For decades black artists in Los Angeles have worked with metal for its historic and symbolic significance, as well as for other sociocultural, political, and practical considerations. LA Blacksmith highlights this tradition, from historic Los Angeles metal sculpture that signifies the durability of West African metalsmithing aesthetics to contemporary explorations of iron and steel alloys, bronze, copper, tin, aluminum, and gold. Beginning with Beulah Woodard’s homages to African mask making, LA Blacksmith examines how the Watts Rebellion and other political and aesthetic ideas shaped midcentury metalwork. Contemporary artists explore metal as appropriation, power, and play in twenty-first century Los Angeles. For these artists, metalwork layers the tension between tradition and resistance, preciousness and posture, as well as the sacred and the profane.
One of the featured artists is Florida State University Art Professor and nationally recognized sculptor Ed Love, who died in 1999 at the age of 62. In 1969, he joined the faculty of the department of art at Howard University, where he was seen as an inspirational force for 18 years. From 1987 to 1990, he was the founding dean of the art division of the New World School of the Arts in Miami. In 1990, he became professor of art and director of undergraduate studies at Florida State University.
LA Blacksmith is guest curated by independent curator jill moniz.
Complete list of artists:
Joseph Beckles, Kendell Carter, Adrienne DeVine, Charles Dickson, Melvin Edwards, Charla Elizabeth, Maren Hassinger, Artis Lane, Ed Love, Kori Newkirk, John Outterbridge, Duane Paul, Noah Purifoy, John Riddle, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Gerard Basil Stripling, Kehinde Wiley, Glen Wilson, Beulah Woodard, and Suné Woods