An evening in Culver City Arts District

Last Saturday evening, we checked out Culver City’s Art District, where many of the cities most esteemed galleries hosted art openings: Roberts & Tilton, Peres Projects, Blum & Poe and LAX Art. The night was bustling with art lovers hoping from gallery to gallery.

The most popular exhibition was Sharon Lockhart’s, Lunch Break at Blum & Poe’s newly renovated mega gallery. To create Lunch Break, Lockhart spent a year at the Bath Iron Works, a massive shipyard in Maine – observing and engaging with workers during their daily routines. The resultant film installations and series of photographs focus on the activities of these workers during their time off from production.

In the meditative film Lunch Break, Lockhart incorporates subtle movement and a static photographic gaze to examine her subjects. The camera work is slow and sustained, as it inches it way down the corridor; we experience what was a brief interval in the workday expanded into a sustained gaze. Lined with lockers, the hallway seems not only an industrial nexus but also a social one. Over the duration of Lunch Break, we see workers engaged in a wide range of activities, reading, sleeping, talking and eating. The soundtrack is a composition designed in collaboration with Becky Allen and filmmaker James Benning, in which industrial sounds, music, and voices slowly merge and intertwine. Together, picture and sound provide an extended meditation on a moment of respite from labour.

The frame constantly fills with teeming workers as they head home after a long day’s work in Exit. As viewers, we must completely surrender conventional narrative expectations and let ourselves be transported into the atmosphere and idiosyncratic detail of life at the shipyard. We develop a sense of comfort and sentimental camaraderie with the workers as they enjoy restful moments amidst mechanical labour. When the final frame passes the shutter, we have become so enmeshed with shipyard life we do not want it to end.
All in all, Culver City was worth it, the art scene is a lot more connected than in other parts of Los Angeles.

Robert & Tilton
Me at Peres Project
LAX Art, some conceptual art
All Photograph’s taken by Juan Madrigal
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