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Lauren Halsey, the L.A.-born artist known for creating site-specific installations that incorporate the ethos of South Los Angeles and celebrate Black life and aesthetics, is signing with WME. She’ll be represented by the agency in the culture space, while continuing to be repped as an artist by David Kordansky Gallery.
The signing comes just as the artist has completed her most high-flying project to date, taking over the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of its series of garden commissions. Opening Tuesday and running through Oct. 22, the installation, titled the eastside of south central los angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I), is inspired by everything from the museum’s Egyptian collection to her long-time love of George Clinton. And — as she has in solo shows in New York and Los Angeles at David Kordansky Gallery — Halsey draws on her upbringing in South Central L.A.
Atop the Met, Halsey has created sphinxes with the faces of family members, and — in lieu of hieroglyphics — has inscribed sandstone-colored walls with phrases (“Stop Gentrification,” “Community Owned Thangs”) and images taken from and inspired by the culture of South L.A. In its review, The New York Times describes the installation as, “an architectural mothership packed with a cargo of ideas and images encompassing eons of Black American life.”
Known for her commitment to community engagement — amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the artist’s nonprofit organization Summaeverythang Community Center distributed more than 25,000 boxes of organic produce, plus hundreds of kids’ art kits — Halsey plans to bring the roof-garden exhibit out West after its run in New York, with plans to permanently install it in South L.A. (where her studio is located inside a former beauty supply store).
Halsey also plans to soon create a new 4,000-square-foot space for her Summaeverythang Community Center that will offer after-school programs, among other activities. The artist, who collaborated with Nike on a sneaker design in 2019, has had solo shows at MOCA in L.A., the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Seattle Art Museum and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and won the Hammer Museum’s $100,000 Mohn Award in 2018 when she exhibited her work, The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture) as part of the arts institution’s Made in L.A. biennial.
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