For an exhibition with its roots in pervasive social trauma, in No Humans Involved (closing this weekend at the Hammer Museum) Erin Christovale and Vanessa Arizmendi have assembled a group show that’s also heavy on material wit, wry humor and aesthetic empathy. The title refers to the now-infamous internal code the LAPD used for certain kinds of cases — those that overwhelming involved Black and Brown folks who were casually labeled as sex workers, gang members, or drug dealers. The exhibition includes sculpture, performance, installation and multimedia works by seven artists who posit ameliorative counterpoints to this psychic and physical violence of this disdainful othering.

Eddie Aparicio at the Hammer Museum (Photo: Jeff McClane)

Highlights include Eddie Aparicio’s monumental, entropic post-minimalist sculpture that is both mesmerizing and unsettling; an array discarded objects trapped like gravel in an avalanche or flies in amber slowly emerge, as the past does, as the work has “melted” over the course of the show. Tau Lewis offers hand-sewn textile and photography-based wall works that are part altar, part scrapbook, part family tree and part quilt, and whose dimensionality and rough seams speak to hand and the body in intimate, patient, labor-intensive ways.

Tau Lewis at the Hammer Museum (Photo: Jeff McClane)

Sangree‘s sculptural works combine references to 20th-century cinder-block minimalism with elements of both prison- and temple-like architecture, cheeky contemporary hieroglyphic markings and an ecosystem of eccentric biomorphs that enliven and inhabit the spaces with a slow-burn surrealism; the juxtaposition of hard and soft in both materials and energy speaks to the ways in which humanity might overcome forces of oppression. Las Nietas de Nonó creates a tortilla-based meditation on the comforts of home denied to the prisoners of the carceral state and the ways their families keep them alive in their hearts while they’re apart, which in its organic geometry, glowing backlights and stained-glass like warmth actually itself creates the feeling of a safe space in the emotional and physical center of the exhibition. 10899 WIlshire Blvd., Westwood; Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-9pm through Sunday, January 9; free;

Las Nietas de Nono installation view at the Hammer (Photo: Jeff McClane)

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