Artist Liz Glynn, Destroyer of Cities, Sets Sights on Troy

Jan 27 2012

American born, Harvard educated, Liz Glynn

Liz Glynn arrived in Los Angeles five years ago on a track familiar to many artists: flee chilly, cramped New York and earn an MFA in the sunny, interdisciplinary pastures of CalArts. Since completing her studies in 2008 she has remained on the fairer coast and cemented herself as one of the most active figures among the young art scene here. Her career has been on the rise ever since her best-known, typically heady yet tongue-in-cheek happening, 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project.

Building, then sacking Rome in a flurry of cardboard, masking tape and togas, at the New Museum in New York.

On the opening day of the New Museum in New York’s “Younger Than Jesus” triennial back in ’09, Glynn recruited and directed a cast of dozens of volunteers to build and subsequently destroy a room-sized model of Troy. The event didn’t exactly challenge conventional wisdom that Rome “wasn’t built in a day,” but it did exploit the idiom for commentary on the making and un-making of empires in a way that resonated with the present day.

Finding that kind of modern resonance in ancient history is precisely Glynn’s game, and she has reset her sights on Troy for her solo exhibition at Pitzer College’s Nichols Gallery called “No Second Troy”. The videos and sculptures there are informed by two moments in history: the waves of Turkish guest workers sent to Germany in the 1960s and 70s, and the rush of treasures imported to Germany from Troy (now Turkey) one hundred years earlier.

Work from her new show “No Second Troy”

Onscreen, Glynn enacts performances at ancient sites around Troy, poetically responding to these events that have transpired there, and around the gallery there are displays of Trojan relics and jewelry made by the artist. Each is presented in a mirrored set of two: a version made from trash (bronzed beer cans, etc.), and a clone done in gold-plated metals. Both these copies are in fact based on other copies, for those in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum were also duplicates of the originals (and which were repossessed by the Red Army in 1945). All this changing of hands and uncertainty around origin points to certain truths about the falsehoods of history’s material effects, about how these items enter the popular imagination to begin a historical life that is largely imaginary.

If Claremont and Tory seem too much of a haul, catch Glynn at Black Box in Hollywood, a pop-up salon serving as Pacific Standard Time’s Performance and Public Art Festival’s hub for nightlight. Secret art entertainment organized by Glynn continues there through Sunday, January 29, and have so far included a performance by Brendan Fowler, screening by Alison O’Daniel, and lots more.

  1. Liz Glynn, “No Second Troy,” is on view until March 23
  2. Tuesday to Friday, noon to 5:00pm
  3. Nichols Gallery at Pitzer College
  4. 1050 N. Mills Avenue, Claremont, CA
  5. Free

An artist lecture will be held at the gallery on Monday, February 20 at 9:00am.

A panel discussion will take place on at the Pitzer College Broad Center with the artist, Michele Berenfeld, professor of classics at Pitzer College, and writer Andrew Berardini, on Tuesday, March 27 at 4:00pm

Black Box is open 8:00pm–2:00am nightly through Sunday, January 29 830 North Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA Free