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Jesse Sugarmann: California Bloodlines

The desert inspires and frustrates utopian dreams in equal measure. California City, California is a case in point. Decades ago, developers optimistically earmarked 80,000 acres of raw Mojave desert as the future site of a great metropolis. But it wasn’t to be. With fewer than 15,000 inhabitants, California City is now a parody of its founders’ intentions. A vast grid of decaying roads stretches over the desert like a graft that never took. Artist Jesse Sugarmann pays tribute to this surreal landscape in his videoed performance piece “California Bloodlines,” which invites us to view these roadways as a sacred architecture. At one point in the video, a lone woman sweeps sand off a street with the same loving devotion a curator at the Louvre might dust the Mona Lisa. As the late author J.G. Ballard wondered, could our sprawling highways one day be seen as “enigmatic and mysterious monuments” that inspire the same awe as the Egyptian pyramids do today? Ponder that question yourself while viewing the video “California Bloodlines” at Albuquerque’s project space Spirit Abuse tonight at 6pm, or by appointment throughout December. Spirit Abuse • Fri Dec 6 • 6-11:30pm • View on Alibi calendar

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View the work of internationally recognized Laguna photographer Lee Marmon, New Mexican photographer Sondra Diepen and New Mexican painter Carol L. Adamec. Runs through 6/25.

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