With the line extending and expanding beyond the entrance of the David Kordansky Gallery, Lauren Halsey’s exhibition brought out so many people native to South Central Los Angeles. Eagerly, people stood in line, saved spaces for people, and some managed to slide pass security in an attempt to view the painted sculptural installation.
Upon entering, guests are required to wear booties in an effort to preserve the pieces created. When you pass the threshold, you are fully immersed into an experience only to be fully grasped by those native to LA. Halsey curated an entire space that brought together the streets of Los Angeles: mirrors are intentionally placed between pillars as to see yourself with the art. What’s more, reflections of notable Black figures (such as: Tommy the Clown, Nipsey Hu$$le, and Stevie Wonder) are immortalized on glass panes. This too serves as a reflection- an opportunity for viewers to not only see themselves amongst the art- but also as a literal reflections of the subjects depicted.
One visit to the gallery is not enough to fully soak in the work. Every inch of the space is intentionally informed from top to bottom. An intimate experience that soothes and comforts the Black native. Indigenous signs, logos, calligraphy, and household essentials native to black homes are represented within her sculptural work.
One of my favorite pieces is signage created in homage of “Gwen’s Double Dip”- a famous, local ice cream parlor. Located on the corner of Western and 76th, the sweetery served as a staple to the community until it’s close in 2015. When I was younger we used to do our laundry nearby and when my sister and I finished folding clothes, my Mother would treat us to ice cream from Gwen’s from time to time. This is a space for the community because it is of the community.
With the amount of detail and inclusion, Halsey took her time to assemble these works that represent the native Angelino in a way not yet done. I think about all the hugs, daps, and smiles exchanged amongst those that felt seen while walking through the Kordansky- the familiarity of the instillation brought people together with a common knowing of a shared culture.
Through March 14, 2020, you will be able to visit the David Kordansky Gallery to view Lauren Halsey’s exhibition.
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