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Seemayer on the Changing Downtown Landscape

Stephen Seemayer at the District Gallery, which recently hosted an exhibit of the artists' work.

Stephen Seemayer at the District Gallery, which recently hosted an exhibit of the artist’s work.

“Now you see people walking down the street with poodles that have shirts on.”

“Young Turks” director Stephen Seemayer, in a recent interview with Richard Schave, discussed the changing nature of life downtown, a major theme of the artist’s 95-minute documentary film, which is slated for DVD release later this month.

Art Above the LawOn the podcast You Can’t Eat the Sunshine, a production of esotouric.com — which hosts “bus adventures into the secret heart of Los Angeles” — Seemayer talks about the movie and life downtown in the 1970s and ’80s, but he also recounts tales of the “Red Zone,” a series of guerrilla art shows that were staged in the early 1990s.

“We decided we were just going to take over a space, take over a building, not ask any permission, not pay for any insurance, not get any permits,” Seemayer says on the podcast, appropriately subtitled “Art on the Edge.”

Seemayer in Red Zone IIn fact, for the interview, Seemayer met Schave in a warehouse at the Angel City Brewery, just across the street from Wurstküche, a beer and wiener shop now in the building that unwittingly had hosted the first of the “Red Zones” in May 1990.

The then-printing shop was painted red after its owner had left for the day, and then the artists descended. The original artists who had planned the “Red Zone” — which they titled “Art Above the Law” — installed their pieces, but then hundreds of others showed up and started improvising artworks on the spot. For his part, Seemayer’s contribution was a silhouette of himself made from meat nailed to the brick wall.

For more on “Young Turks” and the “Red Zones,” listen to Seemayer’s interview.

For more on the “In Your Face” and “Signs of the Times” exhibits mentioned in the interview, go to Seemayer’s website, which has photos of all the work shown at the District Gallery and Angel City Brewery.

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