Life is Art Foundation / KKProjects
Life is Art Foundation (Originally KKProjects) was founded shortly after Hurricane Katrina in the St. Roch neighborhood of New Orleans in six abandoned structures: a former bakery, a storefront, and four 1800s houses. The structures sat in a one block area of the derelict neighborhood on North Villere between Music and Arts streets. Each was home to a site-specific installation for varying exhibition periods. Local and international artists were invited to work with the spaces as they found them, as well as with the surrounding (often challenging) physical and cultural environment. Through art projects involving the greater social ecosystem, the project served to cultivate creativity and inspire the hearts, minds, and economy of the St Roch neighborhood and its visitors. Integrated into the spaces was an urban farm and children's program. As with the houses, the farm served as art space and vehicle for community evolution. During summer months, herbs and vegetables were grown with neighborhood children for eating and selling to New Orleans' best restaurants. The art installations continued until the houses, one by one, met their end- decay delivering ever disintegrating safety until they could no longer stand; a crack addict's fire reducing one of the last to the ground. This being the natural environment of St Roch, the project responded, evolving away from traditional physical installation art and into land and experience based art. The black swan came when life led the director to fall in love with a Tasmanian. Life is Art now exists in Tasmania- in a museum called Mona - Museum of Old and New Art. The St Roch experience lives on through the artists who participated in the project and their new work, the founder and Life is Art's new projects in Tasmania, and the children who were present for what happened there.
SONOMA / LIFE IS ART WEST
In late 2010 Life is Art Foundation expanded West, to a mountaintop in Sonoma, California. Set on an idyllic 120 acres, Life is Art West was home to land art and a (rather wild) artists residency. National and international artists created site-specific installations using nature as medium. Artists were invited to rotate between St Roch and Sonoma, alternating the beauty of an intimate (and intense) New Orleans community with the natural beauty of the California Landscape. To support the project, the artists who settled Life is Art West established a legal medicinal marijuana farm, branded with traditional sepia-tone founding father's font: American Medicinals (see New York Times).
THE THINK TANK
Life is Art Foundation takes a collective approach, with a touch of totalitarianism, to brainstorming and envisioning the direction of our organization. For the most part we don't believe humans, not to mention artists, make the decisions. Rather, things take shape according to larger and less comprehensible laws, like nature (see director's move to Tasmania). When we fail to recognize this as the case, we pretend to make decisions as a group, and when we fail to do that, the dictator takes charge (or in the case of MONA, the dictator's boyfriend). Our core team holds a deep love for art and humanity, and works together in endlessly dynamic and exhilarating ways to see our vision into reality.
Founding Director Kirsha Kaechele | Tora Lopez | Lisa Lozano | Tom Beale / HoneySpace | Pamala Bishop | Jaohn Orgon | Daphane Park | Louise Riley | Anna Senstad | Katherine Bray | Aimee Toledano | Benjamin Heller | And The Ever Magnificent Creator/Destructor (fur coat heister who sold Kirsha's favorite dress and destroyed her house) Benjamin Berniard. These are the people who have made Life is Art. There are a couple of others I'd like to mention but won't because they have been too terrible in the interim, or they might not want to be. But I still will if they just say the word.
Life is Art is Also Our Endless List of Mentors, Supporters, Patrons + Beloved Interns. Especially the First to Believe (John Gilmore), Those Who Were Central (Coleman Adler, Alexa Pulitzer, Seth Levine, Peter Nadin, Anne Kennedy, Diego Cortez, Hugh + Beth Lambert, Bryan Bailey, Kristian Hansen, Gregory Holt, Lucy Brunette, Emile Dumesnil, Bowen Dwelle) and Those Who Always Say Keep Going: Coleman Coker.
The mission of Life is Art Foundation is the exhibition of large scale, site-specific installation art. But we love other types of art as well. Focus lies with conceptual works which explore natural order and draw from natural phenomena such as light, ecology, agriculture, celestial motion, everyday experience and society. Formally, Life is Art Foundation focuses on work which expresses aesthetic purity and the resulting spiritualized space. However, when this purity takes form in apparent chaos arising from a natural system, (or is just very sexy), formal preference is abandoned for devotion to what is. We exist to converse with chaos, balancing the impulse for beauty and order with the unwieldy environments of St Roch, our Sonoma land, and the unlikely social contexts of Eiffel Society and Voodoo Experience. Where there is order we introduce chaos- the market and the farm to the refined environment of Mona - Museum of Old and New Art. Through conversation with unwelcome forces, we find deeper appreciation for nature, expanding our understanding of beauty. Art thus becomes how we see. We also believe in the power of love. We cultivate love with our neighbors, particularly in the case of the children we worked with in St Roch.