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“Flock,” 2005, mixed media, dimensions variable, by Michael Arata

For Immediate Release: 
February 28, 2011

Beacon Arts Presents
A Mid-Career Survey of Artworks by Michael Arata

Curated by Doug Harvey
Saturday, March 26, 2011 – Sunday, May 22, 2011
– With Additional Exhibition Events on 4/10 & 4/30 –

LOS ANGELES, CA — Beacon Arts continues its Critics-as-Curators series with Arataland! A Mid-Career Survey of Artworks by Michael Arata curated by art critic Doug Harvey, opening Saturday, March 26, 2011. Arataland! will be the first museum-scale retrospective devoted exclusively to the work of this important Los Angeles artist, and the first monographic exhibit hosted by the Beacon Arts Building during its inaugural Critics-as-Curators series.  Drawing on three decades of sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, installation and performance work, Arataland! will transform the Beacon Arts Building into a theme park exploring the complex and idiosyncratic vision – darkly humorous, playfully erotic, conceptually quirky, and often confrontational – that animates Arata’s oeuvre. The exhibit will run for eight weeks closing on Sunday, May 22, 2011 with a Critics-as-Curators panel discussion from 1:00 to 4:00pm.  Beacon Arts is located at 808 N. La Brea Ave., Inglewood, CA 90302.  For additional information please call 310.419.4077 or visit as well as

Arataland! A Mid-Career Survey of Artworks by Michael Arata will kick-off on March 26th with an opening reception from 7:00 to 10:00pm.  Join the artist for the unveiling of a new mural on the side of the Beacon Arts Building – a large rendition of a piece from Arata’s Pet Spaces series.  Additional special events include “Deconstructing Arataland” an exhibition walkthrough and conversation with Michael Arata and Curator Doug Harvey on Sunday, April 10th starting at 1:00pm.  At the end of the month on Saturday, April 30th, or Walpurgisnacht (a Northern European pagan renewal ritual), join the gallery for “One Night Stand: Walpurgisnacht” from 7:00 to 10:00pm.  Like one of Arata’s famous One Night Stands – his series of one-night guerrilla exhibitions held in motel rooms dating to the late 1990s – the evening will center around a hot dog/drawing exchange, whereby guests can create a drawing in exchange for a hot dog in a bun branded with Arata’s signature.  A 60-page catalog, containing a map of Arataland! will also be published in conjunction with the exhibit and will be for sale at the gallery.  All Arataland! events are free.

Michael Arata
A native of Northern California, Michael Arata has been active in the Los Angeles art scene since relocating here in the early 1980s. His restlessly creative mind has led him from prescient large-scale site-specific installations addressing ecological sustainability, through elaborate arrays of sculptural works detailing the biological life cycle of angels (including the “larval” stage) to elegiac paintings of the hairstyles of unidentified possible victims of an LA serial killer, and interactive game sculptures conflating minimalist formal aesthetics with the impregnation of flamenco dancers and lawn bowling.

With Duchampian wit and impressive formal chops, Arata has amassed a formidable body of work, consistently undermining the sweetness of his primary-hued entities with dark – but deeply humanistic – undertones; balancing confrontational statements on politics, religion, bestiality, and poop with an open, playful and unaffected relational agenda; and layering his always entertaining pop discourse between enigmatic, personal symbolic systems often deriving from scientific or historical sources. Entertainment being the key word – Arata’s work may alternate between endearing, outrageous, brain-tickling, and laugh-out-loud funny, but it is never, ever boring. – Doug Harvey

From the Pet Spaces series: “Victoria’s Secret Catalog Pose” (2000), c-print, 40″ X 30″ by Michael Arata (Model: Michael Arata)
76 page exhibition catalog with essay by Doug Harvey now available on Lulu:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Doug Harvey, Critic-as-Curator
Doug Harvey is an artist, critic, experimental musician, curator, and educator based in Los Angeles. His curatorial projects have ranged from many traditional gallery exhibitions (including the First [2005] and Third [2007/08] Annual LA Weekly Biennials at Track 16 Gallery in Los Angeles, Don Suggs: One Man Group Show at OTIS and Heart and Torch: Rick Griffin’s Transcendence at Laguna Art Museum [both 2007 and co-curated with Meg Linton and Greg Escalante, respectively], and the 2008’s Aspects of Mel’s Hole: Artists Respond to a Paranormal Land Event Occurring in Radiospace at Santa Ana’s Grand Central Art Center) to CD compilations of sound art, programs of found and experimental films, performance events, experimental radio, artist’s comic books and zines, and an LA solo gallery exhibit determined by raffle. He has also been part of the curatorial collective creating the exhibition content and design at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, CA. He maintains a blog at and a website at

Critics-as-Curators Series
is the inaugural art exhibition series at Beacon Arts.  In recognition of the gallery’s first year, esteemed art critics and writers — recognized locally, nationally and internationally — have been invited to conceive and curate shows of their choosing at the Beacon Arts Building in conjunction with discussions, lectures, catalogues, or other ways to reveal the thought process behind why exhibition works are chosen with insight into their importance to the curator. The individual expertise and personal taste developed by the curators’ world-view will be on exhibit throughout Beacon Arts’ first year. Critics-as-Curators strives to enrich appreciation of contemporary fine art by critically engaging in art. This series of shows provides a wonderful opportunity for artists and art audiences to learn what individual critics look for, how they think about the art they choose to focus on, and what catches their eye. The series kicked off in October 2010 with Ghost Stories: Happenings, Hauntings, & Curiosities curated by art writer Shana Nys Dambrot, followed by Peter Frank‘s exhibition, Densities: Line Becoming Shape, Shape Becoming Object in December/January, David Pagel’s Pieceable Kingdom February- March and the current show, ARATALAND! A Mid Career Survey of Artworks by Michael Arata which closes May 22.

2011 Critics-as-Curators Exhibition Schedule:

• 3/26/11 – 5/22/11 – Arataland! A Mid-Career Survey of Artworks by Michael Arata curated by Doug Harvey

• 5/28/11 – 7/3/11 – TEL-ART-PHONE curated by Mat Gleason

• Future BAB exhibitions TBD