OUTDOOR WALL WORK | Juan Capistran | November 15 - February 14, 2015 | press release
Juan Capistrán works in sculpture, painting, video, photography, drawing, installation, performance, and sound—whichever method best serves the specific project. A Mexican-born artist who grew up in a predominantly African American neighborhood in Los Angeles, Capistrán deftly maneuvers between subjects ranging from the civil rights movement to punk music to the art of the 1960s, blending practices, references, and themes into subversive critiques of American culture.
Capistrán’s work borrows equally from renowned artists such as Carl Andre, as well as hip-hop, disco, and gang culture, culminating in pieces and performances that often dip into the cool, distant nature of minimalism while referencing the politics inherent in the colored body. Frequently titled with references to pop culture, the work offers a broad entry point that shows Capistrán’s personal history with stark political expression.
This Print was made in reference to an outdoor wall work by Los Angeles artist Juan Capistran who, for this project, Capistran has identified the lyric from the song “You’re Already Dead” by the British punk band Crass. Crass (formed in 1977) is known for their political ideology, which promoted anarchism and resistance while encouraging personal political action. Capistran’s new outdoor wall work (facing La Cienega Boulevard at the southeast corner of Venice and La Cienega Boulevards in Los Angeles) picks up on the band’s lyric as a subcultural occurrence and elevates it to the status of popular culture in the sense that the sleeping masses may now wake up to the inanity (crassness) of massive governments and to the multinational organism that serves to oppress us commoners. In this case, the lyrical fragments from You’re Already Dead are crossed out as though someone doesn’t want you to see them or, perhaps, they are in the process of revision. Simultaneously, this marking out or graffiti busting of the two phrases could either represent the original writer’s reconsideration of what has been scribed or, maybe the first lyric was just way too pansy-ass for a street writer to take as he happened to be walking by. Whatever change of mind or second thoughts may develop, all bets are off as to what declaration might come next in terms of initiating a peoples’ collective sanity and sense of justice. Just like Crass would want it in a DIY society, the viewer decides.