Nonfictions: Jeremiah Day/Simone Forti/Fred Dewey is an exhibition by three multidisciplinary artists who use dance, conversation, photography, improvisation, and performance as their medium and form. Their individual and collaborative work embodies singular interpretations of cultural and political realities—a combination of facts culled from individual experiences, media sources, and their own distinctive responses to the complexities of civic and public life. Their collaborative work is born out of separate creative processes: visual and performance art for Day, dance and poetry for Forti, and text and public space activism for Dewey.
The exhibition is comprised of a new video by each artist, along with a selection of discrete objects, including a photograph by Day, drawings by Forti, and a page of text from George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia appropriated by Dewey. In preparation for this exhibition, the trio presented two live performances in the museum’s main gallery on May 1 and 3, 2014. These performances included a slideshow and physical movement by Day, dance solos by Forti, and a video accompanied with selected readings by Dewey.
Nonfictions transports Day, Forti, and Dewey back to Southern California where their collaboration began. In the 1990s, Day participated in Forti’s workshop at a Church in Ocean Park, in addition to a residency at Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center in Venice. At Beyond Baroque, Day worked with writer and Center Director Fred Dewey, where the two organized programs about vital creative and public issues. Forti attended Beyond Baroque workshops and performed, and Dewey edited, designed, and published Forti’s book of news animations, poetic texts, and drawings titled Oh, Tongue (2003).
The three have worked together and in other configurations for presentations at Project Art Centre, Dublin; the Institute of Contemporary Art London; The Box, Los Angeles; the Goethe-Institut, New York; General Public, Berlin; SALT, Istanbul; and Errant Bodies, Berlin. The trio also contributed to Made in LA 2012 at the Hammer Museum. This historic iteration of Day, Forti, and Dewey’s ongoing public investigation of artistic collaboration and improvisation affirms that we are all connected—in the present and through art—to the world, to our surroundings, to the media, and to each other.
Nonfictions: Jeremiah Day/Simone Forti/Fred Dewey is organized by Executive Director Elsa Longhauser and coordinated by Laura Copelin. Special thanks to Jason Underhill for his collaboration in the making of Simone Forti’s video and editing of Fred Dewey’s video.
The exhibition was made possible by SMMoA’s Ambassador Circle. Additional support has been provided by the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Jeremiah Day earned his BA from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1997 and attended the Rijksakademie in Holland beginning in 2003. He currently lives and works in Amsterdam and Berlin. Day’s work interweaves photography, performance, and interventions in public space, with a focus on site, memory, and political history. His work has been shown at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Artist’s Space, New York. Day has published several artist’s books, including Portable Memorial.
Simone Forti is an internationally acclaimed dancer, choreographer, artist, and writer based in Los Angeles. She was a seminal figure in the Judson Dance Theater community that revolutionized dance in New York in the 1960s and ’70s. Forti has performed and taught in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America. Her performances and artworks have been featured at prominent institutions around the world, including MoMA, New York; MOCA, Los Angeles; the Zentrum für Kunst and Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany; and the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria. Forti has collaborated with such luminaries as Robert Morris, Nam June Paik, Peter van Riper, Zev, Charlemagne Palestine, and Oguri. Her books include Handbook in Motion: an account of an ongoing personal discourse and its manifestations in dance, a poetry chapbook Angel, and Oh, Tongue, a collection of her news animations, writings, and drawings. In 2011 she received the prestigious Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award in the Arts.
Fred Dewey is a writer, teacher, editor, and public space activist based in Los Angeles and Berlin. He directed Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center in Venice, CA from 1995 to 2009, where he organized festivals, hosted and presented public programs, curated public art projects, and edited, designed, and published numerous books and anthologies. Dewey co-founded the Neighborhood Councils Movement, which helped to secure neighborhood councils in the 1999 Los Angeles City Charter. In Berlin, since 2011, Dewey has led a free, public seminar on the works of Hannah Arendt and her German and American influences. Dewey’s most recent publications include a contribution to The Lowndes County Idea, a pamphlet by Jeremiah Day; a pamphlet titled A Polis for New Conditions; and The School of Public Life (doormats/errant bodies), a new book exploring the renewal of public life through politics and culture in Los Angeles, the United States, and beyond.