Forget the cowgirl, the demure Indian maiden, or the pioneer woman in a sunbonnet perched on a wagon buckboard. At the Autry National Center’s conceptual new exhibit “Home Lands How Women Made the West,” traditional stereotypes of women-out-west are replaced with a new narrative—one that puts women at the center as builders of home and community. “Seeing women in history makes history look different,” is the show’s opening statement and the Autry has done much to create an innovative and interactive exhibition that inserts real women into the American west’s saga.
Not a Cornfield was one of Los Angeles’ most creative, ambitious and perhaps largest public art installation. From mid-2005 to March 2006, a blighted industrial vacant lot just north of Chinatown became 32 verdant acres of living sculpture within view of downtown’s skyscrapers.
Conceived by artist Laren Bon and funded by the Annenberg Foundation, the Not a Cornfield legacy continues to grow at Farmlab, now headquartered across from the northernmost end of the State Historic Park (the former Not a Cornfield site).
Farmlab is an artistic think tank and meeting space that visibly demonstrates a more holistic approach to urban living. Junked cars are planters blooming with native plants; 15’ high barrels collect rainwater; and wildflower seeds that were collected in the State Historic Park are distributed for free. Each Friday, a free lunch hour public salon—lunch included—offers a range of thoughtful presentations by local artists, curators, historians and activists.