Contemporary Artist Ben Jackel and Battleship IOWA Museum Launch Alfa Romeo Tango:
A Fine Arts Gallery Aboard a San Pedro Institution
Battleship IOWA Museum, known as “The Battleship of Presidents,” is diversifying into a cultural entity by engaging the surrounding communities and expanding the institution’s audience. Since sailing into the Los Angeles Waterfront less than six years ago, the USS Iowa has become one of Los Angeles’ top attractions (TripAdvisor’s “Top 5 Museums”) competing with movie studios tours, animation parks, and Southern California outdoor activities. Now the history-laden vessel has created possibly the first fine arts gallery, Alfa Romeo Tango, aboard a battleship.
The first exhibit of the Alfa Romeo Tango gallery has been curated by celebrated Los Angeles-based artist Ben Jackel, represented by the highly regarded L.A.Louver, which also represent artists such as Dale Chihuly and David Hockney. Jackel’s exhibition, opening Saturday, November 17, 2018, and running through Sunday, March 17, 2019, is titled USS Indianapolis and other Tales from the Sea. Jackel will also be curating future shows for the space.
The centerpiece of this show is a striking, newly completed stoneware sculpture of the doomed World War II heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis, the ship that delivered the atomic bomb “Little Boy” to the Pacific island of Tinian. A Japanese submarine sunk the vessel, but it is most famous for the tragic suffering and loss of her crew: hundreds lost in shark-infested waters. The sinking of the Indianapolis led to the greatest loss of life from a single vessel at sea in U.S. Naval history.
The naming of the new exhibition space, “Alfa Romeo Tango,” is from the National Alliance Treaty Organization (NATO) phonetic alphabet spelling the word “ART”. The location is on the third deck, near the semi-permanent show, “Lost at Sea: The Explorations of Dr. Robert Ballard.” General admission tickets to the IOWA Museum include entry to the gallery. A percentage of each sale will be donated to Battleship IOWA Museum.
“We are excited to add Alfa Romeo Tango to our strategic envisioning for the Battleship IOWA Museum focused on community, veterans and education,” states Jonathan Williams, President and CEO for the non-profit. “As we head into the next few years, like many museums, we need to implement forward-thinking ideas for visitors, and the gallery with Ben’s vision will assist us in accomplishing that goal and even introduce young people to careers in the arts.”
“The hope of this new gallery is to create an art space where veterans, Navy supporters, and patrons of the arts can come together,” says Jackel. “I have always been interested in ships, and, today as a sculptor, I continue to find beauty in these massive objects. To me, their hulls embody the struggle of man against nature over the centuries. Ships have allowed our global culture to exist and will always be an integral part of the human experience.”
Battleship IOWA Museum’s Executive Vice President and COO, Mike Getscher who approved the new gallery, comments, “Ben has been a long-time advocate of our museum, having been with us since we anchored at the Los Angeles Waterfront in San Pedro. As a team, we are grateful to the time and influence Ben has dedicated to Alfa Romeo Tango, making it a reality and a success.”
About Ben Jackel
Born and raised in Aurora, Colorado, Ben Jackel received his BFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and earned his MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a graduate student at the onset of the Iraq War, Jackel began to reflect on his lifelong interest in military history by examining weaponry and combat apparatuses to represent the humanity of war. This inquiry led him to create his first life-size Civil War-era cannon from clay and wood in 2002 and continues to manifest in his work today. While working in clay and wood as primary materials, his works symbolize aspects of conflict, warfare or disaster, but belied by their organic or fragile media.
L.A. Louver gallery began representing Jackel in 2007, presenting solo exhibitions “Compliance Solutions” (2009), “Zero Percent Contained” (2011), “American Imperium” (2015) and “Reign of Fire” (2017). His works have shown at UCLA Fowler Museum; Williamson Gallery at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA; Torrance Art Museum, CA; Denver Art Museum, CO; China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing; Venice Biennale, Italy, among others. Jackel was an artist-in-residence at University of Colorado, Boulder. He has held a teaching position at California State University Long Beach and currently instructs at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). A comprehensive online catalog that surveys Jackel’s works from 2008-2017, with supplementary videos and descriptions, can be viewed here.
Battleship IOWA Museum’s 2018 capital campaign is currently in progress to raise funds for the museum’s current operations and future growth as a National Museum. To donate, please visit their website.
250 S. Harbor Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90731
General Admission tickets to Battleship IOWA:
Ticket office opens daily at 10:00 a.m. and the last tour ticket is sold at 4:00 p.m.
Military (active, retired & former U.S. armed forces) $14.95
Children (ages 5 & under) FREE
Youth (ages 5 – 11) $11.95
Adults (ages 12 – 61) $19.95
Seniors (ages 62 & over) $14.95
About Battleship IOWA Museum:
Named as one of TripAdvisor’s “Top 5 Museums” out of 133 in Los Angeles, Battleship IOWA now serves as a historic naval ship institution. Forged in war, guardian of peace, the proud ship keeps watch as the proud sentinel of the LA Waterfront. IOWA’s teak decks and steel bulkheads echo the words and deeds of history: three U.S. Presidents, six of the nine American five-star military leaders, countless foreign dignitaries, and most importantly, thousands of her own heroic sailors. Visitors are awed by IOWA’s proud legacy as one of the fastest and most powerful ships ever to sail the world’s oceans. Battleship IOWA is open to the public daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.