Let me tell you something you already know.

Sofía Córdova
Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn
Ilana Harris-Babou
Xandra Ibarra

Organized by Christian Camacho-Light and Alexis Wilkinson, AIRspace Curatorial Residents

Reception | October 19, 2017

Using humor to seduce and disarm, the five video works in Let me tell you something you already know. poke at conventions of success and failure. Sofía Córdova, Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn, Ilana Harris-Babou, and Xandra Ibarra turn mundane or otherwise unremarkable situations into exaggerated, performative, and often absurd scenarios. Cycling through moments of earnest naiveté, tenacity, fatigue, and wry resignation, the videos wink at the pitfalls of American aspirationalism.

The works touch upon anxieties surrounding the value and purpose of creative labor, especially that of gendered and racialized individuals expected to perform specific roles in order to be marked for success. Employing varying modes of parody and comic relief, the artists ask, just how long do these bootstraps need to be?

Sofía Córdova is a Puerto Rican-born artist based in Oakland, California. She received her BFA from St. John’s University in conjunction with the International Center for Photography in 2006. She received her MFA from the California College of the Arts in 2010. She has exhibited and performed at SFMOMA, the Berkeley Art Museum, and Southern Exposure as well as other venues internationally. She has recently participated in residencies at the BAVC in San Francisco, Arteles in Finland, ACRE in Steuben, Wisconsin and at the Mills College Art Museum. In the fall she’ll be in residence at the Arizona State University Museum’s International Artist residency concluding with her solo exhibition, Where Thieves Go After Death. Her work is part of Pier 24’s and The Whitney Museum’s permanent collections and was recently the subject of a First Look feature in Art in America.

Harry Dodge is an American sculptor, performer, video artist, and writer, whose interdisciplinary practice is characterized by its explorations of relation, materiality, and the unnamable with a special focus on ecstatic contamination. His solo and collaborative work has been exhibited at many venues nationally and internationally, including New Museum’s upcoming 40th anniversary exhibition TRIGGER (Sept-Jan), upcoming solo show Mysterious Fires at Grand Army Collective (Brooklyn), and (currently), Selections from the Permanent Collection at MOCA (LA), and Living Apart Together: Selections from the Collection at Hammer Museum (LA), as well as, the 2008 Whitney Biennial; a solo show entitled, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 2013; and Hammer Museum’s 2014 Biennial, Made in L.A. Dodge’s work is in collections including Museum of Modern Art (NY), Museum of Contemporary Art (LA), Hammer Museum (LA). His most recent solo exhibition was The Inner Reality of Ultra-Intelligent Life, at Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts, which followed 2015’s solo exhibition, The Cybernetic Fold at Wallspace, NY. Recent group exhibitions include: Concrete Island at VENUS LA, The Promise of Total Automation at Kunsthalle Wien Austria; a three-person show at London’s The Approach Gallery, Triples: Harry Dodge, Evan Holloway and Peter Shelton; Routine Pleasures a show organized by Michael Ned Holte at the MAK Center in Los Angeles; and a group show, Protuberances curated by Jess Arndt and Catherine Taft at LAX Art.

Stanya Kahn is an interdisciplinary artist who works primarily in video with a practice that includes performance, sound, drawing, painting and sculpture. Humor, pathos and the uncanny emerge as central modes in a hybrid media practice that seeks to re-work relationships between fiction and document, narrative time and the synchronic time of impulse. Recent solo exhibitions include MoMA PS1/NY, Susanne Vielmetter/LA, Marlborough Chelsea/NY, Cornerhouse/HOME/UK, Weiss Berlin, the New Museum/NY among others. Select group exhibitions include the Hammer Museum, MOCA/SD, Fernley Astrup/Norway, The California Biennial. Her collaborative work with Harry Dodge has shown at Elizabeth Dee Gallery/NY, the Whitney Biennial (08), Sundance Film Festival, MOCA/LA, MoMA/NY, ZKM/Karlsrüh, among others. She was a contributing writer and actor in feature film By Hook or By Crook. Her writings and drawings appear in multiple publications including Die Laughing (2nd Cannons), It’s Cool, I’m Good (Cornerhouse), and Abstract Video (UC Press.) Kahn was a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow in Film/Video.

Ilana Harris-Babou’s multidisciplinary practice draws inspiration from music videos, cooking shows, and home improvement programs. She works primarily in ceramic sculpture and video installation, and frames messy scenes with studio lighting and HD video in order to ask questions about intimacy, violence, and consumption. Harris-Babou received an MFA in New Genres from Columbia University and a BA in Art from Yale University. She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and Europe.

Xandra Ibarra is an Oakland-based performance artist from the El Paso/Juarez border who sometimes performs and works under the alias of La Chica Boom. Ibarra uses hyperbolized modes of racialization and sexualization to test the boundaries between her own body and coloniality, compulsory whiteness, and Mexicanidad. Her practice integrates performance, sex acts, and burlesque with video, photography, and objects. Throughout her multiple works, she teeters between abjection and joy and problematizes the borders between proper and improper racial, gender, and queer subject. Ibarra’s work has been featured at El Museo de Arte Contemporañeo (Bogotá, Colombia), Broad Museum (LA, USA), Popa Gallery (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Joe’s Pub (NYC), PPOW Gallery (NYC), and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF) to name a few. Recent residencies include Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, National Performance Network, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She has been awarded the Art Matters Grant, NALAC Fund for the Arts, ReGen Artist Fund, and the Franklin Furnace Performance and Variable Media Award. As a community organizer, Ibarra’s work is located within immigrant, anti-rape and prison abolitionist movements. Since 2003, she has actively participated in organizing with INCITE!, a national feminist of color organization dedicated to creating interventions at the intersection of state and interpersonal violence. She currently lectures within the Critical Studies program at California College of the Arts.

Image Credit: Xandra Ibarra, Balboa Method, 2014, video still. Courtesy of the artist.