Solo exhibition by Joel Tauber – from March 6 to April 28
Joel Tauber is Assistant Professor of Art at Wake Forest University. His installation is “looking at a period that seems remarkably similar to our own – the end of the 19th century in America”.
The artist says about his project:During my research of the early history of Los Angeles, I was continually amazed by the overwhelming similarities to our current plight, and I was continually struck by how ridiculous it is that we continue to make the same mistakes that we made almost 150 years ago. The almost blind belief in big business and the refusal to regulate it brought up powerful feelings of déjà vu. In 1873, Los Angeles was a semi-desert town of 6,000 people, and they thought that the Southern Pacific Railroad would usher in a new era of “civilization, Christianity, and economic progress.” A massive government handout lured the Railroad to LA, and the Railroad immediately began to dominate and shape the City. Bribes, propaganda, and squashing of rivals were the norm. There was an endless thirst for resources to fuel the trains and the City’s growth. Oil derricks sprouted up everywhere, and the City grabbed as much water as it could lay its hands on. Conservation and the responsible allocation of resources were not on the agenda. “Pumping” describes this decisive period in Los Angeles’ history, while it also imagines a future: a future where the oil is all gone and where water is scarce. A solitary man rides his handcar along abandoned train tracks through the desert. He hauls a precious container of water that he fills with an old water pump. He recalls a past of seemingly endless promise, as he is haunted by memories of the oil pumps that once dominated the City’s landscape.