The Mountain Bar
For TEFAF New York, Petzel is pleased to present Jorge Pardo’s The Mountain Bar. Tucked away between bao shops and warehouses in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, The Mountain Bar, which ambiguously doubled as an art installation and cocktail bar from 2003 to 2012, exemplifies Jorge Pardo’s long-standing interest in the aesthetic and phenomenological experience of the public realm, where the viewer might not be conditioned for art’s reception and recognition.
The crimson-lacquered bar occupied two floors under Pardo’s erstwhile studio. Prior to its planned closure in 2012, the space underwent numerous changes, including the 2009 addition of an upstairs area with its own lattice-like bar and a series of ceiling lights, all crafted by Pardo, that activated the space as a revolving exhibition of lighting works. The lamps, which invoke sources that range from Chinese lanterns to insect legs, exhibit fantastical forms that radiate splashes of colored light and unexpected shadows. “The history the lamps would accrue would be one that I could never fully define or fully document – other than having them in this place and trying to measure whether they were good or bad, if they sold or not,” said Pardo. The commercial and functional components of the lamps in this peculiar contextual siting were part Pardo’s artistic experiment. As with many of his other public works, Pardo encourages viewers to consider the intersection of social, economic and political relations in the works’ site, and how art – its identity, purpose, status, price tag, function – can sit within that.
For This Artist's Bar, It Wasn't Last Call After All
In 2009, Jorge Pardo created a bar used for an arts school in Los Angeles. Now, it will be a gallery's centerpiece at TEFAF New York.
"Pardo makes furniture and fixtures, as well as sculptures for public commissions around the world. He designs private homes and hotels, and he exhibits in venerable museums. He’s as analytic as he is playful, a MacArthur 'genius grant' winner who looks to tease meaning from basic objects." —Liz Robbins, The New York Times
The Mountain Bar not only served as a clandestine, mysterious hideaway for nightlife, but also as a hub of creativity for the LA art scene with talks, teach-ins, and post-opening get-togethers. In 2009, the upstairs bar also became home to The Mountain School of Arts (MSA) – an alternative, tuition-free, community-based school initiated by Eric Wesley and Piero Golia. MSA serves as the oldest continuous artist- run school in California, hosting talks and seminars with leading artists and curators, such as Catherine Opie, Jeff Wall, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Pierre Huyghe and Thomas Demand.
Pardo has furnished, designed, and renovated multiple other bars and restaurants, including restaurants at the Leipzig Trade Fair (1996) and Berlin’s Paul-Löbe-Haus (2002) along with a bar in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (2001).
Pardo’s new suite of paintings makes one consider the act of looking itself. These works are made up of an accumulation of images, first layered digitally until nearly unrecognizable, then laser- cut engraved in outline on MDF, and finally hand-painted in acrylic. The MDF surface over which the imagery projects is made volumetric by a CNC machine. The resulting object speaks to both sculpture and painting in a signature flamboyant Pardo style.
About Jorge Pardo
Jorge Pardo was born in Havana, Cuba in 1963 and studied at the University of Illinois, Chicago and received his BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Pardo’s artwork explores the intersection of contemporary painting, design, sculpture, and architecture. Employing a broad palette of vibrant colors, eclectic patterns, and natural and industrial materials, Pardo’s works range from murals to home furnishings to collages to larger-than-life fabrications. He often transforms familiar objects into artworks with multiple meanings and purposes, such as a set of lamps displayed as both sources of illumination and as freestanding sculptures, or a sailboat exhibited as both a utilitarian, seaworthy vessel and as a striking obelisk. Working on small and monumental scales, Pardo also treats entire public spaces as vast canvases. Pardo engages viewers with works that produce great visual delight while questioning distinctions between fine art and design.
His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions including Pinacoteca de Estado São Paulo, São Paulo (2019); Hacienda la Rojeña, Tequila, MX (2019); Victoria Miro, London (2018); Petzel, New York (2017); José García, Mérida, MX (2016); David Gill Gallery, London (2015); Musée des Augustins, Toulouse (2014); neugerriemschneider, Berlin (2014); Gagosian Gallery, New York (2010); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2010); K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2009); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2008); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2007). His work is part of numerous public collections including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam; Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Jorge Pardo has been the recipient of many awards including the MacArthur Fellowship Award (2010); the Smithsonian American Art Museum Lucelia Artist Award (2001); the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1995).
Jorge Pardo currently lives and works in Merida, Mexico and New York, New York.