Human Condition is an immersive site-specific exhibition comprised of over forty emerging and established artists from Los Angeles, New York, and Europe within an architecturally and psychologically challenging space: an abandoned hospital, previously known as Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center. Curated and produced by John Wolf, the exhibition strives to return attention to West Adams, a culturally and historically rich area of Los Angeles home to over 70 historic landmarks. Around 1900, West Adams was the wealthiest neighborhood in Los Angeles home to Victorian and Craftsman homes that are now recognized as the city’s cherished architectural heritage. The Human Condition will open to the public on October 1st and run through November 30, 2016.
Years of neglect is now giving way to re-development of the neighborhood that is home to many working artists and a burgeoning art scene. The exhibition will promote an underrepresented arts district on the brink of change. Engaging the local population as a backdrop through performances and community events throughout its duration, the exhibition re-contextualizes the hospital’s functional history while preserving its utilitarian form: a venue through which artistic and contemplative responses to the human condition can be made.
Human Condition invites the artists to explore emotional responses to the physical and psychological experience an individual experiences through life. Themes of joy, pain, trauma, and elation are prevalent, similar to the overlapping and often contrasting emotions that occur inside a hospital. The viewer’s own reactions to the works are intensified by the memory of the space and contribute to an interpersonal narrative. Ranging from sculpture, drawing, painting, performance, and immersive installations, the works are displayed amongst the surgical rooms, maternity wards, a psychiatric floor and cafeteria, encourage the viewer to engage with the dilapidated remains while transcending the building’s original intention.
Many of the artists have utilized the existing architecture, hospital infrastructure and miscellanea left behind, making Human Condition an architectural investigation and rediscovery of person and place left behind in this fertile neighborhood. Similar to the human form and human life, these objects and the neighborhood from which they originate have the opportunity for redevelopment and change. Human Condition is a unique opportunity for both artists and audiences to experience artwork outside the systematic confines of a typical art space, within an uncannily familiar yet redefined platform.