Recent programs: The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project Culminating Weekend

LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division)
Jul 8, 2015 11:19PM

LAND celebrated the culmination of The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project with a jam-packed long weekend of artist programs, readings, panels, parties, workshops, and a billboard exhibition. Thank you to everyone who attended The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project Culminating Weekend, the Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative, the National Endowment for the Arts, and our 153 Kickstarter backers for making this event possible!


LAND, Cris McCall, and The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project co-curator Zoe Crosher hosted a Fainting Club dinner at McCall's art-filled home.  Artist and chef Sarah Beadle created Stellar Cues, a ten-course culinary experience inspired by the geography and an imagined animal's sensory journey across the country.


LAND, Absolut Elyx, and LA Confidential invited guests to celebrate the official launch of the Culminating Weekend at the site of the billboard exhibition.  The exhibition, which was open to the public from June 24 to 28, featured billboards from all ten chapters of the cross-country exhibition and a sound installation by artist Scott Benzel.


Artists Matthew Brannon and Jeremy Shaw screened recent films at the historic Velaslavasay Panorama in West Adams. The panorama, which was built in 1915, is an exhibition hall, outdoor garden, and theater inspired by the 18th and 19th century tradition of presenting dioramas and paintings in the round. The screening of Brannon's Undivided Attention (Antelope) and Shaw's Quickeners was followed by a reception at Bacaro L.A.


LAND hosted A Night of Art Films and Music at the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles. Against dramatic rooftop views of Los Angeles, artists Sanford Biggers, Zoe Crosher and Jason Underhill, Eve Fowler, Daniel R. Small, and Bobbi Woods screened short films in the Upstairs bar and patio. DJ sets from the LA-based radio collective dublab and visuals curated by LAND followed the screening. 

The Ace Hotel was also the site of a LAND pop-up shop, featuring exclusive artist editions and merchandise, open from June 26 to 28.  Many of these editions and items are also available on our Artsy shop page, and all purchases support LAND's mission to create site-specific public art exhibitions in Los Angeles and beyond.


Artist Mario Ybarra Jr., the co-founder of Slanguage Studio and creator of the second chapter of The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, led a fast-paced, fun workshop for visitors of all ages at the billboard exhibition space.  Participants played Exquisite Corpse, a game invented by the Surrealists in which multiple artists create a single image of a body, and created a drawing inspired by Mario's talk about how to successfully follow through on creative ideas.

Later that day, artist Shana Lutker hosted a ribbon-tying ceremony at the Santa Monica Pier, designed to mirror her ribbon-cutting ceremony at the start of the project in Jacksonville, FL, to symbolically close The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project

Following the ribbon-tying, guests gathered at the pier's beautiful historic carousel for a panel discussion with billboard project artists Shana Lutker, Jeremy Shaw, Daniel R. Small, and Mario Ybarra Jr., moderated by The Broad Art Foundation Assistant Curator Ed Schad and hosted by Sotheby’s Institute of Art. After the panel, guests were invited to enjoy free carousel rides and ice cream.


On the final day of the weekend, Los Angeles-based educator and urban planner James Rojas led an insightful Create Your Ideal Freeway through Art and Play workshop at the exhibition space.  Participants of all ages used colorful recycled materials to create a transportation plan based on a childhood memory.  Next, teams constructed their ideal freeways and explained the benefits of their system to the group. The workshop, which connected to the freeway theme of The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, prompted participants to analyze their everyday experiences with transportation to generate discussion, solutions, and consensus through art and play.

In the late afternoon, journalist and writer Steffie Nelson hosted Slouching Towards LA, a reading featuring various writers’ responses to notions of Manifest Destiny and their conceptions of Los Angeles, as guided by the work of Joan Didion. Readers included memoirist Jillian Lauren, TV writer Tracy McMillan, author and retired competitive air guitarist Dan Crane, and arts writer Jori Finkel, among others.

In addition, Zoe Crosher led a perfume-making workshop with Saskia Wilson-Brown of The Institute of Art and Olfaction. Crosher has created ten perfumes inspired by the locations of each billboard project chapter and, with the input of guests at the event, she created a final scent inspired by Los Angeles.

Other highlights of the weekend included Taste the 10, a guided culinary tour through Grand Central Market inspired by the regional cuisine of the ten billboard chapter sites; an eye-opening tour of Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West at the Autry National Center; and the Los Angeles Filmforum screening Forward to Distant Times: New Visions of the West.

Thank you again to all the guests, supporters, and partners who made The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project Culminating Weekend a resounding success! 

Please visit our Facebook page for more photos from the weekend, and be sure to check out Certain Snakes, the tenth and final billboard chapter by Matthew Brannon, on view throughout Los Angeles through July 2015.

Photography credit to Ian Rosenszweig

LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division)