Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles, CA


left: Main Museum Complex, right: LACMA West, photos, ©1999 John Hazeltine




Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000

Section 5: 1980 - 2000

October 22, 2000 - February 25, 2001


Section 5 of Made in California addresses the multiplicity of California images that have proliferated in the past 20 years, in conjunction with an increasingly diverse and at times polarized population. This section also considers the impact of globalization, which has made the state more accessible to the rest of the world and brought distant locations to California's doorstep. Section 5 is located on the plaza level of the Anderson Building and includes two art film stations, one on identity issues and the other on the California-Mexico border. This section also features a screening room with longer video art pieces on a range of California themes, and a viewing station showing 65 murals from the 1980s and 1990s. Section 5 will also include major outdoor sculpture by artists such as Liza Leu, Ruben Ortiz-Tones and Andrea Zittel, as well as site specific wall paintings by Margaret Kilgallen and Barry McGee. An installation of all 30 of Chris Burden's oversized L.A.P.D. uniforms will occupy the Art Rental and Sales Gallery on the lower level of the Anderson Building. In addition, billboards by Robbie Conal and Pat Ward Williams that are part of the exhibition will be placed at strategic locations around the museum.

With the rise of multiculturalism, issues of identity have figured prominently in the art of this period. Over the last 20 years with the co-mingling of cultures fueled by globalization, Californians increasingly have come to define their identities as multivalent and shifting as opposed to unified and fixed. Artists Catherine Opie and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto have addressed the complexity of their identities, while Robert Arneson has playfully invoked the stereotype of the California artist.

Perceptions of California itself have also become more complex during these years. As the mass media have cultivated dystopian visions of the state as rife with natural disasters and social unrest, artists have often taken ironic or critical approaches to longstanding California icons such as Barbie, the beach, the suburban ranch house, and Disney. Some have found other ways of reinvigorating these icons and ensuring their relevance to the present moment. (left: Ester Hernandez (b. 1944), Sun Mad, 1982, screenprint, 22 x 17 inches, Courtesy Ester Hernandez © Ester Hernandez)

The California landscape, and particularly the built environment, continues to be a powerful subject for artists in the 1980s and 1990s. Robbert Flick's works for example involve photographically mapping the urban landscape of Los Angeles. The border between California and Mexico has emerged as a central element in perceptions of the state and the focal point of heated political debate. Many artists have engaged in this struggle, often in critique of conservative positions on immigration. Latin American artist Jorge Pardo and Anglo artist Jason Rhoades deal satirically with border issues in their c

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