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Think Tank Gallery & Showroom Grand Opening – LA is Trying to Kill Me

  • Think Tank Gallery 516 East 4th Street Los Angeles, California 90013 United States (map)

OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2019, 7–11PM
Think Tank Gallery & Showroom
516 E 4th St., Los Angeles (Little Tokyo), CA, 90013
(Official Afterparty Time + Location TBA)

FULL ARTIST LIST AND EVENT SCHEDULE COMING SOON.

LOS ANGELES, CA – Jan 27, 2018; Think Tank Gallery is finally moving into a physical project space again, after two years of transient shows and programming stretching from the Santa Monica Pier to the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina. The new venue is called Think Tank Gallery & Showroom, and will revamp Think Tank’s trailblazing of the last decade as an experimental arts venue that paved the way for Downtown LA’s crop of selfie palaces, ticketed immersive environments, and experimental theatre. The location will also serve as a new headquarters and official partnership with longtime collaborators Bloody Gums Collective, who will take over the venue for the next in their series of knockdown, drag out, mega group shows. Full of visceral street photography, illustration, painting, and art installations, the official grand opening exhibit of Think Tank Gallery & Showroom takes place on February 16th, 2019, with LA is Trying to Kill Me.

After a highly publicized “closure” of the Think Tank’s prior space in Downtown Los Angeles after 2016’s Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland killed 36 people, the gallery and art collective found itself at a crossroads. They had maintained that experimental gallery for nearly a decade, and kept an office at the location, which was converted to an events rental space, and began hosting transient shows. Their response exhibit, set in a MacArthur Park swap meet, opened their perimeters to a more national scope, but it wasn’t until the gallery hosted their reunion tour in 2017 that they began to build their new identity. It was at this exhibit, titled Drinkin’ Smokin’ & West Coastin,’ that they first collaborated with Bloody Gums and co-produced the collective’s LA is Trying to Kill Me traveling show.

The dynamic, evolving exhibit could not be more aptly titled for both curator (and Bloody Gums linchpin) Andrew Barsoum, and gallery director Jacob Patterson. During the last collaboration of the series, Barsoum nearly died a week before the opening, in a freeway accident after staying up all night to install the show. The concept of the exhibit series and its consequent diverse art selection serve as Barsoum’s measured meditation – and retaliation at times – to a divergent lifestyle that has served him and his circle with quite a few life lessons. “LA is Trying to Kill Me is a show that feeds into a lifestyle of excess in Los Angeles,” says Barsoum. “LA is trying to kill us all, in one way or another, and it’s their own take on this excess that every artist in the show is expressing.”

This mentality is largely why Patterson decided to hand over the reins for Think Tank Gallery & Showroom’s official grand opening to an outside curator, instead of curating an exhibit internally. “Andrew goes harder than anyone I know, and it just feels right now like going hard is the only way to survive, in LA’s art scene and beyond. Andrew and all of Bloody Gums have gone hard for us for years now, and he really understands what we’ve gone through to end up here. His show is a pure, visceral reflection of that disposition.” After a run-in with neighbors that “blew up the spot” at their former location, Patterson says that the Think Tank lost their office, which they had retained for two years after losing the rest of the location which was converted to a rental house. There were guns involved, drugs, police raids and an eventual dispute with landlords; the onslaught led the Think Tank to flee in search of greener pastures that better served their upgraded business model. Patterson points to this evolution as the inciting factor within the February 16th Bloody Gums takeover, which ties in well to the goals for the new Think Tank location – serving as the headquarters for their consultation work but also as a collaborative, experimental, artist-run space.

LA is Trying to Kill Me features a slew of immersive environments – a recognizable staple in the portfolio of shows that the Think Tank has featured over the years – describing differing views on LA’s constant onslaught on the artistic psyche. Hospital and police station installations tie directly into the show’s visual threats on its audience, featuring various performance artworks and ubiquitous selfie opportunities complete with costumes, though admittedly much harsher in style and message than most of LA’s recent selfie station pop-ups. Streetwear brand Pizzaboyzzz will preview a portion of their upcoming immersive show in the same location: a rundown pizza shop built from pieces of a family member’s restaurant in LA. Other installations by Deladeso, Tofu, and a balloon graveyard by Balloonski complete a loud and vibrant meditation on every Angeleno’s end of days, as guests traverse a 60+ artist tour of the many SoCal circles of Hell.

A Think Tank Gallery exhibit would not be complete without a bunch of parties, workshops, and pop-ups hosted inside of its detailed and interactive experience design, and this exhibit is no different. “One thing I learned from working with Think Tank Gallery over the years is to never let the place sit empty,” says Barsoum. Instead of one big opening night and a month of poorly-attended gallery hours, LA is Trying to Kill Me will feature an almost nightly, rotating series of small exhibits themed to match the overall concept in the Think Tank’s new Showroom space (a small storefront at the entrance to the venue). Film screenings, music performances, and even offsite activations and merch drops will complete a jam-packed addition to the series that will introduce a festival-like experience to the programming. Think Tank Gallery members will also find extra benefits throughout the series as they receive tickets to private events, free merchandise, and other perks at the Gallery’s first official show at the new location. To see a full artist list and calendar – updated daily – visit http://thinktank.gallery/laistryingtokillme and follow the newsletter for announcements.

The full list of artists and upcoming programming, exhibit information, a schedule of events, and a link to purchase tickets and memberships can be found at http://thinktank.gallery.

OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2019, 7–11PM
(Official Afterparty Time + Location TBA)
RSVP HERE.

SHOW RUN
FEBRUARY 16–MARCH 2, 2019
SEE GALLERY HOURS & FULL CALENDAR OF EVENTS HERE.


Think Tank Gallery & Showroom
516 E 4th St., Los Angeles (Little Tokyo), CA, 90013

Earlier Event: February 16
Lantern Street Festival