Commonwealth and Council

Condition Report | Art Basel OVR: Miami Beach

Cayetano Ferrer


Condition Report, Cayetano Ferrer's project for Art Basel Miami Beach 2020, addresses the recent demolition of the 1965 campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Ferrer integrates fragments from the demolished campus into sculptural frameworks—coded with contextual origins and engineered for practical function yet loaded with affectation and symbolism. Beyond merely eulogizing institutional architecture, Ferrer probes the displaced condition of collection objects through the museum's own physical transformation, deconstructing and revealing what institutional consequences its cast-off shell retains.

Ferrer composites fragments of LACMA's former columns, walls, and ground surfaces wherein ghosts of their original form cling to the sculptures. At first glance, broken rubble appears elevated on steel legs. Ferrer's interventions invert the traditional power dynamics of museological object and display structure: resin growths bridge salvaged rubble to the base itself, a fluid truss obfuscating and subverting delineations of subject and auxiliary. Inverting the readymade gallery pedestal, Ferrer fits the object's stand based on structural logic, distorting silently loaded neutrality of standard display configurations. The resin part's shape and weight are optimized, like prosthetics, to support each column fragment individually. The resulting visual effect is one of layered sedimentation, like an interior cross-section of the building's guts rendering an underlying philosophical tension between Euclidean space and differential topology.

Ferrer's gestures call attention to the feigned neutrality of institutional modes of display, nodding to LACMA's history of inviting contemporary artists to design mounts and display structures for ethnographic objects in the museum's collection. Like the gallery space itself (the proverbial "white cube"), display structures such as frames or pedestals interact with art and betray taste and epistemological biases. Ultimately Ferrer's interventions become a gestalt for the museum's topology, inviting us to consider the aesthetic and discursive implications the museum's physical shape holds vis-a-vis its inhabitants.

Cayetano Ferrer (b. 1981, Honolulu, Hawaii; lives and works in Los Angeles) received his MFA from the University of Southern California and BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. He has held solo exhibitions at Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2019); Southard Reid, London, UK (2018); Podium, Oslo, Norway (2018); and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA (2015). His work has been included in group exhibitions at Koppe Astner, Glasgow, Scotland (2020); Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China (2019); Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway (2017); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2017); Hessel Museum of Art, Bard, NY (2015); Swiss Institute, New York (2014); and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012). Ferrer was awarded a 2015 Art + Technology Lab grant from Los Angeles County Museum of Art and a 2013 Artadia Award.