The sixth Hammer Museum biennial exhibition celebrates Los Angeles artists who seamlessly blend materiality, performance, and collective expression. The showcase reimagines art as an integral part of daily life, woven into community ties, queer narratives, and indigenous and diasporic histories.
This iteration of Made in L.A. with the title Acts of Living offers a fresh perspective on Los Angeles art, blending various genres like photography, abstract works, and storytelling to create a dynamic experience.
While the exhibition mainly showcases non-painting pieces, it includes standout abstract works like Victor Estrada’s “Pink Landscape” and Teresa Baker’s mixed-media creations. Melissa Cody’s psychedelic weavings and Teresa Tolliver’s delicate sculptures also leave a notable mark. Christopher Suarez’s miniature business park and Michael Alvarez’s pictorial representations delve into the city’s social geography and its driving force.
A standout feature of the iteration is Vincent Enrique Hernandez’s “Valley Tours” conducted in his old Volvo, offering a unique glimpse into working-class neighborhoods and commercial boulevards. These photographic tours provide an intriguing perspective on Los Angeles.
Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living is not without its flaws, with loosely conceived sections that are often imperceptible within the exhibition. The emphasis on storytelling, particularly through pictures, leaves the sculpture section relatively weak. Notable examples include Ishi Glinsky’s oversized rendition of the “Scream” ghost’s face, which is more of an amusement park attraction, and videos featuring Pippa Garner wearing satirical T-shirts.
Pablo José Ramírez, a fellow curator, suggests that the Watts Towers serve as a guidepost to the exhibition’s ambiance. The Towers, created over 33 years by Italian stonecutter Simon Rodia, represent a folk-avant-garde work of art located off the beaten track. The varied and ample art on display at the Hammer Museum has made the chore of organizing more than 250 pieces into a cohesive installation surprisingly successful.
Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living runs at the Hammer Museum until December 31.
Featured image: Teresa Baker works (installation view) at Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living. Courtesy of the artist and the Hammer Museum