Ali Acerol – March 2017
Ali Acerol, who was born in Bursa, Turkey in 1948 and died in Los Angeles in 2007, became a kind of legend in the Southern California art world for his stunning maps of countries and continents, his invented and satiric postage stamps, and his brick furniture— as well as for being stubborn, impossible, and brilliant!
This first posthumous exhibition of works is drawn primarily from the collection of Richard Hertz, author of two influential works on the local art scene: Jack Goldstein and the CalArts Mafia and The Beat and the Buzz: Inside the LA Art World. The show includes Acerol’s magnificent eight by twelve-foot World Map that has not been seen in public for over thirty years.
The World Map, covered with sign language that names the countries and cities, was originally Acerol’s MFA thesis project. Like all his works, it does not speak in simple terms. As critic Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe wrote, Ali’s art is about parallel meanings and mutual incomprehension — “lots of little hands where there should be words, a symbolic code unfamiliar to most…”
Ali arrived in California in 1975 after seven years in Paris and enrolled at Cal Arts, then in its fifth year of existence. Soon he became close friends with such well-known artists as John Baldessari and Michael Asher, the godfathers of the art program, along with many colleagues such as Diane Buckler, Dana Duff, Mike Kelley, Laura Lasworth, Stephen Prina, and Christopher Williams.
In the late 1970s, Acerol and his then wife, Klobie, hosted a salon in an industrial live/work space on Euclid Avenue in Santa Monica which became a legendary hangout for the Los Angeles art world. He is survived by his ex-wife and two daughters.