By VITTORIA BENZINE, December 2020
Superchief has historically struck a nerve that’s difficult to pinpoint. Since its founding in 2012, the arts organization has aligned itself with all that’s edgy, experimental, and commodifiably counterculture in the open source internet age. “As a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary platform, Superchief is an extension of the cultural landscape in its most raw and honest form,” one representative wrote. Superchief has consolidated their preeminence through physical gallery spaces in the USA’s three most influential creative hubs: New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Sometimes playing with brick and mortar sphere proves a source of strife, tethered to the physical sphere. “In February of 2020, Superchief was beset with what couldn’t have been a worse situation,” the representative continued. After less than a year at their latest Los Angeles location, tragedy struck. LA Mag recounts that “At around noon on a Saturday in late February, Bill Dunleavy was inside downtown Los Angeles’ Superchief Gallery with four other people when he felt the blast.” An explosion had rocked their recent home.
“The Superchief crew was fortunate for a number of reasons,” LA Mag continues. “No one inside the gallery was injured. The art that was destroyed in the blast was covered by insurance. But, while the building didn’t burn, it was damaged to the extent that the they could no longer operate out of that space. Then, on the day they finished moving out the building, Los Angeles city officials handed down a COVID-19 stay-at-home order.”
The iconic organization struggled to find a new space amongst the chaos. Fortunately, an enticing option arrived in the form of a partnership with Pabst Blue Ribbon and the quarterly magazine Monster Children. Together, the collaborative devised ‘PBR’s Artist in Residency’ program, which allowed Superchief to host their first gallery installation of 2020 at 1700 Naud Art Gallery, in Chinatown. November’s edition facilitated an exhibition from Kristen Liu-Wong and Luke Pelletier titled Wishful Thinking.
December’s resident artist is Atlanta-based singer/songwriter, designer, and gallerist Bosco, who has crafted a visual accompaniment to her recent EP, Car Therapy. A press release from Superchief states that this show “sees Bosco transforming the space into several different rooms, each one representing a track on the EP and a new locale for attendees to visit.”
Preliminary plans for the program stated that “With the current climate, society has been conditioned to find ways to heal, cope, and sustain without human connection and physical interaction. In result, we look for escapism through travel and ways to remember what once was.” To that end, each song featured throughout the show “represents a place geographically (beach, desert, mountains) giving the consumer a sense of reality through art and sound to heal.” A visit to this exhibition constitutes an entire vacation — a road trip perhaps, some ‘car therapy.’ Bosco’s residency will continually incorporate an interesting selection of live programming, and remote fans can start their own adventure on a virtual tour here.
Bosco’s discography “spans five albums/EPs and has earned her praise from the NY Times, NPR, Pitchfork and a variety of other cultural tastemakers… Her music has also been soundtracked in prominent TV shows including HBO's Insecure (w/ creator and star Issa Rae) and Ava Duvernay's Queen Sugar.”
The artist’s approach to this month-long residency comes in tandem with her status as a holistic visionary. A September 2020 article from Engadget notes that this unique moment in the artist’s development finds her juggling distinct roles including mother, musician, and entrepreneur. She recently founded Slug Global, a record label and consulting agency intended to elevate artists of color.
Engadget focuses on another recent innovation by Bosco — the music video for her recent single “4th of July.” Shot entirely on Snap’s Spectacles 3, the video “is packed to the gills with Snapchat's augmented reality lenses,” as Engadget states. “For about four minutes, the artist's face sits locked on the left side of the screen, clad in a series of Snapchat's face-altering lens effects. (At times, up to four lenses are stacked on top of each other.) While that human-but-not avatar emotes at the viewer, the right side of the screen is filled with first-person footage of love in full bloom -- think tender moments in bed, frenzied card games, and afternoons in the park.”
Some years make the lessons easy, others come with the switch stuck on ‘expert mode.’ It feels we’ve all collectively contended with the latter over the last twelve months. Superchief’s LA space met its demise and the city shut down in a manner many thought unthinkable. Bosco enjoyed a meteoric rise in the face of ever-increasing responsibility. Together, these entities meet in the realm of experimentation — new partnerships, new media. Bold experimentation brought them both where they are, and it’ll drive their paths for the future. December closes a strange year at the intersection of collaboration and individuality, at 1700 Naud Art Gallery in Los Angeles. WM
Vittoria Benzine is a street art journalist and personal essayist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her affinity for counterculture and questioning has introduced her to exceptional artists and morally ambiguous characters alike. She values writing as a method of processing the world’s complexity. Send love letters to her via: @vittoriabenzine // email@example.com // vittoriabenzine.com
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