If water is life, how long can we survive a drought? When the Colorado River runs dry, how does the American West mitigate an inglorious demise? How do we balance our present built environment against the dynamics of nature? California, and the greater Southwestern United States, is grappling with a water crisis so severe it’s spawning new terminologies to articulate its severity. Despite entering the 22nd year of a megadrought caused by our concrete commitment to impermeable landscape redesign, by and large, business continues as usual. We need not look farther than downtown Los Angeles to observe a river in its afterlife, a foundation for a crisis poured long ago.
At the dawn of our present overheated century, artist-activist-historian Jenny Price called for the rearticulation of our environmental ideals, nominating the Los Angeles River as the icon of 21st century environmentalism. A quarter of a century later, a new group show, “Confluence,” curated by artist Debra Scacco, explores a confluence of water issues through the perspectives of nine artists across mixed media. Opening August 6th at Track 16 Gallery with a reception from 7-10pm, “Confluence” excavates a lost future, examining the feedback loops created by encasing the city’s life-giving force in concrete and sentencing it to serve its metropolis as a storm drain.