An exciting new art exhibit curated by former California African American Museum curator jill moniz is now installed on the first floor of Santa Monica’s new City Hall East. The exhibit spans works from major names such as Kerry James Marshall, Alfredo Ramos-Martinez, and Alison Saar, and other local emerging and established BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists, such as Umar Rashid (featured in the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. 2020 exhibit) and Emma Robbins (Director of the Navajo Water Project).
While City Hall East remains closed due to COVID-19, this virtual exhibit features interviews with the curator and engaging snapshots of each work. These short videos provide a thoughtful curatorial reflection on the development of the viewer’s relationship to art, and the agency that community representation in art confers. The artworks in this installation are all part of Santa Monica’s wide-ranging Art Bank collection, which consists primarily of wall-hung artworks that are exhibited in municipal facilities.
Curator jill moniz describes: “When I was asked to contribute my perspective to public art for the City of Santa Monica, I was very interested in righting a kind of erasure that I felt had happened here. I was interested in the way that people think of Santa Monica without understanding the history of the Black and Brown and Indigenous communities that were here before. And I wanted to bring those voices into conversation in this building, in particular City Hall. Because the City is about public space, and much of the work that I included in this project is either a meditation or negotiation between what’s public and private, between identity and stereotype, between the way we tell stories about ourselves and the way those stories are then interpreted by others, which I feel really speaks to Santa Monica.”
The creation of Lives that Bind…was inspired by the City’s accession of works by Lavialle Campbell, Miguel Osuna, Umar Rashid, Emma Robbins, and Linda Vallejo to the Art Bank collection in 2020. They join previously acquisitioned pieces by Laura Aguilar, Charles Gaines, Kerry James Marshall, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Alison Saar, John Valadez and Richard Wyatt Jr. and contribute to a powerful and historic articulation of lives that are bound together through diverse views.
“Art has the power to provoke and inspire important conversations about history and representation. We look forward to continuing this work as we advance racial equity projects communitywide,” says Cultural Affairs Manager Shannon Daut.