The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is pleased to announce L.A. Exuberance: New Gifts by Artists (October 30, 2016–April 2, 2017), featuring a selection of works given to the museum for its 50th anniversary as part of an unprecedented campaign led by artist Catherine Opie. The exhibition includes gifts from Opie, Larry Bell, Tacita Dean, Charles Gaines, Friedrich Kunath, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Analia Saban, Mario Ybarra Jr., and others, with a spotlight on the generosity of John Baldessari, who has made numerous gifts of his own work as well as pieces by other artists. L.A. Exuberance displays over 60 objects including painting, photography, drawing, prints, sculptures, mixed media installations, and time based media, and is curated by Rita Gonzalez, curator and acting department head of contemporary art, with Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. The title L.A. Exuberance is taken from a series of lithographs that British artist Tacita Dean made during a recent artist residency in Los Angeles.
Living artists have always played an instrumental role in understanding LACMA’s encyclopedic collection through a contemporary lens. All of the participating artists have a relationship to LACMA, and most are already represented in the museum’s collection or have had significant representations through exhibitions or programmatic collaborations.
Touched by the generosity of the gift of art campaign in celebration of the museum’s 50th anniversary, L.A.-based artist Catherine Opie gave LACMA a work of art of her own. Inspired by Opie’s gesture, LACMA, along with the artist herself, reached out to members of the artist community. This ongoing effort is a testament to Opie’s leadership; Opie is well known not only for her importance as an artist whose predominant medium is photography, Page 2 but also for her intellectual contributions as a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, her activism and support of LGBTQ rights, and her advocacy of Los Angeles museums.
“Artists giving to museums are seeing this as an opportunity to collaborate,” said Opie. “In most cases, artists don’t have final word about what is given or acquired by a museum. It’s important for artists to have a choice in the matter and shape their own legacy.”
“We have been overwhelmed by the spirit of giving from our artist friends,” said Michael Govan, LACMA’s CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “Their artworks—outstanding gifts that have been made in honor of our anniversary—are a testament to their generosity and support of LACMA and we are immensely grateful to all the artists who have contributed works to the collection and continue to energize the museum’s growth.”
Rita Gonzalez, curator and acting department head of contemporary art at LACMA, added, “LACMA’s collection has always been augmented by supportive interaction with working artists, and this exhibition fully illustrates that involvement.”
Though it does not represent all artists’ gifts given through the ongoing initiative, L.A. Exuberance features many artists living and working in Southern California, which is already a particular strength of LACMA’s collection of modern and contemporary art. LACMA’s relatively short but prolific history as an encyclopedic museum has been bolstered by supportive and critical interaction from living artists. Over the last 10 years, their participation has broadened to include a more direct involvement in shaping the overall experience of the museum, from the involvement of John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Jorge Pardo, and Franz West in exhibition and gallery design, to the re-envisioning of the outdoor spaces by Robert Irwin, and to countless local and international artists serving as interlocutors to both historical and contemporary exhibitions.
The artists’ gifts initiative and campaign is continuing and includes several more artists and works than are on view in this exhibition.
About the Exhibition:
L.A. Exuberance is not organized thematically; works that share formal or conceptual approaches are grouped together. The exhibition includes gifts from Edgar Arceneaux, John Baldessari, Uta Barth, Larry Bell, Liz Craft, Tacita Dean, Sam Durant, Shannon Ebner, Brendan Fowler, Charles Gaines, Gil Garcetti, Frank Gehry, Liz Glynn, Ken Gonzales-Day, Alexandra Grant, Sherin Guirguis, Glenn Kaino, Friedrich Kunath, Glenn Ligon, Rodney McMillan, Yunhee Min, Ed Moses, Carter Mull, Catherine Opie, Jorge Pardo, Anthony Page 3 Pearson, Ry Rocklen, Amanda Ross-Ho, Sterling Ruby, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Analia Saban, Anna Sew Hoy, Adam Silverman, Joe Sola, James Welling, Mario Ybarra, Jr., and Brenna Youngblood.
One gallery is devoted to the gifts that artist John Baldessari has given to LACMA over the years, including pieces by Meg Cranston, Charles Garabedian, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Mark Hagen, James Heyward, Douglas Huebler, Rita McBride, Matt Mullican, and Mungo Thomson.