Exhibition Features Photographs by Carol M. Highsmith and Camilo José Vergara
November 14, 2019—“L.A. Murals,” a new photography exhibition from the Library of Congress, documents murals painted on the streets of Los Angeles, an epicenter of the world’s street art scene.
The photographs are now on view in Los Angeles at The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in the Library of Congress Ira Gershwin Gallery. The exhibition, which is free and open to visitors of the Concert Hall, went on view in September and will close in September 2020.
“L.A. Murals” features 30 photographs curated from the archives of photographers Carol M. Highsmith and Camilo José Vergara, which are part of the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division of more than 14 million photographs documenting America. The focus of the exhibition was inspired by the vitality of the visual arts and creativity of LA. Library curators organized the exhibit.
“Our national library holds an incredible collection of more than 14 million photographs documenting our culture, including the creativity and diversity of Los Angeles,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We are so pleased to showcase part of this collection in the new photography exhibition, ‘L.A. Murals,’ at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.”
The photographs on view were created between 1997 and 2016, recording the work of recognized artists, as well as those whose paintings were created as signage, commercial art, homages and memorials. The mural locations ranged from the Venice Beach Boardwalk to Whittier Boulevard in East LA. Maps of each mural location are provided to mark their original sites, some of which are now gone.
“Los Angeles is home to a flourishing artistic community with a number of highly talented street artists and muralists whose work portrays the many cultures of our vibrant county and provides a vibrant backdrop to our daily lives,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center. “The Music Center is thrilled to be able to provide a platform that highlights this artform and the many murals that are part of the fabric of LA.”
The murals depict a wide variety of images, including religious icons, a memorial honoring a victim of gun violence, city storefronts and businesses, and heroic figures, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. along with Kobe Bryant and James Worthy of the LA Lakers.
About the Photographers:
Carol Highsmith’s photographs are part of a series titled “Carol M. Highsmith’s America.” The goal of the ambitious, multi-year project is to photograph the entire country state by state. Highsmith has made the Library the permanent archive for her work.
Chilean-born Camilo José Vergara is a 2002 MacArthur Fellow and a 2013 National Humanities Medal awardee who has been photographing the streets of major U.S. cities for nearly 50 years. His work is also archived at the national library.
Among the thousands of photographs in their archives, Highsmith and Vergara created well over 100 photographs documenting murals in Los Angeles that capture a vibrant tapestry of the city’s street art. Their archives can be accessed at loc.gov/pictures.
Other works from both photographers also were featured in a 2018 exhibition of photographs from the Library of Congress at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
About the Gallery:
The Library of Congress Ira Gershwin Gallery, housed inside The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, was made possible by a generous gift from the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the Library of Congress. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Concert Hall. Guests can visit the gallery when on a tour or while attending a performance.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
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