John Malpede

John MalpedeArtist’s Statement

I am interested in confusing the categories: performance is inserted into installation and then expert (journalistic or historical) presentation is inserted into the performative material. And bam, we are back in the fictive performance, then again in installation. This could all take place in a day, as in “RFK in EKY,” which re-created and deconstructed events of Robert F. Kennedy’s 200-mile 1968 odyssey investigating Appalachian poverty. Another example is a series of cross-genre activities (public art, theater, installation, outdoor movement and public education) that accumulate over years as with “UTOPIA/dystopia,” whose manifestations since May 2006 included: an outdoor movement performance, a week of REDCAT Theater performances, 10 neighborhood events that engaged community brain power to identify people (artists, poets, activists and inspirers) who had made positive contributions to Skid Row. The input led to the installation, “Skid Row History Museum,” at The Box Gallery, which included performance and public conversation events, to solicit further community input. This gallery show was the point of departure for a public art installation. With the Community Redevelopment Agency, LAPD is creating a “Skid Row Walk of Fame,” permanent public artworks, lamp-post plaques (to be in place by 2010) throughout downtown to commemorate 30 visionaries at the sites where they did their community building work. Next, I want to create “WALK THE TALK” a peripatetic performance (with brass band) that travels through Skid Row with performances at each plaque, to bring the history of the community to life and keep it alive. “WALK THE TALK” would be a culmination of my work of the past three years.

A huge percentage of residents would witness the performance, which would generate a thousand or more informed, enthusiastic, “community historians” or “docents on demand.”



Selected Solo Exhibitions

Tricks of the Eye: History and Memory in a Shifting Social Landscape: Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.

Cruel, Unusual Outrages upon Personal Dignity, Punishment and Humiliating Degrading Treatment, Grand Performances, Los Angeles
Red Beard, Red Beard, Gennevilliers, France

Utopia/dystopia, REDCAT Theater and Los Angeles Poverty Department, Los Angeles
Legal-Illegal, Gent, Belgium, Germany
just space[s], Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles

Civic Performance, State university of New York, Stonybrook, N.Y.
Sleepwalking Democracy, Westergas Fabriek, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Freedom of Expression National Monument #2, New York

The Real Deal, Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, Calif.

An End To the Judgment of God, Vienna, Austria; Tate-Modern, London; Roma Europa Festival, Italy; Flemish National Theater, Brussels, Belgium; REDCAT Theater, Los Angeles; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

RFK in EKY (Robert F Kennedy in Eastern Kentucky)

Agents & Assets, Los Angeles Poverty Department; Sidestreet Projects, Los Angeles; First Unitarian-Universalist Church of Detroit, Detroit; Cleveland Public theater, Cleveland; Compton Community College, Los Angeles

Quintet of the Astonished, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; James Cohan Gallery, New York

Select Teaching

1995-1996 & 2000-2001
Faculty, DASARTS (de Amsterdamische School for Advanced Research in Theater and Dance Studies), Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Visiting director, Department of Undergraduate Drama, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, New York

1994-96 & 2007
Visiting assistant professor, Department of World Arts and Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles

Visiting faculty, Interdisciplinary Arts Education, Columbia College, Chicago

Visiting faculty, Performance, School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Select Grants and Awards

Artist in Residence, 18th Street Arts complex, Santa Monica, Calif.

Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Center for Advanced Visual Studies

COLA (City of Los Angeles) Arts Fellowship

Gaea Foundation residency fellowship

Cornerstone Theater, Los Angeles, Bridge Award


B.A., 1968
University of Wisconsin