It's hard to make it as an artist. As such, people who make art often do more than one thing at once. Sometimes that multitasking becomes an art in itself, with one goal or attitude driving all the different roles. Kelman Duran is one such artful multitasker. Early in 2015, Duran curated a show at Human Resources in Chinatown about artists working in Tijuana. He had lived in Tijuana for six months and watched artists try to engage with border politics there, exploring stereotypes, activism, drugs, migration and deportation. The show included a video by Guillermo Gómez-Peña called Mexercize, in which guys who look like thugs lead exercise routines. Later that year, in response to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri, Duran wrote an essay about black bodies, failed democracy and language. In spring 2016, at Los Angeles Contemporary Archive downtown, he inaugurated the “Friends” series in which two friends in the arts world talk about intimacy and creativity. The first talk turned into a charged discussion on how to create a sustainable, noncapitalist arts community. All the while, Duran makes his own work, including an ongoing film project on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation, and DJs at L.A. clubs, championing Dominican reggaeton.
Credit: Kelman Duran