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David Kordansky is presenting new works by Lauren Halsey in its online viewing room. Featuring a series of hand-carved gypsum walls, the show is part of the artist’s ongoing project making permanent, multiuse architectural structures in her hometown of South Central Los Angeles.
Reminiscent of ancient stone slabs covered in hieroglyphs, the gypsum-on-wood works have been engraved with silhouettes featuring shaved and braided hairstyles or carved to look like brick walls plastered in small business ads and graffiti. Measuring as large as eight feet-tall, the works follow the artist’s 2018 prototype, then titled “The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project,” which celebrate the poetics of place and people.
Inspired by the concept of the ancient pyramids—a space where the spiritual dimension becomes tangible—Halsey’s project follows a similar guise, applying elements often seen in her practice (like Afrofuturism and funk) to a space that can be shaped according to one’s own needs. Juxtaposing the stone-white carvings against a colorful digital collage of images, art, and advertisements, the virtual exhibition offers a complete viewing experience with an accompanying soundtrack of T Plays It Cool by Marvin Gaye.
With a practice informed by South Central Los Angeles, where the artist’s family has lived for generations, Halsey’s work reflects the locale and its buildings, as well as the changes that befall them—especially those brought on by gentrification and income inequality. Taking a hands-on approach to the goal of operating in two or more worlds simultaneously, Halsey’s practice organically led her to other activities, like founding Summaeverythang—a community center that initiates programs for locals, like the distribution of free, fresh organic produce as response to COVID-19.
Open through July 8, the virtual exhibition at David Kordansky will be followed by a presentation at GalleryPlatform.LA later this month.