Hi, I'm Kenneth Cowan, cultural worker from Los Angeles and Ithaca NY


cowanstudio at gmail

The Courtyard Intervention
02/03/2005, 6pm to 9pm
The Bronya and Andy Galef Center for Fine Arts
(The "art factory" designed by Fred Fisher & Partners)

A sandwich board sign borrowed from the student affairs desk was placed outside the Bolsky Gallery, which was the designated Otis MFA "mid-residency" exhibition space. On brown builder's paper, a text was handwritten in black marker and taped onto the sign:

Another work exists this evening,
directly above this gallery
on the second floor, 6 to 9pm.

The most direct route took visitors outside the building, up the nearby stairwell or elevator, then back inside on the second floor. Just down the hall, one may have noticed the glass-paneled wall on the right was covered with vertical strips of brown builder's paper. Around the corner, the north-facing wall was similarly covered. One of the sliding glass doors on the north wall was open, covered by light-proof black theatrical cloth.

Through the cloth-draped opening, visitors encountered a courtyard with cool night air and the ambient sound of automobiles and airplanes from Lincoln Boulevard and LAX Airport. After adjusting from the bright hallways, one could see all four glass-paneled walls covered with the brown builders paper, which warmed and softened the fluorescent light from "inside."

Looking up, the night sky was framed by the courtyard's corrugated metal trim in a rectangular or rhomboid crop, depending on one's position. The sky appeared as a gradient between an orange streetlight glow from the east into a light grey to the west. With passing clouds and fog, the effect seemed to vacillate between an illusion of a ceiling and an actual opening, reminiscent of James Turrell's skyspaces.

A two foot cement platform in the middle of the courtyard (seen in photos) could be recognized as the top of the Bolsky Gallery skylight. Light from the exhibition below glowed up through the frosted glass tiles onto a variety of refreshments. To my knowledge, only a few photo-souvenirs were made by visitors. I intend this text to be the primary documentation of the project.

Galef Center - exterior elevation
Galef Center - Google satellite image