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Santa Monica Museum of Art opens NY/LA

Santa Monica Museum of Art (MMoA) presents NY/LA, an innovative program initiative that diversifies SMMoA’s curatorial voice through an all-new, annual exhibition series. Developed by New York-based independent curator Jeffrey Uslip and SMMoA Deputy Director and curator Lisa Melandri, NY/LA connects emerging contemporary artists on the East and West coasts. NY/LA will debut at SMMoA with two exhibitions on view from January 14 through February 25, 2012: Adam Berg: Endangered Spaces (LA) in Project Room 1 and Georgi Tushev: Strange Attractor (NY) in Project Room 2.

NY/LA will identify the intersections of contemporary art that emerge from both coasts and highlight important work from these cultural centers. The annual series will see Uslip and Melandri each select one artist from the East and West coasts, respectively, to show at SMMoA. The series will also address current themes and practices of critical debate. Rather than present two artists who share thematic elements or particular artistic congruencies, Uslip and Melandri will select artists whose work represents emerging trends in contemporary art, creating a synergy that would not otherwise be explored.

“Both Los Angeles and New York are known for their innovations, their ability to spark new movements and cultivate new thought and action through art,” Melandri said. “Our goal is to bring the best of both coasts together and elevate the conversation.”

The debut NY/LA exhibitions—Adam Berg: Endangered Spaces and Georgi Tushev: Strange Attractor—explore the theme of scientific inquiry. Melandri is curator of Adam Berg: Endangered Spaces—a new, multi-dimensional video, sculpture, and photo installation that explores the relationship between man-made environments and displaced wildlife. In this work, Berg identifies a parallel future between endangered animals and threatened architectural spaces.

Uslip is curator of Georgi Tushev: Strange Attractor which presents a series of paintings and works on paper that investigate the effects of oil paint exposed to extreme magnetic fields. Tushev’s work subverts the traditional medium of painting allowing viewers to consider the cellular cycle of life and the material possibilities of paint.

Through its bicoastal focus, NY/LA will promote an ongoing dialogue that links contemporary art across the United States. Having each lived and worked on the East and West coasts, Uslip’s and Melandri’s collaboration brings a fresh and original curatorial perspective to this new exhibition series. Uslip’s participation as an independent New York-based curator fulfills SMMoA’s continued objective to broaden its curatorial perspective through collaboration.

“NY/LA is a new program initiative that continues SMMoA’s commitment to innovative artistic practices,” Uslip said. “By presenting concurrent project room exhibitions with one artist from New York and the other from Los Angeles, our aim is to foster a national dialogue between these two cultural centers.”

With NY/LA, SMMoA continues to reshuffle and revitalize its programming.

SMMoA is located at the Bergamot Station, Building G1, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, California. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, closed Sunday, Monday, and all legal holidays. Suggested donation: $5; $3 for seniors and students. For further information about exhibitions and programs, please call 310.586.6488 or visit

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