Summertime at the ICI

Written by institute on July 18th, 2014

The Institute would like to send a warm welcome to our new interns for summer 2014, April Zhang and Britney Ko, who will be working on the Library and the Earth Cabinet, respectively. We hope that your internships prove to be a fruitful and rewarding experience for us all, as we work together to improve and expand upon the ICI’s unique collections.

Wishing everyone a mild, fun-filled and productive summer.




Written by Intern on July 18th, 2014

Hello! My name is April Zhang and its my second day here at the ICI. I am excited to be the new Archivist intern and to be building the unique library at the ICI.10334345_1498820707003484_4041624045832115246_n

A little bit about me: I studied art and psychology at USC and just graduated in May 2014. My hobbies are art (obviously), psychology (obviously), writing, baking and making things whenever I can. I have two sisters and two cats and a dog that I love dearly.

I am also working at a gallery at Bergamot Station, so for now, these two jobs will keep me occupied.

This summer, I hope that the ICI will bring me lots of joy and I am really excited to be a part of this organization.

Best wishes,



Written by Intern on June 30th, 2014

ICI-BLOG_intern_brittany-wToday is my second day inside the ICI and my first day as an Earth Cabinet Intern. I feel excited and maybe a little jittery from drinking coffee.

I’m Brittany. I have been out of artschool at UCLA for a year now and have spent 2014 teaching art to kids in Los Angeles. I am interested in empowering students through visual art and a heightened awareness of the world around them. I hope that one day there will be arts education for all K-12 students.

Whether it is walking to the convenience store or flying to another country, I love seeing places, new and old. Two of my favorite things to do are people watching and photographing objects that have been left on the street. I also love painting and color.

As the Earth Cabinet Intern, I will be spending a lot of time with Earth, Dirt, Soil, et al, which means I’ll be dreaming up stories of the places where this material originates. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to visit these places as well.

For now, I’m excited to begin a meticulous and meditative process in this unique space on Robertson Blvd.

More to come.



The Meaning of Colors: BLUE

Written by institute on February 28th, 2014


Blue is the most common favorite color of people worldwide. It is often associated with the sky, oceans, water, ice, cold, peace, serenity, and at times sadness.

Naturally occurring blue foods are rare which may be why blue is also commonly thought to be an appetite suppressant.

“Feeling blue” “I’ve got the blues.”

“Blue is a power like that of nature in winter, when all germination and growth is hidden in darkness and silence. Blue is always shadowy, and tends in its greatest glory to darkness. It is an intangible nothing, and yet present as the transparent atmosphere. [...] Blue beckons our spirit with the vibrations of faith into the infinite distances of spirit.” — Johannes Itten, The Elements of Color, 1970




A Clarion Call

Written by Lise, Director on January 21st, 2014


For those of us who are part of artist-run organizations, the last decade has been a difficult one. Like everyone else, we have suffered from an economic downturn brought on by a decade of war-spending and greedy banking ventures. More dismaying, though, has been the conservative turn and overall diminishment of artistic energy in ‘the art world.’ A recent article by Holland Cotter in the New York Times (1/19/14) summarized my own feelings of helplessness brought on by what he called ‘the gallery industrial complex.’ He bemoans the fact that in this “caste-system,” attitude is often mistaken for ideas, art writing has become ‘describe-the-strokes’ advertising, and museums have forgotten their “role as public institutions that change our habits of thinking and seeing.” He wonders why even art schools seem content to accommodate the general art economy that leaves their students indentured to creditors and to the art market where they are unable to venture into realms of creative activity that defy classification of art at all – the usual territory of the art world.

Pretty depressing stuff. But Mr. Cotter also knows his art history. There will come a time when “the art industry decides to liquidate its overvalued assets and leave.” And what then?

Artists, the first and last stakeholders, will have themselves to fall back on. They’ll learn to organize and agitate for what they need, to let City Hall know, in no uncertain terms, that they’re there. They’ll learn to organize, not just on special occasions, but all the time. They’ll learn that art and politics are inseparable, and both can be anything and everything. They’ll learn to bring art back from the brink of inconsequence.  

As someone long on questions and short on answers, let me ask: Why not start now?


So, as another year begins, I’ve traded in my depression for my dusty combat boots. I know what I have to do.

To all the hundreds of artists I’ve had the great pleasure to meet and work with over the years, I hope you’ll join me in the fight…

…to bring art back from the brink of inconsequence.