On Tuesday, October 24th, Art Division students, along with Field Trips volunteer Elsa Longhauser, visited the Hammer Museum for a tour of the current show, Made in LA 2023: Acts of Living. The show’s co-curator Pablo José Ramírez led the tour, which included students Gerardo Navarro, Nova Mejia, Melissa Soriano, Nicole Sierra, Nicole Jimenez, Sheily Aguilar, Jane Trejo-Ramirez, Tsaná Perez Espinosa and Jailene Sanchez, as well as Art Division staff members Dan McCleary, Luis Motta, Cindy Ojeda and Alina Kawai.
Many of the students had never been to the Hammer Museum before, so the trip “was an eye opener,” Art Division Program Coordinator Alina Kawai said. “The background of Made in LA was really amazing.”
Ramírez walked the group through the main galleries, explaining the groupings of works in the show, which features 39 LA-based artists and collectives, a highly diverse group whose common theme, according to Hyperallergic magazine, is “diaspora.” Ramírez’s own background reflects this theme. He grew up in a Maya K´iche´ village in Guatemala, explaining in Curtain magazine that Guatemala’s “messy, turbulent history, colonial pain, and inspiring ancestral culture” has inspired his curatorial practice. “Pablo was great,” Art Division Director of Finance Cindy Ojeda said. “He really brought a new perspective.
Elsa pointed out that Ramírez, who had been working in Berlin, had originally been hired by the Hammer to curate the Made in LA show only, but his work impressed them so much that they have since hired him as a permanent member of their curatorial staff.
Afterwards, Art Division students and staff had lunch at a nearby Pain Quotidien, where they occupied an entire long table and held a lively discussion about the works that made an especially strong impression. Many students were especially struck by Jackie Amézquita’s “El suelo que nos alimenta,” a wall-sized grid of brown tiles made of dirt and masa taken from 144 Los Angeles neighborhoods, etched with classic LA imagery.
Students were also inspired by the richness and diversity of the work, which represented so many Los Angeles artists of color from different cultures and communities.
The Art Division group left with a catalog of the show–now in the Art Division library–and a great desire to return and see the exhibit again.
Made in LA: Acts of Living will run through December 23, 2023.