Los Angeles: A Speculative Fiction by art historian Andrew Witt

Astrup Fearnley Museet
Event type
Thursday Events, Exhibition, Lecture
Each Thursday Astrup Fearnley Museet offers free lectures and presentations featuring experts in their fields. In conjunction with the exhibition "Los Angeles - A Fiction" we have invited art historian Andrew Witt.

The lecture will be conducted in English.

About the lecture
There is a series of photographs shot between 1979 and 1980 by Los Angeles photographer John Divola of New York City pictured from the perspective of the near-future. This particular ‘New York’ is a New York constructed, imagined and fabricated on the sprawling backlot of MGM Studios in Culver City, Los Angeles. Divola’s ‘New York’ is a Californian New York. The backlot was modeled after New York City during its fiscal crisis of the early 1970s, but was also constructed and used for a number of post-apocalyptic films situated in the imagined future. The films Soylent Green (1973) and The Ultimate Warrior (1975) envision New York through the lens of scarcity: a future where the entire city and all of its resources have been exhausted.

Months before Divola embarked on his photographs of the MGM backlot, Divola completed Zuma (1977-78), a series of photographs shot within an abandoned beach-front property on Zuma Beach, Malibu. Divola’s series reworked an earlier project, Vandalism (1974-75), where the artist, without access to a studio, spray-painted and later photographed a collection of swirls, dots, and lines within a group of abandoned Los Angeles interiors. For Zuma, Divola photographed the interior in the late evenings and early mornings with a low-powered flash. In Divola’s series, the axial light of the camera is placed in contrast to the low angled, petrochemical light of a Los Angeles sunset. Structurally, the house appears as if it were afloat, catastrophically, drifting unmoored on an apocalyptic sea.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Welcome!

Address: Strandpromenaden 2, 0252 Oslo

© Astrup Fearnley Museet