Lauren Halsey by Rafael Hernandez. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.
Lauren Halsey, winner of the 2019 Frieze Artist Award, created arguably the most timely artwork at the fair’s recent New York edition. At the entrance to the white tent on Randall’s Island, she erected two giant white columns to commemorate the recent death of rapper Nipsey Hussle. In such sculptures, and in the immersive installations for which she’s become known, the native Angeleno considers the black experience in her hometown. Halsey’s site-specific works are always in dialogue with their structures—she adorns columns, walls, and entire rooms with images and artifacts that infuse staid, institutional structures with new, youthful energy.
In 2018, as part of the Hammer Museum’s “Made in L.A.” biennial, Halsey made a prototype for “The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project,” a series of panels and decorated columns that would be pieces of a larger public community space. That same year, she had a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; this year, her site-specific work was exhibited at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. In 2020, she will have a solo show with David Kordansky Gallery in L.A.
Anne Ellegood, former Hammer Museum senior curator and current executive director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, remarked on Halsey’s commitment to her South Los Angeles neighborhood, her “desire to create public spaces for gathering,” and her ability to rethink “the structures and processes of producing art in and for a community.” Ellegood continued, “Lauren’s work requires the collective action, commitment, and belief of a network of people. Her generosity, vision, and tenacity is inspiring to all those who come in contact with her.”