Hammer Projects: Desirée Holman

Hammer Projects: Desirée Holman

Desirée Holman makes figurative props or effigies which she manipulates in role-play games that then take the form of drawings, sculpture, photography and video. For this exhibition, Holman presents her new project, Reborn, which questions the notion of "maternal instincts." Inspired by a subculture of women (mostly in the U.S. and Great Britain) who purchase incredibly life-like baby dolls and bathe and feed them as they would a real infant, Holman extensively researched this community and painstakingly hand-crafted several of her own "reborns." The project also includes Mary Cassatt-inspired color pencil drawings of mothers and their babies and a video featuring several women interacting with the babies in a variety of unconventional scenarios. Holman’s work seamlessly brings together elements of fiction, fantasy, pop culture, anthropology and simulation, as she lures viewers into her games of make-believe.

This exhibition is organized by Hammer curator Ali Subotnick.

Hammer Projects: Desirée Holman. Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. November 10, 2009-January 31, 2010. Photo by Joshua White.


Desirée Holman was born in 1974 in Montgomery, Alabama, and lives and works in Oakland, California. Her work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo, Brazil; the Hessel Museum of Art at the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Machine Project, Los Angeles; YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto; and the Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, California. Holman was awarded a SECA Art Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2008, and in 2007 she received the Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue award. She received her BFA from California College of the Arts, Oakland, and her MFA from the University of California, Berkeley, and she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been reviewed in publications such as Artforum, the Los Angeles Times, NY Arts, Artillery, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Artweek. This is her first solo museum exhibition.

Hammer Projects is made possible with major gifts from Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Additional generous support is provided by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, L A Art House Foundation, the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles, the David Teiger Curatorial Travel Fund, and Fox Entertainment Group’s Arts Development Fee.