Made in L.A. 2014
By Jesy Odio '15
Published Jun 11, 2014 8:00 AM
The city's second biennial exhibition, at the Hammer Museum, showcases 35 local artists.
How do you show the current state of the art scene of a city as diverse as Los Angeles? The Hammer Museum's answer is the second biennial exhibition, "Made in L.A."
The show will occupy the exhibition space at the Hammer Museum. To make way for the large-scale show, the Armand Hammer permanent collection has been tucked away for the first time ever. Instead of taking over three different spaces across the city, as in the first biennial, this time the exhibition will be in Westwood only.
The show will include works by 35 artists hand-picked by Hammer chief curator, Connie Butler, and independent curator and CalArts faculty member, Michael Ned Holte. While choosing emerging and mid-career artists to showcase for the event, the two curators spent a year visiting hundreds of studios all over the city. The result is a wide collection of artists who are debuting new paintings, installations, videos, sculptures, photography and performances.
All the work has been produced solely for the exhibition and never before seen by the public.. Holte explains that the intent of the exhibitions was to illustrate the “number of idiosyncratic microclimates” in the art scene of Los Angeles. Indeed all the artists come from all different pockets of the city.
Some of the artists were born and raised in Southern California, while others have spent time all over the country and around the world. For an exhibition this large, artists come in all shapes and forms, and now some come in groups, like Print Fiction, a space and print organization, and the current mobile micro-museum, Los Angeles Museum of Art (not to be confused with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art). The collaborating duo, Gerard & Kelly, who completed their MFA as a collective at UCLA in 2013, are preparing a dance installation titled Reusable Parts /Endless Love. Another UCLA grad, Devin Kenney MFA ‘13, explores the interaction between power and social media for his performance on August 5.
All artists and collectives are eligible for three different awards: the Mohn award, chosen by the jury honoring artistic excellence with a grant of $100,000; the Career Achievement award, honoring brilliance and excellence; and the Public Recognition award, chosen by the public.
Inevitably, one New York Times art critic has already compared L.A’s biennial to the Whitney Biennial, which this year was curated by UCLA photography professor, Catherine Opie. Unlike the Whitney Biennial, though, which accepts artists from all over the country, Made in L.A. 2014 has narrowed its range to artists with a connection to the urban metropolis Southern California.
This is Connie Butler’s first exhibition since she became the chief curator at the Hammer. “She has a deep scholarship in contemporary and modern art and a very strong appetite for the new,” says Hammer director Ann Philbin, “and that’s a combination that suits us well.”
Philbin notes the fluid synergy between the Hammer Museum, UCLA, and Los Angeles. “The Museum is positioned,” she says, “both physical and metaphorically—at the gateway between the city of Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles.”
This past February, the Hammer dropped its admission fee. All exhibitions, performances, talks and screenings are now free to the public.
Made in L.A. runs through September 7. Find out more at www.hammer.ucla.edu.