If your new multi-service micro-village live work play lifestyle campus urban real estate development doesn’t have a mural program, is it even really happening? Well Hollywood Park wasn’t about to take that chance. Since the inception of its reimagining as a 300-acre hub that includes SoFi Stadium and the YouTube Theater along with residential, commercial, service, cultural, and hospitality enterprises, Hollywood Park has put a lot of focus on how visual art could be featured as part of its architecture, atmosphere, and perhaps most importantly, its relationship to both the community that surrounds it and the one they hope to create.
As the project moves inexorably towards its full opening and the indelible transformation of Inglewood forever, the art program—which began assembling in 2022—has continued to expand, with its latest phase adding outdoor murals by Jocelyn Tsaih and Amir H. Fallah and sculptures by Alison Saar. They join large-scale works already in place by painters Calida Garcia Rawles, Geoff McFetridge, Eve Fowler, Marco Zamora, Alex Becerra, and Alfonso Gonzalez Jr., as well as pieces by Ned Kahn, Sandeep Mukherjee, and Bhavna Mehta.
The program is curated by Tiffiny Lendrum in consultation with Hollywood Park leadership, the Inglewood Arts Commission, and development managers Wilson Meany. Chris Meany of the latter said in a statement that they see the art program as, “reflecting the values, stories, and experiences of our community, further acting as a vehicle for strengthening community bonds.” Of course that’s just what you’d expect the leads to say—but the truth is, the roster of artists and the messages in their work has been thoughtfully curated from among not only the street and urban art worlds, but the public art and gallery worlds as well. Together they form a diverse (and still growing) cohort of locally based artists (many of whom are born and raised Angelenos) whose work varies in style but all share a colorful, engaging presence, a gift for telling L.A. stories, and an intention toward a sense of place that goes light years beyond decoration.
Artists like Alison Saar are internationally known for their regular public art practice. Her sculptures depict a reimagined ancestry and justice-based, restorative historical figures and symbols; they augment and hold space at locations from college campuses to civic landmarks, sculpture parks, and cultural institutions. Creating figures capable of containing conflicting ideas and emotions among a plurality of historical citations is sort of Saar’s specialty. Her 8-foot tall sculptures Carrefour (symbolizing the concept of crossroads or the convergence of four points) and Summer (depicting a young woman embracing her pregnant belly) stand for both the past and future of Inglewood, with all the promise and complexity a development of this scale entails.
The choices of painters are more unusual. Accomplished artists like Amir H. Fallah, Calida Garcia Rawles, Eve Fowler, and Marco Zamora are well known in the gallery world in Los Angeles and beyond as critically acclaimed, philosophically-minded, socially engaged painters. Their gallery shows on every continent are well attended and reviewed; they are represented in museum acquisitions, art fair booths, the history books, and tony private collections. But by and large, they have not been muralists—until now.
From Fallah’s intensely detailed, chromatically saturated, optical maximalist style, to Fowler’s text-based ambiguity of slogans for the soul, Rawles’ evocative photorealism of underwater portraiture and that hypnotic yellow dress, and Zamora’s choreography of vernacular presence and conceptual absence—dedicating themselves to the process of translating these visions to mural scale speaks to Hollywood Park’s commitment to the program and its equally laudable commitment to doing something meaningful with this opportunity.
Meanwhile inside the retail district, one of the original tenants is Residency Art Gallery, a platform for artists of color founded on nearby E. Queen St. in 2016. One of very few Black-owned art galleries in Los Angeles—though one of a growing number of galleries opening in Inglewood—Residency is dedicated to both serving contemporary art directly to the local community, and to bringing the art made there to broader citywide, national, and international attention. By both celebrating the neighborhood and educating the world, Residency has had enormous success bridging those gaps, proving that reciprocal audiences exist and that representation matters.
The gallery also produced Continuum as a centerpiece of the SoFi Stadium’s inauguration last year—along with a presentation of the Kinsey Collection, itself a local treasure with global reach—when gallery founder and executive director Rick Garzon curated a similarly framed and impactful group exhibition at the new site.
Now that vision has a chance to expand even further, with the gallery’s Hollywood Park location’s inaugural exhibition, on view now with a closing reception on Saturday, November 10, The New Contemporaries, Vol 3. Investigating how Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian artists lean into their lived experiences as part of strategies to push back against invisibility, reductivism, and extractive capitalism. It’s a dynamic and eclectic exhibition assembling work in robustly materialist and diversely influenced painting, sculpture, and mixed media that ranges from the cheeky to the interrogatory, Pop to post-classical, street inflected, ancestral, ceremonial, and explosive.
“Residency has always intended to uplift artists of color and empower our South Central community with an art space that we can call our own,” Garzon said in a statement. And now they have two, as their original location will be made over into a Project Space, promising robust programming and community engagement.
“It has been really rewarding to see the community response to our new space in Hollywood Park,” Garzon tells L.A. Weekly. “From the opening reception alone, we could tell there is so much potential to continue to platform artists of color and grow the arts and culture hub that already exists here in South Central L.A. We’re looking forward to expanding our public programming at Hollywood Park, with more community engagement opportunities to come!”
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