Conversations in Art: Temple Ad Hoc Gallery’s New Pornography Show

Interview by Charles Mallison; Photo Collage by Carrie Schreck


Charles Mallison interviewed Schreck and Partal about the L.A. art scene, switching between being artists and curators, and the anonymity of naked bodies. Art galleries in Los Angeles come and go, but one of the newest ones, Temple Ad Hoc, is designed from the get-go to arrive and leave before summer ends. Multimedia artists and Swoon contributors Carrie Schreck and Samuel Partal are part of a group of young artists who have come together to run a temporary space for visual and performance art on Temple street in Echo Park, in a storefront space that would otherwise go unused. Their next show, opening Friday June 8, is called “Release Party” and is curated around critical views of pornography. New work re-examining and re-purposing the forms and tropes of pornography will be presented alongside authentic vintage amateur snapshots found in the collection of a friend of a friend of a friend of one of the curators.



Temple Ad Hoc
1218 1/2 Temple st, Los Angeles, CA.
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What is Temple Ad Hoc? How is it different from other art galleries in Los Angeles?


CARRIE: Temple Ad Hoc is a temporary art space we have for this summer only. There are many different kinds of galleries around L.A. and I think the experience is sort of like a restaurant: there are some places you go where the menu is ok, some places you know they’ll have a few gems and a lot of meh, and there are places where you know you’ll always be surprised and impressed. There’s one gallery in L.A. where I know each show will be better than the last and I want that for us.


SAM: We want to showcase the work of unknown as well as emerging artists. What these artists might be emerging from or into is an open question…  We embrace our ambivalence as regards our place in the Los Angeles art community, and our status as a temporary space reinforces this dynamic.


How did you come to rent the gallery for the summer and why did you do it?


CARRIE: Sam was in a group show curated by Colin Manning, who was using the space as a studio. When he mentioned he might be leaving for the summer we jumped on the opportunity to repurpose it as a gallery while he was gone; there wasn’t a minute of hesitation. We brought in some key collaborators: Brian Overend, Morgan Gerstmar, as well as Anna Bruinsma who works with Sam and Annie Wharton Los Angeles. That makes a lot of different voices, so it’s been a learning experience. It’s hard to get five people on the same page about anything but that leads to great new possibilities.


As people who have a strong background in creating art, how do you approach curating it?


CARRIE: There’s a quote from Stan Brakhage that’s always stuck with me, and the gist of it is, “no artist who creates for their audience is ultimately successful.”As an artist I’m more interested in people who approach their work with the level of seriousness I see in Sam and Brian. The Porn show is going to be a bit whimsical to say the least, but I still want to see artists who create for themselves and create well, not artists who create for their audience or for a cheap laugh.


SAM: What we’re most interested in as curators is a particular artist’s practice as a whole. It’s a kind of holistic approach, asking “how does this person approach their own process of making and is there a meaningful philosophy there?…” If you can get there then you’ve already established a trust and a kinship, and that’s the ideal space for the process of curation to take place. It’s simplistic and it’s earnest, and maybe even naive, and that is what we are.


What shows do you have planned for this summer?


SAM: We have a great group show coming up on June 8th, which is a pornography show called “Release Party.” This is going to be a great show about the simultaneous alienation of the individual and the enfranchisement of perversity that characterize the time and place we live in. Later in the summer, Carrie will be curating a video show of works culled from abandoned mediums such as hi-8 and VHS tape. Temporality and obsolescence will be a recurring theme… And we’ll be exhibiting a lot of performance, both musical and otherwise…


CARRIE:  “Release Party” was the result of our “democracy,” so to speak. As we began to discuss work that all of us wanted to present, we noticed there was a common theme of eroticism. I don’t think we endeavor to do many theme shows this summer but there was too much work that pertained to the theme to pass up the opportunity to do it. The show I’m the most excited about hands down is the Parent Show. A lot of us have parents or older family members who have there own artistic endeavors, some do painting, singing, we have an architect, someone who does stained glass,  there’s an older gentleman with a shop up the street that did some surreal paintings during the Cold War– it’s a great point of view. We’re going to curate a show of the best of these and I think it’s going to be very fresh and definitely really sweet.


Carrie, tell me about the making of the piece you’ve done with abstract images of video pornography.


CARRIE: I’ve been working with VHS for awhile, the fascination with tape for me is the age and anonymity of the subjects. That scene was just a guy and a girl in front of a bright pink background, probably 25 years old. Is she even still alive? What is her life like now? Did her family know? I got really interested in these small fragments of the frame and I made them into this large collage. When you shoot a subject that close up it’s very honest, she may be acting but her hands aren’t, her cheeks aren’t, if you zoom in so close on her eyes it’s like she’s really telling you something. I love this piece, she’s frozen in time, in beautiful youth when men worshipped her body and she was forgotten in a box for 10 years until I found her at a garage sale.


Pornography is fascinating. Why does pornography fascinate you?


CARRIE: Porn culture is so deeply embedded in L.A. culture in the first place. And porn can be so timeless. But I have to say watching porn from different periods you definitely notice a zeitgeist among the decades: I think in the eighties they were talking more, probably because VHS shows you so little, in the 70’s the scenes were shorter because film was still damn expensive, and so on. The 90s are all tits, they must have made great advances in the implant field that decade.


SAM: You gotta move the juices around…