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Lauren Halsey, The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture), 2018.

Lauren Halsey Receives 2018 Mohn Award

The Hammer Museum today announced that artist Lauren Halsey will receive the $100,000 Mohn Award honoring artistic excellence. Since 2012, the Mohn Award is given in conjunction with the museum’s biennial, Made in L.A., organized this year by Hammer curators Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale. As part of the Mohn Award, the museum will also produce a monograph of Halsey’s work.

Additionally, Daniel Joseph Martinez will receive the Career Achievement Award honoring brilliance and resilience; and EJ Hill will receive the Public Recognition Award, as chosen by visitors to the Made in L.A. 2018 exhibition. Both artists will receive $25,000.

Lauren Halsey, The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture), 2018. Installation view, Made in L.A. 2018, June 3-September 2, 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Brian Forrest.
The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture), (detail)

"Lauren Halsey’s ambitious sculpture is impressive as a site-specific installation at the Hammer and as a prototype for her upcoming public artwork in the South Central community. The Mohn Award recognizes her distinctive iconography and community-building vision. Daniel Joseph Martinez has been active for decades as both artist and teacher, and the Career Achievement Award celebrates his contributions to the Los Angeles art community. Our visitors responded strongly to EJ Hill’s moving durational performance and immersive installation. We are thrilled to distinguish all three of these formidable artists and their work." –Ann Philbin, Hammer Museum Director 

All three awards were once again funded through the generosity of Los Angeles philanthropists and art collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn and the Mohn Family Foundation as part of Made in L.A., the Hammer’s biennial exhibition series highlighting emerging and under-recognized artists from the Los Angeles region. The exhibition is on view through September 2, 2018.

A jury of professional curators selected the Mohn Award and the Career Achievement Award. The jury included Thomas J. Lax, associate curator of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art; Liz Munsell, curator of contemporary art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Pilar Tompkins Rivas, director, Vincent Price Art Museum.

The Public Recognition Award was determined by visitors to the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. 2018 biennial between June 3 and August 19, 2018. More than 70,000 people visited the exhibition in that time period. During their visit, audiences were encouraged to vote for their favorite artist in the biennial.

“The spaces Lauren Halsey invites us into are fantastically futuristic and historically rooted celebrations of the real life experiences of her friends, family, and neighbors who stay in the iconic neighborhood of South Central L.A., where she grew up and still works,” stated Thomas J. Lax. “Lauren’s installations are prompts for people to come together, both in the space of the museum where she observes, mourns, and celebrates the friends and neighbors who come in and out of the work, and in the middle of the city where daily life sustains this historic community.”

Daniel Joseph Martinez, Installation view, Made in L.A. 2018, June 3-September 2, 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Brian Forrest.
Installation view

“Daniel Joseph Martinez has had a tremendous impact on several generations of artists in Los Angeles, and has helped to shape the development of the art scene through his involvement in seminal art spaces in the city. He is an artist whose work and discourse are always profound, always question, and always push at the edges, whether it is through interrogations of power dynamics, global politics, or the nature of being. He is tremendously deserving of this award, and it is so wonderful to celebrate him at this moment,” wrote Pilar Tompkins Rivas. 

EJ Hill,  Excellentia, Mollitia, Victoria, 2018
Excellentia, Mollitia, Victoria

“EJ Hill’s work best embodies, in the most literal sense, a theme we saw echoed throughout the biennial—the incredible human capacity for resilience,” said Liz Munsell. “His stunning act of duration points to the systemic stacking of the odds against queer, black, and brown bodies while addressing the institutions that structured his upbringing. By externalizing his personal experiences, he has provided the public with a collective forum for release and growth. Clearly the generosity of his performance resonated with the communities of Los Angeles and beyond.”

The Mohn Award is among the largest international art prizes. The award, along with the Career Achievement Award and Public Recognition Award, is dedicated to recognizing the work of emerging and under-recognized artists based out of the greater Los Angeles region. In 2016, dancer Adam Linder received the Mohn Award; Wadada Leo Smith received the Career Achievement Award; and Kenzi Shiokava received the Public Recognition Award. In 2014, Alice Könitz received the Mohn Award; Magdalena Suarez Frimkess and Michael Frimkess received the Career Achievement Award; and Jennifer Moon received the Public Recognition Award. And in 2012 Meleko Mokgosi received the Mohn Award, which was selected by both a professional jury and the public.