Art in the Time of Isolation

A new multidisciplinary social media exhibition asks California artists to respond to the Safer at Home order



Upside-down times such as these call for many things, and high on the list is inspiration. And so, on the first day of Los Angeles’ Safer at Home order, creative consultant Sean Yashar and his partner, interior designer Oliver M. Furth, decided to mount an art show. “We felt an urgency to take action, to do something bigger than ourselves,” Yashar says.


The couple reached out to their friendship circle of artists, product designers, photographers, graphic designers, fashion designers, songwriters, botanists and performance artists, both locally (Simon Haas of Haas Brothers, Peter Shire and Elyse Graham among them) and across the country (Doug Meyer, Michele Quan and Chris Bogia to name a few), with a challenge: Create a unique, of-the-moment work within 72 hours. “Our list was curated to specifically reflect a cross-section of mediums, with the idea that a range of practices would produce a more dynamic show, Yashar says.


The 30-plus genre-mixing works they got back, spanning Maayan Zilberman’s avant-garde candy sculpture (filled with unlikely combinations from her isolation  pantry); to Kelly Lamb’s meditative video of bathtub soap bubbles, set to a singing bowl soundtrack; to Jonathan Nesci’s open-sourced waxed aluminium architecture, comprise “Solo Show,” the latest from the couple’s experimental gallery, Furth Yashar &. On view on Instagram (@furthyashar), the show is “installed” in such a way that contributions debut daily and will be accessible even after the exhibition’s end.

The poster for the exhibition comes in the form of a graphic work by Los Feliz-based architect Chet Callahan. “Receiving a 2-D work from an architect was not the expectation, but its simple design and impactful message has captured the overarching spirit of the show, as much as it is a work within it,” Furth adds.


Choosing a favorite is verboten when the artists are all your friends, but each curator has a piece that resonates with them the most in this moment. For Furth, it’s Erasable Lullabye: paring our lives to what is essential by Alison Clare Steingold (a former C editor) and musician Albert Kass, in which Steingold’s mesmerizingly hyperdetailed drawing process is accompanied by an evocative instrumental by Kaas. “Something that I miss most during this quarantine is the connection with other people,” Furth explains. “I love that they were able to work on this separately and create one work that feels so connected and intimate.”

Yashar cites Jason Koharik’s 5 Wooden Handshakes sculptures: “The idea that the handshake, an ancient and everyday gesture of friendship, has overnight become a powerful symbol of carelessness, fear and anxiety is something that struck me immediately,” he says.


When asked about the possibility of one day displaying the works in real life, the answer from the duo is a resolute no: “If we tried to remount this show in another format, it would lose something in translation,” says Furth. “‘Solo Show’ was intended for Instagram, it’s not a consolation to a physical show, it’s the intention. For all of us who are spending a lot of time on social media right now, we wanted to balance out darker information with some light.”



Feature image: “Pause,” 2020 by JONATHAN NESCI.


April 10, 2020

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