Gala Committee

Article excerpt

With the revival of interventionist art practices in the '90s, which at times decidedly refer to procedures of the '60s and especially the '7os, there are frequently moral pretenses at play. Art (market) mechanisms are critically scrutinized, artistic requirements analyzed, and the relationship between public and private spheres and their reciprocal influences investigated. Always, the artists are concerned to condemn prevailing power structures.

Although the project "In the Name of the Place" deals with similar questions, it happily lacks any such moralistic disposition. In 1995, Mel Chin, then teaching at the University of Georgia, was invited to participate in the group exhibition "Uncommon Sense," which took place in 1997 at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. The theme of the exhibition was the way contemporary art interacts with the public. Chin organized a network of 102 artists, the GALA Committee (standing for Georgia/Los Angeles), and persuaded Spelling Entertainment Group, the company that produced the TV series Melrose Place, to grant them a contract to provide the program with mote than 150 props over the course of two seasons. These objects, including everything from everyday objects like bedding and furniture to posters and museum pictures, would subsequently be sold at auction at Sotheby's Beverly Hills branch.

Through this unusual collaboration between a group of artists and a television production company, the GALA Committee not only influenced the design of the props but also, over time, had a subtle effect on aspects of the series' plot development. Both the auction and the "Uncommon Sense" opening at LA MOCA were incorporated into the TV show. …


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