See Winners of the Hammer Museum’s ‘Made in LA’ Mohn Awards
Alice Könitz, Michael and Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, and Jennifer Moon honored.
The Hammer Museum has announced the four winners of its second “Made in LA” biennial, which runs through September 17. Taking on what artnet News contributor Yasmine Mohseni called, “the daunting task of presenting the achievements of the city’s vast and heterogeneous contemporary arts landscape,” the exhibition features work by 35 Los Angeles-based artists. It also showcases a selection of performance pieces from over 100 other artists, creating “not a cohesive exhibition but an assortment of shows within one large exhibition.” It’s a huge undertaking, and the jury is still out on how successfully it has been realized. But there’s no doubt about the difference the three awards, which are funded by philanthropists Jarl and Pamela Mohn, will make on the lives and careers of four exceptional LA artists.
Chosen by jurors Jack Bankowsky of Artforum, Naomi Beckwith of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and Apsara DiQuinzio of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Archive, the top prize is the Mohn Award, which grants the winner $100,000. This year’s winner is Alice Könitz, whose micro-gallery and installation the “Los Angeles Museum of Art” is both a work of art itself and a home for artists hoping to break away from traditional modes of display. The jurors said, “As the art market increasingly dominates the contemporary art world, artists such as Könitz are inventing new ways of operating and creating their own contexts.”
The Career Achievement Award, which includes a $25,000 prize, was given to Magdalena Suarez Frimkess and Michael Frimkess, who have been collaborating on painstakingly detailed pottery since 1963, with Michael throwing the pots and Magdalena painting. “Their fifty-year body of collaborative work engages many genres—pottery, outsider art, mythology, pop—all of which fail to quantify its beautiful urgency and unique renewal of the ceramic tradition,” the judges said. Despite the fact that the married couple has been working under the radar for the majority of their careers, their commitment to their craft has been a continual inspiration to younger artists.
Finally, the Public Recognition Award, which was voted on by the general public and comes with a $25,000 prize, has been awarded to Jennifer Moon. Moon’s installation of photographs, sculpture, and text-based works are a fantastical, multimedia experience that hints often at autobiography, and clearly made an impression on visitors.
Of this year’s award selections, Hammer chief curator Connie Butler told the Los Angeles Times, “The Frimkesses represent a long history of the ceramics tradition here. Jennifer Moon is a product of the great and rich art schools here, and Alice is an immigrant, which is an important part of the Los Angeles experience in the contemporary art world.”
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