Hours: October 27th 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Screening Hours: 8:00pm Palms Restaurant
October 28th 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Exhibition Maps and ephemera are available Saturday, October 27th at the Sky Village Market Place from 9:00 am-1:00pm. 7028 Theater Road, Yucca Valley, CA 92284.
In 2014 the Ski Club opened with Los Angeles based artist and one of the founding organizers of High Desert Test Sites, Lisa Anne Auerbach, who, the same year, displayed her work American Megazine in conjunction with the Whitney Biennial.
In those days, the Ski Club had a small space heater built into the wall that was woefully inadequate for the harsh Milwaukee winters. When air temperature drops below freezing — which is prone to happen five months of the year—the two, eight-foot, single-pane windows become the canvas for crystal nucleation as the subzero temperatures outside mix with the indoor humidity accumulated from breathy musings of viewers and artists.
The windows frost up and grow a thick sheet of ice to the point where it becomes impossible to see any detail of the Riverwest neighborhood outside. But it’s no bother to Milwaukeeans. They don’t mind watching their breath and wearing gloves to drink an ice-cold beer inside an icebox—just think ice fishing.
It takes some humility to make it in a place like Milwaukee. The weather can be dark, cold and bleak. More cosmopolitan cultural centers often don’t pay much attention to what goes on in what is sometimes considered a flyover state. It’s like we have a crystalized nucleation dome over us, but Midwesterners don’t much care. You see, it’s this insulation that creates the space to work. Milwaukee, like other Midwestern cities, is a vibrant, livable city. But first, you must brave the cold.
High Desert Test Sites (HDTS) is a non-profit organization that supports immersive experiences and exchanges between artists, critical thinkers, and general audiences. Situated in and around Joshua Tree California, HDTS is dedicated to challenging preconceptions of art and from "learning from what we are not."
In this instance, the Ski Club represents the “what we are not.” Joshua Tree, California bears little resemblance to Milwaukee, Wisconsin — culturally, climatologically, visually. However, the Ski Club and HDTS are similar in that they both work within weather extremes.
Joshua Tree has blistering heat, dry and dusty environment that, if ignored, can be fatal — as the cold and lake effect windchill of Milwaukee cannot be ignored. These extreme environments are what connect us. HDTS looks to “‘insert’ art directly into a life, a landscape, or a community where it (the artwork) will sink or swim based on a set of criteria beyond that of art world institutions and galleries.” It resonates with the viewer to see art that inserts itself in an actual place, an environment, and a landscape. This is not an incubator. Rather, it is a group of artists making work that somehow connects to a landscape in Wonder Valley, and an environment that is extreme and foreign to this group of northern, midwestern Ski Club artists.
This exhibition curated by the director of the Ski Club, Mark Klassen, brings together a group of Ski Club artists for an exhibition at High Desert Test Sites on the far western edge of Wonder Valley, California. This diverse group of Midwest-based artists make work ranging from painting, sculpture, poetry and filmmaking. They are connected through their relationship to the Ski Club programming and they will all be exhibiting work for an environment that is completely foreign to them. Except for its connection to the extreme and the fringe.
Artist include: Matt Cook, Laura Davis, Richard Galling, Alex Herzog, Thaddeus Kellstadt, Mark Klassen, Chris Larson, John Riepenhoff, Edra Soto, Oli Watt and Allison Yasukawa. Jesse McLean of Microlights Cinema has curated film screenings from artists; Zachary Epcar, Sky Hopinka, Nazli Dinçel, Alee Peoples + Mike Stoltz, Beny Wagner and Michael Robinson .