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MOCA Focus: Jennifer Bornstein

November 3, 2005 - January 9, 2006


The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) presents the first solo museum exhibition of work by Los Angeles­based artist Jennifer Bornstein. Featuring approximately 55 etchings from 2003 to the present, as well as additional new work created specially for the exhibition, MOCA Focus: Jennifer Bornstein is presented as part of MOCA Focus, a major initiative to showcase the work of emerging artists in Southern California. The exhibition opens at MOCA Grand Avenue (250 South Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles) on November 3, 2005 and remains on view through January 9, 2006. (right: Jennifer Bornstein, Margaret Mead in Authentic Samoan Dress, 2003, copperplate etching, plate 8 x 6 inches, print 13 x 11 inches. Courtesy of the artist; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; and greengrassi, London)

Organized by MOCA Senior Curator Ann Goldstein, MOCA Focus: Jennifer Bornstein focuses on the ongoing body of etchings the artist has produced since 2003. Working in a variety of media, such as photography, film, sculpture, and most recently, intaglio printing, Bornstein combines the documentary, representational, and performative possibilities of these media together with her interest in the interaction of people with one another or with objects within her images-and in how that interaction can be further reflected in the encounter between the spectator and her artworks.

Since the late 1990s, Bornstein has worked with serialized image-making as a means to record her observations, interventions, or encounters with people engaged in the public and private routines of everyday life, such as work, play, leisure, and commuting. Her work explores the possibility of setting up physical and conceptual interactions between people, and between bodies and objects, which heighten our awareness of the relationship between spectator and performer.

In 2003, while researching for a new film work, Bornstein spent hours each day at the New York Public Library, where she became interested in various 19th-century publications as well as engravings and intaglio prints. She began to make etchings as studies for her films and other works and discovered a fascination for the largely obsolete medium of intaglio printing. That same year, Bornstein began teaching herself how to create works of art using this printing process, which she describes as "an antiquated, labor-intensive technology of image-reproduction."

Bornstein's copperplate etchings record her observations of different people she has encountered or studied, including her roommate, friends, students, librarians, a projectionist, a fellow bus rider, and various cultural figures-each subject is portrayed in a situation, activity, or position reflective of their public or private life. Some of the portraits are also based on photographic source materials, further reflecting her interest in dissolving the distinctions between fact and fiction.

Bornstein has produced a total of over 100 copperplate etchings. Some of the etchings depict her subjects in their workplace or at home performing an activity, and others are composed as if the individuals are posing for a camera. In such latter works, the subject is featured in an isolated, frontal, and tightly framed position, such as Margaret Mead in Authentic Samoan Dress (2003), Marvin with His Skateboard (2003), Self-Portrait for My Mother (2003), and Joel Wachs Holding His Unlimited Ride Bus Pass (2003).

MOCA Focus highlights the work of a new generation of emerging Southern California­based artists though a series of solo exhibitions. Featuring challenging new works and diverse practices, including sculpture, installation, photography, painting, new media, and experimental video, the exhibitions are the first one-person museum show for each of the artists. Each exhibition is documented by the artist's first monographic catalogue, including images of the works and a major critical essay by the exhibition curator. MOCA's education department provides public programming and outreach for these exhibitions, giving the artists an opportunity to personally present their work to museum visitors. MOCA Focus begins with nine exhibitions-three exhibitions per year for the next three years.

MOCA Focus: Jennifer Bornstein is made possible by generous endowment support from The Nimoy Fund for New and Emerging Artists and from the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation Fund to Support the Work of Emerging Artists. Major support is also provided by a multi-year grant from The James Irvine Foundation. (right: Jennifer Bornstein, Buster Keaton on Crutches, 2004, copperplate etching, plate 8 x 6 inches, paper 14 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; and greengrassi, London)


About the Artist

Bornstein was born in 1970 in Seattle, Washington, and lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her BA from UC Berkeley in 1992 and her MFA from UCLA in 1996, and attended the Whitney Program in 1996­97. Bornstein's work is represented by Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, and greengrassi, London. Bornstein has participated in national and international group exhibitions, including Nicole Klagsbrun, New York; The Project, Los Angeles; Milton Keynes Gallery, United Kingdom; Site Gallery, London; P.S.1, New York; Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles; Nantes Musee des Beaux-Arts, France; Fondadazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Per L'Arte, Italy; ICA, United Kingdom; and S.L. Simpson Gallery, Canada.



MOCA Focus: Jennifer Bornstein is accompanied by a 64-page, fully illustrated catalogue with an overview essay by Ann Goldstein, as well as a plate section featuring a selection of the etchings sequenced by the artist. The publication is designed by Lorraine Wild with Hilary Greenbaum of Green Dragon Office, Los Angeles. The catalogue is available in the MOCA Store..


Public Programs

MOCA Art Talks Presented by Gallery C
MOCA Art Talks Presented by Gallery C are informal discussions on current exhibitions led by arts professionals. The talks take place in the exhibition galleries unless otherwise noted. Attendance is free with museum admission and no reservations are required. The MOCA Art Talks Presented by Gallery C series is made possible by The Times Mirror Foundation Endowment and Gallery C.
Ann Goldstein, exhibition curator
Thursday, November 17, 6:30pm, MOCA Grand Avenue
Jennifer Bornstein, artist
Sunday, December 4, 3pm, MOCA Grand Avenue


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