image of hands against a black background

Still from Ching Ching Cheng's Xiao Nu, 2020, single channel video, 8 minutes, still courtesy of the artist

Articulations—ArtCenter Graduate Art MFAs Choose Works from the LACMA Collection

September 11, 2020
Rita Gonzalez, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head, Contemporary Art

This year has been challenging in so many ways, pointedly with the COVID-19 pandemic’s dire impact on public health, as well as continual class and racial inequities disproportionately affecting communities of color. Among the cultural impacts has been the hiatus for in-person education in the arts. As co-authors of this introduction, LACMA curator Rita Gonzalez has had the pleasure of being a visiting critic at the ArtCenter College of Design while Diana Thater has been faculty there for 20 years. ArtCenter is a truly special place with artists, theorists, and critics like Thater, Bruce Hainley, Jason Smith, Gabrielle Jennings, Lita Albuquerque, Stan Douglas, Laura Owens, and Patti Podesta comprising the faculty.

The Graduate Art program’s usual Open Studios and thesis shows in spring were canceled and the students had their final shows moved to August and September, though these are not currently open to the public. They are also included in an exhibition at ArtCenter’s DTLA gallery. This show, curated by alumnus Adam Stamp (MFA 2017) is titled Fell For Everything; it opens on September 12 and runs through October 3, 2020. The exhibition may be visited online at

In the absence of these exhibitions, which give the students a public platform, we invited the MFAs to work on a project with LACMA. Each of the 12 graduates was asked to select an object in the museum’s collection and reflect on its relationship to their own developing practice. The selections range widely across history and geography, with some responses crafted in a highly personal and poetic manner, while others are considered through an art historical lens.

Over the course of the next month, LACMA will be posting the Graduate Art program MFAs’ texts, along with images of their work and an image of the work they have chosen from LACMA’s collection. Their choices run the gamut of art history, from ancient Egypt to Robert Rauschenberg and beyond. From a statue of Bastet to vestments made in Mexico with Chinese silk to a knitted necklace. Their thoughts on these selections provide a wonderful overview of their interests and also of the kinds of art historical conversations they want to have.

Art is a kind of artifice, but it is also articulation, and in that sense these artists speak through their work, their writing, and their choices.

I have been dazzled and moved by how the graduating MFAs have persevered during this pandemic and its upheaval, all of them managing, against odds, to make the best work of their careers so far for their final thesis shows. They demonstrate tenacity and endurance—as well as no small amount of invention. Much of this vital ingenuity is on view in the selections from the LACMA collection they have chosen to be paired with their own work. I salute these young artists and their persistent sense of adventure.

- Bruce Hainley, Chair, Graduate Art, ArtCenter College of Design

ArtCenter DTLA Exhibition Information


Fell For Everything

Participating Artists

Ching Ching Cheng
Manyu Gao
Juliana Halpert
Carson Lynn
Gabriel Madan
Alex Nazari
Edgar Ramirez
Gillian Steiner
Ethan Tate
Sean T. Randolph
Darius Vondrae
Tara Walters

Curated by Adam Stamp

Art Center DTLA
114 W. 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Exhibition Dates: September 12–October 3, 2020


Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exhibitions in ArtCenter's galleries are currently unavailable for visits by the public. Please check with us regarding our status:

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