Made in L.A. is here and better than ever. The third iteration of the Hammer Museum’s Los Angeles-centric art biennial, Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only showcases a cherry-picking of L.A.’s coolest up and coming artists and cultural entrepreneurs from a variety of disciplines including sculpture, painting, film and video, fashion, music, literature and performance.
Perhaps most interesting is the lack of any theme from curators Aram Moshayedi and Hamza Walker. The result? A pretty comprehensive survey, expressly more political and culturally diverse than past years, with participants from performer/sculptor Rafa Esparza, to the public access activists at Labor Link TV, and invisible labor of Lauren Davis Fisher. It’s safe to say the Hammer’s Made in L.A. biennial continues to act as a platform for creative upstarts and longtime under-recognized creators in and responsive to Los Angeles, and vice versa.
Martine Syms’s new video, Laughing Gas, draws from early cinema history and the language of television to investigate the evolution of black identity on both sides of American television productions. By using Edwin Porter’s 1907 silent film of the same title and performing the role of “Martine,” Syms challenges on-screen representation and presumed target audiences with her own identity.
Mark Verabioff‘s immersive installation of a large vinyl decal, new paintings and collages is sourced from iconic advertising campaigns, specifically from magazines and books of commercial photography. Juxtaposing photographs of “iconic men” and feminist art slogans provokes a reflection about a male-centered art world, its role in the production of popular culture and the legacy of art history’s most prolific women.
Excavation II is the result of Daniel R. Small’s archaeological project to uncover and recover cultural materials from the colossal film set of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. Small’s project encapsulates several narratives within its expansive scope, from touching on the history of epic American cinema, the social conditions of California’s central valley (site of The Ten Commandments) and the fantastical misrepresentations of ancient Egypt.
Side Note: Be sure to check out the schedule for related programming, which includes Exhibition Tours and Lunchtime Art Talks on participating artists.
Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only is on view through August 28, 2016.