October 3, 2015 - REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) - Hotel Theory
October 3, 2015

REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)

Design: Jessica Fleischmann at Still-Room.

Hotel Theory
October 3–December 20, 2015

Opening: October 3, 6–9pm

REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)
631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


Hotel Theory is an exhibition that considers theory as an art form. For three months the gallery is a platform for performances, screenings, concerts, philosophical meditations, conversations, and other events that explore the uses and abuses of theory in contemporary art. In recent decades, art spaces, museums and galleries have offered more lectures, conversations, and public presentations that aim to explore the artists’ ideas and contextualize their work in relation to contemporary society. Art historical discourse aside, most of these events use the language that has been developed and adopted as the lingua franca of contemporary art, with its roots primarily in semiotics, post-structuralism, and critical theory. This is also the primary basis for the syllabi of art criticism and theory programs in art schools internationally. Artists in Hotel Theory use this language and divert it for their own purposes.

While conceptual art proposed a move away from the art object and popularized the notion of art as an idea that can be accessible without the intervention of mediators who explain what it means, contemporary artists also work with the critical and academic language that is used to teach, explain, and mediate art and artistic practices. The artists presented in Hotel Theory inhabit the various forms of academic discourse and infiltrate the traditional spaces reserved for it. While the scope of this realm is expansive, this exhibition focuses on performance works that concentrate on the aesthetics of discourse.

Borrowing its title from Wayne Koestenbaum’s blissfully confusing book of the same name, Hotel Theory features a wide variety of artistic disciplines, practices, and points of departure. With new works by emerging artists and seminal works by influential, established artists, Hotel Theory suggests a historical overview—however limited—of artists and practices that question how the art space contributes to current theoretical debates.

With contributions by:
David Antin, Art & Language, Erick Beltrán and Bernardo Ortíz, José León Cerrillo and Sara Lunden, Chto Delat, Charles Gaines, Liam Gillick, Hanns Eisler Nail Salon (H.E.N.S.), Jackson Pollock Bar, Ian James, Steve Kado, Devin Kenny, Wayne Koestenbaum, Chris Kraus, David Levine, Snejanka Mihaylova and Lisa Holmqvist, Hila Peleg, The Red Krayola, Pedro Reyes, Bartholomew Ryan, Cally Spooner, Danna Vajda, V-Girls, Anton Vidokle, Claude Wampler, Ian Wilson and Tirdad Zolghadr

This exhibition is made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. The Exhibition Award program was founded in 1998 to honor Emily Hall Tremaine. It rewards innovation and experimentation among curators by supporting thematic exhibitions that challenge audiences and expand the boundaries of contemporary art.

Hotel Theory is funded in part by generous support from: Goethe Institute and Corpus, network for performance practice. Corpus is co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. Special thanks to the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Moisés Cosío and Annina Nosei.


Event schedule:

Jackson Pollock Bar
Wayne Koestenbaum in conversation with Bruce Hainley, a theory installation by Jackson Pollock Bar
Saturday, October 3, 7:30pm

Sighs Trapped by Liars: Art & Language on Jacques Louis David, a theory installation in the Style of the Jackson Pollock Bar
Sunday, October 4, 4pm


José León Cerrillo and Sara Lunden
Performance: Re: The Wittgenstein Suite
Saturday, October 3, 9pm

Erick Beltrán and Bernardo Ortíz
Performance: Game Piece
Saturday, October 10, 6pm

Wayne Koestenbaum
Performance: Lounge Act
Friday, October 16, 8:45pm

Steve Kado
Lecture performance: October Jr.
Wednesday, October 21, 7:30pm

Devin Kenny
Wednesday, October 28, 7:30pm

Hanns Eisler Nail Salon (H.E.N.S.)
Performance: Magic Counterhegemonic Playtime Adventure Set (Version 7)
Saturday, October 31, 5–8:30pm, and Sunday, November 1, 4–7pm

Snejanka Mihaylova and Lisa Holmqvist
Performance: A Prayer
Saturday, November 7, 2pm

The Red Krayola
Musical performance: Corrected Slogans
Saturday, November 7, 8:30pm

A Crime Against Art
Followed by a conversation with Anton Vidokle
Wednesday, November 11, 7:30pm

Claude Wampler
Performance: Lecture (w/o content w/choreography)
Wednesday, November 18, 7:30pm

Cally Spooner
Sunday, November 22, 7:30pm

Chance event
Discussion: Chris Kraus, Becket Flannery, and Silvère Lotringer
Tuesday, December 8, 7:30pm

Charles Gaines
Concert: Manifestos 2
Wednesday, December 9, 8:30pm

Danna Vajda
Performance: bringourownbeing:123protaganism
Sunday, December 13, 8:30pm

Tirdad Zolghadr
Lecture: Show-Show, a polemic addressing the relationship art has to theory, and the one theory has to art
Thursday, December 17, 7:30pm

Pedro Reyes
Performance: Baby Marx
Sunday, December 20, 4pm

Bartholomew Ryan
Sunday, December 20, 5pm

David Levine
Ongoing performance: Best New Work (1)
Friday, October 6, 2–6pm
Fridays, 2–6pm, or until theater curtain time throughout the exhibition


The Gallery at REDCAT focuses on experimentation through new commissions that often represents the artist's first major presentation in the US or Los Angeles. The exhibition program ventures to cross-pollinate shared concepts and critical discourses that connect art to other fields in service of an interdisciplinary program. Using different scales and temporary structures, the exhibition formats are flexible and constantly reformulated. 


Admission to the Gallery at REDCAT is always free.

REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)
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