MoMA PS1 presentsNow Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980, a comprehensive exhibition that chronicles the vital legacy of the African American artistic community in Los Angeles, examining a pioneering group of black artists whose work, connections, and friendships with other artists of varied ethnic backgrounds helped shape the creative output of Southern California. Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980 will be on view in the First Floor Main galleries at MoMA PS1 from October 21, 2012 through March 11, 2013.
Now Dig This! is organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and was presented there in 2011-12 as part of Pacific Standard Time, a collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California. The exhibition is curated by Kellie Jones, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, and the presentation at MoMA PS1 is organized at MoMA PS1 by Christophe Cherix, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art, and Peter Eleey, Curator, MoMA PS1, in association with Connie Butler, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings, the Museum of Modern Art.
The exhibition presents 140 works by thirty-three artists active during this historical period, exploring the rising strength of the black community in Los Angeles as well as the increasing political, social, and economic power of African Americans across the nation. Several prominent artists began their careers in the Los Angeles area, including Melvin Edwards, David Hammons, Maren Hassinger, Senga Nengudi, John Outterbridge, Noah Purifoy, and Betye Saar. Their influence, like that of all the artists in the exhibition, goes beyond their immediate creative circles and the geography of Los Angeles and is critical to a more complete and dynamic understanding of twentieth-century American art.
By illuminating the richness and complexity of this creative community,Now Dig This! demonstrates how these artists were not working in isolation but were instead integral to the developing U.S. art scene during the latter part of the twentieth century. During this important era of artistic and cultural ferment, artists shifted from more traditional formats, such as painting and works on paper, to modes such as assemblage, Finish Fetish (a West Coast movement parallel to Minimal Art on the East Coast), Postminimal Art, Conceptual Art, and performance.