DOGTOWN ART LEGEND CRAIG STECYK’S “FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY” AT MOCA LA

April 11, 2013  |  art

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Longtime Supertouch ally Craig Stecyk is a towering figure in the world of skate and underground art culture. It's no understatement to call him the foremost chronicler of skateborading—in both words and photos—of our times and a formidable visual artist in his own right although he has remained on the periphery of fame and institutional recognition for the majority of his 40+ year career. Currently, MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch is paying homage to Stecyk's influence on Southern California visual culture with "Faity, Hope, and Charity," an installation by the artist in the museum's Broad Lobby, on display until April 15th.

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A Southern California native, artist Craig Stecyk was introduced to the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bunker Hill, where MOCA is sited, through the stories of relatives who had witnessed its transformation. In the 1880s, Bunker Hill began as an enclave of power and privilege characterized by the ornate Victorian mansions erected by members of Los Angeles’s political and cultural elite. By the mid-20th century it was a working-class enclave, with many of the old mansions repurposed into boarding hotels. Civic leaders referred to the neighborhood as a “slum” and a threat to the public good.

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In 1955 the City of Los Angeles began a massive redevelopment project in Bunker Hill, leveling the area to make way for more modern plazas, high-rises, and office towers, and displacing approximately 20,000 residents in the process. Few of Bunker Hill’s original street names were retained during redevelopment, though local lore holds that the hill’s main thoroughfares were named for the cardinal virtues of faith, hope, and charity. What is now Grand Avenue was formerly Charity Street and, to its west, Hope Street remains, but examinations of historical maps cannot confirm the exact location of Faith Street.

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Faith, Hope, Charity by C. R. Stecyk III refers both to the ambiguity of Faith Street in the original Bunker Hill neighborhood, where MOCA Grand Avenue is located, and the allegorical need for it in the remodeled landscape that has been thoroughly leveled and radically rebuilt. Musing on the superimposition of cultures and values on landscape and language, the installation comprises a grouping of panels whose dimensions are that of early 20th century show bills. Featuring various combinations of letterpress printing, serigraphy, photography, airbrushing, printing, and relief painting based on architectural fragments from Bunker Hill, the panels will be altered by the artist throughout the duration of the exhibition in Broad Lobby at MOCA Grand Avenue.

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From MOCAtv, here is Luxuria (2011)a montage of film and photographic images taken from Craig Stecyk’s archive dating back to 1965 including his DogTown skateboarding photos, road rash sculptures, telephone pole posters, and other public projects.

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