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ICI Field Trip

Last week, my fellow Fellows (Elaina and Elisa) and I, along with the ICI director Lise Patt, took a field trip to Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station Arts Center.  None of us outside of Lise had ever been to this fine establishment, so we were all quite excited.  The field trip had two main goals: to visit a store full of hand-made paper and book-binding supplies called Hiromi Paper and to pass out fliers for the ICI 100/10∆10 project coordinated by Elisa and me,  Mappa Mundi: The Earth Project.  Of course, since all of us happen to also be great art enthusiasts, the overarching mission of this field trip was to simply enjoy ourselves within one of the greatest arts establishments in Southern California.

We began our afternoon at Bergamot in the paper store.  Elaina was searching for the perfect hand-made cotton fiber paper to compliment her final essay for ICI’s 100/10 catalog box-set.  Needless to say she found it, along with a slough of other breath-taking hand-made papers.  Being in that store was incredibly inspiring, as they had paper in all sizes, as small as my pinky nail to large scale paper the size of my bedroom wall.  They also had paper in every variety, as delicate as lace or as sturdy as wood (yes, actual paper with wood grain running through it).  Being in this store gave me so many creative ideas, it was hard holding back my wallet and my imagination.

After the paper store, the Fellows and I wandered through a few Bergamot galleries with the hope of checking out some artwork and leaving our Earth Project fliers.  We went into every gallery open that afternoon, including Tag Gallery, Luis de Jesus Gallery, Lois Lambert Gallery, FIG Gallery, and the Robert Berman Gallery.

After a delightful lunch at the Bergamot Cafe, the Fellows and I wandered over to the Santa Monica Museum of Art to see its most current exhibition, Marco Brambilla: The Dark Lining.  This is a video artist whose pieces are truly an experience, my favorite being two 3-D video collages that “combine hundreds of clips from genre films that re-enact historical moments as grand spectacle.”  I was mesmerized by these two pieces (not to mention Brambilla’s other video installations), and would highly recommend viewing this show before it leaves SMMoA August 20.

Bergamot Station is definitely worth visiting if in the Los Angeles region.  The history dates back to 1875 when it was a trolley stop for the Red Line, making it a truly unique space within the land of strip malls.  I plan on taking a trip back there soon, maybe even checking out Brambilla’s 3-D video installation one last time before it’s over.

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