Secret Supper: Abandoned Art Space Edition
By Niree Noel
Selfie-destination du jour, the 14th Factory is a former factory-turned-ephemeral art space beneath the I-5 freeway underpass in Los Angeles. At summer’s peak, we gathered there for an evening of sensory delights and an odyssey through spectacle, both colossal and not. After-hours, Spring Street members and guests wandered through the factory’s many installations and rooms, including the endlessly photographed “Crusher,” which featured 300 pitchforks hanging precariously over visitors’ heads.
Creator Simon Birch spent fifteen years developing various facets of the 14th Factory. Together with his international collective of artists, he launched the “monumental, multi-media installation” in the spring of 2017; the factory closed its doors a mere three days after our Secret Supper. Simon says: “The 14th Factory project is film, installation, painting…an immersive work on a vast scale where everything is connected, bespoke, and designed around a central narrative. Though it was my design, many elements were brought to realisation by friends and collaborators who are far more talented than me.”
In terms of our own talented collaborators, the highlight of the evening was definitely the food and drink. Courtney Rose, beverage manager of famed LA spot Petit Trois, shook up fresh cocktails with floral garnishes for guests to sip while meandering past 40 salvaged airplane tails in a reflective pool in the courtyard. Cocktail hour extended into the exhibit’s interior, where guests connected over discussions of art, life, and love while experiencing some of the 14th Factory’s most impressive rooms. To mark the transition before dinner, Amy storytold beneath those aforementioned pitchforks while guests stood, rapt.
In the great hall, Simon’s kinetic oil portraits, depicting tense bodies in cadmium shades, presided over two long dinner tables. Chefs Nick Montgomery and Akira Akuto, who are co-opening a casual eatery in Echo Park in the summer of 2018, served fresh fare with a Japanese bend. Besides the usual vibrant tableau, we had also set out markers for guests to doodle with between courses. By the end of the evening, artistry had spread from the tablecloths and onto the guests. Things had taken a turn for the raucous, but in the classiest sense of the word: between the interplay of light and shadows, as the evening winded down, guests broke off into intimate groups, convening near the pieces that spoke most to them. Just as we’d envisioned.