• Nikita Gale: Takers
    Hamza Walker
    LAXART, Los Angeles
    May 07, 2022 to Jun 25, 2022

Elvis Presley recording "Loving You" at Radio Recorders, Los Angeles, 1957. Courtesy LAXART

On February 14th, 1957 Elvis Presley recorded dozens of takes of "Loving You" at Radio Record studios, the current location of LAXART.  In looking back at this scene, LAXART re-opens the rehearsal space and make use of the gallery as a site of production and performance.  Nikita Gale’s work then will investigate the way technology extends or amplifies the body, particularly in the realm of sound and music.  Having its genesis in vibration, sound is also the transmission of touch. But under the auspices of the music industry, the capture and reproduction of sound tends to obscure this.  While no one questions music as a form of labor, recorded music is its alienation as such.  Severed from the body that produced it, recorded music exemplifies the commodity form.  For Gale, culture may be likened to a valuable natural resource and the recording studio a site of extraction.  This work sets a scene in which both production and performance rely on each other and work against the “mastered” version. To this end, the back wall of the gallery has been removed revealing the sound baffle, an architectural remnant of the space’s life as a recording studio. Gale thinks of the sound baffle as an inadvertent audience.  As she said jokingly, “If Beale Street could talk, imagine if Radio Recorders could sing.” By engaging with materials both acoustic and protective, Gale’s work considers the audience as a social arena and examines how silence and noise function as political positions and conditions.

Nikita Gale works in Inglewood, California. She received her bachelor’s in anthropology at Yale University (2006) and a master’s in fine arts in new genres at University of California, Los Angeles (2016). Her work has been exhibited at Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles (2017); Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2017); LAXART, Los Angeles (2016); Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, Georgia (2015, 2014); Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, New York (2014); Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York (2012); School of Visual Arts, New York (2012); and Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (2012), among others. She is a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant (2017) and National Endowment for the Arts Southern Constellations Fellowship (2013). She was an artist in residence at Vermont Studio Center (2013) and Center for Photography at Woodstock (2011). Most recently, her work was shown at the California African American Museum (2020).

LAXART was founded in 2005 as an alternative space dedicated to supporting emerging and under recognized, mid-career artists through a range of initiatives. The definition of alternative under which LAXART was created has evolved; while LAXART remains a platform for emerging and under recognized talent, its mission has expanded to encompass thematic exhibitions that engage with key issues of our time. LAXART seeks to deepen the rubric of “alternative,” by providing a space for free expression, dialogue, and risk-taking.