Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960 – 1980

October 2, 2011 – January 8, 2012

This October the Hammer Museum will present Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980, a comprehensive exhibition that examines the vital legacy of the city’s African American visual artists. Now Dig This! comprises 140 works from 35 artists that have rarely been shown in a museum setting and includes early pieces by now well-established artists as well as works once considered “lost.” The exhibition expands the art historical record by presenting an array of artists, some not widely recognized by a broad public, and connecting their work to the movements, trends, and ideas that fueled the arts in Los Angeles during this period. The work of these African American practitioners was animated to an extent by the civil rights and Black Power movements reflecting the changing sense of what constituted African American identity and American culture. Artists featured in the exhibition include Melvin Edwards, Fred Eversley, David Hammons, Maren Hassinger, Senga Nengudi, John Outterbridge, Alonzo Davis, Dale Brockman Davis, Noah Purifoy, Betye Saar, and Charles White.

Now Dig This! is presented as part of Pacific Standard Time, a collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together for six months beginning in October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene and how it became a new force in the art world. Organized by the Hammer and curated by Columbia University professor Kellie Jones, Now Dig This! will chronicle and celebrate this nuanced and multicultural history of Los Angeles.


One thought on “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960 – 1980

  1. Clearly the Hammer didn’t anticipate the amount of interest that was evident by the attendance at the Sunday’s opening of Now Dig This! Folks lined up and some waited up to an hour to tour the exhibit with Curator, Kellie Jones, who offered insight into the era, the artists, and specific works. This show is a must see and includes works owned by museum(s) but never shown. That’s another story that has yet to be told.

    140 works is a lot to take in so allow yourself plenty of time to appreciate this comprehensive collection of work by the pioneers of LA’s Black art scene. Admission to the museum is $10, but Thursdays are free.

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