2023 Hammer Museum Bicentennial

The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles opens Made in LA 2023: Living ActionsSixth iteration of its biennial exhibition showcasing LA artists and work made in LA.

Co-curated by Diana Navi, an independent curator, and Pablo José Ramírez, recently appointed Hammer curator, and assisted by Hammer Loose curatorial fellow Ashton Cooper, this 2023 edition strikes me as even better curated.

I make that claim unequivocally because, true to my own preferences, the exhibition leans heavily on painting and manufactured objects as well as conceptual, environmental and performance art (such works are represented in the biennial). More than that, as I walked through the exhibit at the press preview, I sensed a definite progression or rhythm to the exhibition that isn’t always in evidence at Biennials.

Acts of Living, the title of the exhibition is taken from an inscription in Watts Towers by Los Angeles artist Noah Purifoy, “One need not be a visual artist to exercise creative potential. Creativity can be an act of life, a way of life, a formula for doing the right thing.

That inspirational quote seems especially fitting for Los Angeles, the world capital of creativity, where more and more people are creating their lives and spending their time in artistic and cultural pursuits (that’s what I believe).

At the press preview, Ms. Navi (another group led by Ramirez) led me on a tour, and she talked about the role the pandemic plays in the art that is created or selected. He said that many artists focused on what was before them and what they could create on their own, while Navi and Ramirez did not focus solely on hand-crafted performances, creating after years of isolation. An intergenerational conversation between artists at the exhibition.

There are works by 39 artists in the exhibition, and I can’t list them all, I can’t really do them all justice, except to show the landscapes of Jesse Homer French, a self-taught painter in the eighties. Paintings of urban coyotes or a graveyard are what she calls “regional narrative paintings”; Jacquie Amezquita, a 38-year-old artist whose work is reminiscent of early female land artists such as Alice Aycock and Michelle Stuart, and who mixes mud, masa, corn to create sculptural canvases of displacement and displacement; Paige Jeong Moon, born in Seoul, South Korea in 1984 and graduated from the Art Center in Pasadena in 2021, has small-scale acrylic paintings depicting everyday life. smooth; and the work of Akinsanya Kambon, a former Black Panther whose ceramic works speak to the African diaspora and colonialism.

Half a dozen short films about some of the artists can be found on the Hammer Museum’s YouTube channel. Yes, there are installation and performance artists. Vicente Enrique Hernandez has a project in which one artist takes people on a tour of the San Fernando Valley, while another makes art on both sides of the Mexican border. Also placed on a wall at the Hammer Museum, „Between two windows, the artist Roxana Pyrouzmont has pieces of paper flung from her hands and around the enclosed space, which she catches and tries to straighten. Before they fly back out like dollars at a carnival cash booth.”

It’s an exhibit that I may have to go back several times to take it all in. I suggest you do too.

Made in LA 2023: Living Actions will be on exhibit at the Hammer until December 31, 2023.

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