Gagosian opens the gallery's first exhibition of works by Lauren Halsey
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, July 25, 2024

Gagosian opens the gallery's first exhibition of works by Lauren Halsey
Lauren Halsey, slo but we sho: everybody is going to make it this time, 2024. Mixed media on foil-insulated foam and wood, 113 3/4 x 116 1/8 x 19 3/8 inches (289 x 295 x 49.2 cm) © Lauren Halsey. Photo: Thomas Lannes. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian.

PARIS.- Gagosian is presenting the gallery’s first exhibition of works by Lauren Halsey, on view at 4 rue de Ponthieu, Paris, from March 21 through May 25, 2024. This is Halsey’s second exhibition in France, following Too Blessed 2 be Stressed! at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, in 2019.

Halsey’s work proposes visionary new possibilities for art and architecture that convey the vitality, pride, and resilience of her community in South Central Los Angeles, an area that has long played an important role in defining Black culture. The exhibition in Paris features two related series: foil works (2011–) and protruded engravings (2022–). In both bodies of work, Halsey collects and repurposes imagery unique to her community as means of commemoration, celebration, and transcendence.

The eight-foot-tall wall-mounted foil works are mixed-media assemblages on foil-insulated foam, a support that reflects Halsey’s interest in architectural materials. Combining found objects and collaged images, she produces dense, colorful compositions with an energy that echoes that of the community that inspires them. The works incorporate a wide range of vernacular iconography and slogans, commercial signs and products, fliers, and graffiti that promote local businesses, institutions, and activism. In her collective representations of those who live in South Central LA, Halsey voices support for efforts against forces of gentrification, displacement, and disenfranchisement. Also pictured within the densely montaged compositions are Black and queer icons including musicians such as Joan Armatrading, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder.

Halsey produces protruded engravings using a dense, durable form of polymer-modified gypsum, carved into wall-mounted reliefs with an applied patina. They feature words and symbols inspired by the lived experience and visual culture of South Central residents, remixed with ancient Egyptian iconography and Afrofuturist utopian visions. Espousing an optimistic understanding of communal identity, these works use imagery related to the eastside of south central los angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I) (2023), Halsey’s monumental site-specific commission for the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Halsey is participating this year in Stranieri Ovunque—Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa for the 60th Biennale di Venezia, on view from April 20 through November 24, 2024. In addition, Serpentine, London, will organize the first solo exhibition of Halsey’s work in the United Kingdom, open from October 4, 2024, through January 5, 2025.

Lauren Halsey was born in 1987 in Los Angeles, where she lives and works. Collections include Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Exhibitions include we still here, there, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2018); Too Blessed 2 be Stressed!, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2019); The Banner Project, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2021–22); and Seattle Art Museum (2022). Halsey participated in Made in L.A. 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, where she was awarded the Mohn Award for artistic excellence. In 2021, Halsey received the Gwendolyn Knight | Jacob Lawrence Prize from the Seattle Art Museum. In 2023, she installed the eastside of south central los angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I), a commission for the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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