Rachel Rosenthal, Groundbreaking Performance Artist, 83rd B-Day @ Track 16 Gallery

Photo by Annie Liebovitz
Photo by Annie Liebovitz

The inimitable Rachel Rosenthal has been an icon of performance art for decades, equal parts priestess, goddess, shaman and oracle. The gal’s been honored by the City of Los Angeles as “a Living Cultural Treasure of Los Angeles” and has recently been the subject of several monographs on her performance pieces and life. Not a whole lot of people are well-versed with the panopoly of major names in contemporary art–I myself am certainly not–but if you can add Rachel to your list of cocktail party conversation topics, everyone will know you’ve got your basics down.

In honor of the grand dame of experiential performance art’s 83rd birthday (83rd!), Track 16 Gallery at Bergamot Station will be hosting a birthday bash on Saturday night, with artworks contributed by luminaries of the art world: Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg, Eleanor Antin, Lita Albuquerque, Judy Baca, John Baldessari, Llyn Foulkes, George Herms, Mike Kelley, Martin Kersels, Ed Moses, Lee Mullican, Betye Saar, Masami Teraoka, Patssi Valdez, and June Wayne. The pieces are to be auctioned off to raise funds for Rosenthal’s dance company, the TOHUBOHU! Extreme Theatre Ensemble, funding student scholarships and visiting artist stipends. Nice.

I know I won’t be able to afford any of these pieces, but I want to go just to take in the assemblage of the 20th century’s great West Coast artists all in one place–a Broad Collection-esque justaposition, cherrypicking the biggest names of the past century. Thank you Rachel. (There’ll also be cake by Cake Divas and “Bitch”-brand wine & bubbly, so, there’s that too.)

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