. The child looks backward in wonderment as the mother gazes forward, bathed in sunlight that curiously separates them from their environment. The landscape is distinctly active and impressionistic compared to the placid figures, giving the impression of movement and fleeting time. It’s a compelling image, somewhat naïve, recalling Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy for its calm center and mystery, though more domestic than exotic.

Hagler leads us into a psychological landscape that is battered, fractured and intimate in his epically titled painting, A message arrives from across the river, detailing a number of strange coincidences and chance encounters leading up to this moment. It concludes with a heartfelt metaphor about the closing and opening of doors. What is a doorway, you think. What is a metaphor. You almost forget to wonder who sent it. Hagler uses multiple methods to suggest his energetic and layered mindset, literally ripping the canvas and scraping surfaces to reveal other layers. He uses stains to evoke a looser reality and divides the composition to emphasize a narrative as well as the idea of transformation. The imagery nudges us towards the lovers who have found comfort beyond frozen rivers and circumstances in contrast to the solitary figure/messenger. A red telephone, perhaps the conduit between them, figures prominently in the center. Passages of paint (or the absence of a layer) allude to the sky and clouds but mainly serve to bind the images together as they simultaneously disrupt the surface and narrative.

LaCour shows two types of paintings in Dreams & Fevers, each stylistically very different from one another, but both intent upon obscuring the figure or actions. Her larger painting, Holding Space, is an exploration of her subject’s frame of mind or his status. Against a vertically striped field, she paints a dissipated and fragmented figure that is lost against the background. He is present, but like a visual puzzle, he alternates between disappearing and manifesting. As the title implies, perhaps he is in limbo, awaiting a verdict before a full resolution is possible.

Nguyen-Vo’s two small paintings are heavily textured impressions of nude lovers. The titles place them outdoors with an emphasis on the figures and their intimate, affectionate relationship. At the same time, the thickly painted surfaces emphasize the shape of the pairs, focusing our attention on the surface and abstract qualities. Nguyen-Vo is able to eke out a sense of the couple’s bond with great efficiency, imbuing his lovers with an unexpected grace and sweetness.

Melissa Tran and Max Presneill have assembled an excellent group of diverse storytellers in their thoughtfully curated show, Dreams & Fevers. Campbell, Hagler, LaCour, Atilio Pernisco and Nguyen-Vo examine and represent life’s varied scenarios through the use of the figure, creating tableaus that are psychological and provocative. If there was ever any doubt that figurative painting is having its day, here is your answer. The show is up through May 18.




Meet TAM's Head Curator

Get to know TAM's Director / Head Curator Max Presneill with VoyageLA


Art & Life with Max Presneill

April 10, 2018


Today we’d like to introduce you to Max Presneill.

Max, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.

As a rather disruptive and disreputable working class young man in England I found my way clear of a life of questionable choices via art. Although I had always drawn, as most children do, starting with copying from comic books and such, I did not take art seriously and a future as a professional artist never occurred to me. When things were particularly tough I turned to art to help me believe that the world could be bigger and better than it was for me at that time and that ideas mattered. It became my hidden intellectual world and a way to feel I had something worthwhile to say. I started to paint and read about art constantly. The more I learned the more I fell in love with art and with Modernism. Herbert Read’s Concise History of Modern Painting was the turning point and his essay on Cubism made me realize that how we perceive the world is through the mind, more than the eye. This opened the floodgates for me. Since then art has been the driving force in my life. University followed and then a career exhibiting worldwide slowly grew from modest ambitions to where it currently stands

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My large scale oil paintings are mostly abstract, with occasional pockets of figuration (sometimes skulls) thrown in. They get painted in stages which means they build up textures over time. Sometimes a painting can be reworked continuously for years. Rarely they can take a week or two, but it does happen now and then. They become a record of a set of decisions about leaving marks and signs of my presence. I am interested in what the act of painting means and how it can explore multiple avenues of enquiry simultaneously. From existential questions, to an awareness of presence and mortality, to notions of masculine codes and gender, all can be encompassed, for me, within the structures of thought and application of material that painting represents. When I die my paintings are what will remain. They contain my memories, hopes and dreams, my thoughts about what it meant to be me at a given place and time.

I hope people will remember to indulge in life while they can. This mortal coil is short and I intend to go loudly, laughing and fighting, as I hope the paintings reflect and that people will consider their own mortality through them and to ‘dance like nobody’s watching’. I also hope they will find them interesting, to admire them as paintings with some skill.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?

Concentrate on making the work, not living the lifestyle. Learn all you can. Visit galleries and museums to learn more techniques and possible approaches and to equally learn what not to do. Support other artists. Go to their openings. Be realistic about what galleries are supposed to do for you. Don’t be an ass to work with. Be generous with your time, thoughts and willingness to help.

What I wish I knew earlier is that being an artist is somewhat Sisyphusian – the continual struggle has its ups and downs but never stops. Artists do not retire, we die. The next painting will always be better in our minds and hence we continue making. We never find the ‘answer’ we just ask the questions. With that can come an all-encompassing myopia that we need to be aware of and to combat. We need to remember to actively have a life that gives us time away from all this, a space to breath. My wife, LaLena Lewark, brought that to me a little later in life and the lesson is that life can be fuller, richer and art making more fulfilling without the need to be the cliché of the solitary artist.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?

Instagram is where I post images of new and ongoing works each week.

I show my paintings all around the world (most regularly at TW Fine Art in Brisbane, Australia, if you happen to be Down Under and also in Berlin) but the best places to see them in Los Angeles are at Durden and Ray, a gallery in downtown LA, and Garboushian Gallery in Beverly Hills. In 2018 I will be showing in London, Rome, Beijing and some other spots globally.

The best place to see a wide range of my paintings is online at my website ( or to visit my studio!!

The best ways people can support is to attend the gallery openings when I am showing (and occasionally buying my work never hurts!) and to tell other people about my work, if you like it. Follow my Instagram account and check my Facebook page for updates. Making art and then exhibiting it is about communication and growing an audience for it. You can help that by introducing other people to my art – the more the merrier.



"We have a very experimental approach to curating methodologies, a very personable relationship with the artists, an informal interaction with our audiences and a fun program. You can come in, it’s always free, see the shows, chat with staff and even talk directly to the curators (unheard of in most art museums).

We are an open and inviting place and people can become personally involved with our projects, feeling an intimate connection with the TAM. How many art museums can you say that about?"




Genie Davis reviews the current exhibitions at TAM for Art and Cake


Co/Lab III at the Torrance Art Museum

Torrance Art Museum: International Exhibition Includes Los Angles Collectives and More

Through May 18th. 

By Genie Davis

Co/Lab III, at the Torrance Art Museum through May 8th offers a stellar pairing of 8 artist-run collectives from Berlin with 8 artist-run gallery spaces from LA. The 16 groups create eight separate curatorial projects; 76 artists in all are represented, and the result are powerful, conjoined, and beautiful images.

These pairings in the main gallery are BBQLA with Berlin’s Axel Obiger, Dalton Warehouse with COPYRIGHTberlin, Durden and Ray with HilbertRaum, ESXLA with Scotty e.V., Monte Vista Projects with A+, POST with LAGE EGAL, Elevator Mondays with ZK/U, and Tiger Strikes Asteroid with oMo artspace.

The combined works are nothing short of inspired, but are not the only exhibition that makes TAM a must-see stop this month. On the patio of the museum, ethereal aluminum, bass, dichroid glass, rubber, and stainless steel sculptures by Jamie Hamilton dazzle and thrill; the colors changing with the angle of perception and the outside light.

In the hall between the main gallery and Gallery Two, a somewhat astonishing site-specific installation is like the art version of a carnival fun house – Darel Carey’s Dimensionalization swims and vibrates, zig-zagging lines that, like Hamilton’s sculptures, also shift with the angle of view. Inside Gallery Two, a lush series of figurative works tackles Dreams & Fevers; in one fraught piece, Big Bird watches while a man on a gurney views a nun sobbing and praying, and a voluptuous woman turns her backside toward the viewer. We are in a territory both raw and unfiltered, of psychological states and visual intensity.

It’s a wonderful thing to see such fresh work, but even better is to witness the melding of artists from Berlin and LA. There is a subtle difference in aesthetics between the artists from each city; but it is the difference between each paired exhibit space that is the most striking. Each mini-gallery has something fresh and exciting to say, both about the sheer fun of making art and the experience of art’s universal nature.

Overall, viewers see works that are primarily more abstract than figurative, that have a futuristic bent, both hopeful and hooked on technology. Sculptural works on the walls and floors are standouts, and help to lead viewers from gallery space to space, serving almost as dividers in some cases, bridges in others.

Daniel Wiesenfeld, a Berlin-based artist in the Durden and Ray/ Hilbertraum collaboration offers a series of small circular works suspended on mechanical arms, a sculptural artwork that reminds the viewer of optometric lenses, offering different views of the world. It makes a neat pairing with LA’s Dani Dodge, who uses multi-screen video in a compelling, sculptural assemblage of analog TV screens on a retro-AV cart and Ty Pownall’s white on light grey mixed media painting which defies its own precision, creating an image of construction and deconstruction, devoid of color but dazzling none the less.

Harriet Gross of Axel Obiger offers a wall sculpture that feels both intensely futuristic and delicate, a mixed media geometry that speaks of the mechanical and robotic, and offers a glimpse into a world that might just swallow the viewer.

A performance art piece from Tiger Strikes Asteroid worked as a walking red kissing booth of sorts, asking participants to leave their hatred and intolerance at the door; the artist, her mouth strapped shut with a belt, offers mute testimony to the ugliness we must overcome as a society.

In the Dalton Warehouse / COPYRIGHTberlin space, a series of soft blue sculptural forms create an ersatz bridge, the color and pattern of which reminds viewers of blue skies, serene times, an ocean wave.

Laura Parker’s images of light in the PØST/Lage Egal space seem to offer hope for the future, a beam in the darkness.

Roman Gysin, in the Monte Vista Projects / Å+ project space created a minute, yet expansive floor sculpture of tiny pointed cylindrical shapes, above which a thin rope sculpture is suspended. Evocative of cities, cemeteries, and toy soldiers, the piece is a compelling series of shapes and textures.

Liz Nurenberg’s cushy white floor couch, a kind of inverse of a standard sofa – all fabric and foam – invited viewers to lie down for a rest in the Tiger Strikes Asteroid Los Angeles/ oMo artspace

The ELEVATOR MONDAYS / Z/KU collaboration includes a wonderful arch, a pair shaped of conjoined arms/legs nearly but not quite touching, while a figurative sculpture of a Dalmatian wearing a fuschia boa looks on, and a female mannequin strides by. This exhibition space seemed to meld the works of each of its artists into one combined, large scale sculptural form.

A full wall of softly defined abstract images on separate canvases shaped one wall of the Tiger Strikes Asteroid Los Angeles/OMO art space – rectangular and square the images remind the viewer of architectural constructs.

If “The Only Way to Walk Forward is to Erase Your Own History” as a floor sand sculpture allowed, then new history is surely being written here.

There are so many works here worthy of exploration. Take an international journey without boarding a plane, and visit them in Torrance.



Smoke & Mirrors is front page news

The Torrance Art Museum's first exhibition of 2018, Smoke & Mirrors, made front page news in the Torrance Tribune!


New Exhibits Smoke & Mirrors and Solar Flare at The Torrance Art Museum

By TerriAnn Ferren

Two new exhibits at the Torrance Art Museum, Smoke & Mirrors, curated by Gioj De Marco and Elizabeth Withstandley, and Solar Flare, curated by Manual History Machines, opened Saturday, Jan. 20 and runs until Saturday, March 10. Featured artists include Adler Guerrier, Alejandra Urresti, Barry Markowitz, Bettina Khano, Clifton Childree, Dorsey Dunn, Elizabeth Withstandley, Gioj De March, Gordon Winiemko, Heta Kuchka, Joséphine Wister Faure, Lewis Colburn and Thomas Müller. “The artists in Smoke & Mirrors investigate the nature of reality; how objects, memories, and ideas come into being; how they persist; and how they cease to exist,” the description of the program reads.

Solar Flare, curated by Manual History Machines includes artists Shanna Waddell, Heather Rasmussen, Paul Pescador, Elizabeth Folk, Sofia Córdova and Daniel Gibson. This show is located in Gallery Two and the Dark Room (where film is shown). The Torrance Art Museum website notes, “The artists selected for this exhibition each respond to their environment and life through a unique lens of recollection and mediation. They reconstruct experiences that reflect the personal, psychological and the subjective… Solar Flare serves to honor each of the artists and reinforces the crucial role of the subjective experience as a central core – which everything orbits.”

Special events planned for later in the show run include Levitation and BMT-IRT-IND, performances by Joséphine Wister Faure and Barry Markowitz on Feb. 10 from 2p.m. to 5 p.m. and on March 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Also don’t miss the MAGICAL EXPERIMENTS OR SCIENCE IN PLAY, a moderated panel discussion with the artists.

I spoke with Gioj De Marco and Elizabeth Withstandley, the two curators of Smoke & Mirrors. “We came together in a funny way,” said Elizabeth. “We started a not-for-profit space in Miami called Locust Projects and a few years ago we had done an open call and there was 350 artists that had sent in proposals. So I was one of the people going through the proposals and getting them ready for the committee that was going to review them…and you know you have [only] a few slots available – way more artists than you can do things with. But there were a few proposals that I really enjoyed that I felt I needed to reach out to these artists and say, ‘I am sorry -- you’re not having a show at Locust Project, but I really enjoyed your work.’ Through that I sent Gioj one of those emails.” The two artists met, connected and realized their work dovetailed beautifully together, so they looked for other artists who would fit in their genre. “How the work connects is that we were both working parallel with the notion with cinema and objects in film,” said Gioj. “At the time, Elizabeth was photographing props in prop houses and then writing imaginary scripts about it and presenting them as photographs. So that was such a clear, esthetic and conceptional connection. That it was also wonderful for me to receive news that I was not alone in my thinking. So we had this real artist experience.” These two talented women both live in Southern California and have come together for this and other projects. The two have reached out to artists in Los Angeles, Florida, Argentina, Finland and Germany and feel as if this is the first attempt at the conceptional organization of the work.

The Smoke & Mirrors grand opening was a huge success. People were crowded into the museum perusing, studying, reading, watching and interacting at times with the art. There are three exhibit rooms at the museum: the large gallery, a smaller gallery and a screening room.

First I toured around the impressive show in the main gallery where a large group of people listened to an artist as he held an onion in one hand and an apple in the other. On the other side of the gallery, Gioj, who has been replicating cinema props out of clay, presented All The Cigars Smoked by Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns. “For the piece, I asked volunteers to smoke Toscanelli cigars exactly down to the length at which they appear in every scene of the trilogy. The clay replicas were made from the resulting butts,” wrote Gioj.

The case showed clay replicas of the 114 cigars smoked by Clint Eastwood in A Fist Full of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. On the opposite wall were snorkeling goggles worn by Ursula Andress in the James Bond film Dr. No by a monumental conch shell.

Luckily, on this very busy opening night, I had the opportunity of speaking with the Director/Curator of the Torrance Art Museum, Max Presneill. I asked Max how he was able to acquire this particular exhibit and he told me, “As part of an ongoing development into areas which are more connected to direct interaction with artists and artists as curators, we invited a duo who put together the show in the main gallery, Smoke & Mirrors, Elizabeth Withstandley and Gioj De Marco, and in the second gallery, we invited a group called Manual History Machines to put a proposal together.” Max mentioned that his idea is bringing new museum practices into the Torrance Art Museum. Speaking with Max was most informative and I learned he is working diligently to bring artists from cities in other countries, teaming them up with artists in Los Angeles and then pairing them up and asking them to work together on mini-shows. “There will be 16 spaces, eight from Berlin, eight from Los Angeles -- they are paired up so there will be eight separate territorial [areas] and we will present all eight at the same time,” said Max. Wow, that means dozens of artists from Berlin will be flying into Los Angeles, working with local artists, and then presenting their work at a show at the Torrance Art Museum! “If it goes well, we intend to target cities all around the world so every year we bring artists to Torrance and team them up with Southern California artists groups to work together,” added Max.

So Torrance should become the number one center for international art coming to Southern California! Wow, that is remarkable and sets Torrance up as an art mecca. Max continued, “We are going to divide the main gallery into eight sections and then each one presents… 16 galleries, eight different shows, all in the main gallery at the same time. It’s going to be mad.” All this is happening under the watchful eye of the Director/Curator Max Presneill. Torrance is indeed lucky having such a forward-thinking, artistic, inventive leader for our very own Torrance Art Museum. Max said, “Although we don’t have a huge budget, one thing we can compete on is knowing who is doing what sooner than the big museums - and keeping a finger on the pulse. One thing that seems interesting for us is instead of just thinking regionally is to think of Torrance as a center point for the rest of the world. We should really bring the best we can find around the world here and anyone in Southern California can come and see what is going on in Berlin.” In thinking bigger rather than smaller, Max is moving forward, bringing art and artists from around the world into Torrance. “We can divide the main gallery into eight spaces and give a reasonable size for everyone to work in… we want it to be part of an ongoing process which means we want them to get to know each other, show in each other’s spaces, in the future develop contacts, and really build a much, much bigger integration of the art scenes here and in Berlin. And if we can [do that] in Berlin, then we will be looking at literally countries all over the world.”

Some of the other countries and cities Max is reaching out to include Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London, Tokyo, Melbourne, Sydney, Johannesburg, South Africa, Mumbai and Istanbul. Max wants to work with other thriving artists from other countries. Their work, which is rarely seen outside their own country, will be highlighted at the Torrance Art Museum where everyone can come and see their artwork. That is the plan, so let’s do it! Great idea and why not?



TAM in the news


NEWSWORTHY Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA EXHIBITIONS AT The Torrance Art Museum


The Torrance Art Museum presented two exhibitions for the Getty's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative / SUR Biennial this fall. Both The Cuban Matrix and Yoshua Okon: Oracle garnered attention from various press outlets locally, nationally, and internationally. 


Here are a few newsworthy highlights from our exhibition!

Los Angeles Times
The Border as Muse: Two PST Art Shows Look at Flow of Humanity Between the U.S. and Mexico

The Art Newspaper
Immigration Politics Loom Large in Pacific Standard Time

The Wall Street Journal
“Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” Review: Mirror of a Kaleidoscopic Culture

The Farber Foundation: Cuban Art News
In “Pacific Standard Time,” Looking at a Digital Cuba
Cuban Art + Artists in “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA”

Art and Cake
SUR:biennial and Getty PST: LA/LA

5 Design Things to Do This Week

LA Magazine
6 South Bay Cultural Spots to Visit for PST: LA/LA

Long Beach Post
Six Arts Institutions Offering Free Admission to Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Exhibitions


Announcing The Cuban Matrix


Announcing The Cuban Matrix


The Cuban Matrix


VENUE: Torrance Art Museum
LOCATION: 3320 Civic Center Dr, Torrance, California
DATES: September 12 th – November 4 th 2017

Marking Torrance Art Museum’s (TAM) third time participating in SUR:biennial and first exhibition affiliated with the Getty-led Pacific Standard Time initiatives, TAM is pleased to announce The Cuban Matrix, opening at Torrance Art Museum on September 16, 2017.

The Cuban Matrix is TAM’s contribution to the 2017 SUR: biennial. SUR is a biennial multi-venue, international exhibition program. Participating institutions produce projects with artists from across Latin America, as well as Latin American artists working in and engaging Southern California. 2017’s iteration is SUR’s fourth and Torrance Art Museum’s third participation.

The Cuban Matrix is also a part of Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard TIme is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America. 

This exhibition is organized by Maurizzio Hector Pineda, Benjamin W. Tippin, and Melissa Tran, under the direction of Max Presneill, the museum’s director, and along with the assistance and support of the Torrance Art Museum Advocates (TAMA). Participating artists include: Ariamna Contino, Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, Jorge Otero Escobar, Diana Fonseca,  Alexander Hernandez, Tony Labat with Juan Carlos Alom, Francisco Maso, and Esterio Segura.

The Cuban Matrix is an ambitious project featuring an in-depth look at contemporary Cuban artwork, with emphasis on digital media exchange culture. The focus of the exhibition is the offline digital “mercado” (marketplace) sharing culture that has arisen around the phenomenon of “El Paquete Semanal”: a weekly terabyte packet of entertainment, downloaded webpages and information that is carried into Cuba, shared and consumed throughout Cuban society.

The works that TAM will be hosting exist and were created in conditions tempered by limited access to the virtual information systems that most of the developed world takes for granted. The artists and their works are shaped by these limitations and the cultural responses that grew to meet them. While the high-speed, constantly available information stream that forms the hallmark of contemporary societies in the global north is not at this time available to the people of Cuba, “El Paquete Semanal” forms a unique and ingenious workaround. It is bought cheaply and distributed from hand to hand, shared and downloaded. Containing everything from entertainment to software to international news, “El Paquete” acts as an object that mediates Cuba and the rest of the world.

During the fall and throughout the exhibition, Torrance Art Museum will present a series of events for visitors and families ranging from tours to artist-led hands-on events, artist talks, performances, screenings,
and live music.
Examples include:
•  Daily exhibition tours
•  Stories in Art, a free, artist-led children’s art workshop
•  Thursday Film program

Media Contacts:
For more information on exhibition and Torrance Art Museum, please contact Benjamin Tippin: / 1 310 618 6342
For SUR: Biennial: Robert Miller, Rio Hondo College

Additional Materials:
Exhibition website:
SUR:biennial website:
Pacific Standard Time LA/LA website:
Social Media: twitter: @torranceart; #TAM, #TheCubanMatrix
instagram: @torranceartmuseum; #TAM, #TheCubanMatrix

About SUR:biennial:
The 4 th SUR:biennial focuses around three core venues in Los Angeles: Torrance Art Museum, Rio Hondo College Art Gallery, and Cerritos College Art Gallery. The biennial showcases recent works of local and international artists who have been influenced by the cultures and artistic traditions of Mexico and Central and South America. Unlike many recent exhibitions of Latino/a, Mexican, Mexican-American, or Chicano/a art, the SUR:biennial seeks to explore notions of globalization and exchange that take place in the ambiguous geographical, cultural, and artistic borderlands between Los Angeles and “the South,” regardless of the artist’s nationality.

About Pacific Standard Time LA/LA:
Pacific Standard Time LA/LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles taking place from September 2017 through January 2018. Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a collaboration of arts institutions across Southern California.

Through a series of thematically linked exhibitions and programs, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA highlights different aspects of Latin American and Latino art from the ancient world to the present day. With topics such as luxury arts in the pre-Columbian Americas, 20th century Afro-Brazilian, alternative spaces in Mexico City, and boundary-crossing practices of Latino artists, exhibitions range from monographic studies of individual artists to broad surveys that cut across numerous countries.

Supported by more than $16 million in grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA involves more than 70 cultural institutions from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

About Torrance Art Museum:
Founded in 2005, the Torrance Art Museum is the premiere visual art space to view contemporary art in the South Bay. The museum encourages all people to develop and increase their understanding and appreciation for modern programs, artist talks, lectures, and symposia. Through its emphasis on contemporary artistic expression in Southern California and globally, the Torrance Art Museum brings together visual artists and community members; fosters experiences in the arts to strengthen creative and critical thinking skills; and builds bridges between the visual arts and other disciplines in the humanities and sciences.





The Gildless Age featured in the LA Times

Marc Trujillo, "14114 Vanowen Blvd.," 2013, oil on polyester over aluminum. (Christopher Knight / Los Angeles Times)

Marc Trujillo, "14114 Vanowen Blvd.," 2013, oil on polyester over aluminum. (Christopher Knight / Los Angeles Times)

TAM is pleased to share that our current exhibition, The Gildless Age, has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Times. Check out the article by Christopher Knight here and learn more about the exhibition, The Gildless Age, at the Torrance Art Museum.

The exhibition has also received a lovely review in Art and Cake, as well. You can find the article by Genie Davis here.

Very special thanks to the exhibition's guest curator, Denise Johnson.