Saturday, January 19th at 7p.m.

Closing Event for

Model Cities / Citizen Control

Kimberly Varella and Robby Herbst

Please join us for the closing reception and participatory happening.

Model Cities / Citizen Control is a collaborative window installation at Automata by Kimberly Varella and Robby Herbst. Using found text and images, the installation represents a history of the Federal Government's Great Societies, anti-poverty program known as Model Cities (1969 – 1974). This American program, now largely forgotten, paid federal dollars for experimental community initiated projects, with the goal of alleviating economic, social, and spacial issues in 150 disenfranchised urban areas.

The installation reflects on the idea of “citizen control” of anti-poverty programs, a goal of Model Cities in its infancy. Model Cities / Citizen Control is made up of graphics, texts, images and letterheads collected from community, regional, and national newspapers, and historical archives, demonstrating some of the many approaches communities took in exercising their "control".

This project is the first named collaboration between Varella and Herbst who’ve worked together for many years on unattributed collective art projects of the Llano Del Rio Collective and the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest.

Citizen Participation-A Model Cities Happening

The idea of “participation” was as important to the Model Cities program as it was to the art of the happening developed during the same era. The event will play with notions of history, participation, and the legacy of liberal Model Cities program for our reactionary era.

Robby Herbst is an inter-disciplinary artist whose works engages contemporary and historic experiments in socio-political aesthetics. Works take the form of drawing, publication, organizing, group-work, and object making. Projects include; New New Games, The Llano Del Rio Collective, New Pyramids For the Capitalist System, and The Journal Of Aesthetics & Protest. He’s had exhibitions and projects at Commonwealth & Council Gallery (Los Angeles), LACE (LA), The Santa Monica Museum of Art, Southern Exposure (SF), Dumbo Arts Center (NY), and participated in group exhibitions at MOCA (LA), The Hammer Museum (LA), PS1 (NY), the Ross Art Museum (OH) and NGBK (Germany). He’s been awarded grants and residencies from the Andy Warhol Foundation, The Headlands Center For the Arts, The Graue Award, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, The Durfee Foundation, and the Danish Arts Council.

Kimberly Varella is an artist and designer whose multi-platform practices surround books and other type of multiples. She works indiscriminately with artists, museums, and other cultural institutions. Books of note include Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano LA (ONE Archives and USC Libraries), Machine Project: The Platinum Collection (Tang Teaching Museum); Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial (Cooper Hewitt); and Made In L.A. 2014 (Hammer). She is also the co-founder of Reading Ours, a micro-gallery celebrating the book and other types of multiples in a small garage in Los Angeles. She lives and works and Los Angeles.

Ongoing at Automata


Nancy Andrews, Gina Marie Napolitan

Tucked in an alley off Chung King Road, the Peephole Cinema, a 24/7 public screening site, offers hidden visual pleasures for those wandering the Chinatown arts district of Los Angeles. The current program of films is curated by Automata Co-Artistic Directors Janie Geiser and Susan Simpson and features works by NANCY ANDREWS and GINA MARIE NAPOLITAN. Both artists are known for their innovative experimental films and film-based performances..