2 July, 2018 – Art Agenda
“Not so much a city as an unevenly populated, multi-centered megalopolis, and not so much a year as a point in an escalating concatenation of national and global crises, there might seem to be no possible way to get “Made in L.A. 2018” right. Add to that the divisions within LA’s art community that mirror many of the historically entrenched divisions within the city itself—between east and west, north and south, white and non-white, gentrified and gentrifying, young and no longer young, left and far left. If artists, as “Made in L.A. 2018” curators Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale write, are “some of our most active citizens,” then biennial curators might be something akin to well-intentioned politicians, expected to represent a plurality of impassioned positions while trying also to retain sight of their own.
Neha Choksi’s multi-part video installation Everything sunbright (2018), about nothing less than humanity’s conflicted relationship with the sun, is a feast for the eyes and the mind.
“Made in L.A. 2018” tests the truism that people want to see themselves—or people like them—represented in their cultural institutions. The biennial, and the Hammer more broadly, has developed a reputation for inclusivity. On the opening night, cars trawled fruitlessly for parking spots while, inside, the crowds swelled to near-riotous intensity. When I visited a week later, the galleries were busy with a more diverse group of visitors than I’ve seen at any exhibition in recent memory. As an institution, “Made in L.A.” at the Hammer has finally grown into what it always should have been: a biennial for everyone…”