The Hammer Museum announced Thursday that its next biennial art show, Made in L.A. 2016, will be co-curated by Hamza Walker of the Renaissance Society in Chicago and the Hammer’s own Aram Moshayedi.
Combining a curator who has worked extensively in Los Angeles for the last 10 years with someone from outside the region, Moshayedi said, will help the program to examine regional art in relation to national and international art scenes.
“We both want to address the question of how Los Angeles is part of a network of cities that artists inhabit fluidly,” he said. “This is about questioning whether or not a regional identity can be forged in a city that is inherently diverse and international.”
The Hammer curator will work with Hamza, director of education and associate curator for the Renaissance Society, a contemporary art museum on the campus of the University of Chicago.
The mandate of Made in L.A., which debuted in 2012, is to showcase the work of artists from the L.A. area with particular emphasis on the emerging and the under-recognized.
Selected artists are in the running to receive one of three awards funded by philanthropists Jarl and Pamela Mohn: the $100,000 Mohn Award, the $25,000 Career Achievement Award and the $25,000 Public Recognition Award.
The 2014 winners were the Los Angeles Museum of Art, a micro-gallery and art installation created by Alice Könitz; ceramic artists Michael and Magdalena Frimkess; and mixed-media artist Jennifer Moon.
The fact that the winners were so wildly disparate shows that there is no such thing as a quintessential L.A. artist, Moshayedi said.
“The idea of diversity and disparity is something that’s really been evidenced to the two previous iterations,” he said. “So there’s really not one monolithic idea of an ‘L.A. artist,’ plus that idea of an L.A. artist is one that should be contested.”
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