Joan Didion: What She Means
Joan Didion: What She Means is an exhibition as portrait, a narration of the life of one artist by another. Organized by critically acclaimed writer and New Yorker contributor Hilton Als, the exhibition features approximately 50 artists ranging from Betye Saar to Vija Celmins, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Maren Hassinger, Silke Otto-Knapp, John Koch, Ed Ruscha, Pat Steir, and many others. The more than 200 works include painting, ephemera, photography, sculpture, video, and footage from a number of the films for which Didion authored screenplays.
Opening less than a year after her death at age 87, and planned since 2019, Joan Didion: What She Means follows a meandering chronology that grapples with the simultaneously personal and distant evolution of Didion’s voice as a writer and pioneer of the “New Journalism.” The exhibition closely follows her life according to the places she called home and is laid out in chronological chapters—Holy Water: Sacramento, Berkeley (1934–1956); Goodbye to All That: New York (1956–1963); The White Album: California, Hawai‘i (1964–1988); and the final chapter, Sentimental Journeys: New York, Miami, San Salvador (1988–2021).
Joan Didion: What She Means is organized by Hilton Als in collaboration with Connie Butler, chief curator, and Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, curatorial assistant.
EXHIBITION TOUR SCHEDULE
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles: October 11, 2022–February 19, 2023
Perez Art Museum, Miami: July 13, 2023–January 7, 2024
Kenneth Anger (American, b. 1927)
Chiura Obata (Japanese-American, 1885-1975)
Joan Didion: What She Means is made possible by lead funding from Cindy Miscikowski. Major support is provided by Allison Gorsuch Corrigan and Wendy Stark and the Walske Charitable Foundation. Generous funding is also provided by Agnes Gund, Bill Hair, Amara and Alexander Hastings, Maurice Marciano Family Foundation, and Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy, with additional support from Dana Delany, LLWW Foundation, Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein, and Lee Ramer.
Media sponsorship is provided by Cultured magazine and LAist.