Hedi Slimane : L.A. Art

What makes an L.A. artist? Few are from Los Angeles, most went to school here and stayed to work. But perhaps more than locale or education, L.A. artists are defined by a certain freedom in their practice and the spirit of their work that the city affords. The artists featured here appeared on the L.A. art scene in the last 10 years or so, mostly from numerous M.F.A programs in the city or surrounding areas and they illustrate the diversity of emerging artistic practices--exhibiting the breadth of the artistic dialogue taking place in the city right now. Their work holds traces of what came before them from influences in conceptualism to an affinity for video to inspiration from the simultaneous conditions of natural beauty and urbanity that the city offers. But Los Angeles has never been much for history in a constant state of revision and always looking towards the future (a fact that often causes longer established art centers to look down their noses at L.A.) but that allows for a certain freedom and the opportunity for frequent reinvention. There exists this vision of Los Angeles as the Wild West, and when it comes to art making, that is not far off as the same rules don't apply as everywhere else. There is a less commercial career trajectory—fueled by the density of art schools with faculty amongst the icons of American contemporary art and numerous spaces for investigation, conversation, and experimentation—L.A. produces a different kind of artist.

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