Following the Prescribed Path: Journey in Sound & Dance

September 13 - November 23, 2014

Kim Abeles, Vito Acconci, Bas Jan Ader, Gabrielle Ferrer, Erin Mallea, Diane Meyer, and Mark Ruwedel

The seven artists in Following the Prescribed Path took diverse journeys into both urban and natural landscapes over the course of six decades, and ultimately transformed their experiences into a range of media. The artists' projects suggest diverse reasons for stepping out our doors—to follow in someone else's footsteps (whether they are just in front of you or whether they have long since passed), to trace historical wounds, to make a pilgrimage, or to pursue a hero's journey in search of a transcendent experience. While it might be counterintuitive to think that following a predetermined route is creatively stimulating, the artists in this exhibition suggest otherwise.

The artists in Following the Prescribed Path took diverse journeys into both urban and natural landscapes over the course of six decades, and ultimately transformed their experiences into a range of media. While it might be counterintuitive to think that following a predetermined route is creatively stimulating, the artists in this exhibition suggest otherwise.

Standing upright and walking on two legs distinguishes humans from most other animals. As long as we have been ambulatory, the urge to walk out the front door and just explore one's environment has been part of the human psyche. Motivated by this basic desire, each of the exhibition's seven artists embarked on such a journey, but with a twist. The artists' routes followed a "prescribed path," one in which the parameters were established before they ever ventured out. Mark Ruwedel followed the seventy-two-and-a-half-mile route through Los Angeles previously taken by an urban hiker. Vito Acconci decided to let strangers on the streets of New York lead him. Kim Abeles allowed a mountain, smoggy conditions, and "the way the crow flies" to determine her walk. Diane Meyer traced the ghostly existence of the Berlin Wall. The urban grid and the romantic pull of the ocean directed Bas Jan Ader. Gabrielle Ferrer developed schemes for herself inspired by earlier wanderers and thinkers. Erin Mallea set out on the well-mapped Appalachian Trail.

Their projects suggest diverse reasons for stepping out our doors—to follow in someone else's footsteps (whether they are just in front of you or whether they have long since passed), to trace historical wounds, to make a pilgrimage, or to pursue a hero's journey in search of a transcendent experience. In the process, they articulate dreams and fears that we all share, and maybe they will inspire us to step out of our daily routines to follow our own prescribed paths.

View events related to this exhibition.

Collage of pieces by the artists in the show.

Diane Meyer, Erna-Berger Strasse, from Berlin, 2013. Hand-sewn archival inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist; Kim Abeles, Memory Box, from Pilgrimage to the Wedge, 1987. Asphalt-covered box strung with gold, silver, and copper thread and wire; color photograph of the Mountain Wedge as visible on a clear day; dyed cheesecloth; brass detailing; title and Mountain Wedge shape made of spiritual incense on lid of box. Collection of Steve and Doni Silver Simons, Los Angeles, CA; Bas Jan Ader, No. 1 from Studies for In Search of the Miraculous (One Night In LA),1973. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of Mary Sue Ader-Andersen, The Bas Jan Ader Estate and Patrick Painter Editions, Santa Monica, CA. Copyright: © Mary Sue Ader-Andersen, The Bas Jan Ader Estate; Mark Ruwedel, Mile 2 from Following Nigel, 72.5 Miles, 2011-2014. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist; Mark Ruwedel, Mile 59 from Following Nigel, 72.5 Miles, 2011-2014. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist; Erin Mallea, A piece from From Maine to Georgia, 2012-14. Mixed media. Lent by Sarah Hill, courtesy of the artist; Gabrielle Ferrer 405 to the Beach from Pocket Walks, 2009–10. Letterpress, color photograph, hand-traced Google Earth map, and soft-ground etching Courtesy of the artist.