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LACMA Displays Most Extensive Presentation of Museum's Contemporary Collection in Ten Years


LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) displays the most extensive presentation of the museum’s permanent collection of contemporary art in ten years. Human Nature: Contemporary Art from the Collection features approximately seventy-five pieces, representing a striking variety of works in diverse media—painting, drawing, photography, video, and audio. Borrowing its title from a work by seminal artist Bruce Nauman, Human Nature surveys works by several generations of artists who have made defining contributions to the recent art landscape, from 1968 to the present. Many of the works are on view for the first time since their acquisition, including pieces by Haegue Yang, Leslie Hewitt, Rachel Harrison, Glenn Ligon, Paul Pfeiffer, and Zhang Huan, among others.

Human Nature addresses several significant positions and thematic dialogues, spanning a period known for its plurality of styles. Following a loose chronological path, the show can be entered from the present or the past. At one end are works that straddle the transitional space from conceptual art to minimal sculpture by Daniel La Rue Johnson and Larry Bell, followed by the abstract minimalism of Sol Lewitt, Fred Sandback, and Donald Judd. In a nod to the prevalence of conceptualism since the 1960s there are text works by Mel Bochner, Joseph Kosuth, and Bruce Nauman. An emphasis on the body and performance in the early 1970s is also highlighted in works by Nauman, Lynda Benglis, David Hammons, Ana Mendieta, Hannah Wilke, and Vito Acconci.

The assemblage tradition is seen throughout the exhibition from works by George Herms to David Hammons and Betye Saar to young artists like Amanda Ross-Ho. Existential notions of representation and the self are explored in photography and video works by Lorna Simpson, Yinka Shonibare, Rodney McMillian, Carlee Fernandez, and Nikki S. Lee.

Having recently undergone an extensive conservation effort, Nam June Paik’s Video Flag Z (1986) is shown in addition to the likewise monumental work 48 Portraits by Gerhard Richter—one of only four photographic sets that Richter made in 1998 after his seminal paintings created in 1972 that filled the German Pavilion at that year’s Venice Biennale. Haegue Yang’s major installation Doubles and Couples (Version Turin) (2008) is on view for the first time since being acquired in 2009.

There is a considerable showing of works by young Los Angeles artists that have been primarily acquired in the last five years, including those by painters Mark Bradford, Alexandra Grant, Mark Grotjahn, Elliott Hundley, and Friedrich Kunath, along with sculptor Liz Craft. Additionally, the installation incorporates some key loans to amplify and extend the selection of works from the collection.

Human Nature: Contemporary Art from the Collection is curated by Franklin Sirmans, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head of Contemporary Art, and Christine Y. Kim, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art. A series of performances and film screenings pertaining to the works are also presented in conjunction with the installation.






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