3 Questions with Alice Könitz of the Los Angeles Museum of Art

July 29, 2014

Why L.A.? Why did you choose to work in this city in particular?

I came to L.A. after finishing art school in Düsseldorf. I had a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service, and I wanted to spend a year in another country. I decided to go to Los Angeles, because I thought that if I get the opportunity to go somewhere I should use it to go very far. The geographical conditions, the ocean, the deserts and the mountains influenced my choice. I also knew that a lot my favorite artists were from L.A., and that there were many great art schools. An invitation from the CLUI (Center for Land Use Interpretation) in Culver City to participate in their Wendover Residence Program, and my enrollment in the MFA program at Cal Arts made it very easy for me to move here 16 years ago. I still like living here, it's important for me to have enough space to work, and it's easy to find all kinds of materials within less than an hour drive. I enjoy the exchange with different more or less interconnected communities of artists that I continue to meet in this city. 

How has your time in L.A. shaped your work?

I have made a number of pieces that relate to specific places in the city. I made short films and videos in Griffith Park, the Angeles National Forest and at the Los Angeles River. I had an exhibition that established a connection between the master planned Century City, a gallery in Culver City and a 24 hour donut shop in a small strip mall in Koreatown. I also organized a lottery that made it possible for a visitor to the Whitney Biennial in New York to travel to Los Angeles to visit the concrete slab of an abandoned freeway project in Los Angeles. The city's car centered infrastructure created a lot of uncontrolled spaces that are somewhere between public and private, an ambiguity which is reflected in my own work.  

Favorite place in L.A. Go.

My favorite places to go are the Angeles National Forest, Arroyo Seco, Santa Monica Mountains, Los Angeles Mall/Fletcher Brown Square, John Ferraro Building (LADWP), Century City, San Gabriel Square, and my studio in Eagle Rock. 

This Sunday, Könitz leads families in building tiny museums inspired by art on view in the galleries and by their imaginations.