Last Friday, we shared our predictions of who we thought were going to be our favorites and who we envisioned the top five at Made In L.A. to be. After seeing the show? We have a totally revamped top five. There were so many amazing artists, whose work was clarified and enhanced by being shown in the museum. Despite the show’s flaws, there is still going to be a top five and someone is still going to win $100K. Although we are not picking the top five and have no idea how they are going to pick the top five in the show, we have notes on our previous five and a new group of people we feel brought work to Made In L.A. that is definitely worthy of the prize.
Our previous top five included Kathryn Andrews, Zackary Drucker, Dan Finsel, Nicole Miller, and Ry Rocklen. All of those artists certainly brought in fantastic work. Two problems with them, though: three of the five were video artists and two of the five did not bring in entirely “new” work. The video item we did not see problematic until being there and remembering that each of the video artists there did not bring in abstract works or things you could just “walk in on.” Instead, all of the pieces you had to catch from start to finish and could not take them as they were, as art pieces. The other factor of work seemingly being recycled was a bit of a letdown as we had already seen them and, although great to see in person, a bit of the magic was lost when encountering the art in person.
The new top five we picked represent people who we suspected would be great and were just brilliant to behold. Similarly, a few were completely unexpected. They all represent art that appeals to both the headiest of art viewers to the most pedestrian of art viewers: the beauty and effort of each of these works is limitless.
I had a fight with myself on Friday on whether or not to include Fiona on my initial top five. Seeing her work in person, right when you walk into the Hammer, made me regret not including her. The work is an entirely recreated version of the staircase you use to enter the Hammer, imitated perfectly. Every scuff and marking and blemish she recreated perfectly in her piece. Many will walk by and think it is just a rogue staircase–but it is truly amazing. Fiona is a brilliant artist and certainly one who deserves every bit of recognition she gets. Her work is very easy to understand and the craftsmanship is out of this world.
Cayetano’s piece is going to be the fan favorite, hands down. What he brought to the show is what I imagined Ry Rocklen to bring: something bright, crazy, and very “now.” The piece is in homage to Las Vegas and is probably the most well presented and executed piece in the show: you enter through a collage of various Vegas rugs he assembled together and are brought into a dark room where a projection lights up a carved wall that is equally computer game as it is Frank Lloyd Wright as it is Las Vegas. The piece is so very “now” and easily could have been in Transmission L.A. It was a triumph and certainly is the most Instagrammed piece in the show, a device we used to gauge what pieces of art people were enjoying most.
While at the Hammer, there was a tiny old woman in the corner of a gallery surrounded by a huge crowd. Sure enough, it was Channa Horwitz beaming next to her art. These we expected to be great–but there is something so complicated and thorough about them in person that you just are in awe. Her pieces are these heavily plotted mathematical art pieces that bend and shape flat paper into almost 3D surfaces. It’s like magic: I “get” how it works but I don’t. Beyond that, they are beautiful, her eye for color being particularly fantastic (and undoubtedly tied into her math, too).
Meleko Mokgosi was one of the more unexpected artists in the show. His work is immense and so detailed and beautiful. They are incredibly rich subject wise, of course. However, beyond that they are the highest of art: his entry to the show was the only piece that left you dumbstruck, as if you were viewing a piece of classic art at the Louvre. Meleko Mokgosi is working on another plane with his giant, politically charged paintings. There really isn’t anything else to say about his aside from, “Go see it!!!”
Koki Tanaka was the most unexpected in the show, more so than Mokgosi. He was one of those artists who we didn’t know quite what to expect from and–sure enough–he blew us out of the water. In his very overlooked entry space at the Hammer, you go through black doors to be brought into a mini-concert, where dual projectors and mirrors broadcast a xylophone player in and around each other throughout the entire room. Somehow, he creates a prism of video and sound in this space where you can see audience and performer at all times. It’s a truly an exceptional experience.
Along with those five, we have to give major props to Pearl C. Hsiung, Patricia Fernandez, and Meg Cranston for their work at Made In L.A.. We were so surprised and enveloped by all of their pieces and–like Cayetano’s–they certainly will be crowd pleasers. Who were your top five picks? If you were the selection committee, who would you pick? Anyone stand out particularly far for you? Let us know in the comments!