Watts Towers Arts Center
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Rosie Lee Hooks PDF Stampa E-mail
Rosie Lee Hooks


Rosie Lee Hooks is the director of the Watts Towers Arts Center, the Tour Program for Watts Towers and the Chalres Mingus Youth Arts Center. She served as Acting Director here in 1993. Before taking her permanent position, Hooks was the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Director of Festivals and Gallery Theatre. There, in addition to conceptualizing and producing almost 300 multicultural, multidisciplined and culturally specific festivals, special events and theatre programs, and utilizing her background in early childhood education, she developed the now 17-year-old Jazz Mentorship Program, which exposes yong people to America’s indigenous art form. An accomplished actress and singer for more than 30 years, Hooks began her career in theatre at the D.C. Black Repertory Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., where she was a founding member, resident actor and training coordinator for five years.
She is a former member of “Sweet Honey in The Rock” and founding member of TBET (The Black Ensemble Theatre) at LATC (Los Angeles Theatre Center). Her acting credits include touring the US and Europe with the Mark Taper Forum. Hooks continues to act in film, television and on stage and is the recipient of the prestigious NAACP “Image Award” as Best Supporting Actress for her role in the original stage production of 227. While working for the Smithsonian Institution, she produced the African Diaspora Program of the Festival of American Folklife, presenting folk and traditional artists and cultural materials, as well as performers, visual artists and crafts from the US, Caribbean, Latin America, South America and Africa. As Diplomatic Liaison, she was responsabile for establishing and maintaining relationships between the Smithsonian and Embassy Ambassadors for Liberia, Nigeria, Zaire, Senegal, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Surinam, Guyana and Brazil. As Director of Field Research, she traveled throughout the United States, and on “Official Passport” delivering the government-to-government invitations from the United States to the Ministers of Culture in Jamaica, Trinidad an Tobago, Haiti, Guyana, Surinam, Brazil, Ghana, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal. Some of her first published photographs can be seen in the book, “Black People and Their Culture”, essays that document the African Diaspora Program at the Smithsonian. Hooks is also a film documentarian, having produced more than 16 films documenting the culture of various ethnic communities in Southern California. Hooks is proud of her accomplishments as a 1st degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do Karate. Her work has been honored with a number of Awards, including: the Community Service Award from the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, the Rainbow Award from the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center Community Service Award and another Community Service Award from the Charles Drew School of Medicine and Science.
Olga Garay PDF Stampa E-mail

Olga Garay


Olga is the executive director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), a position she assumed on August, 1, 2007.  Reporting directly to the Mayor of Los Angeles, and managing a nearly $23-million budget, the executive director is the chief administrative officer of the DCA. Los Angeles, the country’s second largest city with a population of 4 million, is home to the largest creative workforce in the United States.
Most recently, Olga was an independent producer and performing arts consultant who worked with organizations such as: the Lincoln Center Festival, the National Performance Network, El Museo del Barrio, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, the Carnival Performing Arts Center, and Leveraging Investments in Creativity.
As program director for the arts for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (1998-2005), Olga was responsible for the planning, design, management, and evaluation of the Arts Program, which provides approximately $13 to $20 million annually to leading performing arts organizations throughout the country, making it one of the largest national arts funders in the United States. She developed several major programs, including the Leadership Presenting Institutions and Midsized Presenting Organizations Program; a Theatre Initiative created in
collaboration with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that has awarded $34.5 million to date; and the $16.25 million Talented Students in the Arts Initiative, a collaboration with the Surdna Foundation. A total of $145 million was awarded to arts organizations throughout the country during Olga’s seven year tenure.
Prior to that Olga was director of Cultural Affairs at Miami Dade College where for seven years she supervised three art galleries and curated a performing arts presenting program. Olga started working in the arts as a program officer in the mid 1980s at the Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Department and went on to become assistant director of the agency. In 2006 she received a “Bessie”, the New York Dance and Performance Awards and was named the Cuban Artists’ Fund Distinguished Honoree. She received the 2003 “Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award“ for exemplary service to the field of professional presenting from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

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Watts Towers Arts Center / Watts Towers
1727 East 107th Street - Los Angeles
phone: (213) 847-4646 - Fax (323) 564-7030
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Lisa Panzera PDF Stampa E-mail
Lisa Panzera received a Bachelors degree from Smith College and a doctorate from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her doctoral dissertation is a focused study on the work of Benedetta Cappa Marinetti. She has written numerous essays, exhibition catalogues and reviews, contributing to journals such as Art News and Art in America. Dr. Panzera has taught and lectured extensively at several well-known institutions, including Hunter College and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She has worked in a curatorial capacity for several prominent organizations, including Guild Hall Museum, the Guggenheim Museum and the Fondazione Prada. She is currently Director of McCaffrey Fine Art, New York .
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Neutral-ism manifesto

Manifesto del neutral-ism




Neutral-ism is configured and presents itself as a multiform artistic movement, innately eclectic, driven to bring together the widest range of tendencies, even those that are opposing, though not for that reason irreconcilable; it expresses and redeems the malaise created by intense contemporary incomprehension and the thousands of fertile divergences that spring from the encounter with, or the forced or spontaneous coexistence of, different cultures. It is founded on the vital presence of differences.
Neutral-ism places at the center of this dialogue or intermirroring of different cultures its neutral and universal Ism in order to produce a civil and expressive encounter between these differences, which are valuable because they address, and perhaps even resolve, the issues posed by intercultural exchange, and the contaminations and metamorphoses of a world by now globalized.
Neutralist Art serves as the flexible and patient balancing point between the detached and excessively superficial venture of pure conceptualism and the arduous and intricate nexus of informal art.
Neutralist Thought thus positions itself in a polemical relation to all contemporary work that has privileged and elevated concept over emotion. It is because of this that the Neutralist Movement distances itself from frigid, purely conceptual art that lacks any direct imprint of the maker. We hold, in fact, that a work realized and forged through the use of reason alone is deprived of its fundamental framework and constitution, which is a humanistic one...
Only the artist is capable of transferring this humanistic component to a work through his or her intervention as creator, independent of any theoretical or concrete obligation, or worse, any technical or technological prosthesis that prevents the artist from fully transferring or revealing the emotive component of the senses and the feelings associated with them. Art is emotion, an eternal human gesture: everything else is but a bizarre form of experimental communication.
Neutralist Art also distances itself from so-called informal art, which seeks to deny the value of all artistic intuition or practice that would involve the luminous filter of reason.
In contrast to informal art, which in fact empties the work of any formal allegiance or value enthroning, rather, the antithesis of form itself- Neutralist work represents the inverse, a process of wearing down, canceling, disfiguring, or blunting the contested form (because it might not be shared or found worthy of being perfected, or worse, dismissed as obsolete or out of date) but in a constant and progressing evolution.
Working in a post-formal condition, forma mentis, and even habitat, the Neutralist artist will insist on and travel in the direction of a tempered, neo-formal, neo-humanistic, metamorphic, and universal language.
With regard to the two opposing, established approaches, one embracing pure conceptualism, the other informal art, the neutralist position supports a choice in which instinct and reason comprise and together guide the work - together because the absence of either would deprive the work of the humanistic state of mind of the author, stripping the message of concrete intellectual worth.
Thus Neutral-ism shuffles the deck, ballasts the negative attributes and forms of languages whose expression has been institutionalized or scleroticized, and sweeps away any dogma that could pose an obstacle to dialogue. It sustains a past that projects into the future and a future that sinks itself into the past, in a universal, diachronic, and remixed history where the values that permeate us most can be reinterpreted, reshaped with a freedom of intent and language, made equal among the range of different artistic and cultural possibilities.
As at the dawn of time and the genesis of the world, the cycles of beginning and end, form and formlessness, devour one another, in the ceaseless transformation of life and material, languages and silence, in a dynamic succession overlaid with images and creations - neutralist works, photograms between space and time, conflagrations of imagination, and shards of emotion embody a new and dynamic form of art. It is in this process that the creator is absolutely free to decide, value, inventory, and regenerate the remains of forms that he finds eternal, positive, cosmogonic, or somehow useful to his mission.
Neutral-ism is founded on the pillars of material, the roots of spirit and reason - conscious, indeed certain, that Nature will always remain fatalistically neutral, and never partial except by chance. The common denominator for all diversity, which is harmonized in a rhyming, lyrical riot of oxymorons and oppositions, finite infinities Neutral-ism, then, as a platform for dialogue, blackboard of people, a transparent, secular coming together where each person asserts and respects the freedom of all to speak their mind. Neutral-ism as an open laboratory where artists can be given their voices back.
Just as in a mathematical equation the result is the combination of its parts, so with the successful expression of Neutral-ism the cultural message derives from the unity of the work and not its individual components.
The movement of Neutral-ism does not consider to be truly artistic those experimental dynamics and forms of communication today approved as works of art  and which remain no more than obsolete and simple-minded assemblies of photos, video, costumes, design, performance, or pseudo-installations where the presumed creator becomes a director or architect of extravaganzas, chatter and debate, elegant or up-to-date inanities that have been hatched by millions of self-styled artists, acolytes of Emptiness; and where tailors, designers, advertisers, creative industrialists, have illegitimately invaded and occupied the museums, mangling the very meaning of a Contemporary Art too often reduced, alas, to the luminous, desublimated self-referential contemplation of merchandise. We reject the conformist identification of the work of art as a product to be consumed, pure and simple, by now stripped of its necessary qualities as a social good and a vessel of lay spirituality.
Not everything is or can be -or worse, can become- art, because if everything can be art, then nothing can be Art, which has never been, nor can now be reduced to, or theorized into, an elegant receptacle or dynamic, all-expressive container into which you can introduce, park, or dump every type or scrap of tedious acclaimed frivolity.
Francesco Perilli
  Il Neutral-ism si configura e si propone quale movimento artistico multiforme, ecletticamente connaturato, che si sforza di raccogliere le tendenze più svariate, perfino contrapposte, ma non per questo inconciliabili; esso esprime e redime infatti proprio il malessere determinato dalle forti incomprensioni contemporanee, e le mille feconde divergenze scaturite dall’incontro e dalla forzata o spontanea convivenza tra culture diverse. Esso si fonda sulla vitale compresenza delle differenze.
Il Neutral-ism colloca al centro di questo dialogo o rispecchiamento tra le arti delle differenti culture, il suo Ismo neutrale e universale, per un confronto civile ed espressivo tra le suddette diversità, preziose proprio per affrontare, fors’anche risolvere, le problematiche poste dagli avvicendamenti interculturali, dalle contaminazioni e metamorfosi di un mondo ormai globalizzato.
L’Arte Neutralista si colloca come duttile, paziente punto di equilibrio tra il salto avulso, liquidatorio, del concettualismo puro e l’arduo e intricatissimo snodo dell’arte informale.
Il Pensiero Neutralista si pone dunque in forte polemica con tutta quella contemporaneità che ha privilegiato e anteposto il concetto rispetto all’emozione: e proprio per questo il Movimento Neutralista prende le distanze dall’arte concettuale freddamente pura e cerebrale, priva dell’impronta diretta dell’artefice. Sosteniamo infatti che un’opera realizzata e mediata attraverso l’uso della sola ragione venga più che deprivata della sua componente e ossatura fondamentale, quella umanistica…
Solo l’artista può trasferire, irradiare a un’opera tramite il suo intervento demiurgico la sua componente umanistica – al di fuori di ogni delega teorica o concreta, o peggio protesi tecnica o tecnologica che gli impedisca di trasferirvi, rivelarne appieno la componente emotiva dei sensi e dei sentimenti identifi cativi… L’arte è emozione, eterno gesto umanista: tutto il resto rimane semplice forma bizzarra di comunicazione sperimentale.
L’Arte Neutralista prende altresì le medesime distanze dall’arte cosiddetta informale, tesa a negare valore ad ogni intuizione o applicazione artistica che presupponga il fi ltro luminoso della ragione.
A differenza dell’arte informale che svuota appunto l’opera di ogni qualsivoglia schiavitù o valore formali – incoronando anzi l’antitesi della forma stessa – l’opera neutralista rappresenta all’inverso un processo di logoramento, cancellazione, defigurazione e ottundimento della forma contestata (perché magari non condivisa, o ritenuta meritevole di perfezionamento, o peggio scoronata come decaduta, superata), ma in costante progressione evolutiva.
Operando in una condizione, forma mentis e anche habitat post-formale, l’artista neutralista insisterà e viaggerà nella direzione di un temprato linguaggio neo-formale, neo-umanistico, metamorfi co e universale.
Rispetto ai due opposti, consolidati atteggiamenti, aderenti l’uno al concettualismo puro, e l’altro all’arte informale – la posizione neutralista sostiene una scelta in cui istinto e ragione concertino e insieme conducano l’opera. Insieme, perché l’assenza anche solo di una delle due componenti, priverebbe l’opera della stato d’animo umanistico dell’autore, togliendo così al messaggio ferma valenza intellettuale.
Il Neutral-ism pertanto rimescola le carte, azzera le forme e gli aspetti negativi dei linguaggi ormai espressivamente istituzionalizzati e sclerotizzati, spazzando via ogni dogma che si faccia barriera e ostacolo al dialogo. Esso sostiene un passato che si proietta nel futuro e un futuro che s’inabissa nel passato, addentro a una storia universale tutta rimescolata e diacronica, dove i valori che più ci permeano possano venire reinterpretati, riplasmati in libertà d’intenti e di linguaggio, come anima posta in uguaglianza fra differenti anime artistico-culturali.
Come agli inizi dei tempi e della genesi, perpetuamente si consumano i cicli del principio e della fine, della forma e dell’informe, nella trasformazione incessante della materia e della vita, dei linguaggi e dei silenzi – in una successione dinamica e sfaccettata di immagini e creazioni – le opere neutraliste, fotogrammi tra spazio e tempo, deflagrazioni immaginifiche e schegge stesse emotive, incarnano un’arte nuova e dinamica. Proprio in questo processo, l’artefice resta sommamente libero di decidere, valutare, inventariare, rigenerare residui di forme che egli dovesse ritenere eterne, positive, cosmogoniche, comunque utili alla sua missione…
Il Neutral-ism si fonda sui pilastri della materia, le radici dello spirito e della ragione – conscio e anzi certissimo che la Natura resti sempre fatalisticamente neutrale, e mai schierata che a caso… Comun denominatore per ogni diversità, che davvero s’armonizza in una rimata, lirica ridda di ossimori e di opposti, finite infinità…Neutral-ism, allora, come tavolo di dialogo, lavagna di popolo, concertazione laica e trasparente dove ognuno rivendichi e rispetti la libertà di dire la sua. Neutral-ism come laboratorio aperto in cui ridare voce agli artisti.
Così come in una somma contabile il risultato è l’addizione dei suoi componenti, così nell’esito espressivo del Neutral-ism il messaggio culturale appartiene all’unità dell’opera e non ai singoli elementi in essa compresi, sottesi.
Il movimento del Neutral-ism non considera propriamente artistiche quelle forme e dinamiche sperimentali di comunicazione considerate, sdoganate oggi quali “opere d’arte” – e che rimangono nella fattispecie dei vièti e semplici assemblaggi di foto, video, costumi, design, performances, pseudo-installazioni… dove il presunto artefice diviene regista o architetto di stravaganze, chiacchiere e discettazioni, eleganti o aggiornate vacuità che hanno partorito milioni di sedicenti “artisti” epigoni del Nulla: e dove i sarti, i designers, i pubblicitari, i “creativi” industriali, hanno illegittimamente invaso, occupato i musei, stravolgendo il signifi cato stesso di un’Arte Contemporanea troppo spesso ridotta, ahinoi, ad una luminosa, desublimata contemplazione autoreferenziale della merce. Noi rifiutiamo la conformista omologazione dell’opera d’arte ad un puro e semplice prodotto da consumare, ormai privo della sua necessaria qualità di bene sociale e laicamente spirituale.
Non tutto è arte o può, potrà esserlo – o peggio, diventarlo… Giacché se tutto può essere arte, allora niente più sarà Arte: che mai infatti è stata, né ora può ridursi, e teorizzarsi, a elegante ricettacolo, dinamico contenitore poliespressivo in cui poter introdurre, parcheggiare o rottamare ogni sorta o scoria di monotona e strombazzata bizzarrìa.

Francesco Perilli

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