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Preview: DEVILS’ TOWN LA’s Dark History ~ Opens Aug 2 at Red Pipe Gallery

3:59 PM PDT on July 30, 2014


Devils’ Town is a group show that reflects Los Angeles’ dark past. A past which we think we know, but is often covered up and not exposed in meaningful ways that go beyond mere voyeurism into past misdeeds. This show hopes to bring some of the darkness, including racism and anarchy, into the light.

August 2-30, 2014, Red Pipe Gallery, 978 Chung King Road, Chinatown

Opening reception: August 2, 7pm to 11pm. The show runs through August 30, 2014.

Artists: Pablo Christi, Defer, Ricardo Estrada, Germs, Daniel González, Roberto Gutiérrez, Ed Gutter, Jason Hernandez, Krown 187, Krush, Jose Lopes, Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, Kimberly Monique, Phowl, Prime, Chuey Quintanar, Carlos Torres, Tyson, Vyal


Day of Locust by Jason Hernandez


491 Years per Gallon by Pablo Cristi

Featuring some of the strongest urban artists today, "Devils’ Town" explores Los Angeles' dark past: its history of lawlessness, anarchy, chaos, and racism that continues through to this day.

Southern California’s follies and foibles have long been newspaper fodder. Our celebrities, traffic jams, and weird food issues have made the City of Angels the butt of jokes over the past decades. But there is a darker side to Los Angeles’ fame, one that begins a century and half ago, the Chinese Massacre of 1871: The systematic lynching of 18 Chinese immigrants in L.A.'s Chinatown, the largest incident of mass lynching in U.S. history. This bloody event was the first time Los Angeles made it to the front page of newspapers worldwide.

While L.A.’s reputation as a mecca for murderers, gamblers, social bandits, loose women, outlaws, and drunkards had already earned the city its sobriquet Los Diablos, “Devils’ Town” the Chinese Massacre put the town on the map.

From bank robbers and faith healers to the theft of water from the Owens Valley, the Chinese Massacre, the Zoot Suit Riots, and later the Watts, Black Cat and Rodney King riots, the Black Dahlia, the Manson Family murders, the SLA shootout and street gangs, plus fires, flood and earthquakes--Los Angeles' dark underground river is a stark contrast to the orange groves, beaches and celebrity culture that have flourished here.

The hordes of transplants and tourists, along with the subsequent development of the Los Angeles Police Department, may have given a veneer of order and civilization to Devils' Town, but beneath the surface, the city's tensions and temptations prove the epithet valid a century and half later.

For "Devils’ Town" curators Rodrigo Ribera D'Ebre, Edwin Quiroz and Lisa Derrick asked artists to explore both Los Angeles' history and their own history and relationship to the city to create a piece of new work based on the concept of Los Angeles--El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula-- as Devils’ Town. Included as well will be older pieces that mirror the theme.

Rodrigo Ribera D'Ebre is the co-director and writer of the film Dark Progressivism: On Rupture and Rebellion, which traces Los Angeles’ urban art style from its development during the violent 1980s and 90s through today—from the blood on the streets to the art on the gallery walls. A portion of the sales from the "Devils’ Town" artwork benefits the film’s production.

For more information on Dark Progressivism: On Rupture and Rebellion, please visit the film’s IndieGoGo page.

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