Hauser Wirth & Schimmel opens in LA

Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016

The cultural explosion continues in downtown Los Angeles with the opening of international gallery Hauser Wirth & Schimmel,and its inaugural exhibition, Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculptureby Women: 1947-2016.

The beautifully restored Globe Mills complex – a campus of previously abandoned buildings and outdoor spaces reimagined by Annabelle Selldorf, of Selldorf Architects, and LA’s Creative Space – will house exhibitions devoted to modern and contemporary art and, much like Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset outpost, it has been conceived as a multipurpose community arts centre, complete with diverse public programming, a restaurant and an experimental store in conjunction with Artbook that will highlight a roster of themes in contemporary and 20th-century art.

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Revolution in the Making highlights nearly 100 works by 34 artists from the past 70 years and illustrates women who have shifted the focus from figurative to more abstract, experimental work that incorporates unexpected materials and provokes the viewer. On view from March 13 to September 4, the exhibition includes works on loan from nearly 60 major American museums, as well as private collections and artist estates, and also includes new commissioned works (prices on request) by contemporary sculptors including Phyllida Barlow (representing Britain at the 2017 Venice Biennale), Karla Black, Abigail DeVille, Sonia Gomes, Rachel Khedoori, Lara Schnitger, Shinique Smith and Kaari Upson.

Co-curators Paul Schimmel – former chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and gallery partner – and Jenni Sorkin, art historian and critic, have amassed diverse works that trace social and political upheaval, as well as the feminist movement. The show’s starting points are explorations of abstraction and repetition by artists Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois and Louise Nevelson that were created between the late 1940s and the 1960s. Ruth Asawa’s hanging, looped wire sculptures are juxtaposed with Bourgeois’ Personage series (second picture), as well as with bas-relief works by Bontecou.

The 1960s and 1970s are represented by a range of post-minimalist artists – Eva Hesse, Yayoi Kusama, Hannah Wilke and Jackie Winsor among them – who created works with a strong sense of materiality. Tactile pieces by Hesse, including the latex and canvas floor work Augment, and the four-part wall piece Aught, sit near to Hicks’ linen and wool Banisteriopsis (1965-1966) and Banisteriopsis II (1965-1966/2010,third picture).

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Unconventional materials – many found or recycled – were combined during this time period through the use of layering, stacking and weaving techniques, and are seen in works such as Lynda Benglis’ amorphous Eat Meat,Jessica Stockholder’s Kissing the Wall series, and Jackie Winsor’s 30 to 1 Bound Trees (1971-1972, fourth picture) – a group of 20ft birch saplings tied with hemp rope, displayedin the gallery’s courtyard.

Voices of the postmodernist generation, including Isa Genzken, Cristina Iglesias, Liz Larner, Anna Maria Maiolino, Marisa Merz, Senga Nengudi, Lygia Pape, and Ursula von Rydingsvard, are heard too – Genzken’s concrete-and-steel Galerie and Larner’s polyurethane Reticule are among the standouts.

Works by contemporary sculptors are a fitting end to Revolution in the Making, and together the handmade pieces create colourful, immersive environments. Untitled hanging works by Phyllida Barlow (first picture) incorporate fabric, paper, and cord, and Abigail DeVille’s Intersection – a dramatic assemblage of lumber and accumulated debris – both build upon the legacies of the women artists who went before them.

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