The Hammer Museum introduced Thursday that L.A. artist Kandis Williams, co-founder of Cassandra Press and a visiting college member on the California Institute of the Arts, will obtain the museum’s $100,000 Mohn Award for creative excellence.
The museum additionally introduced two different awards together with this yr’s “Made in L.A. 2020: a model” biennial. The Profession Achievement Award, for “brilliance and resilience,” will go to painter Monica Majoli; the Public Recognition Award will go to painter Fulton Leroy Washington, a.ok.a. Mr. Wash. Each of these artists will obtain $25,000 every.
The Mohn Award is funded by Jarl and Pamela Mohn. This yr the philanthropists gave an extra $5.15 million to assist future “Made in L.A.” exhibitions and the associated Mohn Awards, in addition to Hammer acquisitions of rising or under-recognized artists, which the biennial spotlights. This yr’s exhibition is offered at each the Hammer in Westwood and the Huntington Library, Artwork Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.
Williams’ work traverses collage, efficiency, assemblage, writing, publishing and curating. She co-founded Cassandra Press, a nonprofit “publishing and academic platform” in 2016 with artists Taylor Doran and Jordan Nassar. It places out lo-fi pamphlets, presenting texts by Black vital theorists, and it presents artist zines, lessons and exhibitions. Her densely layered collages on view on the Hammer puzzle collectively up to date fashions and classical sculptures as she “conflates stills of classical magnificence with dying masks and mythology,” because the Hammer places it. Giant-scale collages on view on the Huntington deal with the historical past and classification of vegetation by way of portraits of invasive species and adventurer-botanists.
L.A. painter Majoli usually addresses homoeroticism and sexual fetishism in her work. Her “Blueboys” collection, which she’s been growing since 2015, depicts centerfolds who appeared within the now-defunct homosexual life-style and porn journal “Blueboy” from 1976 to 1979. Her delicate, pastel-hued watercolor woodcut transfers recommend imminent tragedy on condition that the AIDS epidemic was on the horizon on the time her topics have been photographed.
Compton-based Mr. Wash mastered the artwork of photorealistic portraiture whereas serving 21 years in jail for a nonviolent drug offense he says he didn’t commit. President Obama commuted his sentence in 2016. Work from his teardrop collection, on view within the biennial, depict public figures reminiscent of Obama and Michael Jackson in addition to fellow jail inmates, all with strong tears rolling down their cheeks. Tiny figures and narrative vignettes seem contained in the teardrops.
The Mohn Award and Profession Achievement Award recipients have been chosen by a jury of curators; the Public Recognition Award was chosen by guests to the exhibition.
“Made in L.A. 2020: a model,” the fifth iteration of the biennial, closes Aug. 1. The exhibition, curated by Myriam Ben Salah and Lauren Mackler with the Hammer’s Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, had an particularly bumpy run, with its opening date in limbo for months due to the pandemic and artists retooling interactive items and performances in response to evolving public well being tips. It sat, totally put in, inside museums shuttered to the general public, earlier than ultimately opening in April.
“The final yr has furthered our perception in artists not simply as creators but additionally as energetic contributors within the bigger world of artwork, politics, and tradition round them,” the jury mentioned in a press release. “Every of the awarded artists has an unimaginable particular person apply in addition to an important function in caring for and cultivating their communities. Made in L.A. has lengthy had an ethos that displays the generosity of trade that’s attainable on this metropolis, and this collection of artists embodies the fantastically interdependent nature of cultural manufacturing in Los Angeles.”
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