Curated by New York SculptureCenter curator Sohrab Mohebbi, HARDSCRABBLE, a recent exhibition of Dave Hullfish Bailey’s work at the REDCAT Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles was conceived of as a landscape that forays into four territories where life learning experiments occurred, including Drop City, Colorado and Slab City, near the Salton Sea in California. Accompanied by the soundtrack “The Civil War: The Struggle Against Unreality Begins” by Matmos, renowned art writer Jan Tumlir speaks with Bailey about his work and the distinction between how land is used and how humans interact on the land. Bailey’s work rethinks pedagogical models and “reintroduces spaces of perception where the non-instrumental regains a valency in relationship to the instrumental.”
Dave Hullfish Bailey is an artist based in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. His project-based works propose experimental geographies of specific sites—overlooked bits of infrastructure, spontaneous gatherings, inaccessible natural systems, and points of erased cultural meanings. Mixing granular description with nonlinear threads of connection, his work has one eye on unraveling the counter-narratives inscribed in each site; the other is trained on generating conceptual and poetic models for thinking about our relationships to distant sites, communities and non-human ecologies. Some recurrent forms in his work are sculptural installations, social interventions, photographs, drawings, artist books, collaborative workshops and performative lectures. Bailey’s work has been presented in solo exhibition projects at institutions including Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm; Malmo Konsthall; Raven Row, London; Casco, Utrecht; and Secession, Vienna. Since 2003 Bailey has developed with Sam Watson the CityCat Project, an ongoing project of art and land rights activism based in Brisbane, Australia. He has participated in the 30th São Paulo Bienal (2012), Lyon Biennale (2007), Socle du Monde Biennial (2004) the Berlin Bienalle/Plattform (1998) and other international group exhibitions. Artist books include What’s Left (Casco/Sternberg Press, Utrecht/Berlin: 2009); Elevator (Secession, Vienna: 2006); and Union Pacific (Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin: 1999). Dave Hullfish Bailey + Sam Watson: CityCat Project 2006-2016, was published by Sternberg Press in 2017. Bailey is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. Additional grants and fellowships include the Freund Fellowship, Washington University/St Louis Art Museum, City of Los Angeles Individual Artist (COLA) Fellowship, Getty Fellowship in the Visual Arts/California Community Foundation, Center for Cultural Innovation, and Durfee Foundation. Residencies include IASPIS, Stockholm, and the International Studio Program at Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Berlin. Bailey earned his BA in philosophy at Carleton College, and holds graduate degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Art Center College of Design. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He teaches extensively in undergraduate and graduate art, architecture and public practice programs in the U.S. and abroad.
Jan Tumlir is an art-writer, teacher and curator who lives in Los Angeles. He is a founding editor of the local art journal X-TRA, and a regular contributor to Artforum. He has written catalog essays for such artists as Bas Jan Ader, Uta Barth, John Divola, Cyprien Gaillard, Allen Ruppersberg and James Welling. Books include: LA Artland, a survey of contemporary art in Los Angeles co-written with Chris Kraus and Jane McFadden, published by Black Dog Press in 2005; Hyenas Are…, a monograph on the work of Matthew Brannon, was published by Mousse in 2011; and The Magic Circle: On The Beatles, Pop Art, Art-Rock and Records, published by Onomatopee in 2015. In addition to serving as an MFA advisor at Art Center, Tumlir is visiting Washington University in St. Louis as a Wallace Herndon Smith Distinguished Scholar. Past teaching appointments have brought him to UCLA, USC, CalArts, and Otis College of Art and Design. Tumlir’s last curatorial project, Some Lifestyle Options, was built around the work of Judy Fiskin and exhibited at Richard Telles Fine Art in 2016.
Sohrab Mohebbi is a writer and curator at SculptureCenter, New York.
Crew Credits –
Creator and Executive Producer – Hernan Diaz Alonso
Producer – Marcelyn Gow
Director – Reza Monahan
Director of Photography – Sean Morris
B Camera – Walker Sayen
C Camera – Heather Trawick
Lighting – Robert Moreno
Sound Engineer – Chris Trueman
Story Producers – Cal Crawford
Editors – Cal Crawford/Reza Monahan
Soundtrack: The Civil War “The Struggle Against Unreality Begins” by Matmos
Licensed by: Matmos (Martin Schmidt and Drew Daniel)
Additional Footage and Images Provided by: Dave Hullfish Bailey