The City of West Hollywood announces a two-part temporary art exhibition by artist Kean O’Brien, as part of its Art on the Outside Program, on-view on the third floor of the City’s Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC) at West Hollywood Park, located at 8750 El Tovar Place. Phase one of the exhibition, I use ____ pronouns, will be on-view through December 2022. Phase two of the exhibition, In Finite Space, will be on-view from January 2023 through December 2023.
I use ___ pronouns began in 2011 when Councilmember John D’Amico commissioned the artist to paint a mural on his office wall at West Hollywood City Hall that included the phrase “I use male pronouns.” At the time, pronouns were not a part of the mainstream conversation in the way in which pronouns are today. The installation at the ARC beckons the viewer to understand their relationship with their own pronouns, which is an inclusive act to the transgender and non-binary community. The artwork material is gold vinyl lettering and is 15-feet long.
In Finite Space, scheduled for installation in January 2023, includes two 5×7 foot cyanotypes and a gold-leafed, hand-drawn text work on paper. The artwork explores the liminal and expansive sky that holds infinite space for the liberation of marginalized bodies. O’Brien considers both the body as landscape and the landscape as a human body. At a time when gender is in revolution, race politics are being interrogated and resisted, where bodies are seen as sites of controversy, and bodies are trying to cross borders all over the globe, we can see that our own bodies are also deeply linked to the environments and the people that hold them.
Artist Kean O’Brien (he/they) is a transgender, chronically ill, disabled, artist, educator, and academic living between Chicago and Los Angeles. As a multimedia artist working in interdisciplinarity between photography, painting, found images, installation, and writing, he focuses on the nuance of gendered construction, whiteness, the body as landscape for survival, death, grief, and trauma. His academic writing explores the current landscape of higher education from an abolitionist, de-colonial lens. He has a longstanding commitment to radical pedagogy, community building and grassroots organizing. He holds an MFA from California Institute for the Arts, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute Chicago and is currently a doctoral candidate in social change at Fielding Graduate University for Education Leadership.
The Art on the Outside Program is the City’s temporary art program that installs rotating artworks throughout the city. The artworks can include sculpture, murals, digital art, and other outdoor works. Most exhibitions remain on display between six months and three years. All projects are subject to the Art on the Outside Program Review and Approval Process. The program is funded through the Public Beautification & Art Fund. Please note: the Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC) at West Hollywood Park is open and the I use ____ pronouns artwork is viewable, but the swimming pools at the Aquatic Center are temporarily closed to complete final construction tasks for the new swimming facilities. An update about reopening of the pools will be posted at www.weho.org/pool.