We are pleased to announce the AHAN: Studio Forum artists of 2018: Tanya Aguiñiga, Louise Bonnet, Victoria Fu, Stanya Kahn, Michael Queenland, and Kathleen Ryan. AHAN: Studio Forum is an acquisition support group with a long history of providing funds to expand LACMA’s holdings of emerging to mid-career Los Angeles-based artists. Each year, AHAN members join LACMA curators in a weekend of artist studio visits, followed by a forum focused on in-depth conversation about potential acquisitions. Ultimately, works are chosen for LACMA’s permanent collection, adding to the AHAN legacy. We welcome these artists into the LACMA family and thank the members of AHAN: Studio Forum for their support, especially Lisa and Jordan Bender, Heather and Theodore Karatz, and Stephanie and Leon Vahn for their additional support.
In celebration of the 2018 Studio Forum, curators Rita Gonzalez and Christine Y. Kim spoke with AHAN members Marc Covitz, Katy Haute, and Jane Siegal about their experiences with the group.
What was the most interesting moment for you during the last round of AHAN: Studio Forum visits and/or the discussion forum?
Marc Covitz: It’s hard to pick just one moment, but hearing how artists engage with their communities was particularly interesting this year. Whether it was Tanya Aguiñiga's participatory works at the U.S. border or Nevine Mahmoud's collaborative artist community in Ventura, I really enjoyed hearing about these social aspects, since I most often imagine artists as solo practitioners.
Katy Haute: At one stop during this year’s round of studio visits, we were hiking up a gravel ravine adjacent to the L.A. River. I sort of marveled at the tenacity of our group. Unfazed by every type of urban environment and exhilarated to meet emerging artists, we were headed toward a Quonset hut. We didn’t know what to expect, but everyone had an open mind and was eager to learn about the artist’s work, style, and background, and to evaluate as best as possible how the museum might support their growth. Each artist has a voice, and it was amazing to see what material or form that meant. We had to be sensitive to their space and allow them to reveal themselves to us.
What do you see as your primary role as a supporter/advocate of LACMA, and how does AHAN: Studio Forum allow you to do that?
Katy Haute: AHAN facilitates my growth as a collector, supporter, and champion of working artists. By participating in AHAN I am able to further develop my own understanding of the challenges emerging artists face and also to put the work of emerging artists in perspective, in terms of their place in private or public collections, and in contrast or similarity to other artists.
Jane Siegal: I feel the primary role of being a LACMA and AHAN supporter is to spread the word about the amazing number of excellent artists that we are fortunate enough to have in Los Angeles. We have a very dynamic and thriving art scene.
What have you learned about the Los Angeles art scene from AHAN?
Jane Siegal: Through my participation with AHAN, I have seen that we have so many diverse and talented artists spread throughout L.A. Each studio visit has offered a unique experience and opportunity to interact with world-class artists and their art. The discussions we have had with LACMA's renowned curators about the artists we have visited has been the most thought-provoking. I truly value what the curators have to say about each artist and where they feel the artist is going with their career.
Marc Covitz: L.A. has always cultivated a robust art scene, but it is important to continue to find ways to encourage and support a wide range of artists who want to make L.A. home. The role of artists in any city cannot be underestimated.
What are some of your favorite moments from your involvement over the years?
Marc Covitz: Every moment I walk into an artist studio. Perspective, ideology, and history all get tossed into the air and I never know where things will land.
Jane Siegal: Besides seeing fantastic art for two days, I really love having the chance to get to know the other AHAN and LACMA members. It is always such a terrific group of people! And of course, the LACMA curators and staff are the best!