If you ask me what I’ve missed most during the pandemic I won’t even hesitate when answering. Museums. Man, have I missed them. As an avid museum goer for much of my life it’s been difficult not having access to my local gallery spaces. Luckily, as things are improving my favorite spots are starting to open again including The Hammer Museum and Huntington Library galleries and to coincide with their re-openings they are showcasing a brand new shared exhibition – Made in LA 2020: a version.
For the past several years the Hammer Museum has been highlighting locally based artists through the biennial Made in LA exhibition and to celebrate the 5th iteration the show has been expanded to a second exhibition space, the Huntington Library galleries. As the title indicates the show was set to open in 2020 but the pandemic put those plans on hold. Now that both museums have been cleared to reopen the public can finally view the original works of 30 diverse area artists.
Recently, I visited both institutions to preview the exhibition and found a variety of works on display from sculpture to painting to video art and more. As in any installation there were pieces I loved and others…not so much. Among my favorite works were the paintings of Fulton Leroy Washington (aka MR. WASH).
Washington honed his painting skills in prison while serving a life sentence for a non violent drug offense. While incarcerated he painted photo-realistic portraits of his fellow inmates sometimes depicting their former life on the outside (such as the above image of fellow inmate John Mondaine) and other times depicting their psychological turmoil. In 2016 he was granted clemency and today he continues to create original works of art.
In addition to the works of Washington their are several other fascinating pieces such as the photography of Buck Ellison,
the tapestry work of Christina Forrer,
and the paintings of Mario Ayala.
Made in LA 2020: a vision is an ideal introduction to the diverse array of contemporary artwork being created in Los Angeles. People often complain that Los Angeles is devoid of culture but currently on view at the Huntington and Hammer are the works of 30 unique artists proving that notion wrong. Now that both galleries are safely open again area residents will have the perfect opportunity to see these works and appreciate the area’s artistic talents.