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The Hammer and LAXART Join Forces to Organize the First Los Angeles Biennial
The Biennial is a programmatic collaboration which comes after more than a year of discussions between the two organizations. Photo: Elon Schoenholz.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Hammer Museum and LAXART announced a formal programmatic affiliation centered on the development and organization of the Los Angeles Biennial in 2012. The Biennial will follow the tradition of the Hammer Invitational exhibitions which take place every two years and have included Snapshot (2001), International Paper (2003), Thing (2005), Eden’s Edge (2007), Nine Lives (2009) as well as the upcoming All of this and nothing (winter 2011). Unlike the Invitationals, however, the Los Angeles Biennial will focus exclusively on artists from the LA region with an emphasis on emerging artists. This Biennial exhibition will be large in scale—mounted at the Hammer and LAXART as well as additional sites throughout the city—and will leverage LAXART’s experience with public art projects.

The Biennial is a programmatic collaboration which comes after more than a year of discussions between the two organizations and on the heels of smaller initiatives between the Hammer and LAXART such as Superclogger – a project by artist Joel Kyack. In 2011 the Hammer and LAXART will partner with LA-based artist Shannon Ebner. Ebner will have installations at both the Hammer, as a Hammer Project, and LAXART and will also create an installation of public art. A team of curators from both institutions including Hammer Senior Curator Anne Ellegood, Hammer Curator Ali Subotnick, LAXART Director Lauri Firstenberg, LAXART Assistant Director and Curator of Public Art Cesar Garcia, and LAXART Curator Malik Gaines will work together on this city-wide initiative, which will also include public art projects. A taskforce of individuals from across many departments of both organizations will work together to negotiate the complexities of such a large exhibition.

“We are extremely happy to announce this exciting partnership. I have always had enormous respect for LAXART and for Lauri’s ambitious program,” remarks Hammer Director Ann Philbin. “Working together allows us to spread out into the community and better serve artists who are living and working in LA. We feel a kindred spirit with LAXART in their support of LA artists— their priorities are very much in line with our own.”

Founded by Lauri Firstenberg in 2005, LAXART is an independent, non-profit art space in Culver City which has made important contributions to LA’s art scene by focusing its program on commissioning new work by emerging artists and organizing an array of public art initiatives. The Hammer has a long tradition of showing and supporting LA artists – for the past decade the internationally acclaimed Hammer Projects series has featured emerging artists from the city, and the Hammer Invitational exhibitions have always focused heavily on work being produced in Los Angeles as well.

“What a gift for LAXART to collaborate with the Hammer under Annie's dynamic leadership and to work with their curatorial team which includes some of our most esteemed colleagues in the country let alone the city,” says Lauri Firstenberg, founder and director of LAXART. “The Hammer’s sustained dedication to LA’s arts community has established a unique trust, base, and support among artists. Together we will create various new and exciting platforms and opportunities for artists in the region.”

This fall the Hammer and LAXART will work out the organizational details and structure of the partnership and programmatic work on the Biennial and its related programs will begin in early 2011. The Hammer and LAXART will also begin working on smaller-scale collaborations that may include curatorial and public programming partnerships.

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