Mungo Thomson: Centric 65
Alice Könitz: Centric 66
November 2-December 19, University Art Museum
Artists’ reception, Saturday, November 6, Noon to 2 pm
Annual Symposium: “Let’s Get Metalphysical:  Contemporary Art and Spirituality”
Annual Zeitlin Lecture:  Alex Melamid
Tickets are available from the CSULB Arts Ticket Office, please call 562-985-7000
$12.00, $10.00 for Senors, $6.00 students with ID
Saturday, November 6, 2004, 2:30 TO 7 pm

CSU Long Beach, University Art Museum and University Theatre

1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840
Contact: Sarah G. Vinci, Director Publications and Public Relations, (562) 985-4299 / <>
562.985.5761, Fax 562.985.7602
E-mail, <>
Web site, <>
Gallery Hours, Tuesday – Friday 12-5, Thursday till 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11-4
Closed Monday, University Holidays. Closed Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 25-29.

Alice Könitz, Untitled (figure), 2004, wood, glue, & wig, 68x39x30 inches.

The UAM is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by German-born, Los Angeles-based artist, Alice Könitz. Könitz will create a site-specific installation for Centric 66, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. The exhibition includes sculptures, collages, and a video projection, which together address issues of sunlight and sculpture in architecture. Like many of the best young sculptors in Los Angeles, Könitz uses the medium to investigate the relation between actual space and represented space, to diagram and coordinate these different but complexly related kinds of space. Developing what could be seen as an idiosyncratic vocabulary of materials (vinyl, cardboard, Plexiglas, plywood, and fabric) and concerns (architecture, chance, theatrical staging, and reflected light), Könitz stages her formal investigations in order to allow her work to resonate poetically.

Alice Könitz: Centric 66 will feature a large-scale, free-standing wooden sculpture in the center of the main gallery. This centerpiece, which is clad in mirrored and transparent Plexiglas, is placed below the skylight and reflects four collage works that are installed directly onto the vaulted walls that lead to skylight.  Each collage—in bright yellow, red, and orange—is an abstraction of the sun. In addition, another sculpture, a faceted figure made of geometric wooden shapes, faces the center of the room and serves as a stand-in for the viewer and the artist herself. In an adjacent gallery Könitz’s new video will feature actors wearing costumes and masks hand-made by the artist. The characters move slowly through a shallow lake as they communicate with one another using rays of sunlight and mirrors. An investigation into the relationship between the viewer, sculpture, and film as well as the play of light within its spatial context, this group of diverse works is an expression of the artist’s fascination with the built environment in nature and offers a reinterpretation of the UAM gallery space. This exhibition will be accompanied a free exhibition brochure complete with illustrations and a critical essay by UAM Curator of Exhibitions Mary-Kay Lombino.

Alice Könitz was born in 1970 in Essen, Germany. She received an MFA from Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf in 1996. In 1997 she was awarded the DAAD, a yearlong fellowship to study in the United States and she was the recipient of the Förderpreis zum Ruhrpreis, a prominent prize for emerging artists. That year she came to the United States to enroll in graduate studies at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California where she received a second MFA in 1999. Könitz’s work has been featured in one-person exhibitions at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; boom editions, Chicago; Hudson and Franklin, New York; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; Chicago Project Room, Los Angeles; Center for Land Use Interpretation, Wendover, Utah; and Luis Campaña Gallery, Cologne. Her group exhibitions include the MAK Center for Art & Architecture at the Schindler House, Los Angeles; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles; Galerie Michael Hall, Vienna, Austria; The London Institute, London; Guggenheim Gallery of the Chapman University in Orange County; Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles; Mark Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles; and Bärbel Grässlin Gallery, Frankfurt among others. Her work has been published in International Paper: Drawings by Emerging Artists, an exhibition catalogue published by UCLA Hammer Museum in 2003 as well as in such publications as Artforum, art on paper, artnet, Artext, Contemporary, Flashart, I-D Magazine, Frieze, Los Angeles Times, and LA Weekly. Könitz currently lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

The Alice Könitz exhibition is sponsored in part by Goethe-Institut, Los Angeles; Rebecca and Alexander C. Stewart; Kenneth L. Freed; Susanne Veilmetter Los Angeles Projects; Bess J. Hodges Foundation; Constance W. Glenn Fund for Exhibitions and Education Programs; and CSULB Instructionally Related Activites Fund.

Mungo Thomson, Cinema Concepts, 2003, installation shot.

This fall the UAM is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Los Angeles-based artist Mungo Thomson. The 65th exhibition in the Centric program, an on-going exhibition series dedicated to displaying new work and introducing emerging national and international artists to new audiences. Mungo Thomson's work in a variety of media utilizes mass cultural vernacular to explore the phenomenology of social space and the mechanics and poetics of reception. Thomson's Centric exhibition will include two new 35mm film projects and a new multi–channel video installation, each preoccupied with the history and practices of Hollywood film production and movie going. Also on view will be a new sound project exploring the practical social context of minimalist art. Centric 65 will include a sound installation culled from Thomson's ongoing audio project entitled The Bootleg Series. This series consists of ambient field recordings of art exhibitions, opening receptions, and other art-related social functions. The Bootleg Series, Volumes 5-7: Beyond a Singular Future is an audio recording of the ambience of 2004's much-touted (and simultaneous) Minimalist Art surveys: Singular Forms at the Guggenheim Museum; A Minimal Future? at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Beyond Geometry at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Thomson's bootlegs attempt to capture the fabled "aura" of minimalist art and the mechanics and poetics of contemporary institutional art viewing. Thomson's 35-millimeter film Cinema Concepts (2003), shown here as a DVD projection, is a compilation of 30 spliced-together theater announcement trailers purchased from the inventory of Atlanta-based theatrical films company Cinema Concepts. The program covers fire safety, theater etiquette, concessions promotion, crying babies, coming attractions and litter control in a variety of graphic and animation styles. In Cinema Concepts Thomson extends the initial moments at the movies that both cast the spell of cinema and codify behavior to ensure that the spell is not broken. In doing so he presents his own movie that is at once entertaining and agonizing. The anticipated feature never arrives, and Cinema Concepts becomes a meditation on the spaces of anticipation, contemplation, amusement, and delay within consumer entertainment culture.

The Swordsman (2004), a new 35mm film project transferred to DVD, portrays legendary Hollywood "sword master" Bob Anderson expertly throwing a prop sword to an actor off screen. The Swordsman is an inversion of the famous moment in a sword fight when a character finds himself unarmed and is thrown a sword from off screen—from another character via editing, but in fact from a professional sword master—he catches it, and resumes fighting. Bob Anderson has provided sword training and stunt support for Hollywood films for over 60 years, and his filmography includes The Adventures of Robin Hood, Star Wars, and The Princess Bride to name a few. The Swordsman is a very brief film of what happens outside the action, outside the fictional space of a movie, outside the documented histories of film, and outside the film frame itself. Finally, New York, New York, New York, New York (2004) is a new multi-channel immersive video installation. What appears to be four wall-size projections of empty New York City streets is in fact footage shot by the artist on the "New York City" stage at each of Los Angeles' major studio backlots. Together these works cement Thomson's taste for backgrounds, empty spaces, sidebars, and holding patterns.

This exhibition will be accompanied by a three-part catalogue published by the UAM in conjunction with the UAM sponsored presentation of Thomson’s work at the VIII Bienal Internacional de Cuenca, which took place in Ecuador in Spring 2004. Thomson's first monograph, this fully illustrated catalogue features essays by Rachel Kushner, Jan Tumlir, Matthew Higgs, and UAM Curator of Exhibitions Mary-Kay Lombino and is available at the Museum.

Mungo Thomson received an MFA from UCLA in 2000 and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 1994. His work has been exhibited internationally in shows at California College of Arts/Wattis Institute in San Francisco, MAMCO in Geneva, Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna, and TENT.CBK in Rotterdam. Thomson has recently participated in group exhibitions at Sculpture Center, Artists Space, and Gavin Brown's Enterprise in New York City, at Jack Hanley Gallery in San Francisco, More Fools in Town in Turin, and at Studio Voltaire in London. His work will also be on view this fall at OR Gallery in Vancouver, in the 2004 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, in the exhibition 100 Artists See God, curated by John Baldessari and Meg Cranston for Independent Curators International, at Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach and the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) in London. Thomson has also published essays on art and artists in Afterall, BOMB, and Parkett and curated art projects for Open City. Thomson is represented by Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, and John Connelly Presents, New York.

The UAM would like to thank Margo Leavin Gallery, EPSON America, Inc., and The Odyssey Program at CSULB for their generous support of Mungo Thomson: Centric 65. The UAM is supported by the Bess J. Hodges Foundation, Constance W. Glenn Fund for Exhibitions & Education Programs, and CSULB Instructionally Related Activities Fund.


This fall the UAM is holding the fifth annual symposium, Let's Get Metaphysical: Contemporary Art and Spirituality. This program will be followed with a lecture by Russian born, New York-based conceptual artist Alex Melamid, in which he will discuss his unique relationship to religion.

The participants of this symposium, Let’s Get Metaphysical, will examine the ways in which the proliferation of non-traditional and informal forms of spiritual practices is addressed by contemporary artists. The New Age movement has many sub-divisions, but it is generally a collection of Eastern-influenced metaphysical thought systems, a conglomeration of theologies, hopes, and expectations held together with eclectic teachings and goals towards general “feel-goodism.” New Age philosophies, which can encompass anything from mysticism and psychic phenomena to earnest efforts to move towards self-actualization through an increased self-awareness, is often ridiculed as mock religion or cultish superstition. Beyond the massive walls of self-help books on display in every Borders bookstore across the country and the Psychic Network, now available through every local cable company, New Age points to a shift in the ways we think about spirituality and has become the subject of cultural curiosity. Many contemporary artists have begun to incorporate the attitudes and concepts of this new sense of spirituality in their work in a variety of ways. Interestingly, not only are all of these artists engaging in a critique of this phenomenon, but some are finding that components of New Age spirituality can be utilized as tools to study our times on a larger social scale. This panel discussion will bring together four artists who will address these issues, as well as how spirituality and the New Age movement has influenced their practice or entered the subject matter of their work.

The facilitator for the symposium is Ralph Rugoff, Director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco and author of such inventive books as Circus Americanus, a collection of essays that explores the cyclone of visual artifacts whirling through American culture. With rare insight, Rugoff, a curator, writer, and art critic, studies and illuminates the unexpected visual spectacles found in contemporary culture. The panel includes AA Bronson, Anne Collier, Meg Cranston, and Mungo Thomson, all artists whose work deals with ideas of spirituality, religion, or mysticism. With a mix of irreverence, sincerity, humor, and audacity, the artists on the panel will tackle difficult questions about the role that spirituality plays in everyday life today. Often inspired by recent political developments that have led to a public examination of the notion of religion, some of their works are cheerfully provocative while others are more intimate and inspired by their own personal relationship to the spiritual realm.

The Fall 2004 Zeitlin Lecture will be given by Russian-born, New York-based conceptual artist Alex Melamid, discussing iconic images of art as religion and his unique relationship to the realm of religion. Born and raised in Moscow under Communism, Melamid was free from the religious presupposition of a faith-based background. When he moved to the United States in 1978, he arrived at the academic core of the philosophical tradition, which had proclaimed the death of God, following Nietzsche, and he sought out new expression of faith, hope, and the spiritual life. In recent years, Alex Melamid has been considering the notion of art as a form of religion, or indeed as a religion in itself. During his years of participation and interaction with the art world, Melamid has noticed a paradigm shift and an elevation in the attitudes of the public towards the world of art, and by extension, the world of artists. He has found the similarities between the structure of the Judeo-Christian tradition and that of the world of Western art to be striking. For Melamid, the theological artistic question implied by this theory is vast. In his lectures he examines such questions as, does art contain an innate healing power? The quest to answer such questions seeks to understand not only the art world of the present, but also that of the future, for critic, artist, and audience alike.

Inaugurated in 2000, Contemporary Discovery is a free program, open to the public. We encourage students, faculty, and community members to attend and participate in the lively discussion. Each year the University Art Museum brings together a group of panelists and one facilitator to discuss a topic that relates to our programming as well as current events in the art world and beyond.

The UAM, a division of the College of the Arts, receives funding from the Instructionally Related Activities Fund, the College of the Arts, CSULB, the Bess J. Hodges Foundation, Jake Zeitlin Endowment, and the Constance W. Glenn Fund for Exhibitions and Education Programs.

November 6, 2:30 to 4:30 pm, University Theatre, CSULB campus.  Event is free but tickets are required; call the Arts Ticket Office at 562.985.7000

November 6, 5 pm, University Theatre, CSULB campus.  2004 Zeitlin Lecture featuring Alex Melamid
Tickets $12.00, call Arts Ticket Office at 562.985.7000 for reservations and tickets.

The UAM is located on the campus of California State University, Long Beach, in the Steve and Nini Horn Center, (formerly called the North Campus Center).

From the 405, 605, and 22 Freeways, exit 7th Street/22 West.
For the UAM: Turn right on Bellflower Boulevard and right on State University Drive.  Turn left on Merriam Way. Metered parking is available on the right in Lot 17.
For the University Theatre: Turn right off of 7th Street on East Campus Drive, right into the first parking lot and follow signs to Lot 7. Permits are required for all other areas and can be purchased at the yellow dispensers located in the parking structure and throughout the parking lots.

Return to Gallery Pages