Hammer Museum & The Huntington
Los Angeles, San Marino
Made in L.A. 2020: a version
Nov 12, 2020
Mar 31, 2021
Works by 30 Los Angeles–based artists are presented at both institutions—two versions that make up the whole. The exhibition features new installations, videos, films, sculptures, performances, and paintings, many commissioned specifically for the exhibition.
Jill Mulleady’s paintings present unsettling scenes that oscillate between beautiful and horrifying, quiet and violent. Her compositions are rich with allegorical symbols and art historical references that conflate eras. Even when depicting a particular location, they feel liminal and otherworldly. She populates these ghostly worlds with recognizable figures: poets, writers, and artists, rendered with their bodies contorted and their flesh a sickly hue. Mulleady often intervenes in the spaces in which her paintings are installed, staging them alongside readymades and architectural interventions. This strategy turns the gallery space into a kind of proscenium, heightening the theatricality of viewing. Her approach is inspired in part by the experimental theater director Antonin Artaud, who strived for a “communion between actor and audience in a magic exorcism.”
Mulleady’s triptych is a depiction of present-day MacArthur Park, a neighborhood with a rich and varied history. Once a high-end destination, it gradually became a run-down neighborhood. Although Mulleady started painting the artwork in her downtown studio, she moved to a space facing the park when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of her studio building. She found herself surrounded by her subjects: the teenage lovers, sanitation workers, and wandering animals that populate her filmic, wide-screen scene. In addition, Mulleady has installed a park lamp within the exhibition space, which alludes to the staged nature of the viewing experience.
Made in L.A. 2020 is organized by independent curators Myriam Ben Salah and Lauren Mackler, with the Hammer’s Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, assistant curator of performance.