Visiting Professor Mel Chin’s ‘In the Name of Place’ Subject of Fall Retrospective

August 02, 2016

Inaugural Visiting Professor of Community Engagement and artist Mel Chin’s collaborative project In the Name of Place, which insinuated art into the popular ‘90s TV show Melrose Place, will be the subject of a retrospective exhibition at Red Bull Studios in New York this fall.

A recent article in ARTnews profiled the two-year project, which placed art works, created by a collective known as the GALA Committee, into different episodes of the show over a period of several years with the idea that the work would eventually be shown in a museum and then auctioned off with proceeds benefiting charities.

The idea came during a time when Chin was thinking of alternative ways to display art, he told ARTnews.

“Television is about product placement,” Chin said. “So the question was why don’t we place ideas on there, and open up the complexity [TV] can offer.”

Of the nearly 200 works that the committee created, about 70 percent were placed on the show and included works such as a Chinese takeout box with “Human Rights” and “Turmoil and Chaos” printed on it in Chinese characters—in acknowledgement of differing interpretations of the Tiananmen Square protests.

The works later became part of the group show “Uncommon Sense” at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in 1997 and, of course, live on in episodes of Melrose Place, which is in international syndication.

Melrose Place is still playing somewhere in the world,” Chin said.

You can read more about In the Name of Place here.

As a visiting professor at the Corcoran School this academic year, Chin will be teaching two courses in the fall. His “Field Seminar Art Outside the Gallery” will explore expanded practices in public art with a special focus on issues connected to the Washington, D.C. area, while “Studio Visits" will facilitate an ongoing critical discourse about students’ creative work through regular studio visits with the instructor, as well as one-time visits by international, national and regional artists.