Eden's Edge: Fifteen LA Artists

May 13, 2007 - September 2, 2007


Eden's Edge: Fifteen LA Artists is an exploration of art made in Los Angeles during the past decade that crosses generations, mediums, and materials to link artists who create work ingrained with intensely personal visions. The exhibition features the work of 15 artists—Ginny Bishton, Mark Bradford, Liz Craft, Sharon Ellis, Matt Greene, Elliott Hundley, Stanya Kahn & Harry Dodge, Monica Majoli, Matthew Monahan, Rebecca Morales, Lari Pittman, Ken Price, Jason Rhoades, Anna Sew Hoy, and Jim Shaw—who share a dedication to craft and mix a wide array of media to create fantasized, often ambiguous, worlds. The artists featured in Eden's Edge: Fifteen LA Artists share a perspective toward landscape and figure that investigates complex contradictions, which are inherent to life in Los Angeles and more broadly to contemporary American culture.


About the Exhibition

By Gary Garrels


Great cities nurture rich mythologies of their existence. Literature, film, and art probe into and hint at truths somehow unique to each city’s place, time, and culture. And so Los Angeles—like New York, London, Paris, and Berlin, to name some of the most prominent examples—has accrued a mythic character: larger than life, and grander. This fraught distillation sustains dreams and anxieties, settles into the subconscious of those who live here as well as those who do not, shapes a sense of who we are and what possibilities we may have.

The mythic Los Angeles veers between paradise and hell, a place of boundless prospects and ruined dreams. The Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena and Disneyland in Anaheim, the Hollywood spectacles of the Oscars and American Idol conjure blithe enchantments and hopeful fantasies of Los Angeles. Earthquakes, especially the inevitable “big one,” seasonal fires driven by the Santa Ana winds, the Watts riots, the Manson family murders, the Rodney King beating, all stand as testaments to the city’s damnation. Innumerable films—the list is endless—have constructed our understanding of Los Angeles. They, too, ricochet between the sunshine and toned bodies of Venice Beach (Gidget, 1959, and sequels into the 1960s, Beach Blanket Bingo, 1965), bubbly, insouciant materialism (Clueless, 1995) and a world of sordid shadows and bleak souls: the fallen film star (Sunset Boulevard, 1950), the depraved land developer (Chinatown, 1974), corrupted police (Internal Affairs, 1990, L.A. Confidential, 1997) the cold-blooded, Faustian film producer (The Player, 1992). Even in relatively descriptive, straightforward, and interpretive analyses of the city, a similar typological divide develops. Reyner Banham’s Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971) celebrates southern California for the verve and invention of its built environment. Mike Davis begins his book City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1990 ) with the epigraph-like chapter title “Sunshine or Noir?” and then chronicles the failed physical and social ecology of the region, promises that were betrayed. More

Eden's Edge: Fifteen LA Artists is organized by Gary Garrels, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Programs, Hammer Museum. This exhibition has been generously supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and David Teiger.

Additional support has been provided by Herta and Paul Amir, The Broad Art Foundation, Rosette Varda Delug, the Murray and Ruth Gribin Foundation, Linda and Jerry Janger, Alice and Nahum Lainer, the Pasadena Art Alliance, the Peter Norton Family Foundation, and the David Teiger Curatorial Travel Fund.

89.9 KCRW is the Official Radio Sponsor for the exhibition.

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