Hammer shares biennial details, including Venice Beach free-for-all
Biennials can be large, messy, expensive and controversial undertakings for museums that attempt them, but it's too late for the Hammer to turn back now. Ramping up for the debut of its new biennial, the museum confirmed key details about the project, including the name, "Made in L.A.", and a run date of June 3 through Sept. 2, 2012.
"Whether people love or hate them, biennials are very much anticipated, desired and needed by the artistic community," Hammer Museum director Ann Philbin told Culture Monster last year when word of its biennial, done in partnership with LAX Art, first circulated. "They are our versions of the Oscars or Emmys."
Unlike the well-known Whitney Biennial, this one has a regional focus: about 60 artists, mainly emerging or lesser-known, working in the L.A. area. Names will be released by March. The exhibition-event will take place at a few venues across the city: the Hammer in Westwood, LAX Art in Culver City and the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park, home to Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House. It will be sponsored by Wells Fargo.
The concept for Subotnick is collaboration, not invasion. "This is about the artists who are down there all the time, every day, showing their work," she says, describing the mix of sand art, spray painting and expressionistic work that dominates the scene at the beach. "What I love is that the system is so open -- and the artists I bring in will have to do their work in the same manner: Set it up, take it down, no special privileges. It will be unregulated."
Besides Subotnick, the rest of the curatorial team includes Anne Ellegood from the Hammer and Lauri Firstenberg, Cesar Garcia, and Malik Gaines from LAX Art.
One Hammer staffer who will not be involved is Douglas Fogle, who has announced that he will be leaving his post as chief curator and deputy director in January to pursue "independent curatorial projects." He joined the museum in 2009 from the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.
The Hammer says it will begin a search for his replacement after the new year.
Photo: An overhead banner greets visitors to Venice Beach. Credit: Genaro Molina / For The Times