Shows & Tickets
As part of Geffen Playhouse’s Art Lives Here project, four Los Angeles artists have been invited to create original art works to be displayed in our lobby welcoming audiences during our 2022/2023 Season.
We celebrate the diversity in our audiences and our productions, and it is our mission to create, foster, and nourish an environment that is open and welcoming for all. We are a home for the arts, and we believe our physical space should also reflect and be representative of our ongoing commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion in everything we do and the communities we support.
Geffen Playhouse seeks four artists to create an original artwork to be displayed in our lobby welcoming back audiences this fall to celebrate our 2023/2024 Season. We are a home for the arts, and we believe our physical space should also reflect and be representative of our ongoing commitment to diversity in our audience, productions as well as our community at large. It is our mission to create, foster and nourish an environment that is open and welcoming for all.
We’re inviting local artists to create works that bring our community together, inspired by theater experiences and reflective of our shared values. We call it “Art Lives Here.” As with our plays, we seek works of art that speak boldly, have meaningful purpose and feed the soul. A total of four artists will be chosen by a selection committee from all submissions received. Each art piece will be displayed for approximately two months in our theater lobby and featured in Playbill programs during the course of the 2023/2024 Season.
Join us in this endeavor.
The inspiration. Please consider the following questions in your proposal.
How has theater impacted you? What supports a welcoming theater environment? In what way does theater connect us globally? We encourage innovative, thought-provoking projects that are highly reflective of our diverse community.
Artists must be willing to participate in the creation of additional content and will have input and be consulted on all photography, video and written material. To ensure the privacy of minors, use of images or video will not be displayed without written approval from a parent or legal guardian.
Each artist will receive an honorarium of $4,000 which is all-inclusive of material and design. Upon approval, artists will be paid 50% up front, and the remaining honorarium will be paid upon completion and delivery of their final work. Artists (and a guest) will be invited to opening night of the mainstage production at which their work will be featured.
All proposals must be submitted below and include the following:
Geffen Playhouse led by project curator Terrell Tilford (Founder & Creative Director, Band of Vices) will establish a selection committee comprised of art professionals. The selection committee will evaluate each work of art. The selection criteria will include but is not limited to the following:
Artists will retain ownership of final works, and all works will be returned to the artists following their exhibition period.
May 18, 2023: Open for SubmissionsJuly 1, 2023: Submission DeadlineJuly 15, 2023: Winners AnnouncedAugust 15, 2023: Final Artworks Due
Questions? Please email
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2023
ON DISPLAYApr. 4 – May 7, 2023
The inspiration for this piece comes from my experience of being an Asian-American consumer of entertainment, who grew up being conditioned into believing that my heritage could only amount to a caricatured and culturally insensitive depiction in American popular culture. It uses the musical play The King and I—of which the historical persistence on using yellowface throughout the decades is emblematic of a general and societal lack of bother—as a vessel to raise awareness and discussion. Two figures emerge vaguely from, and are entangled in a stylized technical execution. It is meant to encourage viewers to look past the surface level of what is presented to us, and vigorously question, identify, and challenge any inherent bias or unfair assumptions from the entertainment that we consume.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Conan Zhao’s artistic journey began in his teenage years when he became known at school as an entirely self-taught pencil artist who pursued photorealistic portraiture. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Applied Mathematics, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia to begin a career as a health actuary. In 2019, Zhao quit his corporate day job to pursue his passion as a full-time artist entrepreneur. During college, he spent a year at Marchutz School of Art (Aix-en-Provence, France), where he discovered the rich history of art and philosophies. His influences include Hokusai, Rembrandt, Turner, Daumier, Bernie Fuchs, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. The mission of Zhao’s art ties deeply to his desire to spotlight underserved communities. As an Asian-American artist, he has experienced many forms of racial prejudices first-hand, and understands the need for cross-racial support and solidarity.
ARTISTJoan Chéri Peake
ON DISPLAYFeb. 1 – Apr. 2, 2023
As theatre is one of the most social of the arts and demands society to examine itself in the mirror, this piece will create the relationship between theatre and oneself. In a society where social media plays a major role in our lives, selfies have become almost a daily ritual around the world throughout the 21st century. This work will allow the theatre community to come together and blend with our current social norm. Over the past decade, selfies have helped people stand out, and helped them prove that they are a part of something important. So, essentially this mirrored artwork will show the audience that they are a part of the theatre culture and that they deserve their flowers while they’re here!
Joan Chéri Peake is a passionate, expressive, vibrant African American artist. At the young age of 5 she watched her mother create paintings from home, which instantly sparked her love for art. Naturally, she was drawn to painting; her interest was cultivated during her teenage years and further developed when she decided to take her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Joan also had the desire to fulfill her love for fashion and decided to advance her education in New York City at Parsons New School for Design. Her sensual nature of art is inspired by femininity, pop culture, and her life experiences. Her aesthetic constantly allows her to explore new places, and new techniques.
ON DISPLAYSep. 13 – Dec. 18, 2022
Portal consists of a large-scale origami lotus, the Buddhist color of enlightenment. In Taiwan’s Buddhist tradition, grieving family members fold 108 origami lotus blossoms each week for seven weeks. Each week, the 108 paper lotuses are ceremonially burned until the cremation of the lotus covered-body on the forty-ninth day. Forced to mourn the death of my grandparents from afar during COVID-19, I was struck by the powerful symbol of the ritual burning of origami lotus, as a portal for the dead to the afterlife, and as a portal for those mourning to solace. The death of a loved one is a shattering of life as we know it. As Arundhati Roy writes, “pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew... It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” Through meditative labor, this fragile paper bloom becomes a symbol of hope and rebirth in the face of loss.
Working in installation, painting, photography, and video, artist Flora Kao explores the poetics of human relationship with environment. Examining the psychological potential of constructed space, Kao transforms everyday structures into systems of beauty. Kao examines our impulse to order and preserve in the face of the unknown and uncontrollable. In mapping presence and absence, Kao meditates on memory, mortality, displacement, and decay. Hovering between restraint and collapse, Kao’s work anchors moments of intense emotion through repeated action. Kao’s art responds to our contemporary dislocation from environment. In constructing moments of poetic beauty, Kao challenges the rote experience of space through unexpected sensory encounters with the organic and handmade.
ARTISTYeu "Q" Nguyen
ON DISPLAYJun. 23 – Aug. 14, 2022
Using heirloom tapestry weaving as an allegory to the communal nature of theatre production, this work embodies the magic of theatre in form, material, and process. Fabric remnants of different texture and colors, some sourced directly from the Geffen’s costume department, ripple with energy as they flow seamlessly together to create a new whole. Featuring actors’ signatures from past Geffen productions, the title words, dazzling with costume gems and read like a backstage cheer, celebrate stage life and those who live it.
Like a performance, this work is incomplete without audience presence. Please help me fully realize this work’s intention by tying your ticket to the tapestry using the loose ribbon ends.
Born in Saigon, Yeu “Q” Nguyen is a multidisciplinary artist working in Los Angeles. Known for her vibrant, interactive installations and intricately crafted objects rich in symbolism, Q has exhibited at notable venues such as the SouthWest Museum, the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. “The Resilience Archive,” a retrospective of Q’s expansive work circa 2016-22, is currently on view at Stay Gallery in Downey. Upcoming projects include “At The Table” group exhibition at the Armory Center for the Arts and an art commission with Santa Monica city. More on Q can be found at www.yeuqart.com and Instagram @yeuqart.
ON DISPLAYApr. 19 – Jun. 19, 2022
The work is a metaphor for the magic that the theatre evokes in audiences. As theatergoers watch a play, or performance, they feel transported into another world. The physical walls and ceiling of the theatre disappear and a new world emerges where anything is possible. This mixed media depicts theatre seats placed on the surface of a vast landscape that is surreal and fantastic. The open landscape points to the expansiveness of our natural world, with arms open to all its inhabitants.
Luciana Abait was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is currently based in Los Angeles where she is a resident artist of 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. Her photo-based two- and three-dimensional works deal with climate change and environmental fragility, and their impacts on immigration in particular. Abait's artworks have been shown widely in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia in solo shows in galleries, museums, and international art fairs. Selected exhibitions include A Letter to the Future at Los Angeles International Airport and Sur Biennial in California; Flow, Blue at Rockford College Art Museum and Luciana Abait at Jean Albano Gallery in Illinois; Nest at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania; and ARCO in Spain. Abait's works are held in private, public and corporate collections from the United States, Europe, Latin America and East Asia.
ON DISPLAYFeb. 8 – Apr. 10, 2022
This work layers Old World Shakespeare with New World Chicano Theatre. Most prominently, this work is inspired by the Luís Valdez El Teatro Campesino, and features a lady lute player and a drummer from Día de Los Muertos carpas plays. Carpa, or tent theatre, were touring groups on both sides of the border that toured from town to town, set up tents, and performed a mix of slapstick comedy, folk dance, circus stunts and puppetry, all for a mostly working-class audience. Like the Shakespearean actor William Kempe's "nine daies wonder" performed "in a daunce from London to Norwich," the carpa tradition is making a comeback with Valdez's TC, and "The Carpa Plays," of the Teatro Bravo, connecting a theatre tradition 400 years apart.
The work of Roberto Delgado evolves from the reality of the photo. Both the easel work and public art murals have been based on the people and circumstances that he has encountered, with both being an appreciation of the human figure. Born and raised in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, Delgado served in the US Army and was a graduate of UCLA’s M.F.A. program. Spending most of the 70s and 80s in Chiapas State, Mexico, Delgado honed his skills in murals and public art. In 1985 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and lived in Mexico City, working on large monotypes and murals. Seeing the influence of Mexican-American-Chicano barrio realism on the Mexico City art world first hand, he realized how Chicano art had come full circle, with the craft of Mexican art taken to L.A., now coming back to the Mexico City art world.
ON DISPLAYNov. 9 – Dec. 12, 2021
Horror Without End! doubling is a multimedia video installation which transports audiences to an alternate universe that is populated by monsters, spawning a counter mythology and queering of existing norms. Choreographed by Tetiana Sklyarova and Kayla Aguila, the dynamic movements in the performance tell a story of a doppelganger emerging to eventually take over its original. This work considers what happens when the championing of individualism in U.S. culture runs into the reality of the powerlessness of the individual. Doubling is a celebration of the power of community, even if that community comes in the form of your doppelganger.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Beck+Col are a Los Angeles based artist duo who have been working exclusively in collaboration since 2014. Beck+Col have performed at numerous venues including the Hammer Museum, REDCAT, and JOAN Los Angeles. They have had multiple solo exhibitions at Human Resources and their work has been exhibited worldwide including the Royal College of Music in Sweden, Colección AMALITA in Buenos Aires and at Biquini WAX EPS in Mexico City.
Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the not-for-profit organization continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates and is currently helmed by Executive Director Gil Cates, Jr., Artistic Director Matt Shakman and Board Chair Howard Tenenbaum. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen maintains extensive education and community engagement programs, designed to involve young people and the community at large in the arts. www.geffenplayhouse.org
In recognition of the essential examination of systemic racism and injustices, we at Geffen Playhouse commit to continued analysis and expansion of our own institutional practices in order to be part of the solution. Our vision for the Geffen is that people of all races, faiths, sexual orientations, abilities, genders and backgrounds find it an easily accessible and highly relevant source of art that reflects the dynamic human experience and galvanizes a more equitable and vibrant community. In adopting this statement, we are amplifying our strategic and ongoing commitment to improving and increasing the cultural diversity, equity and inclusion of our audiences, staff, artists, board, and programming.