Categories: THE BUZZ

THE BUZZ: Dirty Protest: Selections from the Hammer Contemporary Collection

Artist:  Mike Kelley   City 000   Mixed Media    2010

Organized by Chief Curator, Connie Butler with Vanessa Arizmendi, Curatorial Assistant
On view through May 19, 2019.

Written by Cathy Breslaw

March 15, 2019

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 translucent 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. Another notable piece is the 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.

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.

For more information visit: https://hammer.ucla.edu/exhibitions/2019/dirty-protest-selections-from-the-hammer-contemporary-collection/

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