The art of the developmentally disabled on its own terms, minus the lens of sympathy
By Leah Ollman
Aug 25, 2016 | 8:05 AM
"Mapping Fictions" at the Good Luck Gallery is one of those great, double-strength shows whose work is as fresh and memorable as the larger, lingering ideas and questions it provokes.
Guest curators Andreana Donahue and Tim Ortiz are the founders of Disparate Minds, an initiative to integrate art produced in studios for the developmentally disabled into a broader critical dialogue — to, as they state on their website, "eliminate the sympathetic viewer in the experience and evaluation of these works."
Neurodiversity is the operative term here, a stance of inclusivity toward the myriad ways that different brains organize reality. We are all, always, mapping the fictions our own brains contrive.
William Scott reconceives San Francisco, where he lives, as an idealized, peaceful city whose robust, smiling citizens are delivered by sleek spaceships to wholesome, gospel-inspired housing units of his own design.
The neighborhood maps that Claremont-based Joe Zaldivar draws, copying spreads from the Yellow Pages, are also suffused with upbeat energy, his labor-intensive replications a kind of humble homage to place and its codified representations.
The other two artists in the show engage with time perhaps more than space. Daniel Green, also from San Francisco, draws pop culture figures such as Indiana Jones and Tina Turner on wood panels, densely filling the rest of the surface with lists of television shows, boxing matches and more, amounting to an urgent found poetry.
Roger Swike, working out of Brookline, Mass., inscribes sheets of notebook paper with his own vital life lyrics in jaunty, all-caps script.
He lists products, celebrities and radio stations, essential names, key actions and primary ingredients. "Betty Rubble Honeycomb Dana Carver Spaghetti & Meatballs" reads part of one list. Another starts: "hair combed/face clean/hands clean/shirt tucked in/pants zipped/socks pulled up."
You can practically hear the insistent rhythms of these interior chants.
The Good Luck Gallery, 945 Chung King Road, Los Angeles. Through Saturday. (213) 625-0935, www.thegoodluckgallery.com.