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The Circle of Truth

  • New Museum Los Gatos 106 E Main St. Los Gatos, CA 95030 USA (map)


Exhibition features forty-nine paintings by LA-based artists including
Ed Ruscha, created in secret over a period of nine years.

LOS GATOS, CA — AUGUST 2018 — New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU) is
pleased to present the first public showing of the traveling exhibition,
The Circle of Truth, a wholly unique collaboration of 49
contemporary artists, each sequestered and unknown to one another,
working in absolute secrecy. Taking a full nine years from launch to
completion, The Circle of Truth Project is a modern, visual take on
a common childhood classroom exercise wherein a secret message was
whispered from student to student, often referred to as the Rumor
Circle, or the Telephone Game.

The Circle of Truth Project was launched in 2009 and completed in
2016. The exhibition makes its debut at NUMU on October 18, 2018 and
runs through March 10, 2019. It will travel to the Lancaster Museum of
Art and History (MOAH) in Lancaster, CA in August 2019 and the Orange
County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) in Santa Ana, CA in October

The LA-based Project was conceived by artist, Laura Hipke and co curated
with artist, Shane Guffogg. Exhibiting artists from Los Angeles, Arizona
and New York include: Kim Abeles, Lisa Adams, Lita Albuquerque, Charles
Arnoldi, Lisa Bartleson, Billy Al Bengston, Justin Bower, Virginia
Broersma, Randall Cabe, Rhea Carmi, Greg Colson, Jeff Colson, Stanley
Dorfman, Cheryl Ekstrom, Jimi Gleason, Rives Granade, Ron Griffin, Alex
Gross, Shane Guffogg, Lynn Hanson, Doro Hofmann, Tim Isham, Kim Kimbro,
Bari Kumar, Cal Lane, Margaret Lazzari, Mark Licari, Dan Lutzick,
Deborah Martin, Susan McDonnell, Christopher Monger, Jim Morphesis, Andy
Moses, Juan Carlos Munoz Hernandez, Gary Panter, Daniel Peacock, Bruce
Richards, Michael Rosenfeld, Ed Ruscha, Eddie Ruscha, Paul Ruscha, John
Scane, Vonn Sumner, Matthew Thomas, Alison Van Pelt, Michelle Weinstein,
Ruth Weisberg, Robert Williams and Todd Williamson.

The forty-nine works of art by forty-nine artists were created
specifically for the project. Mostly oil paintings, the works are all
the same size and are displayed in the order in which they were created
by the collaborating artists. Viewers of all ages, backgrounds,
ethnicities and levels of education will be able to quickly understand
the meaning of the exhibition. There are no prerequisites or any
fundamental knowledge needed to appreciate and recognize truth. The
experience relies simply on the viewers’ inherent human nature. The
exhibition provides many levels of interest, from superficial amusement
to existential explorations.

“The project is a microcosm of contemporary art, encompassing many
artistic styles. It pushes beyond the post-modernist era, where all
styles are relevant – from hyper-realism, to pop, to pure abstraction
with the myriad overlapping styles which reside between,” explains
project curator, Shane Guffogg. “Using paint and words the artists
speak to the viewers candidly, providing a rare perspective into their
experience and thought processes.”

The first painting (“visiting painting”) created by Shane Guffogg,
was delivered along with a blank canvas to the second artist in the
Circle. The second artist was not given the identity of the first
artist, nor what the painting was about or represented. The only
instruction was to find "truth" in the first painting and then use the
blank canvas to create a work of art in response (the “response
painting”).  When finished, the painting and a new blank canvas were
delivered to the third artist, and the first painting was placed in
storage.  This procedure was repeated by the participating artists who
were asked to keep the secret until the project was complete. The
final/forty-ninth painting was created by Ed Ruscha. The artists did not
sign their paintings or talk about the project to anyone. Each artist
was asked to write an essay about their experience. Excerpts of the
essays are included in the exhibition. The accompanying exhibition
catalogue, with its sequential layout and essays by the artists,
provides a lasting record of the experience.

What transpired over the course of the project – what truths were
explored and discovered, how the artists were affected – broadened the
scope of the project from an interesting exploration of sensitivity and
creativity, into an unexpected examination of what truth means
sociologically and spiritually.

The Circle of Truth opens a dialogue regarding the nature of what we
consider truth to be, and even whether we think it exists. Of course, as
intelligent beings we understand the potential of rumors and the
inherent flaws of receiving and re-transmitting information. But few
give more than a shake of the head in response,” says project curator,
Laura Hipke. “The exhibition allows the viewer to witness each and
every change in the seed of truth.”

What is truth? How do people feel about their access to truth? What is
our responsibility to preserve truth? Is truth still important or even
relevant? How does the subtle erosion of our confidence in truth affect
our sense of well-being? The exhibition touches on a need that resonates
deeply in the human psyche – access to meaningful, truthful contact
with others. This truthful contact is the secret ingredient in the
_Circle of Truth_ project.

Laura Hipke and Shane Guffogg are artists living in the Greater Los
Angeles Area. They are former members of Pharmaka (co-founded by
Guffogg), a defunct painter’s group museum/gallery in downtown Los

SHANE GUFFOGG was born in Los Angeles, California. He received his
B.F.A. from Cal Arts, and during his studies he interned in New York
City.He relocated to Los Angeles, where he lived in Venice Beach and
worked as a Studio Assistant for Ed Ruscha from 1989 until 1995.
Guffogg’s work is in the collections of the Hammer Museum, Los
Angeles, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham,
Fundación/Colección Jumex, Mexico City, The Imperial Museum of Fine
Arts, St. Petersburg, Russia, The Gallery of the Museum Center, Baku,
Azerbaijan, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, Long Beach Museum of Art,
Long Beach, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, Van Pelt-Dietrich
Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Frederick R. Weisman
Art Foundation, Los Angeles and other public collections. Guffogg is
also a celebrated curator, lecturer and television host. More

LAURA HIPKE is a Los Angeles based artist and curator. Thematically,
Laura explores the interiors of the heart and what it means to be human.
Her work includes painting and printmaking, as well as ongoing projects
that require the input of strangers. Laura has been described as an
intuitive. She is self-taught, except for briefly attending California
Institute of the Arts when she was sixteen. More information:

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