Pico Neighborhood

Kenneth Tam presents an Outdoor Screening of his film

In the Artist Lab at 18th Street Arts Center, Kenneth Tam continues his ongoing interest in the social dynamics within all-male groups and the norms of masculine identity. Tam uses the American summer camp as both a conceptual frame and an actual site to investigate these interests. A uniquely American invention, the summer camp has evolved from an activity for the privileged into a rite-of-passage for children of all backgrounds, and speaks to how we see play as essential in childhood but superfluous in adulthood.

The centerpiece of Tam’s residency is a new video work involving participants gathered from online postings. The artist invited a group of adult, working-age men of all backgrounds to participate in a three-day experimental summer camp, filmed in May 2018 at the Griffith Park Boys Camp. At the camp, they were able to temporarily reimagine their lives in ways not pressured by the strict social demands of waged work.

On July 27, 2018, at the peak of the summer recreation season, Tam will present an outdoor screening of a single-channel version of the film at Virginia Avenue Park in Santa Monica’s Pico Neighborhood. Concurrently, from July 16 through September 14, Tam will develop and exhibit an installation in the Main Gallery. The Opening Reception is August 18, 2018.

Kenneth Tam (b. 1982) is a New York-based artist born in Queens, NY. He is interested in locating vulnerabilities within ideas about normative masculinity and tries to vigorously apply pressure to those areas. He has held solo exhibitions at MIT List Center for Visual Arts, Boston (2017); Commonwealth and Council, LA (2016); and Night Gallery, LA (2013). Tam has participated in group exhibitions at Hollybush Gardens, London, UK (2017); and Made in L.A.: a, the, though, only, Hammer Museum, LA (2016), and residencies including LMCC Workspace Residency Grant (2017-18); and The CORE Residency Program, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX (2015–2017). He is the recipient of a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2016); California Community Foundation Fellowship (2015); and Art Matters Foundation Grant (2013). Tam holds a BFA from The Cooper Union and an MFA from the University of Southern California.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018-2019, 18th Street Arts Center is one of the top 20 artist residency programs in the US, and the largest in Southern California. Conceived as a radical think tank in the shape of an artist community, 18th Street supports artists from around the globe to imagine, research, and develop significant, meaningful new artworks and share them with the public. We strive to provide artists the space and time to take risks, to foster the ideal environment for artists and the public to directly engage, and to create experiences and partnerships that foster positive social change.

Submitted by Emma Jacobson-Sive