Environmental Artist Lauren Bon Reimagines LA River for Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artist Lecture

Lauren Bon’s Junker Garden installation outside of Pitzer’s McConnell Dining Hall. A green box on tall green stilts. On the side of the box is a white silhouette of a running bird. The box on stilts casts a shadow on a multicolored painted car with plants growing from the inside and spilling out of the back and the windows.
Installation view of Junker Garden, 2007, 1976 Volvo 240 GL donated by Olivia Chumacero and adapted by Farmlab: Richard Nielsen, Guy Hatzvi, and Jamie Lopez Wolters, as part of Lauren Bon and The Metabolic Studio: Bending the River, at Pitzer College Art Galleries (Lenzner Family Art Gallery), September 24 – December 16, 2022.

Claremont, Calif. (November 21, 2022)—Environmental artist Lauren Bon will discuss how her artwork, Bending the River, reimagines and redirects the Los Angeles River as part of Pitzer College’s Murray Pepper and Vicki Reynolds Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series. Her talk will be held on Tuesday, December 6, in the College’s Benson Auditorium at 4:15 p.m.

The Pepper Lecture is the culminating event for an exhibition by Lauren Bon and The Metabolic Studio about Bending the River. This exhibition, open at Pitzer’s Lenzner Family Art Gallery until December 16, is curated by Pitzer College Art Galleries and Fulcrum Arts and is part of the 2022 Fulcrum Festival: Deep Ocean/Deep Space.

Located on Tongva land, Bending the River has been described by the Metabolic Studio as “an infrastructure artwork” and is evolving through conversation with artists, Native communities, activists, local community, and the many governmental agencies needed in order to realize this work.

The Los Angeles River in its current form is a concretized flood control measure that moves waste water from the city directly out to sea. Utilizing principles of adaptive re-use, the project moves a portion of water from the L.A. River and diverts it to The Metabolic Studio, where it is moved through a native wetland treatment. The water is then distributed to the Los Angeles State Historic Park for irrigation and to build a new spreading ground. This work culminates in a transformation that began in 2005 with Not A Cornfield.

Bon’s practice, The Metabolic Studio, explores self-sustaining and self-diversifying systems of exchange that feed emergent properties that regenerate the life web. Some of her works include: Not A Cornfield, which transformed and revived an industrial brownfield in downtown L.A. into a 32-acre cornfield for one agricultural cycle, and 100 Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a 240-mile performative action that aimed to reconnect the city of Los Angeles with the source of its water for the centenary of the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Bending the River aims to utilize Los Angeles’ first private water right to deliver 106 acre-feet of water annually from the L.A. River to over 50 acres of land in the historic core of downtown L.A. This model can be replicated to regenerate the 52-mile L.A. River, reconnect it to its floodplain, and form a citizens’ utility.

The annual Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artist Lecture is made possible by the Murray Pepper and Vicki Reynolds Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artists and Scholars Endowed Fund at Pitzer College. Established in 2007, the fund helps bring critically acclaimed artists and scholars to campus to hold seminars, workshops, public talks, and one-on-one conversations with students. The fund is named after Trustee Emeritus Murray Pepper and Vicki Reynolds Pepper, long-term supporters of the College and the grandparents of David Pepper ’17 and Morgan Pepper ’12.

For more information, email [email protected] or visit the Pitzer College Art Galleries events page.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

About Pitzer College Art Galleries

The Pitzer College Art Galleries’ mandate is Education and Advocacy through the Pitzer College core values—social responsibility, intercultural understanding, interdisciplinary learning, student engagement, and environmental sustainability. By following these precepts, Pitzer College Art Galleries engage and interrogate contemporary and historical issues of importance to expand our audiences’ understanding and contribution to our artistic, intellectual, and social culture. Through curatorial creativity and innovative programming, the Galleries seek to provide context, support, and a critical framework for artists and curators working today and, by doing so, inspire meaningful dialogue that fascinates, excites, and invigorates.

For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu/galleries or email [email protected].

Media Contact

Office of Communications
[email protected]