As museums continue to temporarily shutter and delay major exhibitions as a way to stop the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) around the world, the West Coast’s largest biennial said that it would postpone its summer opening by a month. The 2020 edition of Made in L.A., which the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles is co-organizing this year with the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, will now run from July 19–January 3.
In a joint statement signed by the Hammer’s director Ann Philbin and the Huntington’s president Karen R. Lawrence, the biennial’s organizers acknowledged that, “although it is not yet clear how soon it will be safe for museums to reopen to the public,” it became obvious that the biennial would no longer be able to open on June 7.
In their statement, Philbin and Lawrence said, “We are aware that the current situation with Covid-19 is still unfolding and that we may face additional hurdles in the future. We hope that by allocating more than five months to this important biennial exhibition, we can remain flexible in our planning as well as committed to giving these artists and our audiences their proper chance to experience Made in L.A.”
The 2020 edition of Made in L.A., organized by independent curators Myriam Ben Salah and Lauren Mackler, carries the theme “a version” and will feature the work of 30 artists and collectives at both venues, including Aria Dean, Christina Forrer, Kahlil Joseph, Nicola L., Reynaldo Rivera, and Ser Serpas.
The Hammer mounted the first iteration of Made in L.A. in 2012, in collaboration with the nonprofit arts space LAXART. Over the years, it has become one of the country’s most closely watched arts exhibition, growing in tandem with an increased focus on L.A. as a major city for the creation of new art. Among the artists who have seen their stars rise since being included are rafa esparza, Gala Porras-Kim, Arthur Jafa, Martine Syms, Carmen Argote, Beatriz Cortez, Carolina Caycedo, Candice Lim, Lauren Halsey, EJ Hill, Luchita Hurtado, and the late Hugette Caland.
The move follows numerous other art biennials that have also said they would delay their openings, including Dak’Art Biennale of Contemporary Art (originally May 28–June 28) in Dakar, Senegal, Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (May 14–October 11), and Europe’s roving biennial Manifesta 13 (June 7–November 1), which was to be staged in Marseille, France. The three exhibitions have not announced new dates.
On Monday, the Biennale of Sydney, which opened earlier this month, said that, despite its best efforts to stay open, it too would close, following orders from that the Australian government that essentially ordered all arts institutions across the country to close.
In an email to ARTnews, the Yokohama Triennale in Japan, which is being curated by Raqs Media Collective, said that as of now it is still set to open with a preview day on July 2. The exhibition is primarily staged at the Yokohama Museum of Art, which is currently closed. Earlier today, Japan’s prime minister and the International Olympic Committee confirmed that it would delay this summer’s Tokyo Olympics until 2021.
A spokesperson for the triennial said, “We are monitoring the situation closely, and we do foresee some disruptions regarding travel and transportation due to the crisis in Europe, but we will shift our strategy if necessary so that we do open our Triennale as planned.”