Dirty Protests: Selections from the Hammer Collection
Organized by Chief Curator, Connie Butler with Vanessa Arizmendi, Curatorial Assistant
Through May 19th
Article by Cathy Breslaw
The major thread tying this exhibition together is that the works are a combination of recent museum acquisitions along with some of its permanent collection that have never been shown before. Works on paper, paintings, video, sculpture and drawing in a mix of mediums from 40 international and established multi-generational artists are on view. For museum visitors, navigating this exhibition can be both confusing and intriguing. Upon first glance, the provocative title of the exhibition Dirty Protests (oil painting by Iranian artist Tal Madani, 2015) misleads the viewer. Madani’s work which sometimes represents male subjects in a baby or child-like manner addresses serious cultural themes, but is only one theme represented in this show. Installation piece City 000 (2010) by Mike Kelley which references the Superman story, employs rock-like geological structures as a base for a shrunken city. Lit from within, this group of transluscent multi-color resin bottles arranged as a city scape is set up high, atop a black massive-sized rock with a staircase the viewer can climb to examine. Mark Bradford’s painting I Don’t Have the Power to Force the Bathhouses to Post Anything (2015), representative of his mixed media collages made from billboard segments, flyers and graffitied stencils reflecting his urban community stood out as well as webcam video sickhands (2011) by millennial artist Petra Cortright, who sometimes uses webcams to create short self-reflective examinations of feminine self-worth and identity using software to enhance, manipulate and distort images of the female form.
Ghanian artist Ibrahim Manam’s ALIJA X (2015-16) sleeping prayer mats melted on coal sacks is one example of several works in this exhibition that use a myriad of materials combined in unusual ways to contextualize their ideas. Organized by Chief Curator Connie Butler with Vanessa Arizmedi, Curatorial Assistant, Dirty Protests is on view through May 19th.
Mike Kelley, City 000, 2010. Mixed media. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Purchased through the Board of Overseers Acquisition Fund with additional funds provided by Chara Schreyer and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn.
Ibrahim Mahama, ALIJA X, 2015-2016. Sleeping prayer mats melted on coal sacks, 90 9/16 × 114 9/16 in. (230 × 291 cm). Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Purchased with funds provided by Beth Rudin DeWoody. ©Ibrahim Mahama.
Tala Madani, Dirty Protest, 2015. Oil on linen. 76 x 79 x 1 3/8 in. (193 x 200.7 x 3.5 cm). Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Purchase.
Mika Tajima, Epimelesthai Sautou (Take Care), 1, 2014. Thermoformed acrylic, spray enamel, aluminum. 78 × 78 × 32 in. (198.1 × 198.1 × 81.3 cm). Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Gift of Kayne Griffin Corcoran. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.
Petra Cortright, rgb,d-lay, 2011. Webcam video. Running Time: 24 seconds. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Purchase. Courtesy of the Artist. © 2014 Petra Cortright