Ken Gonzales-Day: Run Up

Ken Gonzales-Day: Run Up

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Ken Gonzales-Day, Hands Up, 2015. Chromogenic print, 136 x 126 cm. Courtesy of the
artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.
March 27, 2015

Ken Gonzales-Day: Run Up

April 4–May 9, 2015

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S. La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to present Ken Gonzales-Day: Run Up, the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, on view from April 4 through May 9. The exhibition will present Gonzales-Day’s newest series of photographs and the premiere of his first film, Run Up—a project of Creative Capital, which Gonzales-Day was awarded in 2012. The gallery will host an informal breakfast and artist talk moderated by Kate Palmer Albers, Ph.D., to coincide with PARIS PHOTO Los Angeles, on Sunday, May 3 from 8 to 11am.

Run Up is the latest chapter in Ken Gonzales-Day’s acclaimed Erased Lynching series, selections of which have been acquired by the Smithsonian Institution, the Norton Museum of Art and numerous private collections; and have been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Vienna, Mexico City, and Medellín, Bogota, among others.

The central work in Run Up is a new short film and still images from a restaging of a 1920 lynching of a Latino in California. Gonzales-Day created the film and related photographs to bring greater visibility to the presence of Latinos in the history of lynching and to draw parallels between the past and the present. Unlike previous bodies of work in which Gonzales-Day used found or archival imagery, the contemporary restaging highlights not only the history of lynching nationwide but also contemporary events like Ferguson. The film and still images in Run Up depict events surrounding the lynching of Charles Valento, also known as “Spanish Charley,” who was one of three men (two Anglo and one Latino) to be lynched in Santa Rosa, California, in 1920. The details surrounding the case were drawn from the coroner’s report and Gonzales-Day’s own archival research that strongly suggests police officers were present at the 1920 lynching—which the press mischaracterized as mob vigilantism.

A dramatic difference between this project and conventional narrative depictions of lynching and vigilantism previously found in films (ranging from Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns to Steve McQueen’s recent 12 Years a Slave) is that in Gonzales-Day’s film the victim’s body is not visible in the final moments of the scene.  As in Gonzales-Day’s seminal Erased Lynching series, the absence of the body in this film and related photographs intentionally seeks to disrupt the normative power of racial victimization, raise awareness about America’s lynching victims (Asians, Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans), and reflect on the broader question of capital punishment and police brutality currently taking place in the United States.

Accompanying the images of the 1920 lynching reenactment are stills shot in Los Angeles during the protest marches that took place in the days following the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson, Missouri, not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen. A third series of images document the destructive aftermath of the riots in locations throughout the city of Ferguson as well as images documenting memorials honoring Ezell Ford, the mentally ill young man killed by police in South Los Angeles. In combining these seemingly distant events, the exhibition draws parallels between the history of lynching and police shootings today, at times blending the two events to create images that collapse history and provocatively speak to our own time.

Ken Gonzales-Day lives and works in Los Angeles, and is professor of art at Scripps College, Claremont, California. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the first LACMA Photo Arts Council (PAC) Prize, Creative Capital Award; Chercheur Accueilli, Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA); Visiting Scholar/Artist-in-Residence, Getty Research Institute; Senior Fellow, American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution; Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Center, Bellagio, Italy; Art Matters Grant; COLA (City of Los Angeles) Individual Artist Award; California Community Foundation/Getty Trust Mid-Career Award; Durfee Fondation ACG; Graves Award for the Humanities; and, Van Lier Fellow, ISP (Independent Study Program), Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

Run Up is a project of Creative Capital, a national nonprofit that surrounds adventurous artists in all disciplines with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers. Since 1999, Creative Capital’s awards program has committed $35 million in financial and advisory support to 465 projects representing 579 artists, and our Professional Development Program has reached nearly 10,000 artists in more than 400 communities through workshops and webinars.

Ken Gonzales-Day is represented by Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

For inquiries, please contact the gallery at T +1 310 838 6000, or gallery [​at​]

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Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
March 27, 2015

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