If there is an aptly emblematic piece in The Hammer Museum’s biennial show, it might be the Vincent Enrique Hernandez photograph, Car Portrait, where a 1987 Volvo sedan, emblazoned with Valley Tours is parked against the backdrop of blue skies and palm trees, ready to cruise the maze of freeways that connect Los Angeles. Curators Diana Nawi and Pablo Jose Ramirez selected 39 artists and collectives for the exciting artistic Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living, titled by way of a quote from local artist Noah Purifoy who observed that, “One does not have to be a visual artist to utilize creative potential. Creativity can be an act of living.” That said, this show offers a road trip driven by a California collection of artists of diverse ages, styles, ethnicity, and sexuality. 

Pictured above in one of the gallery images is N.O.M.A.D, Dominique Moody’s assemblage, made with local craftspeople, her traveling home and studio. Jesse Homer French addresses the environment in flat layered paintings, while Teresa Barker takes an abstract approach to the issue. The curators define the experience, as the “sensual actualization of art and proximity are what make it an event,” as does the contagious smiles created by Pippa Garner and her drawing called Tongue Texting, not to mention her picture in the catalog where a self-designed t-shirt that says, I’d rather butter myself than better myself.” Attendance is mandatory. —Gwynned Vitello