David Antin: Sky Poems

Saturday, Sep 29, 2018 - 10:30 AM

This event will take place at the view point on Coast Boulevard at Cuvier Street, behind MCASD La Jolla

10:30 AM > Members' Coffee and Gathering
11 AM > Event Begins
4 PM > Event Continues at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

On September 3, 1988, MCASD presented Sky Poems 2, a performance and literary event created by poet and performance artist David Antin (1932–2016). The first stanza of the poem appeared in 1987 in the sky over Santa Monica. In La Jolla the following year, a team of aerial skywriters reproduced the second stanza over the beach and the Museum, writing letters in the sky with puffs of smoke. Thirty years later, this vividly ethereal work will be restaged in its original locations as a collaboration between MCASD, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Join us on the coast behind the Museum on the morning of September 29 for the first part of this day-long celebration, which will continue in Los Angeles that afternoon.

The Sky Poems project is organized by French artist Julien Bismuth as a tribute to Antin, who passed away in 2016. Antin wrote that the work was inspired by his childhood memory of a fleet of advertising planes sky-typing a message over Coney Island. His original idea for the piece was “an epic poem stretching across the United States... gradually being written for people who would never see all of it.” While Antin was only able to realize two parts of the epic poem, this 2018 revival will see the poem stretch across Southern California in a single day.

A great friend to MCASD and the San Diego art community, Antin was celebrated internationally for his performative “talk poems” developed in the early 1970s. He was a founding faculty member in the visual arts department at the University of California, San Diego, where he taught for 27 years. Antin published thirteen books and was the recipient of a Longview Award for Poetry; fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities; and the PEN Los Angeles Award for Poetry in 1984.

Currently based in New York, artist and writer Julien Bismuth initiated the restaging of Sky Poems as part of a yearlong curatorial and artistic project at La Criée Centre d’Art in Rennes, France, with the support of director Sophie Kaplan. Other upcoming projects include the 2018 Cuenca Biennale and a solo project at the Nomas Foundation in 2019.

A special symposium will be held at the Hammer Museum on Thursday, September 27, to commemorate Antin’s legacy. The event will feature a group of poets, artists, and scholars, including Eleanor Antin, Julien Bismuth, Aram Moshayedi, Marjorie Perloff, and Jerome Rothenberg.

David Antin: Sky Poems is co-presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. MCASD’s presentation is made possible by Maryanne and Irwin Pfister.

Image: David Antin, Sky Poem, 1988. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2008.M.56) © J. Paul Getty Trust.