The Hammer Museum has recently released a sneak peek video for their second biennial Made in L.A. exhibition. The show’s co-curators, Hammer chief curator Connie Butler and independent critic and curator Michael Ned Holte, have selected a tight group of 35 artists, down from 60 in 2012. Focusing on “emerging and under-recognized artists” from L.A., the exhibition will feature a cross section of painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and as befits L.A., film and video.
An encouraging alternative to the gender disparity currently on view elsewhere in the art world, about half of the participants are women. The curators have also sought to highlight the role of alternative and artist-run spaces in LA, such as Lauren Mackler’s Public Fiction gallery and press, micro-gallery the Los Angeles Museum of Art, and DIY radio station KCHUNG. Other participants include androgynous filmmaker and performer Wu Tsang (whose recent Houston performance was covered by Glasstire), Channing Hansen (brother of Beck and grandson of Fluxus pioneer Al Hansen), cross-disciplinary artist and “queer eco-feminist” A.L. Steiner, and octogenarian painter Marcia Hafif, who has been producing sensuous, elegant variations on the monochrome for over 40 years. The curators also give a nod to the current ceramics revival (looking at you Sterling Ruby) with the inclusion of Magdalena Suarez Frimkess and Michael Frimkess, who have been working in the medium since before most of their successors were in short pants. Also notable is the selection of mixed-media paintings by the late Tony Greene, who died of AIDS in 1990. His work was also selected by Catherine Opie and Richard Hawkins for inclusion in this year’s Whitney Biennial.
Made in L.A. will also feature two jury awards worth $100,000 and $25,000, as well a third award for $25,000, the winner of which will be selected by the public. (2012’s exhibition had only one $100,000 prize, for which a jury selected 5 finalists, who were then voted on by the public.)
With current discussions about the bland “biennalization” of biennials and their empty appeals to globalization, perhaps the solution lies in looking at the varied and heterogeneous art being produced in one locale. We will find out if Made in L.A. is able to deliver on this potential when it opens on June 15.
also by Matt Stromberg
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