The Hammer Museum's biennial Made in LA, through Sept 7, features work by alumni Tony Greene '85, Kim Fisher MFA '98, Juan Capistran '99, and Mike Frimkess MFA '57. The curators selected 35 artists, with an emphasis on those who are emerging and under recognized. The exhibition debuts recent work and new painting, installation, video, sculpture, photography, and performances created specifically for the exhibition.
One of the under recognized artists in the exhibition is alumnus Tony Greene (‘85), who died of AIDS in 1990. His paintings have not been exhibited or recognized since 1995. One room at the Hammer contains the exhibition Amid Voluptuous Calm, which excavates Greene’s oeuvre, placing it in dialogue with other queer artists in Los Angeles whose work similarly tackles issues of desire, mortality, and trauma. Among those artists is faculty member Judie Bamber. This “show-within-a-show” hints at the numerous ways visual art, poetry, activism, performance, and S&M converge, and how notions of queerness inform artistic production.
Alumnus Michael Frimkess (’57) and his wife Magdalena Suarez Frimkess have been making ceramic work since Michael graduated from Otis, continuing the tradition that Peter Voulkos began in the 1950s. They collaborate on work that comments on contemporary life with imagery from comic books, scenes from South American villages, and Picasso masterpieces. YouTube Video
Also included in Made in LA are site-specific pieces by Juan Capistran ’99 and Kim Fisher MFA ’98.
Faculty member Lauren Mackler shows work from her enterprise Public Fiction, characterized by the LA TImes as "a social hub and a destination for creative experimentation for dozens of emerging and well-known artists."
"It's something you see internationally," curator Connie Butler says. "But we felt that right here, right now, there's a certain vitality around these groups in L.A." Mackler chooses a topic for each show, then invites artists to create work — visual artworks, lectures, performances, screenings, musical acts, fiction, anything goes — around that idea. Each exhibition's three-month run culminates in a printed journal Mackler creates, featuring new works inspired by the show.