"Wasteland": An Integrated Focus on Environmentally Conscious Art

BY JESSICA DOHERTY

The Hammer Museum held their annual Arts Party last Friday night. The event brought together visual artists and musicians for a night of music, workshops, and gallery browsing.

PHOTO: Hammer Museum /  Twitter

PHOTO: Hammer Museum / Twitter

This year’s theme, “Wasteland,” unified different types of visual artists leading the night’s workshops. From mediating and painting with plants to screen printing posters to using recycled materials to create art, each artist focused on environmentally conscious practices.

Some artists related to both the night’s theme and artists on display at the Hammer. Allen Ruppersberg: Intellectual Property 1968–2018 is currently on display. Ruppersberg focuses his multimedia work on Americana nostalgia and, “memorials, self portraiture…[and] his reverence for cultural forms ‘destined to disappear’ from postcards and wall calendars to hand-painted signs and early recorded music,” according to the Hammer’s website.

Sara Chao’s workshop was adjacent to the current Ruppersberg exhibit and was a variation of his themes.

“I like to call it scrapping booking on the cheap,” said Chao on her workshop. Playing with the idea of memorabilia and found objects, Chao’s workshop featured materials for participants to create collage mail art or key chains. It is a small-scale version of her recent solo show and part of her overall desire to work with found objects and paper material.

Another workshop at the event focused on found materials as well. Beck + Col Stafford are primarily costume artists who led a mask-making workshop with found materials like old shipping boxes, fabric scraps, balloons, and lights. Participants were making everything from masks to hats and other costume pieces. Some even paraded their creations around the event.

The Hammer Museum is a museum that is a part of UCLA that, “believes in the promise of art and ideas to illuminate our lives and build a more just world,” according to their website.

“[Arts Party] makes an effort to bridge that gap between music and film and physically create a space that displays all varieties of art and an opportunity to experience all pieces of art at one time,” said Jarrett Lamphy, one of the student organizers of the event from the UCLA special events committee.

Lamphy, who serves as the concerts director, said that UCLA student involvement in the musical acts is recent compared to the event’s existence. The annual event started around ten years ago,  but The UCLA concerts committee only became involved in the past two years. The musical acts in previous years were smaller, local artists sourced by The Hammer.

This year the music portion opened with Masakoi and West1ne. Their sets were lively and entertaining, with covers of current crowd favorites like “Sicko Mode” and “Old Town Road” as well as throwback jams like “Kiss Me Thru the Phone,” “Gas Pedal” and even “Mamma Mia.” The familiar music helped warm up the crowd

Many attendees came for the last musical act, Dominic Fike. Fike recently joined popular music group Brockhampton. Some of the members even attended to support him, including Kevin Abstract.

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“[My son] was standing next to Kevin Abstract and I wish he knew how lucky he was!” said Grace Carrillo, an attendee of the event.

But the focus of the event seemed to have shifted to music over the visual arts. Fike sold t-shirts at the event that stated, “I didn’t wait 3 hours to stand on line to see stupid art; I wanted 3 hours on line to see Dominic Fike perform at The Hammer Museum.”

PHOTO:  Instagram

PHOTO: Instagram

Fike came on at 9:30 p.m. and excited the audience. Despite some minor mic setback, the audience was right there with him as he performed hits from his EP like “3 Nights” and “Westcoast Collective.” He also played an unreleased song. After the twenty-minute set, the crowd dispersed.

Despite the concern of the musical acts taking precedence, the space for arts of all varieties was still appreciated by attendees.

“I enjoy artistic spaces for young adults because it puts everyone with similar interests in the same area and its full of good energy,” said one attendee.

Lead Image Credit: Hallie Rose Scott / Instagram