The Conscientious Objector (Public Fiction)

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Anthea Hamilton, Leg Chair (John Travolta), 2010 

Image: Anthea Hamilton, Leg Chair (John Travolta), 2010, postcards, perspex, plaster, brass, 84 x 85 x 43 cm, private collection, courtesy the artist

Public Fiction: The Conscientious Objector (curated by Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey and Lauren Mackler)

February 3 – April 15, 2018

            Opening reception: Saturday, February 3, 6-9pm

Walk-through with the curators: February 3, 5pm and February 4, 3pm

 MAK Center for Art and Architecture, The Schindler House (835 North Kings Road, West Hollywood) Wednesday–Sunday 11am–6pm; Free on Fridays from 4-6pm, otherwise $10 admission

 Public Performances:

February 8: Mohamed Bourouissa in conversation with Negar Azimi at the Schindler House

March 22: Rosalind Nashashibi in conversation with Mathias Poledna at the Schindler House

April 5: Anthea Hamilton in conversation with Todd Gray at the Schindler House

April 15: Screening of In the Name of the Place by Mel Chin and the GALA Committee at the City of West Hollywood Council Chambers (625 N San Vicente Boulevard)

Public Fiction’s The Conscientious Objector is a multifaceted endeavor that unfurls in parts from February to April 2018. It comprises a publication, a series of artist-made commercials for television, an exhibition of artworks activated by performances, and public programs. 

Set in West Hollywood, The Conscientious Objector considers how art and culture can establish acts of resilience through 'non-participation' and elliptical routes, in contrast to more blatantly socio-political forms of resistance, as well as the ways in which they might use the tropes and platforms of entertainment, advertising and mass culture to reach its audiences. That is, without making any assumptions about who these audiences are.

The overall project is an exploration of different modes or degrees of 'public address' – most obviously through a live confrontation with actors in the exhibition, at a step removed via TV commercials, more obliquely via individual artworks, and in the longer term through the publication.

The exhibition at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Schindler House, presents new and existing works by Sam Gilliam, Anthea Hamilton, Lucy McKenzie, Dianna Molzan, and Suki Seokyeong Kang, plus a new durational performance delivered by professional actors and directed by Todd Gray. Each artist inhabits a different room of the Schindler House, which is progressively activated by a performance that employs the publication as script and prop.

A series of newly commissioned TV commercials by artists Mohamed Bourouissa, Rosalind Nashashibi, Mathias Poledna, and Martine Syms follows a rich lineage of art and activism works produced for public access television, these commercials are aired on WeHoTV, the City of West Hollywood’s television, as well as in museums, art institutions, cinemas, and online platforms.

The publication, edited by Public Fiction and The Serving Library (Liverpool/New York), and published by ROMA Publications (Amsterdam), features new and republished work by Hilton Als, Tauba Auerbach, Claire-Louise Bennett, Octavia Butler, Anne Carson, Valentina Desideri & Denise Ferreira da Silva, Shannon Ebner, Chris Evans, Angie Keefer, Mark Leckey, Library Stack (Benjamin Tiven & Erik Wysocan), Marcos Lutyens, Wanda Pimentel, Adrian Piper, Jack Self (Real Review), Patrick Staff, Frances Stark & Ian Svenonius, and Martine Syms.

The Conscientious Objector is commissioned by the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts Program, with support from the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Korea Foundation, Arts Council England, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Karyn Kohl and Silas Dilworth, Dan Avchen, Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), kaufmann repetto, Galerie Buchholz, Kristina Kite Gallery, and David Kordansky Gallery.

Public Fiction: Founded in 2010, Public Fiction is a project space and a journal based in Los Angeles. Its program presents a series of exhibitions on a theme, each theme lasting three months and culminating into a journal. Related talks, screenings, secret restaurants, and performances are held within the installations and around the topic at hand. Public Fiction’s program is intergenerational, interdisciplinary and treats the exhibition as a medium in itself. Public Fiction is currently nomadic, hosted by larger institutions, and in this mode has staged exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Artissima LIDO, Turin; and Frieze Projects, New York, amongst others.


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For questions, contact Rebecca Ehemann, Public Art Coordinator at (323) 848-6846 or For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, please call, TTY: (323) 848-6496. To learn more information about the City of West Hollywood and its arts programs visit