Ezra Orion, at times considered Israel’s best forgotten artist, was an influential sculptor and teacher, who educated, mentored and inspired generations of artists. Co-curated by Rotem Rozental (Chief Curator, AJU) and Udi Edelman (Curator, The Center for Digital Art, Director, the Institute for Public Presence), “Launching Sites Los Angeles” presented, for the first time in decades, the work of sculptor Ezra Orion to American audiences. His abstract, geometric works explore the interconnections of physical powers, environmental shifts and the potential expansion of the consciousness. He experimented with energy as sculptural material, and regarded the forces that shape the earth as tectonic sculpture.
Co-presented with the Israeli Center for Digital Art, the Platt and Borstein Galleries at American Jewish University was a temporary home for select parts of Orion’s archive, including drawings and photographs that document past projects, plans, diagrams and correspondence. A VR station positioned in the space took visitors on a tour of Orion’s sculptural installations in the desert.
Further investigating the intersections of Orion’s work with international discourse, as well as its potential impact on contemporary practice, L.A.-based artist Dan Levenson presented a site-specific project at AJU’s Brandeis-Bardin campus that explored Orion’s pedagogy and legacy (curator: Rotem Rozental). SKZ Monochrome Diptychs shared a scene from the workshop of the State Art Academy Zurich (SKZ), a modernist school of the artist’s invention. Drawing on the complicated relationships of modernism with an imagined future, Levenson’s students worked in pairs to produce black monochrome diptychs, and left us to dwell in their deserted classroom–set in the massive rotunda of the House of the Book.
The exhibition was marked by a full-day symposium and opening reception on November 19, 2017 devoted to the themes arising from Orion’s work, including land art and abstract sculpture.