Jacklyn Alderete, Abel Alejandre, Big Sleeps, Cryptik, Chaz Bojórquez, Daniel González, Robertó Gutiérrez, Ed Gutter, Jesse Hazelip, Jason Hernandez, Defer, Jack Morris, Rafael Reyes, Prime, Michael Ulrich, Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, Gary Wong


January 14 to 18, 2015
Booth 145
Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

“Dark Progressivism: Metropolis Rising” at the LA Art Show is the first international presentation of the nativist genre Dark Progressivism presented by Cartwheel Art. Based in Southern California’s urban dynamics and informed by graffiti, tattoo, and street culture, the artists in Dark Progressivism have developed fine art sensibilities that carry through into galleries and museums. The very public darkness of the last fifty years in the region—natural disasters, race riots, gang wars, serial killers, police brutality, drugs, crushing poverty contrasted by insane wealth—and the rich cultural mix are the roots of Dark Progressivism, a style that is now being recognized in both the art and academic worlds.

Dark Progressivism contrasts with art movements like Light & Space, Pop Surrealism, and Kustom Kulture, Southern California genres with which it is contemporary. Dark Progressivism is a rupture away from Light & Space’s meditative works that reflect nature; and while it demonstrates the street vernacular and urban culture at the roots of Pop Surrealism and Kustom Kulture, the aesthetics of Dark Progressivism deal in gritty realities rather than idealized visions and interpretations.

The artists included in this exhibition, many of whom are featured in the film, Dark Progressivism: On Rupture to Rebellion, present works in black, white, and shades of gray, drawing on Dark Progressivism’s roots in gang graffiti, illicit murals, and tattooing, as well as commenting on the shadows out of which the artists, and Southern California as whole, have progressed over the past five decades. Additionally, the monochromatic theme of “Dark Progressivism: Metropolis Rising” connects to the Hollywood genre of film noir and its predecessor in art and film, German Expressionism.

Some of the artists is the exhibition are internationally known, others are emerging, while one is a prisoner in Pelican Bay Prison’s Secure Housing Unit. “Dark Progressivism: Metropolis Rising,” is curated by Cartwheel Art’s editorial director Lisa Derrick and author/filmmaker Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre and features Abel M. Alejandre, Big Sleeps, Chaz Bojorquez, Cryptik, Daniel Gonzalez, Roberto Gutiérrez, Ed Gutter, Jesse Hazelip, Jason Hernandez, Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, Alex Defer Kizu, Patrick Martinez, Jack Morris, Rafael Reyes, Joe Prime Reza, Jaclyn Alderete, and Gary Wong.

Presented by Cartwheel Art

Curated by Lisa Derrick and Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre


The Westsider

Travis Barker