Since 2012, the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. biennial has been a premiere venue for the city’s most vital artists. With each iteration, the scope and style of the show has evolved according to its commitment to the unique breadth of Los Angeles’ art community. Made in LA 2020 is no different: conceived as an exhibition in relay between two institutions, the Hammer and the Huntington Gardens, this year’s assortment of 30 artists intended to foreground the LA infrastructure’s instantiation of circuits across distance, even before COVID-19 radically altered how we move, share space, and encounter culture.
In this video, we get to know the 2020 Made in L.A. curatorial team, as they discuss the thematic inspirations that led to the selection of artists and how they have adapted their program to the new conditions of pandemic. Conceptual through-lines that emerged amongst the artists were just as potent after lockdown: entertainment, horror, and the so-called “fourth wall” between artist and audience.
Lauren Mackler, whose background includes founding the exhibition / publication forum Public Fiction, as well as numerous editorial and writing positions throughout the art world, emphasizes how Made in L.A. 2020 responds to the always-becoming, physically diffuse nature of Los Angeles. Myriam Ben Salah is an independent curator who, since she left the Palais de Tokyo in 2016, has worked with institutions like Lazaar Foundation in Tunis, Beirut Art Center, Pejman Foundation in Tehran. Here, she charts the “pause” that the pandemic demanded, and the incorporation of a global sense of grief into the thematic framework and logistical operations of the biennial. Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, a writer and curator who has worked with Performa, the Kitchen, African Artists’ Foundation, Lagos, among others, gives his insight into renegotiating how performance can work when people are not gathering in gallery spaces. All three bring a pointed, collaborative interdisciplinarity to the question of what art can do in a world that can only persist through structural change, and offer the 2020 “version” of Made in L.A. as a powerful example.
Produced by: Reza Monahan Studio
Director of Photography: Sean Morris
A Camera Operator/Lighting: Robert Moreno
B Camera Operator/Sound Engineer: Armeen Monahan
Edited by: Walker Sayen
Additional Footage Provided by: The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens
Video courtesy of Myriam Ben Salah, Lauren Mackler, Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, and
Gallery Association Los Angeles (GALA)