Ezra Orion 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, Israeli Center for Digital Art), “Launching Sites Los Angeles” presented Orion’s to American audiences for the first time in decades. Co-presented with the Israeli Center for Digital Art, the Platt and Borstein Galleries at American Jewish University temporarily housed select parts of Orion’s archive, including drawings and photographs that document past projects, plans, diagrams and correspondence and a VR station 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, LA-based artist Dan Levenson presented a site-specific project that explored Orion’s pedagogy and legacy. SKZ Monochrome Diptychs shared a scene from the workshop of the State Art Academy Zurich (SKZ), a modernist school the artist invented. Drawing on the complicated relationships of modernism with an imagined future, Levenson’s students worked in pairs to produce black monochrome diptychs, and left viewers to dwell in their deserted classroom. The exhibition was accompanied by a daylong symposium devoted to the themes arising from Orion’s work, including land art and abstract sculpture.