la-et-cm-knight-hammer-made-in-la-biennial-review-20140619

When thinking about East-West Coast rivarly the hip-hop feud of the 90's (The Notorious B.I.G. and his NY-based label, Bad Boy Records versus West Coast-based rapper 2Pac and L.A. based Death Row records) comes to mind. Although, in terms of art, New York is an international hub of business that L.A. cannot contend the Biennial shows that there is much interesting art festering in the warmer climates of the West Coast and the sprawling city of lights.

Tala Madani Tala Madani

The selection of artists is ground-breaking in that it features more female than male artists, given the statistic that more women than men go to art school and become artists, it makes sense. Curated by Hammer chief curator Connie Butler and independent curator Michael Ned Holte, who slammed the the previous inaugural 2012 biennial in Artforum work fills all the museum's galleries and several of it's outdoor spaces, it feels fresh as 3/4 of the artists are under 45 and most have not had solos shows in L.A., those who have were predominantly exhibited in smaller or alternative venues.

Sarah Rara Sarah Rara

Each artist is showcased in a self-contained space. Sarah Rara's The Pollinators is a poetic and vibrant video of bees pollinating flowers, the large projection is lush and it's bright, saturated hues give it a synthetic feel contrasts the paintings and video animations of Tala Madani, which flatly objectify men portraying male brutality. There is a wide array of material represented, Channing Hansen works creating abstract paintings crocheted from dyed wool and Michael and Magdalena Suarez Frimkess show a stoneware inventory of classic ceramic vase forms glazed in rich, earthy color.

Channing Hansen, 13.35 Channing Hansen, 13.35

The biennial's only theme is that the artists live and work in L.A., on the interplay between city and artist Butler says "There is a way that the geography of Los Angeles comes to play in terms space and time afforded to artists." Lower living costs should not be underestimated in terms of artistic production. Artist Piero Golia occupies a large space of the buildings terrace on which he is carving a 21 foot high nose from white polystyrene foam - that of George Washington to the scale of the first president's head on Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Samara Golden has fabricated outlandish dolls to record every person she met on moving to L.A. which are on display inside a hall of mirrors.

Made in L.A. is on view at UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles until September 7th, 2014.

 

 

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