The Company is pleased to announce Lisi Raskin’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, titled Mt. Disappointment (1). Raskin will utilize The Company’s main gallery and garage in her staging of an immersive play environment. The show’s narrative begins in the garage where Raskin has installed a large collage to serve as a stand-in for the incoming bomber threat that the Nike/Hercules (2) missile program was designed to thwart. In response to this bomber collage, Raskin constructs a crude replica of a Browning M2 machine gun, a versatile, firearm usually mounted to tanks. However, in this case, Raskin has mounted the machine gun to a sculpture instead. Over the course of the exhibition, the garage space will also be the site for various performances that Raskin will stage.
In the main gallery space, Raskin retrofits an architectural gesture/framing device for various smaller scale collages that both describe the Nike/Hercules sites that she visited on her research trip and use abstraction to loosen the semantic attachment to the nature of the sites, bringing to the foreground ideas of form, composition, color and geometric abstraction.
Over the past ten years, Raskin has explored the nuclear-powered sublime on a first hand basis and used her findings in the field to develop artwork. This interest has provoked excursions to malignant locations like former East German Atomic Bunkers and the Swedish Space Corporation’s Esrange Launch Site in the Arctic Circle.
Raskin received her BFA from Brandeis University, Boston, and her MFA from Columbia University, New York. In 2007, Raskin was invited to be an Artist in Residence at the IASPIS program in Stockholm, Sweden, and in 2008 was invited to be an Artist in Residence at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. Her work has been exhibited at the Blanton Museum, TX; PS1/MoMA, NY; Kunsthaus Graz, Austria; and MoCA, North Miami. Collections include Dia Art Foundation, NY and Hessel Museum, Bard College. Raskin lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
(1) The actual Mount Disappointment is located in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County and contained a Nike missile site from 1955, and was converted into a military radio relay site in 1965.
(2) There are sixteen decommissioned Nike/Hercules missile sites surrounding Los Angeles. During the early years of the cold war (1950 – 1974), the Nike/Hercules missile sites, in tandem with NORAD early warning sites were the mainstay of the United States Military’s defensive strike strategy. In essence, the Nike/Hercules missiles remained on 24-hour ready alert in order to thwart incoming bomber attacks. Since their decommissioning, the L.A. area Nike/Hercules sites have gone through a multitude of different functions. It is the physical residue of these functions, an interest in obsolete military weaponry, and the way entropy shapes post-use sites that galvanized her decision to use these locations as the backdrop of this project. An example of this predictable yet absurd use-cycle is the area of land now known as the Long Beach Airport. In 1960, the Nike missile site was known as L.A.-40 and today, the exact location of the missile battery is an office park.