Past

In Close

Barbara T. Smith: Proof
Closing Day Celebration

In Close: Barbara T. Smith: Proof Closing Day Celebration, January 14, 2024. Presented by Active Cultures in collaboration with the ICA LA. Photos by Gina Clyne

In Close: Barbara T. Smith: Proof Closing Day Celebration, January 14, 2024. Presented by Active Cultures in collaboration with the ICA LA. Photos by Gina Clyne

In Close: Barbara T. Smith: Proof Closing Day Celebration, January 14, 2024. Presented by Active Cultures in collaboration with the ICA LA. Photos by Gina Clyne

In Close: Barbara T. Smith: Proof Closing Day Celebration, January 14, 2024. Presented by Active Cultures in collaboration with the ICA LA. Photos by Gina Clyne

In Close: Barbara T. Smith: Proof Closing Day Celebration, January 14, 2024. Presented by Active Cultures in collaboration with the ICA LA. Photos by Gina Clyne

In Close: Barbara T. Smith: Proof Closing Day Celebration, January 14, 2024. Presented by Active Cultures in collaboration with the ICA LA. Photos by Gina Clyne

On the closing day of Barbara T. Smith: Proof, the ICA LA and Active Cultures celebrate Smith’s kaleidoscopic practice with “In Close,” a gathering of food and performance. The afternoon features a new performance by artist Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, with musicians Rachel Beetz, April Dawn Guthrie, and Heidi Alexander, alongside a furl of squash orchestrated by artist and cook Eden Batki. 

In an ode to the year of Barbara, to the squash and the seasons, to feeding and being fed, Pennypacker Riggs orchestrates a blend of sound, song, sculpture, and ritual action. Weaving together music, symbolism, and personal narrative with “universal” truths, Riggs offers an exploration of personhood.

Her performance I C U invites audiences into a realm that transcends traditional boundaries, unfolding as a melodic journey that is part concert, featuring bass flute (Rachel Beetz), cello (April Dawn Guthrie), a surprise electric guitar (Heidi Alexander); part hidden chorus (Jess Basta, Sarah Blank, Arlene Deradoorian, Hilda Rasula, and Stacy Wood); magic show; mythological theater; and a timestamp for transition. Per Pennypacker Riggs, I C U is not merely a spectacle: it is a reflection of the artist’s ongoing exploration of midlife and its complexities—a psychological odyssey that defies conventional notions of “crisis.”

The performance culminates in a moment of vulnerability as Riggs, saddled by her young child, crawls the length of Smith’s exhibition on her hands and knees: a solemn and silly bow to Smith that smudges the lines between public performer and private person.

Watch the full performance here!

About the Artists

Rachel Beetz
Composer, flutist, and improviser, Rachel Beetz explores presence through sound and listening. Her works recreate physical atmospheres based on her deep listening adventures in the wild, exploring hidden worlds of nature and machines. Combining experimental field recordings and electronically modified flutes, her works examine community, environmentalism, and women’s work through...
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Heidi Alexander
Heidi Alexander is a singer, guitarist, and song writer based in Los Angeles.
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Eden Batki
Eden Batki is a peripatetic multi-disciplinary artist, storyteller, and consultant working in photography, food, and film. Her documentary film Weedeater (2016) is a dreamy, experimental portrait of a plant communicator and soil healer. Batki gets commissioned to create dinners with and for other artists in galleries and homes internationally, meanwhile...
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April Dawn Guthrie
April Dawn Guthrie is an LA based composer/cellist/vocalist originally from Kansas City. Guthrie’s creative practice strives to highlight injustices, and to reflect upon and pay homage to dissenters. Through performing and recording cello she has worked with Björk, The Industry, WildUp, Angel Olsen, Amanda Palmer, Blue Planet II, BBC’s Big...
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Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs
Through a practice that incorporates sound, sculpture, scent, and performance, artist Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs creates new myths and their paraphernalia: hymns, relics, costume, instruments, rites and rituals for an alternate past, and still-possible future. CPR is the creator of the site-responsive choral ensemble, Song of Eurydice; and Community Chorus, a...
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About ICA LA

Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) is an epicenter of artistic experimentation and incubator of new ideas.

Founded in 1988 as the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) and reestablished in 2017 with a new identity and home in Downtown Los Angeles, ICA LA builds upon a distinguished history of bold curatorial vision and innovative programming to illuminate the important untold stories and emerging voices in contemporary art and culture. The museum’s 12,700 square-foot renovated industrial building—designed by wHY Architecture under the leadership of Kulapat Yantrasast—features ample space for exhibitions, public programs, retail pop-ups, integrated offices, and special projects.

ICA LA’s mission is to support art that sparks the pleasure of discovery and challenges the way we see and experience the world, ourselves, and each other. ICA LA is committed to upending hierarchies of race, class, gender, and culture. Through exhibitions, education programs, and community partnerships, ICA LA fosters critique of the familiar and empathy with the different.

Event Details

DATE: January 14, 2024 TIME: 3PM – 6PM

LOCATION: Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

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Thank you to those who attended!

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