Human Condition is an immersive, site-specific exhibition that features the work of sixty emerging and established artists in a uniquely challenging space: a former hospital in West Adams, previously known as the Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center. Curated and produced by the Los Angeles-based art advisor John Wolf, Human Condition invites artists to re-contextualize the hospital’s functional history—over 40,000 square feet of it—as a venue to explore what it means to be human. The exhibition opens to the public on October 1, 2016 and runs through November 30, 2016.
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center proudly opened in 1971 as the first Black-owned hospital in Los Angeles. It operated successfully for decades. Later, both the hospital and the West Adams neighborhood in which it was located declined; in the hands of the Pacific Health Corp, the hospital closed amid revelations of criminal mismanagement and insurance fraud in 2013.
Years of neglect are now giving way to reinvestment in West Adams, which hosts much of the city’s cherished architectural heritage and landmarks. It is now home to many working artists, a burgeoning art scene, and other signs of community-driven cultural renewal.
With Human Condition, Wolf has invited artists to explore the corporal and psychological experience of being human. Ranging from sculpture, drawing, painting, performance, and immersive installations, the works are displayed amongst the surgical rooms, maternity wards, a psychiatric floor, and cafeteria. Both the artist and viewer are encouraged to explore the dilapidated remains and transcend the building’s original intention.
Many of the artists have taken over entire hospital rooms for solo presentations and site-specific installations, with the two main floors of the exhibition divided in approach to human condition.
The subconscious mind is addressed on the first floor by artists Jenny Holzer, David Benjamin Sherry, Gregory Crewdson, and Chantal Joffe, among others. The hospital’s rooftop billboard, which once read “The Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center,” now reads “Flesh and Bone Zone” in a gradient of flesh colors—the work of artist Kelly Lamb. Upon entry, Jenny Holzer’s engraved white granite bench “What a show when they tell you it won’t hurt…,” 1989, succinctly sets the tone for psychological tour de force ahead.
The conscious, decision-making mind is explored on the second floor by Laurent Grasso, Polly Borland, Matthew Day Jackson, and Marc Horowitz, to name a few. Here, the surgery rooms host sculptural work by Daniel Arsham, Matthew Day Jackson, Tony Matelli, and Nick van Woert, while Polly Borland’s “Babies” series hangs in the cheerful pediatric ward. The juxtapositions range from uncanny to twisted. Before climbing to the fourth floor psychiatric ward, guests are invited to put up their feet: In an ironic nod to a human need for comfort, the otherwise sterile ICU has been repurposed as a waiting room with furniture from the Haas Brothers, Jeff Zimmerman, James Magni, Kerry Joyce, and Holly Hunt.
Human Condition is a unique opportunity to experience artwork outside the confines of a typical art space. In using the skeletal remains of the hospital and its discarded medical supplies, artists and viewers are encouraged to explore the notion of what we leave behind—from objects to human history.
Artists in the exhibition:
Nina Chanel Abney, Daniel Arsham, Gintare Bandinskaite, Tanya Batura, Katherine Bernhardt, Louise Bonnet, Polly Borland, Delia Brown, Kendell Carter, Ross Chisholm, Larry Clark, Greg Colson, Chris Cran, Gregory Crewdson, Zoe Crosher, Mira Dancy, Marc Dennis, Marlene Dumas, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Nicole Eisenman, Amir H. Fallah, Louis Fratino, Derek Fordjour, Danny Fox, Louisa Gagliardi, Anna Glantz, Brendan Getz, Laurent Grasso, Heidi Hahn, Michael Haight, Brian Harte, Katie Herzog, Jenny Holzer, Marc Horowitz, Ridley Howard, Bettina Hubby, Leonhard Hurzlmeier, Matthew Day Jackson, Joshua Jefferson, Chantal Joffe, Jordan Kasey, Hoda Kashiha, Owen Kydd, Shay Kun, Friedrich Kunath, Kelly Lamb, Jonathan Lux, Tala Madani, Robert Mapplethorpe, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Max Maslansky, Tony Matelli, Simon Mathers, Patrick McElnea, John Millei, Marilyn Minter, Theo Mercier, Joshua Nathanson, Vernon Price, Tal R, Christopher Reynolds, Holly Rockwell, Alexander Ruthner, Lionel Sabatte, Stuart Sandford, Yves Scherer, Max Hooper Schneider, David Benjamin Sherry, Kim Simonsson, Peter Stichbury, Claire Tabouret, Johan Tahon, Mateo Tannatt, Kenneth Tam, Ed Templeton, Kristian Toubourg, Nick van Woert, Mark Verabioff, Matt Wedel, Jessica Williams, Bradley Wood, and Alexander Yulish.
Special thanks to ANC Productions for the extraordinary lighting design and ArtMovement for transportation and installation
Human Condition curated by John Wolf
2231 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Opening Reception: October 1, 2016
October 1 – November 30, 2016