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GRIMM is pleased to announce the exhibition of Dana Lixenberg’s 69-minute three-channel video installation Imperial Courts (2015) at our New York gallery space. This video is an expansion of Lixenberg’s extensive project Imperial Courts, 1993-2015, which tracks the changing shape of a small, inner-city community from South Central Los Angeles through a combination of film, a web documentary, audio recordings and a series of 393 black and white photographs made with a large format camera.

In 1992, Lixenberg traveled to South Central Los Angeles to photograph a magazine story on the aftermath of the riots that erupted following the acquittal of four LAPD officers who were involved in the brutal beating of Rodney King. What she encountered inspired her to return to the area and eventually led her to the Imperial Courts housing project in Watts. The potent combination of racial injustice, community frustration and one-dimensional media coverage pushed her to start a project portraying the residents of Imperial Courts.

By 2012, Lixenberg has become a familiar face in Imperial Courts. To add a new dimension to the project, she began shooting short film sequences. Lixenberg’s videos immerse us in the dense fabric of daily life in this small housing project through an interlinking chain of vignettes that skip across three channels. These quietly observed scenes are set against the changeable volatile score of nearby houses, cars, ice cream trucks, and streets. In one vignette, Lixenberg invites us to observe a rite of passage as a young couple prepares to depart for their senior prom, their every move photographed by a panoply of cameras and camera-phones.


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