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Beginnings at the ICI…..

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

I began my path towards the ICI as an undergraduate student at Pomona College where I double majored in Art/Art History and Political Philosophy, and constantly worked to unite the two disciplines. My sophomore year I began curating at our student gallery and pulled together about 30 shows, most of which addressed local politics, such as the Coachella workers movement lead by Lideras Campesinas, a female laborer advocacy group. I later worked as a photographer and archivist at the Pomona College Museum of Art, and am currently a curatorial intern at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

When I told my father that I got a curatorial fellowship at the ICI and that I would be aiding in the curation of a project with personal, political, and aesthetic significance he responded with the usual congratulations followed by a deluge of questions. What is the ICI? What are the group’s goals? How do you fit into their project? How are they not a museum, not a gallery, not quite a collective and not quite a cooperative? Are you lapsing back into your ill-advised romp with the anarchist syndicalists or is it communists this time? My father everyone. I answered the best I could while maneuvering the aura of well-fashioned mystique that permeates and sustains the ICI. I could tell that this was going to be a challenge. I was realizing that the ICI is quite different from the galleries I have run and the museums I have interned at. It has all the best characteristics of a studio practice, while dressing like a complex installation, publishing like a theorist, and carrying itself like a speaker at a protest.

Having now spent a few days in the library, talking with Lise, strategizing for our upcoming project, and constantly being sidetracked by the cultural ablution carefully tucked into every corner of the building, I am finding my bearings. Thus far I have found the ICI is an exercise in pulling together and reconciling the practical and theoretical questions of art, politics, and agency, and I am excited to engage it fully over the next few months.



Continuing the Journey at a New Home

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

My name is Sue-Na Gay (pronounced “soon-ae”) and I am both proud and excited to be starting out as a Curatorial Fellow here at the Institute.

My Journey to the Institute has been a long one. Prior to arriving here, I studied at UC Santa Barbara where I received my Bachelors Degree in both Art History and East Asian Cultural Studies. After graduating, I spent time abroad furthering my language skills at a Summer program at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea and re-exploring Europe.

After returning from my travels, I began the steps that would lead me to my current career path. I had the pleasure of working as an intern in the vault of the Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War in Culver City, CA, organizing their fine art collection and helping to standardize the museum’s catalog. In addition, I also had the opportunity to work as an Educator at the Long Beach Museum of Art conducting art lessons and workshops aimed at furthering both understanding and appreciation of California based artworks. These positions help to foster my interest in working in a cultural institution full time and in part led me to my decision to undertake at a Master’s Degree in Gallery Studies and Critical Curating at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.

Once enrolled in the Curatorial Program, I got to delve first hand, into the many tasks of curating a gallery show. From conception to design to production and PR my first show entitled “Socially Active,” in 2009, along with a separate publication the same year entitled “Project Biennale” taught me both the skills and the unconventional methods of curatorial approach and display that would later endear me to the mission and projects of the ICI.

Since returning to the US, I have once again had the pleasure of interning throughout Los Angeles as a Production Intern at LACE, a Special Project intern at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, a Curatorial Intern at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and now, finally, here at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry.

This Fall, I will be utilizing my skills by working alongside my fellow Curatorial Fellow, Kaylie, to assist our Director with this year’s World AIDS Day project. Though the project itself is being kept hush-hush for now, I can definitely say that I’m eager to see all of the pieces fall into place and I’m even more eager to see how it will all play out.

Looking forward to working, learning and further exploring the depths and limits of visual culture.


A New Start

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011


Hello everyone, I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Eliana Ruiz and I am the new Archivist Intern here at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry. I am a native to Southern California although I recently received my Master’s degree in Library Science, with an emphasis in archives, from the University of Pittsburgh. For me it was a natural road to follow after earning my Bachelors’ degrees in History and Spanish Literature from the University of California Riverside.  For as long as I can remember I have been passionate about books. From an early age they were my introduction to places, times, and ideas that I could only begin to imagine. While my travels may have begun in books they have since extended to traveling to places as diverse as Italy, Spain, and South Korea.

Since that time my travels may have brought me home again but it is my great pleasure to begin this next journey working with the unique library and archive housed here at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry.  It is a collection that more often than not provokes as many questions as it provides answers. It contains a logic that while not immediately obvious is all its own, one that challenges users to expect the unexpected.  It is a thought that is echoed on a billboard I saw outside the ICI after my first visit. In its conversation between two people it reads, “What are you looking for?” “The truth, darling, the truth”.

In a world that pushes us ever forward I believe that this pursuit of truth is something we all carry within us. While what is true will invariably mean different things to different people I look forward to discovering what it will mean for me in the weeks to come.



Fall Internship Applications

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011



It’s that time of year again, when days at the swimming pool turn into days in the cold (unless you live in LA), when leaves change color (again, except here), when sweaters are reintroduced into our regular wardrobe and pumpkin lattes make their return to cafes.  Some call it autumn, others Fall, but here at ICI, we know it as the beginning of a new internship cycle.

This time around, we are seeking three potential interns – an Archivist/Librarian intern, a Curatorial intern, and a Social Media intern.  These three positions will be working in the coming months on some of ICI’s most pressing priorities: digitizing the library, organizing events around World Aids Day on December 1st, and maintaining and developing ICI’s dynamic website.  With so much to do, we are looking for interns who are not only self-starters, detail-oriented, and enthusiastic, but also for those who seem to “get” what ICI is all about, as elusive as it may be.

I am especially excited about this round of interns because, for the first time since me working here, I will be overseeing the Archivist intern’s digitization of the library.  I remember it was not too long ago when I first walked into ICI for my own internship interview.  I clearly remember arriving a half-hour early and walking through the neighborhood, exploring the streets that would later be so familiar to me.  Then, moments after arriving at ICI’s front gate, I was greeted by a smiling Lise Patt.   Little did I realize how significant this day would actually be in my career path; I met who would become two significant mentors to me (Lise and longtime ICI Associate Antoinette LeFarge) and started down a new path, hand in hand with ICI, which would lead me to realize my future goals of being more involved in culture production and preservation.

With interviews for this round of interns winding down, I am grateful to have met so many interesting applicants, all of who seem to share in ICI’s mission of examining “the terrain and limits of visuality in forming, perpetrating and imagining the intangible and ever-changing phenomenon known as ‘culture’.”

“…There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea…”

– T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock