The Distance Between the Grooves in My Fingerprint

Platt and Borstein Galleries
American Jewish University
March 10th-July 1st, 2019
Opening Reception: Sunday, March 10th, 3-5pm
15600 Mulholland Drive Bel Air, CA 90077

I'm so grateful.

Y'all... I cannot say enough wonderful things about working with Rotem Rozental, AJU, and the Institute for Jewish Creativity (shout out Rose, Gal, Geena, Romy!) on my solo exhibition at American Jewish University. I have honestly never felt so utterly supported -fully- to see a total vision come completely to life. I feel like I'm supposed to be stoic, as if it's just a solo show in the line of many solo shows, but I am so overwhelmed with love and I just have to tell you how amazing it feels to be truly seen. When, in our first meeting, Rotem saw that Mike Kelley was a major influence in my work, I was floored. He absolutely is and no one had ever picked up on it before. That was just one of many things Rotem did that made me feel completely secure in trusting her with my process.

As some of you may know, my practice is mostly performance based. I wanted to return to the studio for these two galleries of work and make video, film, sculpture, image, and installation that reflect the embodied archive. For this work, I feel like I have been living this performance and now it's time to make it physical. I'm pasting the press release here, and I hope you can see the show. I'm proud of this work and I plan on making more work that explores these various forms. The opening is this Sunday and I'd be so honored to see you there, share space with you, and maybe give you a hug (always consensual).

Here are some more links about the show, including a lovely write up by Falling James, an arts writer who has done so much to help me contextualize what I do from the outside.

 “My paternal great great great great grandfather, Lord Byron’s first cousin, founded a poet’s union in Georgetown.  My maternal great great grandparents were secular Jewish refugees from Russia who were rumored to be revolutionaries. There were definitely witches in there, as there always are. As a child, I’d steal family jewelry, pretending they had magical powers and I’d use brass candlesticks brought over on the Mayflower for witchcraft. I am 400 years of making art, but I am also 400 years of colonial violence.”  

Arts at AJU is pleased to present The Distance Between the Grooves in My Fingerprint, a solo exhibition by the LA artist and organizer Christy Roberts Berkowitz, curated by Rotem Rozental. The new video, installation, mixed-media, and text works in this show examine the diverging and overlapping cultural landscapes of fact and fiction and communal and individual narratives through reference to the artist’s dual colonial Mayflower and Russian-Jewish refugee heritage.

The exhibition addresses the immediate legacy of inherited family violence and trauma through the prism of broader systems of power and control. The physical threats experienced by Roberts Berkowitz at the hands of her father are scrutinized with reference to the colonial projects of their shared Mayflower ancestors and the structural racism and capitalist institutions that are sustained by this historical narrative. In a new video work the artist turns her attention to  questions of complicity and solidarity, examining the role played by her mother, the descendant of socialist, Jewish, radical refugees, in upholding structures of patriarchy and inherited power while serving as one of Southern California’s first female police captains.

This project is the culmination of a research-based process of self examination arising from conversations that took place during and after 2017’s Reciprocity: LA Artist Retreat, presented by the Institute for Jewish Creativity and Asylum Arts. It was through these conversations that Roberts Berkowitz first felt permission to both claim and critique her Jewishness and to evaluate it in relation to whiteness, Christianity, and mechanisms of institutional authority.

In these works, family heirlooms, records, and symbols of historical archetypes are re-examined and reconfigured to reveal the complex webs of social intimacy, politics, and privilege that supports those who hold power, erases those who do not,  and which continues to shape and define identity across generations. Seeking to confront both what came before her and what she is left with, Roberts Berkowitz investigates the pride and shame of ancestral narratives, revealing the line between colonizer and refugee, hero and villain, oppressor and oppressed, as tangled and blurred.  

Exhibition Website

Video debuting on Billboard!

Friday, March 8th, a video I art directed and co-produced by the artist "LaFemmebear" will debut on Billboard Music! I met LaFemmebear several years ago at an activist event at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. When I heard her music for the first time I was floored. She is a veteran in the music industry and produces, mixes, and masters all her music herself. It is soulful, hypnotic, and easy to dance to or cry to, all under an umbrella of beautiful melodies and complex harmonies. She needed some visuals for her upcoming album, being released March 15th and I was more than happy to help. My dear friend and collaborator, filmmaker extraordinaire, Tammy Sanchez, joined and together with an all womxn and gender non-conforming crew and cast, we made a video. Community is beautiful; perhaps the most beautiful thing the human experience has to offer us. Please look out for Shut Up by LaFemmebear on Billboard, March 8th.

DJ Set for The People Radio's podcast's 6 Year Anniversary Gala!

The People's Six Year Anniversary Gala
Friday March 8, 2019, 7pm - 11pm

TSA LA Gallery
Bendix Building
1206 Maple Ave. 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90015

The People with Mathew Timmons and Ben White is an arts and literature podcast produced by Insert Blanc Press in Los Angeles, California. The People features the voices and ideas of The People that make up the cultural landscape of Los Angeles, the west coast, and beyond on KCHUNG 1630AM every 3rd Sunday at 3pm … it's Like a Broken Record Magically Repaired.

Bring your friends
DJs * Drinks * Balloon Drop
The DJs are:
Ian James & Matt Siegle, Greg Curtis, Alan Nakagawa, Christy Roberts Berkowitz, Joel Kyack

Projection by Ignacio Genzon

My set is around 9pm!

Apply to the Acre Residency!

I have the esteemed honor this year, of serving on the admissions panel for the 2019 Acre residency program. The deadline to apply is March 10th. I'd be delighted to see your work in the application process!
Here's the link to apply:

Copyright © 2019 Christy Roberts Berkowitz, All rights reserved.