Praz-Delavallade Los Angeles is pleased to present Two Proposals Toward the Formation of a New Art School opening August 6 and running through September 10, 2022. The imaginary State Art Academy, Zürich (SKZ), forms the basis of Dan Levenson's practice as an artist. Through performance, video, installation, objects and paintings, Levenson expounds on the curriculum and philosophy of an institution that, although never existed, reflects on art institutions both past and present.
The first proposal, "SKZ Kindergarten Maquette," takes the form of a miniature kindergarten classroom, itself an artwork, that is based on live interactive performances Levenson exhibited with children aged 2-9 in 2019 and 2020. The maquette contains miniature scale versions of the components of the live performances: flat-pack modernist children's easels and mannequins wearing painting tunics. The mirrored walls of the classroom maquette suggest infinite expansion. Kindergarteners are gently introduced to the same strict formalist principles which form the basis of the advanced graduate program. An accompanying video documents the live performances.
The second proposal, "Chance Operations," consists of a second miniature classroom and an accompanying board game. The classroom furniture are modernist geometric desks and chairs which come apart and pack flat. Designed for advanced students, each student would be given a board game with dice that have each side painted a different color. With a roll of the dice, the color of both the classroom furniture and the paintings is determined.
The exhibition includes two new paintings by Dan Levenson representing student artwork from his imaginary art school. The design of the paintings follows the same principles as both the kindergarten lesson and the advanced graduate classroom, giving the entire exhibition an overall sense of unity.
His recent work concerns the Kindergarten attached to the imaginary art school. "SKZ Children's Painting Workshop" is an experiment in collaboration with children, presented as installations and performances. The workshop draws inspiration from Friedrich Fröbel's original 1837 concept of the Kindergarten: a garden that promotes natural learning and creative growth. Children are invited into an installation environment with sculptural painting easels, hand-painted painting smocks, and brightly colored banners. Children paint on large abstract silkscreened coloring- book pages. Their interactions with the printed composition invite reflection on creativity and freedom.
Press release courtesy Praz-Delavallade.