Milano Chow. Park La Brea

21 Oct 2020 – 5 Dec 2020

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
11:30 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Free admission

Bel Ami

Los Angeles
California, United States


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During quarantine, I watched The Real Housewives of NY from its debut 2008 season. The show’s 12-year span to present day was condensed into a viewing period of a few months.


The women experience love, divorce, lawsuits, breakdowns, and reconciliations. There’s also a slight technological arc. The video quality improves and later seasons splice in the women’s iPhone videos. In one such scene, Dorinda talks to her deceased husband who enters her room in the reincarnated form of a red balloon. It’s very moving and the personal recording injects an extra “realness” akin to the formal device of a shaky camera. Contrast this with the confessionals that are shot in front of green screens with producers just off-camera.

The show, and reality television in general, traces changing norms of intimacy and public persona. The Real World debuted almost 20 years ago so the genre is hardly new, but it resonates in an age of self-branding (with its parallel of job insecurity), personal essays and autofiction (especially by women), and public apologies.

This exhibition Park La Brea is inspired by sites and scenarios where reality and its constructs meet. The works on paper evoke the voyeuristic act of looking into a private domain. Based on architectural elevations and antiques, the drawings depict ornate facades and clocks with figures collaged into them. Windows and doors emulate screens and create pictures within pictures. I prefer using fashion models for the figures because of their awareness of the camera and because their staged quality complements the drawings’ artifice.

– Milano Chow, October 2020

Milano Chow (b. 1987, Los Angeles) lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her BA from Barnard College in 2009 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2013. She has held solo exhibitions at Adams and Ollman, Portland; Chapter NY, New York; Galleria Acappella, Naples; and Mary Mary, Glasgow. Recent group exhibitions include the Whitney Biennial 2019 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Loitering is Delightful, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles; and The Props Assist the House, Bel Ami, Los Angeles. She is a 2018 recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.

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Exhibiting artists

Milano Chow


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