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Lauren Halsey. Photo: Paul Sepuya.

Lauren Halsey Receives 2018 Mohn Award

The Hammer Museum announced today that artist Lauren Halsey has won the $100,000 Mohn Award, which honors artistic excellence. Since 2012, the Mohn Award has been given in conjunction with the museum’s biennial, Made in L.A., which was organized this year by Hammer curators Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale. As part of the award, the museum will also produce a monograph of Halsey’s work.

For Made in L.A. 2018, which opened on June 3 and runs through September 2, Halsey created a prototype for what she calls The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project. The structure will be built in a public space on Crenshaw Boulevard that formerly featured an African bazaar, which she frequented as a child. The panels of the functional space—built of plywood and gypsum, a mineral that has been used in the construction of major structures for thousands of years, including in the pyramids of ancient Egypt—are inscribed with signifiers of her community and neighborhood of South Central.

Lauren Halsey’s ambitious sculpture is impressive as a site-specific installation at the Hammer and as a prototype for her upcoming public artwork in the South Central community,” director Ann Philbin said in a statement. “The Mohn Award recognizes her distinctive iconography and community-building vision.”

In addition, Daniel Joseph Martinez will receive the Career Achievement Award, which honors brilliance and resilience, and EJ Hill will receive the Public Recognition Award, as chosen by visitors to the Made in L.A. 2018 exhibition. Both artists will receive $25,000.

The Mohn Award and Career Achievement Award winners were selected by a jury comprising Thomas J. Lax, associate curator of media and performance art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Liz Munsell, curator of contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Pilar Tompkins Rivas, director of the Vincent Price Art Museum in Monterey Park, California.

All three prizes are funded by Los Angeles philanthropists and art collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn and the Mohn Family Foundation.

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