CURRENT:LA puts a new spin on traditional international triennials by democratizing the way people access art. The initiative shifts art away from the museum environment and places temporary public art projects and public programs in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles where residents and visitors live, work, and play.
CURRENT:LA uses contemporary art as a way to deepen connections on issues affecting Los Angeles and other global cities to inspire civic discourse on those particular issues.
CURRENT:LA is funded by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
For updates about CURRENT:LA FOOD, follow CURRENT:LA on Facebook, Instagram @current_la, and Twitter @current_la.
ABOUT CURRENT:LA FOOD
Food culture is more diverse today, offering more possibilities for exploration than ever before. From modern scientific experiments to the revival of local ethnic traditions, these developments are cause for wonder and celebration. And yet, we have food that is increasingly unhealthy and is unjustly distributed, while hunger and malnutrition continue to plague demographics around the world. The contributing artists for CURRENT:LA FOOD will highlight the advances — as well as the challenges — we face as producers and consumers.
Through major public art commissions and public programs with local, international, and multigenerational artists, CURRENT:LA FOOD will explore the multiplicity of food. Placement of the CURRENT:LA FOOD projects within LA’s burgeoning public transit infrastructure will allow for greater exploration and access, bringing these projects directly to residents and visitors throughout the city. Through an intricate partnership between artists and community members, CURRENT:LA FOOD will shed new light on the precarious balance between pleasure and peril found in food today, and the many ways food gives expression to social and political life.
CURRENT:LA FOOD partners include: the Office of the Mayor Eric Garcetti; the Los Angeles City Council; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks; the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation; Los Angeles State Historic Park; Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department – Ted Watkins Memorial Park; the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; California State University, Los Angeles; and Public Media Group of Southern California – KCET’s Artbound.
About the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)
As a leading, progressive arts and cultural agency, DCA empowers Los Angeles’s vibrant communities by supporting and providing access to quality visual, literary, musical, performing, and educational arts programming; managing vital cultural centers; preserving historic sites; creating public art; and funding services provided by arts organizations and individual artists.
Formed in 1925, DCA promotes arts and culture as a way to ignite a powerful dialogue, engage LA’s residents and visitors, and ensure LA’s varied cultures are recognized, acknowledged, and experienced. DCA’s mission is to strengthen the quality of life in Los Angeles by stimulating and supporting arts and cultural activities, ensuring public access to the arts for residents and visitors alike.
DCA advances the social and economic impact of arts and culture through grant-making, public art, community arts, performing arts, and strategic marketing, development, design, and digital research. DCA creates and supports arts programming, maximizing relationships with other city agencies, artists, and arts and cultural nonprofit organizations to provide excellent service in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.
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About the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA)
The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) is an epicenter of artistic experimentation and incubator of new ideas. Founded in 1984 as the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) and reestablished in 2017 with a new identity and home in Downtown Los Angeles, ICA LA builds upon a distinguished history of bold curatorial vision and innovative programming to illuminate the important untold stories and emerging voices in contemporary art and culture. ICA LA’s mission is to support art that sparks the pleasure of discovery and challenges the way we see and experience the world, ourselves, and each other.
ICA LA is committed to upending hierarchies of race, class, gender, and culture. Through exhibitions, education programs, and community partnerships, ICA LA fosters critique of the familiar and empathy with the different. ICA LA is committed to making contemporary art relevant and accessible for all. Admission is free.
Asuka Hisa, Lead Curator
Asuka Hisa is the Director of Learning and Engagement at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). She is a curator of programs and special projects with artists for museum and community audiences. Prior to ICA LA, she was the Director of Education and Public Programs for the Santa Monica Museum of Art, 2000-2017; Arts Commissioner for the City of Santa Monica from 2007-201; and was part of the city’s Art and the Urban Fabric Committee from 2014-2015. She was Board President of the Museum Educators of Southern California (MESC); 2009-2011. In 2003, she received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the Ministry of Culture of France. She is a current board member of Automata—an organization of experimental puppetry, film, music, and performance.
She received her B.A. from Barnard College and her National Diploma of Art from the Ecole des Beaux Arts, France.
Jamillah James, Lead Curator
Jamillah James is Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). Previously, she was Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and organized exhibitions and programs for Art + Practice in LA’s Leimert Park. Past exhibitions include John Outterbridge: Rag Man (co-organized with Anne Ellegood), Njideka Akunyili Crosby: The Beautyful Ones, Two Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu, Selections from the Brockman Gallery Archives, and Charles Gaines: Librettos: Manuel de Falla/Stokely Carmichael (with Ellegood). At the Hammer, she organized A Shape That Stands Up at Art + Practice, Hammer Projects: Njideka Akunyili Crosby; Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974–1989 (with Ellegood; curated by The Studio Museum in Harlem); and assisted Connie Butler on the exhibition and publication Mark Bradford: Scorched Earth. Previously, James has held curatorial positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum, and has independently organized exhibitions, performances, and screenings throughout the US and Canada since 2004. Her writings have been included in Artforum and the International Review of African American Art, and featured in exhibition catalogues for the ICA LA, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, the Hammer Museum; the Nasher Museum at Duke University, and the Studio Museum, among others. James is an adjunct professor in the Graduate Art Department at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and regularly lectures on curating, contemporary art, and professional development for artists at various colleges and institutions across the country.
Lauren Mackler, Curatorial Advisor
Lauren Mackler is a curator based in Los Angeles. In 2010, she founded Public Fiction, a forum for staging exhibitions, performances, and programs by contemporary artists and writers, as well as a journal with the same mission in print. Mackler has organized Public Fiction exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art, LA; The Berkeley Art Museum; the Hammer Museum; the MAK Center for Art and Architecture; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She is the managing editor of Sublevel—the literary magazine housed CalArts’ School of Critical Studies—and has been on faculty at the School of Visual Arts NY, UCLA’s Graduate Department of Art, and Otis College of Art and Design. Mackler is a contributor to Artforum and various other publications. In 2015, she was awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome. She is currently co-curating Made in LA 2020, at the Hammer Museum.She received her B.A. from Barnard College and her National Diploma of Art from the Ecole des Beaux Arts, France.
Diana Nawi, Curatorial Advisor
Diana Nawi is an independent curator based in Los Angeles. Most recently, she has organized Adler Guerrier: Conditions and Forms for blck Longevity at the California African American Museum. She previously served as Associate Curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) for five years, where she curated major exhibitions and organized newly commissioned projects with artists including Yael Bartana, John Dunkley, Iman Issa, Bouchra Khalili, LOS JAICHACKERS, Shana Lutker, and Nari Ward. Prior to joining PAMM, Nawi worked as an assistant curator on the Abu Dhabi Project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and served as a fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Nawi’s writing has appeared in publications for the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, MOCA GA, Marrakech Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum Villa Stuck, National Gallery of Jamaica, New Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Studio Museum of Harlem, among others. Most recently Nawi was selected (with Naima Keith) to organize Prospect.5, the next edition of the New Orleans triennial (Fall of 2020).
Marco Rios, Curatorial Advisor
Marco Rios is a Los Angeles-based artist who works in sculpture, photography, video, and performance. He received his M.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine and his undergraduate degree from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.His work has been exhibited at LACMA, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Santa Monica Museum, and LAXART, Los Angeles; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Artists Space and Simon Preston Gallery, New York; Mass Moca, MA; and Estacion, Tijuana, Mexico. In 2007, he was a recipient of the California Community Foundation Fellowship. In 2008, he was selected as one of the James Irvine Foundation Visions from the New California awardees, and in 2009 awarded an ARC grant from The Durfee Foundation. Most recently he was awarded an Art Matters grant in 2016. Marco has been Gallery Curator of the Luckman Gallery since 2010.
Partners for CURRENT:LA FOOD include: the Office of the Mayor Eric Garcetti; the Los Angeles City Council; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA); the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks; the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation; Los Angeles State Historic Park; Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department – Ted Watkins Memorial Park; the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; California State University, Los Angeles; and Public Media Group of Southern California – KCET’s Artbound.
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CURRENT:LA FOOD is produced by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Public Art Division and the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti.