Déjeuner sur l’herbe – Garden Lunch  
February 28, 2016

Los Angeles, 3632 Grand View Boulevard, LA 90066

Lucie Fontaine’s employees hosted the thanksgiving lunch of Laurel Doody, Fiona Connor’s non-profit art space that has been active in Los Angeles for about a year. March 2015-March 2016.








FIONA CONNOR, plates   Photos: Fredrik Nilsen

The gallery was also Fiona Connor’s small apartment. Often she moved her bed downstair during the day and brought it back for the night. The exhibition space was rigourously empty. The table for the ritual dinner at each exhibition was improvised and built at the moment. Laurel Doody was not only a whimsical initiative of a single person. Values were at stake. Exhibition by exhibition, it became an offering to the art makers, and their friends. By choice, not a commercial experience. Cooking and eating were parts of the ritual. A little like the Maori who offer hot soup to the stars, sitting on the seashore. Curators, writers, gallerists, designers, photographers, filmakers, performers were part of the collaborative group.

Many people in Los Angeles can say they were there, In Laurel Doody’s space, experiencing sincerity, honesty, passion for art and joyful time. Fiona Connor is an artist who likes displacements of objects and of their common meanings. She brought from her apartment to the Garden Lunch materials for the table: a small cupboard and two doors. The table setting was displayed on the doors. The artist set the table with ceramic plates made by her and with old white and blue Ginori 1900.




Photos: Peter Kirby

As Claude Lévi-Strauss  would say, “The same mind which has abandoned itself to the experience becomes the theater of mental operations which, without suppressing the experience, nevertheless transform it into a model to release further mental operations. In the last analysis, the logical coherence of these mental operations is based on the sincerity and honesty of the person who can say, like the explorer bird of the fable, ‘I was there; such and such happened to me; you will believe were you there yourself,’ and who in fact succeeds in communicating that conviction.”

Fiona’s plates are made by pressing clay on architectural surfaces and the ground, then peeling them off and letting them dry over moulds. They were fired at Laurel Doody. At the end of the garden lunch, the friends of the project received their plate as a present.

Lucie Fontaine and Laurel Doody: elective cousins?

LUCIE FONTAINE and LAUREL DOODY: elective cousins?

―a two left-hands story―

Fiona Connor and Rosanna Albertini presenting a Laurel Doody/Lucie Fontaine collaborative gesture. Photo:

Fiona Connor and Rosanna Albertini presenting a Laurel Doody/Lucie Fontaine collaborative gesture.
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

637 South Cloverdale Ave. Unit 7, Los Angeles CA 90036

By LF & LD

Laurel Doody and Lucie Fontaine* met for the first time in July 2015. Likely, also the only time, unless the future brings a comet, who knows? The French cousin had already spread her exhibitions for about eight years in many countries when the American cousin opened the door of a not commercial art gallery in April 2015: a collective collaboration between artist Fiona Connor and New Zealand birds who sometimes wore American feathers, and other scattered migrants involved in Los Angeles contemporary arts: artists, friends, writers, gallerists, curators. Span of life: one year.

The art gallery was named Laurel Doody after a woman Fiona Connor had met in Seattle when she was a child, same age as her mother. Laurel Doody as an art space shares many of that person attributes: she is a warm, great host, a little bit naughty, and always makes you feel you are the center of her world.

LF visited LD during a dinner held for Keaton Macon’s first solo exhibition: a small library of audio tapes each containing an hour of sounds for each day of the artist’s year. The table was improvised over some of the art shelves beneath the tablecloth, and a variety of chairs. The dinner was Italian style. The thick, large head of a ficus tree out of the window seemed to isolate the room from the blindness of common sense.

Inside, art and humans did not need to prove their minds right or wrong. There was only pleasure of being there with no competitive peaks: ideas, food and kindness passing through mouths and eyes; some drew portraits, Fiona pinned them on the wall. It sounds odd to call it generosity, but that’s what it was. Roots coming from there grow unexpected branches. There is sophistication in this story, and yet softness, plus a wish of movement and transformation, of sharing and crossing geographic and cultural boundaries.

To tie a knot of friendship, more than collaboration, almost a Maori sharing of breath, Lucie Fontaine offered to Laurel Doody the present of a double art piece from the first LF exhibition in Los Angeles in 2013: a small half pear and a small half apple: a unit that is the exquisite fruit of an artist’s tree, and the hazardous existence of any marriage.


Fiona Connor and Rosanna Albertini presenting a Laurel Doody/Lucie Fontaine collaborative gesture.

Fiona Connor and Rosanna Albertini presenting a Laurel Doody/Lucie Fontaine collaborative gesture. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen