Made in L.A. 2016 "a, the, though, only" Opening Night @ Hammer Museum In Los Angeles

This is what we talk about all the time. "Los Angeles is having an artistic Renaissance," we say. "Now is the time to be in LA." But what do we mean when we say that? Are we talking about fine art, galleries like Hauser and Wirth and Venus over Manhattan opening up shop in Downtown LA? Are we talking about artists who are moving here from Paris, New York, London? What about subculture, the undercurrent of this city, are we seeing the realization of young, bright, radical minds, or were they there all along? It is difficult to recognize history as it happens, predominately because of the fluidity of geography, time, and language. "Los Angeles" means many different things. "Art" means many different things. The 26 artists exhibiting at the Hammer Museum's Biennial "Made in L.A." expand the curbs of the city's "Renaissance." Walking through the various galleries of the Hammer one finds paintings, embroideries, light installations, fashion designs, ephemera, performances, videos, magical objects, cans of Budweiser and more. In one room one sees the dark, natural-history-museum-esque objects of the wrinkling and toothless Kenzi Shiokava. The next room plays a film by 26-year-old Martine Syms, in which the artist reads Black Power articles on her iphone in the dentists office. "Los Angeles" means a lot of things. "Art" means a lot of things. An exhibition featuring "Los Angeles Artists" can only be dynamic, extensive, and provocative. Perhaps the best description of this diverse work is the exhibition's subtitle, "a, the, though, only." Los Angeles is not a dictatorial force over artists who are passive conduits for its agenda. It is the in-between word - the preposition - the place where things and people move, imagine and create. Made in L.A. 2016 "a, the, though, only" will be on view until August 28, 2016 at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. Text and photographs by Keely Shinners.