Tamara Fites as Lambi Kins at Dan Bernier Gallery, 1995
"Last year some friends and I made a list of Los Angeles artists who were overdue for local museum acknowledgment—project rooms, mid-career surveys, retrospectives, whatever—and had to quit when we reached 100. It just stopped being fun. For all the talk of L.A. as an international art destination, it still has a doozy of an inferiority complex. East coast and international art stars—and a handful of Angelenos that fit the mold—are afforded the bulk of face time, at the expense of the gazillion graduates pouring out of the dozen local MFA programs every year; the idiosyncratic veterans who didn’t fit into the Ferus Gallery agenda; and the off-the-charts originals who blossomed in the lack of limelight.
Here’s a grab bag of overlooked L.A. artists that should be pulling down the big bucks and gracing biennial pavilions. Peers and enemies will undoubtedly find my selection wanting—but that’s what comments are for...
One of the most innovative L.A. artists of the 1990s, Fites assembled elaborate character-driven installations out of carefully curated thrift store detritus, handmade artifacts, and performative leavings. These immersive interactive theaters garnered enormous local buzz, yet are almost entirely forgotten since the artist dropped out of the marketplace, leaving no internet archive behind. Perhaps Fites’s most famous incarnation was as Lambi Kins, a mute, infantile, sexualized sheep-girl occupying a white trash labyrinth, in which she would inappropriately touch unsuspecting gallery-goers. Another persona was as the leader of an anarcho-syndicalist colony of adult babies, who held birthday parties ’round the clock and rescued a litter of baby possums as part of one exhibition..."
Read the rest of 10 L.A. Artists Whose Work You Probably Don’t Know—But Should on Artsy -- this being my first article for this new venue.