fbpx
‘Remote,’ Ep. 3: Badir McCleary Plays With Our Perception of Public Art cover

‘Remote,’ Ep. 3: Badir McCleary Plays With Our Perception of Public Art

Badir McCleary stands in front of a jagged 340-ton boulder levitating 15 feet in the air. Buttressed by the walls of a concrete walkway, the two-story rock greets visitors outside the Los Angeles County Art Museum (LACMA) as they pass under its gray, craggy belly.

“Why is this here?” Badir asks, gesturing toward Michael Heizer’s awkward and unpolished sculpture, “Levitated Mass. “What’s so artistic about a large piece of rock?” Plucked from a nearby quarry, the rock is an unremarkable bit of rubble, no different than thousands of others unlucky enough to wind up as gravel in someone’s driveway; it wouldn’t warrant a second glance if you passed it in the desert. But hoisted high above the ground against the backdrop of slick, sunny L.A.? The boulder becomes baffling, frustrating, even romantic in its refusal to explain itself. It just is. Unapologetic, watchful, baking under the Californian sun without a tan line in sight.

“What does it mean if this big rock is here?” Badir asks again, still grappling with the mystery. “Is it just taking up space? Would this even be a conversation if it were in the middle of nowhere?” The L.A. filmmaker stands alone with “Levitated Mass” but isn’t lobbing rhetorical questions into the air surrounding LACMA. He’s filming the third episode of Remote, his ongoing series on the power of public art. “This episode is all about perception and how people perceive the art,” says Badir, who admits that visitors to LACMA unsurprisingly “hate the rock.”

Watch Remote, Ep. 3: Perception of Public art

‘Remote: Perception of Public Art’

While the aptly titled third episode, “Perception of Public Art,” explores what happens when public art comes inside (and vice versa), the series’ second installment transports viewers to Badir’s hometown of Philadelphia, where murals and markers shape the city’s cultural and historical identity. Remote’s debut sees the filmmaker toting his camera to Coachella Valley in search of site-specific desert installations hiding in plain sight of L.A.

“Even though [L.A.] is bustling with a bunch of creatives and creative things, […] there's just so much more out there,” Badir says, explaining the idea behind Remote and its first episode, “Desert X.” “I go to a lot of places in search of art, especially out and around California,” he continues. “There's a lot of stuff that's out in the deserts and just an hour or two drive right outside the city.”

Though many of his projects support or resurrect visual culture in L.A. neighborhoods, Badir is a self-described “heavy traveler” who helps artists transform public spaces worldwide. In 2011, he founded Art Above Reality, an art consulting and curatorial firm that works with beginners and seasoned pros alike. Since then, the longtime filmmaker has built a reputation for breathing life into forgotten pockets of creative culture. His video series Fallen Through the Cracks highlights overlooked Black artists in short, digestible snippets, while his work with Gallery 38 helped reinvigorate the eclectic arts community in the historic L.A. neighborhood of West Adams. Similarly, the Remote series explores the impact of public art on surrounding cities, landscapes, and communities.

Discover The Entire Remote Video Series Banner

“You wonder why someone would put something of this magnitude out there,” Badir says, likely thinking of “Levitated Mass” smack dab in the middle of L.A. But his statement could apply to any artist he visits in Remote’s episode three, including Richard Serra, whose undulating sculpture “Band” forces gallery goers to walk, rather awkwardly, around its snaking, 12-foot tall frame. In the episode, Badir stops by legendary sculptor Charles Dickson’s studio to chat about weather-resistant materials in the artist’s delightfully eclectic works. He also visits Hauser & Wirth’s L.A. location to see Thomas J. Price’s bronze sculptures in a conventional gallery setting—people usually encounter the London artist’s large-scale figures in public parks or plazas. “It's really interesting to see these large-scale sculptures in these white cube spaces,” says Badir, who first crossed paths with Price’s sculptures in London. “It almost seems like the pieces are trapped.”

Available to view here only, Remote is an exclusive video series created by Badir McCleary in partnership with NOT REAL ART. Watch the premiere of “Perception of Public Art” on the player above or scroll through to see the image gallery below.

“What’s so artistic about a large piece of rock?” — Badir McCleary

In partnership with NOT REAL ART, L.A. filmmaker Badir McCleary premieres the third episode of ‘Remote,’ a new video series on the power of public art.
Filmmaker Badir McCleary with ‘Levitated Mass’
In partnership with NOT REAL ART, L.A. filmmaker Badir McCleary premieres the third episode of ‘Remote,’ a new video series on the power of public art.
‘Levitated Mass’ by Michael Heizer
In partnership with NOT REAL ART, L.A. filmmaker Badir McCleary premieres the third episode of ‘Remote,’ a new video series on the power of public art.
‘Band’ by Richard Serra
In partnership with NOT REAL ART, L.A. filmmaker Badir McCleary premieres the third episode of ‘Remote,’ a new video series on the power of public art.
Sculptor Charles Dickson in his Los Angeles studio
Charles Dickson uses weather-resistant materials in his work.
Badir McCleary visit’s sculptor Thomas J. Price’s exhibition at L.A. gallery Hauser & Wirth.

Badir McCleary / Art Above Reality: Website | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

All photos published with permission of the artist(s).

Want to be featured on NOT REAL ART? Email editor@notrealart.com with a short introduction and a link to your online portfolio or three images of your work.

Morgan  Laurens 

Morgan Laurens (she/her/hers) is NOT REAL ART’s editor in chief. Morgan is an arts writer from the Midwest who enjoys saying “excuse me” when no actual pardon is needed. She specializes in grant writing and narrative-based storytelling for mission-driven artists and arts organizations. With a background in printmaking, pop culture, and classic literature, Morgan believes a girl’s best friend is the pile of books on her bedside table.

>
2 Shares
Email
Tweet
Share
Pin2
Share
Flip
Buffer
WhatsApp