Farmlab + George Herms Team Up For "Opera Workshop"
Art Installation + Free Jazz Workshop
In August @ Beverly Hills 'Phantom Gallery'

"Opera Workshop" – Art Installation and Free Jazz Opera Workshop – Opens To Public
Project Features Collaborative Interplay Between George Herms & Farmlab
Takes place in ephemeral Beverly Hills "Phantom Gallery;" Reception 8/11/07

"Opera Workshop" is the umbrella title of two blended, process-based installations that set out to develop ideas and create a zone of play, flexibility, and collaboration in the heart of a busy commerce district. "Opera Workshop" consists of two projects:

*"Amaze,” by Farmlab Team; and
*"The Artist’s Life: A Free Jazz Opera” workshop by George Herms

Phantom Galleries LA; 269 N. Beverly Drive; Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Dates & Hours: August 11-August 31, 2007; Thurs-Sat, 12-5pm, and by appointment
*August 11 @7-10pm: Opening Reception
*August 18 @ 7-9pm: Free Jazz Opera workshop performance by George Herms & jazz musicians
*August 25 @ 10pm: Free Jazz Opera performance by George Herms & jazz musicians

Farmlab is a collective dedicated to the preservation and perpetuity of living things. More info @

George Herms is a Los Angeles-based artist.

Phantom Galleries LA is a Los Angeles County-based organization that transforms unoccupied storefronts and spaces into temporary art galleries. More info @

Working inside the otherwise vacated "Phantom Gallery" space at 269 N. Beverly Drive, in Beverly Hills, Calif, members of the Farmlab team have set about creating, "AMAZE." This experimental labyrinth is a zone of play, flexibility, and collaboration located in the heart of a renowned commerce district where passers-by are offered constant opportunities to consume, but far fewer to build and make.

Utilizing a palette of salvaged materials (steel rods, telephone wire, kimonos, etc.), and inspired by the assemblage work and recycling ethos of George Herms – himself a recent Farmlab artist-in-residence – Farmlab team members have since mid-July been working to transform the large, ground-floor lobby area of this former bank building.

AMAZE aims to explore the idea of collaborative endeavors as the result of individual acts. Rather than decide every move together, Herms and Farmlab build separately, in different sections of the venue. The end result is a loose framework that likely – or not – will fit together.

Members of the public are invited to join in and add to the maze as they see fit, either by bringing in their own materials or using items already on-hand.

George Herms’ Jazz Opera Workshop, set in the eye of the maze, mingles with the rollicking larger construction and is best viewed from a cocoon-like seating arrangement built within the maze's framework. Public workshops of two of the acts of this five-act opera, with accompaniment from leading jazz musicians, will take place on August 18 & August 25.

The opera's structure will ultimately consist of –

Act One, Scene One: A Sculptor's Studio; Act Two: Away; Act Three: Oops: Act Four; Evil (The taking down of the Serapeum); and Act Five: The Redemption Kiss.

On this evening, Herms and musicians will workshop, "Act Two: Away." Jazz musicians joining Herms on 8/25 are: Roberto Miranda (bass), Bobbie Bradford (cornet), Vinnie Golia (reeds), Clayton Cameron (drums), Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (viola).

On this evening, Herms and musicians will workshop, "Act One, Scene One: A Sculptor's Studio," a salute to john Coltrane. A spiral staircase will be elevated, and a large spherical buoy played. Jazz musicians joining Herms on 8/25 are: Theo Saunders (piano), Adar Lawrence (tenor sax); Henry "The Skipper" Franklin (bass); Ramon Banda (drums); David Dalston (trombone). Levitation of the spiral staircase is courtesy of Bill Gray.

Farmlab's short-term multi-disciplinary investigations of land use issues related to sustainability, livability, and health are conducted by members of the team behind the recent Not A Cornfield project in Downtown Los Angeles. NAC project artist Lauren Bon is Farmlab's founder and Creative Director.

"Like a lean jazz quartet, Herms sets the mood as much with what is there as with what is not. In an era where assemblage artists fixate on the cute essentials of thrift store finds, Herms abstracts the detritus of society into an improvisational solo encouraging the things to become something else within his sculptures and collages." – Mat Gleason, ArtScene, 2005

Phantom Galleries LA is a Los Angeles County-based organization that transforms unoccupied storefronts and spaces into temporary art galleries. Exhibits are curated by local arts organizations, Los Angeles-based galleries, independent curators, and Los Angeles-based artists. The project gives artists an opportunity to exhibit their work, while promoting the creative community to a broader audience and keeping the area looking vital and culturally exciting. The spaces are lit and on view 24 hours a day.

Phantom Galleries offers a special thank you to the City of Beverly Hills Economic Development Office for their continued support and assistance in launching the Beverly Hills Phantom Galleries LA program. "In Beverly Hills we believe that a vital economy needs an active art and cultural core." – Alison Maxwell, Director of Economic Development and Marketing for the City.

For more about the City's Public Art Program, log onto For more about Phantom Galleries LA, contact Liza Simone, 213.626.2854; [email protected]

Photo, at top of page: Installation of "AMAZE" and "Jazz Opera Workshop" continues daily; here, a shot from late July

Farmlab Photo by James Goodnight



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