Police and Thieves

The Art Center presents Police and Thieves; a provocative group exhibition guest curated by artists Karla Diaz and Mario Ybarra Jr.. The exhibition features a variety of work by contemporary artists including Gusmano Cesaretti, Meg Cranston, Los Angeles Poverty Department Collective, Amitis Motevalli, Ray Noland a.k.a. CRO, Ben Stone, and Arnoldo Vargas. Police and Thieves brings together current artistic production in Los Angeles and Chicago that deal with the historical and inherently conflicting relationship of power between those who enforce laws and those who break them. What it means to be a cop or a thief is associated with images of heroism or criminality that are simultaneously specific and generalizing. The exhibition hopes to redefine and explore stereotypical good-guy/bad-guy images through a series of drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs. This thought-provoking and sometimes humorous selection of artwork by Diaz and Ybarra surveys the complex relationship between police and criminals, providing an intimate perspective that questions notions of power, freedom, community, cultural narratives and civic engagement.

About the curators: Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mario Ybarra Jr. is an artist whose work operates as examinations of conflated and excluded social norms underlining environments, histories and narratives. His work has been featured in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, the Tate Museum in London, the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum, and at LACMA among others. Karla Diaz is a writer, artist and educator. Her work encompasses a multi-disciplinary, pedagogical approach to art-making through collaborative practices and the interaction of social-public spaces. Her work has been exhibited primarily in Los Angeles at MOCA, LACMA, the Getty Museum, and REDCAT Gallery in addition to the Serpentine Gallery (UK), Instituto Cervantes (Spain), and the Zocalo (Mexico City). She is a former co-director of exhibitions at the New Chinatown Barbershop gallery in Los Angeles and with Ybarra, co-founded Slanguage Studio, an artist collective and art space founded in 2002 in Wilmington, CA.

Image: Arnoldo Vargas, In Memoriam, Bike Misdemeanor leads to Post-Injunction "Officer Involved Shooting" II, PCH and Eubank ave,(detail), 2010, Lightjet print, 30 x 20 inches