CalArtians Front and Center in Made in L.A. 2012, the City’s First-Ever Biennial

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CalArts alumni and faculty account for more than a third of the 60 artists featured in the large-scale survey exhibition Made in L.A. 2012, the inaugural edition of the new citywide biennial that opened this past weekend at the Hammer Museum and the Los Angeles Municipal Gallery at Barnsdall Park.

Organized by the Hammer in collaboration with LA><ART, the show “presents the work of artists in the early stages of their careers alongside that of midcareer artists who are vital to our community yet are arguably under-recognized,” said the exhibition’s curatorial team.

“A snapshot of what’s happening in this city now,” according to Hammer Museum director Annie Philbin, the biennial provides a counterpoint to the retrospective scope of Pacific Standard Time—the Getty’s recent six-month-long series of exhibitions that traced the emergence of the Los Angeles art scene on the world stage. And just as PST demonstrated the far-reaching influence of CalArts and its predecessor, the Chouinard Art Institute, on L.A.’s rich artmaking legacy, so too does Made in L.A. show the Institute’s clout in shaping the latest directions in contemporary practice.

While younger emerging artists comprise the majority of the roster of Made in L.A., those with CalArts affiliation are an eclectic contingent who cover a remarkable breadth of practices. The featured artists range from legendary choreographer Simone Forti, who taught at the Institute in its very first year, subbing for founding art faculty member Allan Kaprow, to early CalArts graduates Roy Dowell and Channa Horwitz, to a sizable group of more recently minted alums—whose newest member, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, graduated last month with an interschool MFA in Art and Writing.

Zackary Drucker with Rhys Ernst. Still from 'She Gone Rogue,' 2012. HD video, color, sound. Courtesy the artists.

CalArts alumni included in the biennial are: Scott Benzel (Art MFA 01, BFA 88); Meg Cranston (Art MFA 86); Fiona Connor (Art MFA 11); Roy Dowell (Art MFA 75, BFA 73); Zackary Drucker (Art MFA 07), in collaboration with Rhys Ernst; Patricia Fernández (Art MFA 11); Dan Finsel (Art MFA 11); Liz Glynn (Art MFA 08); Mark Hagen (Art MFA 02); Kenyatta A.C. Hinckle (Art–Critical Studies MFA 12); Channa Horwitz(Art BFA 72); Nery Gabriel Lemus (Art MFA 09); Matt Lucero (Art MFA Art 03) and Tuan Andrew Nguyen (Art MFA Art 04), members of The Propeller Group; Dashiell Manley (Art BFA 07); Alex Olson (Art MFA 08); Vincent Ramos (Art MFA 07); Henry Taylor (Art BFA 96); Cody Trepte (Art MFA 10); and Erika Vogt (Film/Video MFA 03).

Faculty in the exhibition, meanwhile, are Thomas Lawson, dean of the School of Art and holder of the Jill and Peter Kraus Distinguished Chair in Art, and Ashley Hunt, co-director of the School of Art’s Program in Photography and Media. The Made in L.A. lineup also includes current visiting School of Art faculty Michelle Dizon and former visiting faculty Ry Rocklen (Art 98).

Lastly, alumnus and current School of Theater faculty Malik Gaines (Critical Studies MFA 99) is a member of the biennial’s five-person curatorial team.

“The vast majority of works on view,” noted the curators’ statement, “were created specifically for the exhibition and reveal the extraordinary array of practices found in our sprawling and multifaceted city.” The show encompasses figurative and abstract painting, sculpture, video installation, site- and situation-specific works, photography, works on paper and a series of performances and public programs.

Above is a video interview with Finsel.

Made in L.A. 2012 is on display through September 2 at three venues across the city: the Hammer Museum in Westwood, LA><ART in Culver City, and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park in Los Feliz. Visit the exhibition website for more details.

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